When Your Are Dying

Bible Book: Genesis  48
Subject: Death; Eternal Life; Testimony
Series: The Look Back That Makes You Look Up

When You Are Dying

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor, www.pastorlife.com

Genesis 48

As we draw near to Easter, it is good for us to stop and realize what an amazing thing our Lord did when He overcame death. This miracle, the Resurrection of Jesus, assures every Christian that death is not the end, nor is it a journey into a terrible judgment. Do you have Christ in your life? If you do, He will do when you are dying -  if not, dying is the just the beginning of your troubles.

We turn back now to an Old Testament story to reveal how what God provides will do when you're dying.

When I was young, there was a song we used to sing that I do not hear us singing any longer. Perhaps we do not sing it because it harkens to something old and this is the generation always looking for something new. The song was, "Give Me That Old Time Religion."

It was good for our fathers, It's good enough for me.

It was good for out mothers, It's good enough for me.

One verse went like this:

"It will do when your dying,

It will do when your dying,

Ot will do when your dying,

It's good enough for me."

When you are dying, will you have something that will do all that is needed for you? You will die - we all will. What will do what is needed when you are dying? Today I want us to think about the subject of dying.

No one has a more interesting view of death than children.

One child said, "When you die, Jesus takes care of you the way your mother does when you are alive, only He doesn’t yell at you as much."

Another child said, "If you are good, when you die, you good to a nice place to live; but, if you are bad, you go to a place really hot - like living in Florida."

Yet another child said, "Doctor’s try really hard to keep you from dying – cause they want you to stay alive and pay your bills."

One little boy and his friend were staring at a mannequin in a store when someone overheard one boy say to the other, "Don’t talk to him, I think he’s dead!"

What we really need today, however, are some facts about death that can change our lives and our eternity. I want us to think about having a faith that will do when we are dying. Jacob had such a faith. Look at Genesis 49 and you will see a faith that was sufficient when Jacob was dying.

I. We See the Believer’s Death

Jacob had placed his faith in God many years before the day we are reading about in our text. He had been quite a sinner in his day, but he had turned from sin and trust the Lord. Now, as he faces death, he does so as a believer in His God and Redeemer.

A. The Reality of Death

Jacob did not try to deny the reality of death. Today there are many efforts made to deny that death exists. Yet, death cannot be denied. It was the sister of Napoleon Bonaparte who made famous the statement, "Two things are certain in life, death and taxes." She was half right. You may somehow escape taxes, but not death (not unless the rapture occurs before you die). Jacob knew that death was coming and he was prepared for it.

Death comes to all:

  • The brain surgeon and prostitute will die.
  • The murderer and great artist will die.
  • The rich Wall Street Baron and the homeless person will die.
  • The rock band will die and the president of the country wil die.

The great question is not how smart you are, how rich you are, what you have, how important you are, or how many people know you – the great question is, "Are you ready to die?" Death is a reality and like the children’s game, it sometimes seems to call out, "Coming, Ready of Not!"

Not only do we see the reality of death, but note ...

B. The Resistance to Death

There is a great resistance to thinking about or talking about death. Why? To some extent, it is natural to avoid talking about death, and that is partly because we do not understand it. We think of death almost always in negative terms. Actually, the Lord sometimes spoke of death in positive terms. For example, on one occasion the Bible states, "Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints (Psalm 116:15)." It is interesting that God sees the death of a believer as precious. I believe there are reasons for that, and I will share them in a minute.

In another place the Bible states, "Then I heard a voice from heaven say, 'Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.'" "Yes," says the Spirit, "they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them." (Revelation 14:13). Interestingly, the Lord speaks of death for a Christian as something positive. Does that mean it is wrong for us to resist death? Certainly not! We are to live and thrive as long as we can – and to be a witness for our Lord in this world as long as we can, but when death comes, we must get God's view of it.

Much resistance to dealing with the subject of death comes because people are not ready to die. When Paul came to the time of death he said, "I am ready." Those without Christ do not know what to do when death comes, for they are not ready.

Reuters News Agency just reported a story from Munich, Germany to prove this point. An elderly woman lived at home with her husband lying dead in bed for four months before he was found by police who had been alerted by a worried relative. Munich police said Thursday the 76-year-old man had apparently died of natural causes in December. His sister had finally turned to the police after his wife had repeatedly told her by telephone he did not want to see visitors. Now that is taking the subject of avoiding death a bit too far.

Next ...

II. We See the Believer’s Dependents

Anytime a believer dies, there are those who love him or her who are left behind. Note two things about the believer’s dependents.

A. Tears for the Dying

Look at Genesis 50:1, "Joseph threw himself upon his father and wept over him and kissed him."  Sorrow is a part of death. It is natural. Some Christians wonder if something is wrong with them when they weep over the grave of a departed loved one. No! Ten thousand times no! Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus. Why is death so sad, even for Christians?

  • Death is the end of Physical union.
  • Death is the end of Planning and Possibilities on earth.
  • Death is the end of an earthly passage which may have spanned many years and many memories.
  • But, it is good to remember that death is not the end!

When David’s son was sick, David wept and prayed for him. When his son died, David washed his face and ceased crying. Some were surprised at his attitude. David said, "He cannot come to me, but I can go to him." Friend, we cannot bring a loved one back, but if that love one is saved and we are saved, then we can and will one day go to be with that person!

B. Testimony from the Dying
1. The Testimony of a Forgiving Lord

How wonderful when one dies that he or she can leave behind the testimony of having experienced the forgiveness of God. When a Christian dies, there is a testimony of purity provided through the death of Jesus on the Cross.

2. The Testimony of a Fruitful Life

The true Christian, the true believer, leaves behind a testimony of living for the Lord. What a marvelous thing when a believer not only gives testimony of forgiveness, but leaves a legacy of service for and to the Lord.

3. The Testimony of a Family Legacy

Furthermore, there is another testimony when the faith of the family continues in the lives of those left behind. Though each person must make personal decision for salvation through Christ, it is a joy to see the family of the deceased standing by a testimony for Christ! It leaves a legacy when your family stands by your grave with real faith in the Lord.

Now ...

III. We See the Believer’s Destiny

A. The Person that Shall Meet Him

Paul said, "To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord."

David wrote, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff they comfort me!"

A Christian does not go into the valley of death alone, for the Lord meets us there. He is the Author and Finisher of our faith. He saved us and started us on our Christian journey. He will be there to meet us when the journey is over.

A little boy was traveling by train on a long journey. Someone asked the boy if he were not afraid? The little lad smiled and said, "No, I am not afraid, for my father promised to meet me when the train stops." Yes! Our Father will meet us when the train of life stops on this earth.

Another reason the Christian doesn't grieve as the world does is because of ...

B. The Peace that Shall Greet Him

I told you that I would tell you why God sees the believer’s death as a blessing. It is because God desires to lift our burden from us. He desires to grant us all the blessings of our redemption in Christ. He desires to open our eyes to the celestial city and let us breath the celestial air or heaven. He has a place of peace for us.

There is no reason for a person in this room to die unsaved. Jesus has died for you. People are here today who, just like you, came to a point to see their need of a Savior and came to the only One who can save – Jesus! Yes, people can sit in churches just like this one and still die and go to hell. A man in the Old Testament died like that. His name was Jehoram. He departed this world without salvation. His father was the godly king Jehoshaphat. His preaher was Elijah. Yet, he died lost. David’s son Absalom died lost though his father was a man after God’s own heart. You can’t go to heaven because of your parents, or because of your church. You must have the Lord. Jacob came to a day when he repented and accepted the grace of God. Have you done that?


Time is running out. Why come to Christ now? Believe me, He will do when your dying! In fact, only He will do when your dying. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow penned:

"Art is long and time is fleeting,

And our hearts, though stout and brave,

Still, like muffled drums, are beating

Funeral durges to the grave."

Even though our hearts are stout and brave today, the beat of our hearts is like drums beating a march to the grave. Longfellow reminded us in his poem that "time is fleeting."

  A missionary showed a watch to a native who had never seen one. He held it up and let the native hear it tick. The native said, "It seems to say, ‘Quick, Quick, Quick!" Indeed, that is what it is saying. Come to Jesus, Quick, Quick, Quick! For time is running out!

We are all dying - it is just a matter of time. There is One who will do when you are dying - that one is the Savior - and He is the only One who can provide what you need in this life and the life beyond the grave.