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On Death and Dying (Part 2 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
December 8, 2020 3:00 am

On Death and Dying (Part 2 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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December 8, 2020 3:00 am

We’re called to honor God with our bodies because they’re the Holy Spirit’s temple. But what does the Bible say about how we should treat bodies after death? Listen to Truth For Life as Alistair Begg takes a challenging look at burial and cremation.


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As believers we know that our body is our temple. They are God's dwelling place because of that we ought to treat our bodies with care with better view of life.

How should we care for our bodies in death today on Truth for Life Alastair big explores the delicate subjects of burial and cremation message titled on death and dying were in Ecclesiastes chapter 12 we have within the Scriptures. These clear wonderful encouraging guiding statements concerning the nature of death for the Christian, and we could run through almost for example out of you. Just three for the Christian death's sting is drawn. The sting of death is drawn that's first Corinthians 1556 if you want to look it up later. Paul says the sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God he gives is the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Secondly, the Bible makes it clear that we are asleep in death through Jesus.

Now interestingly, when the Bible uses the picture of sleep as best as I've been able to look for and never use asleep in relationship to our souls.

A users sleep in relationship to our bodies talked about our bodies sleeping not about our souls sleeping and it gives to as the reality of this notion of having fallen asleep in Jesus. Again, that's that that's in Pauline terminology and that the conjunction is through Jesus falling asleep through Jesus. As a result of Jesus. In other words, just in the same way as a child inevitably hears their mom or their dad say that time we will hear Jesus say the same dogs that time and we may say to Jesus what children say to their dads or their mom's will you stay with me while I fall asleep and Jesus says yes I will better than that. I will be with you in that sleep and Manson says man cannot be completely happy till the body be raised again the soul alone dog not constitute human nature, or that being which may be called man, the body.essentially concur to the Constitution of man as well as the soul. Therefore, the soul, though it be a spirit and can live apart, yet it was not made to live apart forever, but to live in the body and soul remain at a window as it where ~body be raised up and united to it is without its mate and companion so that it remaining remaining destitute or half itself, which, though it may be born for a while yet not forever, then he is on the right. From there. This is important to come to the question of what were doing with the body in the process of death, and that's why I read it. What he is saying there is that humanity man queen man in his Constitution is not complete. Simply as a soul, but body and soul unite to make the human Constitution and the absence of the soul from the body does not therefore render the body obsolete insignificant as if you were throwing out on old water bottle to be discarded because you renew that you were going to get a better water bottle on some later occasion death thing is drawn we are asleep through Jesus and present with the Lord present with the Lord again Pauline so masterful in these things. Two Corinthians 5 in verse eight he says we are confident nice and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the law so when someone dies in Christ in their disembodied spirit.

They are in the presence of the Lord in the full enjoyment of the Lord and when the Lord in glory comes that individual in their body will be presented faultless without spot and without blemish.

And I can't find anywhere in the Bible that suggests that when we get a new body where getting a different body, i.e., I may want to be 6 foot three and look like a Norwegian sailor, but I clearly don't and in heaven. I won't because if I did.

My wife to my will not be married in heaven would not recognize me if she met me on the beach so somehow or another in the reconstitution of our physical frame.

There will be that which is both identifiable and different. The hint of which is given in the resurrected body of Jesus, which was in the one hand, immediately recognizable, and yet at other times, unrecognizable which are capacities that were not present. Apparently prior to the resurrection. While we don't have time to deal with cremation motor stop let's say a word. Then about dealing with with death itself in terms of the process of death and dying and what plans we may make for it in decisions that we may choose to make to be sensible and guarded and and in my use of language here, but I also want to be fairly straightforward and clear when you're when a loved one dies. It is as some of you will of experience phenomenally sad. It may be dreadfully ugly in the whole event is so clearly an enemy an enemy. I lost count of the times that I've been in the home of a widow for that horrible moment when the undertakers arrive to remove the body and it is virtually impossible to talk over the event and given their best attempts to manipulate this human frame down the stairs in that dreadful ugly bag. There is not one redeeming feature to and in all of the processes that follow from it.

We say something about our convictions and about our ideals and about our Christian perspective. In one sense and it needs to be said very quickly and right at the beginning.

In one sense is accurate to say that the manner of the disposal of our bodies after death is actually not a matter of vital importance in the sense that God will reconstitute the human frame whether that was lost at sea and the Titanic or was burned in a dreadful Chicago fire in Moody's day or was resurrected from a graveyard on the east side of Cleveland. There won't be any difference between those who were buried in graves or those who were drowned or those who were destroyed by fire. God will take care of all of that. So in that sentence we are not to be particularly preoccupied with the question, but given that in the vast majority of cases, either we or someone who loves us will be called upon to make decisions regarding this process. It is of significance to think it out, and the fundamental question in relationship to cremation is whether net is not whether God can put our level and back together again were not. That's not a matter of debate. The question is not whether God can do that. The question is really whether we should put God in the position to have to do that by destroying our loved ones bodies in a furnace that is heated to 1700F.

In looking for substantiation for cremation in the Bible. I've only discovered that the proponents of cremation argue from two Old Testament events, one concerning the death of Aiken and Joshua seven which you can look at on your own and the other concerning Saul in first Samuel 31 and what is interesting to me is that these passages of Scripture are used to say essentially see there was cremation and therefore it's okay to have cremation but an actual fight when you look at the passages we really argue for the reverse. When you read the events. There is nothing reverent about what takes place. There is nothing desirable about what takes place. But what actually takes place in the disposing of these bodies speaks actually a kind of judgment and approach to things that was not part and parcel of the way the Hebrews dealt with death or really have dealt with death. Throughout the ages. When you try and find historical substantiation for where we are you along with me will discover that cremation was virtually unknown in early America virtually unknown in early America, the airily proponents of cremation as far as I could find came out of Unitarianism liberalism. They were skeptics they were freethinkers they were utilitarian they were pragmatists and in the vast majority of cases they saw cremation as an opportunity to shake their fists in the face of God and in the face of the doctrine of the resurrection of the body so that cremation was not simply a utilitarian response to how do we dispose of this body as much as it was an expression of a philosophical or idealistic view. Given that there is validity to somebody seeking to wed their philosophy of life with their perspective on death and then falls to the Christian to say how do I bring everything that I know of the doctrine of man in creation and in preservation and in all of the beauty and the nuances of God's creative order and making my children in this way are making my loved one. In this way, how how then do I deal with their demise in relationship to that, far bigger picture. Burial fits the biblical picture of being sewn in dishonor and raised in glory. That's why Paul employs burial fits the biblical picture that Jesus used on number of occasions and the apostles followed him, to which we've already repaired of sleep and burial.

Shows respect for the physical frame.

I understand that people can say well is only a matter of timing and relationship to these things, but actually it's not just a matter of time. Again, I don't want to be so graphic as to keep children up at night but in my experience as a young minister in Scotland. Nothing showed me more than funerals that I conducted at the worst and crematorium, and this is how it went. When it came time for me to say the words of committal, forasmuch as it has pleased Almighty God, to receive unto himself the sole of our dear brother here departed. We therefore commit his body to the ground, which we don't. Ashes to ashes and dust to dust in the sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ, who will change our earthly bodies that they may be like unto his glorious body, according to the mighty working whereby he is able to subdue all things, even death unto himself while I was saying that I had to press a button which was right here on the side of my poop and when I press the button the coffin which was beside me here on my left moved through the velvet curtains and if I did not get through the words of committal fast enough to get the organ playing quick enough that it was impossible for everyone sitting in the room not to hear furnace kicking in the same medication in the basement of your house and adjust one room, so you had to get the organ going as fast as you could, and then make sure you don't let any of the members of the family as they drive away and the funeral procession drawn let them look back because the smoke they see coming out of that crematorium chimney has been produced by the burning of the body of their mom, dad, brother or their sister. Now, you could tell that I am a great fan of cremation from this. The Old Testament saints. It's constant.

Abram wanted a nice place to bury Sarah Rachel was. Joseph was concerned that his bones would be put in the coffin and carried up the Old Testament saints did was to show tender care for their dad and as a result of that, he established a pattern which made an impression and established a kind of unbroken communion of the saints leading all the way through into early Christianity and fundamental to it is the fight that Christianity redeems the body as well as the soul and Christianity consecrate's the body as the temple of the Holy Spirit. You're not your own.

You were bought with a price. Therefore honor God with your body receive that's only when you're alive why only when your life. You see, Christianity should honor the body and death because it is still the body it still God's creative handiwork. He put the eyes and there he put the nose and there he fashioned this body and yes the soul in his disembodied state is now present with the Lord Jesus Christ. But it hasn't rendered my dad irrelevant, and if I'm going to keep my dad's Bible on my shelf. If I'm going to keep a number of his ties to where, because of my love and affection for him and because of the Association that these things out with him. Why would I treat his body.

That way if I wouldn't read his Bible.

He visited Rome many of in the catacombs are of vibrant testimony to the early Christians believe in the resurrection of the body. Julian the apostate said that there were three things that he had identified that could explain the rapid fire course of Christianity spreading through the, the Roman Empire and he said there were these number one benevolence number two honesty number three, the Christians care for the day.

Number one benevolence number two honesty number three there care for the dead. I see one final thing in the Bible. Fire is a type or symbol almost exclusively of destruction isn't is a symbol of judgment of a judgment that is complete and without remedy my personal perspective. And of course it would come out and it is only personal, is that burial is a more fitting end to the life of a Christian cremation.

I think is best sub Christian. I don't think it's unchristian. I think it sub Christian and I haven't dealt with Hinduism and Buddhism and Zoroastrianism and every other-ism that in the way they deal with death say something about her conviction concerning the sanctity of life. But here's the final thing this piece of the possible is not a main thing is clearly not a plain thing your sensible people and you must figure it out for yourselves been listening to Truth for Life Alastair Briggs in a series called my times are in your hands Alastair will be back in just a minute to close with prayer so please keep listening. We all need to be reminded of God's promises in both good times and bad times they give us a reason to be thankful when all is well and they offer hope during life's challenges. Today we want to recommend to you a wonderful year-long devotional that will deepen your trust in the promises of God. It's titled checkbook of the bank of faith threatened by the great 19th century preacher Charles Spurgeon.

The title comes from Spurgeon's comparison of God's promises to bank checks there given in the present as a guarantee of fulfillment in the future, whether 2021 becomes a season of blessing or a time of difficulty. This book, the checkbook of the bank of faith will encourage you to find your hope and rest in the promises of God.

Let me mention you love the size of this devotional it's formatted to be the size of a checkbook.

It's then it fits easily in your pocket and it's bound in a rich leather cover. You can request your copy when you give today a Truth for Life. Simply tap the book image you see on the truth like mobile app or visit Truth for or you can call us at 888-588-7884 and if you'd rather mail your donation along with your request for the book right to Truth for Life at PO Box 39, 8000, Cleveland, OH 44139. If you have been benefiting from this series about God's providence in the midst of times of affliction. You can dive deeper into the subject using the brand-new. My times are in your hands study guide. This guide leads you through each of the 12 messages Alastair teachers in this series and it provides you with questions that are perfect for group discussion or personal reflection. You can purchase the guides individually or bundled together along with the companion audio series on a USB drive to find out more go to Truth for Let me also mention we have added an ESV Bible to our store. This is a softcover addition that makes it easy to introduce others to the Scriptures. It's only two dollars. We had many requests for a Bible that can be purchased in multiple qualities to give to friends or community groups. This version is great for those who are just getting started in their study of God's word. It makes a perfect gift.

At this time of year. You'll find this Bible now hears Alastair to close with prayer father one day we will all die and we think about it in relationship to a will and to what we leave behind in the way we approach death and we want to find a Christian way to tackle this way that we don't want to get sucked into spending vast sums of money for no good reason. So help us to think these things out. I pray that no one will be harmed by these comments, especially those who had loved ones cremated. We know that your sovereign over all of that we don't second-guess any of it. Some of already made plans and there will another thinking they don't have the pay the lawyer another fee to fix it, but that can be done to the end of the day. Lord we have only one master Jesus where the Bible is clear and plain we can move forward unashamedly and unequivocally, and where we have to ferret around as I've done this evening and then we know that we can be definitive and categorical in a way that would strictures and structures on others.

So help us to work out our own salvation. In this respect with fear and trembling. Thank you that Jesus is alive. Thank you that every Sunday reminds us of the resurrection, and indeed that every day for the Christian's resurrection day. So when we wake up tomorrow morning and we see the sunrise reminders again of that glorious day when Jess is on resurrection Sunday morning Jesus emerged from the tomb so the trumpet will sound, and the dead in Christ will rise for we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them so we will meet the Lord in the air and we will be forever with the Lord. Thank you that we have been born again to a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and it's in his name we pray. Amen about the pain. Hope you can join us back tomorrow. As Alastair discusses the topic of bereavement message called Christians grieve Bible teaching of Alastair big is furnished by truth or lying where the Learning is for Living

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