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January 16, 2000 AM

Phil 1:22-24)

INTRO: I think that among lifes mysteries death and dying must be among the strangest and most unpleasant for the majority of us. We seldom spend casual time in conversation about the subject, and we really would prefer not to be around when death is. It seems to me that other cultures have handled the subject and fact of death better than ours. Yet, Christian people - in any culture - shouldbe better equipped emotionally, informationally and preparationally than any people. TheBible talks about death and shows us many pictures of it. And in our text we read of One Mans Dilemma about death. If he could choose ...?


A. He would keep bearing fruit - 1:22a

1. his life had been fruitful in preaching and teaching

2. the fruit had been borne in soul winning efforts

3. how many were the people in Gentile world whose conversions could be traced to Paul, the preacher

4. and he would keepon in that fruit bearing if he lived he had no intention of being out to pasture, retired!

B. He felt the needs of encouraging Christians - 1:24

1. abide waiting, constantly ready to help

2. 2 Cor 11:28,29 he was always concerned about weak Christians, Christians who were falling back into sin (Rom 15:1,2)

3. in a strait gives us something of the intense feelings of Paul as he thought of the work he could be doing if he continued to live on earth

4. his death would not profit his friends in Philippi


A. There were no uncertainties, anxieties about death

1. death did not fascinate him for its uncertainties (as is often the case with mankind) but for its certainties

2. 2 Cor 5:1,2 we know --- in this we groan

3. or 2 Tim 4:6 I am now ready

4. death was certainly gain to one who knew he would ultimately be with Christ and for whom being with Christ was greatest wish

B. How differently man and God think of death:

1. man thinks destruction ... God thinks salvation

2. man thinks loss ... God thinks gain

3. man thinks end ... God thinks beginning

4. man thinks going away ... God thinks arriving

5. man thinks parting ... God thinks meeting

C. Something of how we should view death is in word depart

1. to strike camp ... take tents down and move on (nearer and nearer to home)

2. loose mooring of ship ... pull in anchors, set sail

3. setting prisoners free

4. unyoking oxen ... relief from burdens

5. the word for solving problems ... death brings lifes solutions to one who yearns to be with the Lord

6. 2 Tim 4:6 the time of my departure is at hand

D. But we are so tied to the earth

1. we devote ourselves to rooting here ... to being here for an unending period of time, apparently

2. 1 Cor 7:31 (Goodspeed) not absorbed in it

3. our efforts are extended to building, strengthening, the physical attributes of ourselves staying well, healthy, prosperous

4. should we devote more attention to spiritual health?

5. perhaps we need to deal more with the assurances of the Christian so that we can have a Pauls confidence is that lack of assurance why we cling so tenaciously to life?

6. Rev 14:13 which die in the Lord

CLOSE: Because of his confidence and his attitudes toward dying, Paul did experience the dilemma of choice. For most of us the choice would be easy ... wed take living. A great many factors probably weigh in that choice. I wish, though, that we could begin to adjust our thinking so that death could become a more pleasant and hopeful contemplation.

Cecil A. Hutson

16 January 2000

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)