The Other Side of Death

Bible Book: Revelation  14 : 13
Subject: Death; Eternal Life; Life, Eternal; Heaven
Introduction

Death is not a pleasant subject but it is a necessary one. Death has come to billions and it will come to billions more. Death is portrayed as the black camel that kneels at every family tent, or the grim reaper dressed in a black, wearing a foreboding robe and carrying a sharp sickle. However you describe it, it is a reality and we must deal with it properly.

One rather foolish man said, “If you don’t think there is a divine plan to life, just read the newspaper and note how everybody dies in alphabetical order.”

Actually, death seems to have no order at all. Occasionally it is the very young who die, and then it may come to the very old. Death may come while one is eating breakfast, at work, while at play or exercise. Death may come in the night time or in the middle of the day. Over 30 people were killed in Texas and Ohio while shopping or taken part in normal activities by radical gunmen on the first weekend of August, 2019.

You can even die while at church. While I was pastoring at the First Baptist Church, Cherryville, North Carolina, a disturbance was observed and shortly afterward a man was taken from the balcony of the church in an ambulance. He was dead before they got him to the hospital. He died before the invitation could be given in that service.

Are you afraid to die? I don't think any of us really look forward to dying. One man said that he wasn't afraid to die, he just didn't want to be there when it happened.

An honest preacher once said, "I not afraid to die; I am ashamed to die. There is so much more I could have done that I have not done that I am ashamed to die!"

One thing is sure. We will die.

It is interesting to note that different parts of the world have different ways of honoring the departed dead. One man was walking out of the cemetery where he had just left flowers on his wife’s grave. He passed an oriental man who was leaving rice on his wife’s grave. The man who left he flowers said, “When do you expect her to come and eat that rice?” The oriental gentleman answered, “When your wife comes back to smell those flowers!”

The most important question about death revolves around what happens to us after we die. Someone said, “A man’s life is made up of twenty years of his mother asking him where he is going, forty years of his wife asking him where he has been, and a number of years after his death with everybody wondering where he went!

Maybe you heard about the preacher who woke up one day to read his obituary in the morning paper. Somehow the newspaper had gotten him mixed up with another minister who had died. The preacher thought he had better quickly get word to his congregation that all was well. He phoned the chairman of deacons and asked if he had seen the morning paper. The deacon said that he had. The preacher asked, “Did you see that it is reported that I died?” The chairman of deacons said, “Yes, I did.” Then there was a pause and the deacon asked, “By the way, preacher, where are you calling from?”

Actually, that is the most important question surrounding the subject of death. What happens to us after we die? Today I want us to concentrate our attention of Revelation 14:13 where we read about the saved and what happens to them at death.

Occasionally someone will complain that we preachers emphasize hell too much. They protest that we should mention the positive side of the gospel more often than we do. Actually, Jesus mentioned hell more often than heaven. He spoke warnings more often than he spoke of the joys or rewards of heaven. But that does not mean that the positive side was not presented, indeed our Lord and His Word does make much of the wonderful blessings wrapped up in being saved and secure in Christ. Today I want us to look at The Other Side of Death. We are going to fix our attention on the blessing of dying saved and sure in the arms of Jesus.

The Book of Revelation speaks of death very often. We all should be aware that death is not a period in the sentence of life, it is only comma. We are going to live on after we die. In Revelation we get a small glimpse into the blessing of dying in Christ. Please note with me three important messages in this very special verse.

I. The Voice That Enlightens Us About Death Revelation 14:13a

There are many strange voices speaking about death in our world today. We read about those who have supposedly experienced death and have come back to tell us of their out of body experiences. Others tell us that death is simply a part of life and when we die we simple cease to exist. Others tells us that we go on to live in other worlds, or that we return to the earth to be another person or an animal. Some people even claim to have lived another life hundreds of years ago and they are now back to live on the earth again. It is a strange thing to me that those who claim to have lived a former life always claim to have been a prince, a king, a queen or some important person. I have never heard anyone say, “I lived 2,000 years ago and I was a thief and murderer!”

The question becomes, who can you trust when it comes to the subject of death? We better go to the Lord the get the correct answers.

A. It is the Voice of Accurate Information

When we listen to the Lord we get Accurate Information concerning this subject. God’s Word tells us that it is appointed unto man once to die and after that the judgment. You can be sure that when a person truly dies, he will not come back as a shoe salesman or a frog. You are appointed to die only once!

A business man who had a long ordeal with the IRS died. He left instruction in his will that his body be burned and his ashes sent to the local Internal Revenue Service with a card that was to read, “Now you have it all.”

In truth, even if you could send your ashes to the IRS, they would not have it all. They would simply have the remains of your physical body. You are going on to live either in heaven or hell following this life.

The Lord has left loving words to instruct believers in the joy and truth that death has been defeated for the child of God. He has informed us of the blessings that await those who have trusted Him through repentance of sin and faith in His saving work at Calvary.

B. It is the Voice of Authoritative Inspiration

Note that the Holy Spirit joins in and states, “Yes,” to what God the Father has said. Why does the Spirit speak at this point? Remember, it is the Spirit of God that convicts and convinces us of truth. He inspired those who wrote the words of the Bible. He was used to press home the truth of these words to our hearts. He seals those who are saved. He indwells the child of God in this life. He is the third person of the God-head. He speaks with authority.

C. It is the Voice of Attractive Invitation

One further word is needed about God’s voice enlightening us. Throughout Revelation God has a purpose, and that purpose is to call the lost to salvation and redemption. We will see this very clearly in our last message from Revelation some weeks from now. The Lord reveals the glorious blessing of being saved so that the lost person will be attracted to His Son and can experience salvation. It is not His will that any perish, but that all might come to repentance.

II. The Vitality That Encloses Us For Death Revelation 14:13b

Next I want you to note The Vitality That Encloses Us For Death. The saved have life and vitality which cannot ever be taken from them. Death will never have victory over a child of God.

The Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C., is an imposing structure. It is a black granite wall upon which are craved the names of 58,156 young Americans who died in combat during that conflict. Since 1982, this memorial has stood as a silent, dark reminder of the price of war. The name of one of my friends who served with me in Vietnam in 1965 and 1966 is on that wall.

There are three names appear on that wall which are of great interest: Robert Bedker, Willard Craig, and Darrall Lausch. These three names were carved on the wall by mistake. They are listed as dead, but they are alive. For the child of God, death may carve your name on a tombstone, but you will still be alive and well. How is this possible?

A. We Have Vitality Due to our Position in Christ

We have a position in Christ. Note that the text speaks of those who die in the Lord. We live because He lives! Look at Colossians 3:1-3. You are hidden in Christ. It is not enough to be in a church. It is not enough to be in a religion. In it not enough to have your name in a church membership file. You must be in Christ! When you are in Christ, you are as secure as Christ is secure. You cannot die as long as He lives. Believe me, He is never going to die. It is appointed for men to die once, and Jesus did that. He rose from the dead to never die again. In Revelation 1:18 we read these words from Jesus, “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hell and of Death.” Our vitality in life is the vitality that raised Jesus from the dead!

B. We Have Vitality Due to our Permanence through Christ

Your life then is as permanent as the life Jesus possesses! If He can cease to exist, so can you, but if He lives, you will live! Glory! Everything in this life seems so temporary. Everything wears out, including our bodies, but Jesus provides something that will never grow old. When a person is saved, he or she has placed life in a place where neither rust can corrode nor moth consume.

C. We Have Vitality Due to our Presence with Christ

More than anything else this passages speaks of the presence of Christ with us. Paul said, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain (Philippians 1:21).” He also stated, “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” Whether in life or death, we are the Lord’s. Jesus will never leave you nor forsake you.

Death is not a pleasant thought regardless of how wonderful heaven will be. That is because our bodies were made to live and to desire to live. I heard about a man who had to shoot his dog to put him out of his misery. When he told a friend he had shot his dog, the man asked, “Was the dog mad?”

The owner replied, “I don’t know if he was mad, but he wasn’t to happy about it.”

Be assured of this, when the time comes for you to die, if you know the Lord as your Savior, you will close your eyes here and open them to see Him. He has been with you here, and you will be with Him there. What a Savior!

III. The Victory That Encourages Us Concerning Death Revelation 14:13c

A. This Speaks of Reunion

Note the use of the plural form...They shall rest... . Death takes us to those who have gone on before us. Heaven is called a home, and people in a home know each other.

B. This Speaks of Rest

We shall rest from our labors. The word for “labors” is a very important word. It speaks of being beaten or oppressed. Some of you here today feel trampled upon. If it isn’t temptation and sin attacking you, it is depression and weakness. If it isn’t financial troubles, it is physical pain. If it isn’t sorrow and bereavement, it is loneliness and worry. One glorious day you are going to lay down all your worries. Satan will never tempt you again. You will never fail your Lord again. You will never feel oppressed and harassed again. One day you are going to sit down beside your Jesus and no one will dare accost you there!

Lester Flatt wrote,

“I’m gonna sit down beside my Jesus,

I’m gonna sit down beside my Jesus,

One of these days, hallelujah!

I’m gonna sit down beside my Jesus,

I’m gonna sit down beside my Jesus,

One of these days!”

C. This Speaks of Reward

Lastly, your works will follow you. You will see that all you have done for the Lord has paid off. Your sacrifice and dedication will rebound to the glory of God forever! You will delight to see that His name is glorified because of your feeble effort. You have felt like a failure and often times you were. But God will take your pitiful little lunch and multiply to bless the thousands. He will take your brief testimony spoken with trembling lips and use it the same way He has used the words of the thief on the cross to redeem multitudes. He will take your tithes and offerings, as small as they may seem, and He will show you how He encouraged others with it the same way He has motivated millions to give with the two mites given by a poor widow. He will take the perfume of your love and worship, and waft it over the world the same as He did the alabaster box broken by a poor sinful woman. He will take our stumbling efforts and glorify His name the same way He used the trembling and weak disciples to shake the world. Be assured that your labor is never in vain in the Lord!

Conclusion

Are you ready to die? You can be and you should be. Jesus died to and rose to give you eternal life. But, you must repent of your sin in order to receive this wonderful gift; and, you must confess Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Trust me, when the time comes for you to die, this will be the question that is in the forefront of your mind: What did I do with Jesus. After your death, the question will be: What will Jesus do with me? Receive Him today!

For those of us who have settled the issue through repentance and faith, let's live for Him. No sacrifice will go unrewarded and no commitment will be wasted. What a day that will be, when Jesus we see!