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The Conquering of Death

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Samuel Valencia, B.A. Biblical Studies

Sermon

October 12, 2008

Good Shepherd Community Church of El Cajon (EBP)


TITTLE

The Conquering of Death

MAIN PASSAGE

*John 11:1-44

INTRODUCTION

Our subject this morning is death. Though it is a somber topic, it is a fact of life. Every culture around the world has its views and traditions about it… Here in the United States during October death is the underlying theme of Halloween.

       Halloween had its origins in “the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain , a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture…  The ancient Gaels believed that on October 31… the boundary between the alive and the deceased dissolved, and the dead become dangerous for the living by causing problems such as sickness or damaged crops. The festivals would frequently involve bonfires, into which bones of slaughtered livestock were thrown. Costumes and masks were also worn at the festivals in an attempt to mimic the evil spirits or placate them…” (1) Today Halloween has grown into a massive commercial holiday. Many other ideas and traditions have been added to it, but nevertheless death and all that accompanies it are still the underlying theme of it.   

Halloween presents death in a convoluted way and treats it as a plaything. In stores and around our neighborhoods there are decorations uplifting death and all other things that have to do with the dark things of death. For this reason it is a good time to see what the Bible teaches us about death…

What is death and where did it come from? It affects all creation… It has afflicted men throughout history… It cannot be avoided… It is wrapped up in mystery... Those that try to understand it, control it, and cheat it have meddled into the occult via witchcraft, sorcery, psychic methods and so on. All such things surface and are playthings during Halloween. Indeed Halloween has a darker side, but that is a topic for another day...

The Bible reveals what death is. Dr. Billy Graham states “…we cannot begin to understand the riddle of death without the guiding knowledge of the Word of God. Outside of the Bible death will forever remain an unknown phantom, stalking helpless human victims.” (2) So what does the Bible teach us about death? One of the best passages to take up this subject is found in John 11. Here we see that death is a reality, it has a sting, but more importantly that it has been conquered!


TRANSITION TO MAIN POINT I


I.       THE REALITY OF DEATH

*John 11:11-14

A.    The Meaning of Death

1. Scientific/Medically

Medically speaking death is “the ending of all vital functions or processes in an organism or cell” [1]

2. Philosophically

a. The cessation of existence…

b. Wondering around in the spiritual world…

3. Religiously

            a. Purgatory

            b. Incarnation

            c. Man made theories of death…

4. Theologically (THE BIBLICAL DEFINITION)

ONLY THE BIBLE GIVES US THE CORRECT DEFINITION OF DEATH... “Death always indicates a separation of some kind…” [2]

B.     The Image of Death

The Encarta Dictionary states that “a personification of death [is] usually represented as a ghostly form or skeleton holding a scythe.” The Bible holds silence as to the aspect of death…

C.     The Origin of Death

*Genesis 2:17

ADAM AND EVE ATE FROM THE TREE

D.    Three Types of Death

Norman L. Geisler states “…the disobedience of the original humans brought death into the world. There are three kinds of death: spiritual, physical, and eternal. Adam and Eve died spiritually the moment they sinned. They also began to die physically that very day…” [3]

1.      Physical Death

*Genesis 3:17-19

                                    a. All Men will Die…

*Hebrews 9:27

 

                                    b. Some Exceptions

i. Enoch

*Genesis 5:23-24

ii. Elijah

*2 Kings 2:11

iii. Believers in the Rapture

*1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

 

2.      Spiritual Death

Separation from God… Genesis 3:24

Genesis 3:24

3.      Eternal Death

*Revelation 20:14-15.


TRANSITION TO MAIN POINT II


II.    THE STING OF DEATH

Primarily when we think of death we focus on physical death…

*John 11:17-19

*John 11:31-35

A.    The Nonbeliever

1.      Pain

2.      Suffering

3.      Despair

4.      A Complete Change in Life

5.      Hopelessness

B.     The Believer

1.      Pain

2.      Suffering

3.      Despair

4.      A Complete Change in Life

5.      Hope 1 Thessalonians 4:13


TRANSITION TO MAIN POINT III


III. THE CONQUERING OF DEATH

A.    Death’s Power

*1 Corinthians 15:25-27

1.      The Extent

The extent of death’s domination is vast. It affects every aspect of culture. All of human life is lived under the shadow of the fear of death (Rom 8:15; Heb 2:15). Death reigns over all that is “of the flesh” (Rom 8:6)… The devil, who rules the world, is the lord of death (Heb 2:14). Death is sometimes personified as a demonic power at large in the world… [4]

2.      The Limit

Death is under the submission of God’s authority. Though it is as an enemy, it is an enemy under submission.

*1 Corinthians 15:25-26

B.     Jesus Victory

1.      The Demonstration

*John 11:21-28

John 11:38-44

2.      His Resurrection

No man could defeat death. Only Jesus the God/Man mastered it (1 Cor 15:26, 27; Rv 6:8; 20:13, 14). The Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible states “…Christ died, was buried, and rose again on the third day (Rom 4:25; 1 Cor 15:3, 4; 1 Thes 4:14). Through that historic event the power of death was broken. The New Testament in various ways expresses Christ’s subjection to death in payment for sin. He “became obedient unto death” (Phil 2:8); he died as a sacrifice for the sins of all (1 Cor 5:7; 2 Cor 5:15); he descended into Hades, the place of the dead (1 Pt 3:18, 19). The major point of all such passages is that he did not remain dead but defeated the devil, took the power (keys) of death, and ascended in victory (Heb 2:14, 15; Rev 1:17, 18). Jesus Christ worked not for his own benefit, but for those who commit themselves to him (Mk 10:45; Rom 5:6–8; 1 Thes 5:9, 10). By accepting a death he did not deserve, Christ has broken the power of death…” [5]

*1 Corinthians 15:50-55


TRANSITION TO CONCLUSION



MAIN POINTS REVIEW

I. The Reality of Death

II. The Sting of Death

III. The Conquering of Death


CONCLUSION

            Indeed death is a reality, it has a sting, but more importantly it has been conquered by Jesus. The world has a convoluted view of death and this is obvious especially during Halloween. The Bible clearly teaches us that death is the consequence of sin. Therein lies the foundational problem for all men (sin). The good news is that there is a solution to the problem… The solution is in Jesus. He died for us to pay the penalty of our sin. He was buried, but death could not hold Him. He rose from the dead. JESUS CONQUERED DEATH!... Through Jesus we have conquered death… Oh death where is your victory? One day death will be no more… (Revelation 21:1-6) 


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[1] Encarta Dictionary

[2] Ryrie, Charles C. . Basic Theology, A Popular Systematic Guide to Biblical Truth. Chicago: Moody Press, 1986, 1999.

[3] Geisler, Norman L.: Systematic Theology, Volume Three: Sin, Salvation. Minneapolis, MN : Bethany House Publishers, 2004, S. 122

[4] Elwell, Walter A. ; Beitzel, Barry J.: Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible. Grand Rapids, Mich. : Baker Book House, 1988, S. 604

[5] Elwell, Walter A. ; Beitzel, Barry J.: Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible. Grand Rapids, Mich. : Baker Book House, 1988, S. 604

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