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Christians Grieve Too! (Part 2 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
December 10, 2020 3:00 am

Christians Grieve Too! (Part 2 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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December 10, 2020 3:00 am

After losing a loved one, we can sometimes feel overwhelmed by grief. Paul, however, didn’t want us to be ignorant about certain truths concerning death. What can we know for sure? Find out when you listen to Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.


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The writer of Ecclesiastes says it's good for us to go to the house of mourning, although that's a place none of us would naturally want to go today on Truth for Life.

Alastair Begg reminds us that as Christians when we grieve, we grieve differently because we have hope were in first Thessalonians 4, but we begin today in Luke's gospel chapter 23 and you can study these passages for your homework and at your leisure look 23 and verse 43 you know what I'm going man on the cross addresses Jesus and says remember me when you come into your kingdom and Jesus answered and I tell you the truth today you will be with me in paradise. My kingdoms coming real soon and you're going to be with me there immediately. You find the same thing in the expression of Paul in relationship to death in Philippians and chapter 1 where he says for to me to live is Christ and to die is gain and then he says I don't really know whether I can choose staying alive for dying and going to heaven because I'm torn between the two. I desire to depart notice and be with Christ, which is far better but it is more necessary for you that I remain in this body. How we could say more concerning that. But that probably is enough for just now he wants to address then the ignorance of these people in relationship to this method of falling asleep.

He also wants to provide them with instruction concerning the issue of grief. Paul is not here suggesting that the believer is to be free from grief altogether, but rather that he is to be free from the grief which marks the pagan in the face of death for the unbeliever in death. There is only the dreary wail of despair that is covered up with small talk and finally have far too much plastic and fake flowers and a deep emptiness for the believer. That is the exulting tear stained Psalm of whole there is genuine grief, but it is not the grief of unbelief. It is the grief attached to the nature of loss.

So then there is a distinction which the verse contains between those who are in Christ and those who are the rest. There is instruction which the verse is pointing us to regarding the matter of ignorance over the nature of death itself and concerning the issue of grief for the believer and so thirdly and finally, there is an application which this verse commands calls us to. First of all, it demands that we face the question. Each of us regarding the issue of belief and unbelief and I you may say to yourself, as I said in this building this evening and I in Christ have I responded to the kindness and love of my Savior, have I been brought from death to life, from darkness to light the broad road to the narrow road from the sinking shifting sand of my own ingenuity to the rocksolid basis of Christ and his atoning work that is a question which you as an individual must answer as must I it is not a question that may be answered by your parents who sit around you, nor by your spouse who sits next to you. It is not a question which finds an answer in our religious interest nor finds a solution in our concern for the things of God. We are either dead in our trespasses and in our sins and in our unbelief, or we have been brought from death unto life.

We have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ and like the Philippian jailer. We have been saved. Where do you stand tonight in relationship to the distinction between faith and unbelief. Secondly that we need to apply the distinction as it relates to ignorance and knowledge may be that as a result of our being together in this day that God has spoken into our lives. Concerning the rather fatuous way in which we have been dealing with the Scriptures we have not been daily reading them. We have even in reading them. Perhaps not been studying them and we felt the kindly prompting of the Spirit of God to say how long do you plan on living as a relatively ignorant Christian. And again, our response must be Lord Jesus, help me to become a student of the book to become one who resides in your company.

Help me to know the passion of Paul as he expresses it in Philippians 3 that I might know him the power of his resurrection that I'm answering to the passion of his sufferings that I might know him personally, and progressively and intimately.

There is a distinction in this verse between those who wonder is kind of clueless Christians, always hoping that somebody else will have the answer, and those who are committed to a study of the book where you where my in relationship to that there are many things in life that I, I, quite frankly pay no attention to it because I know that I'm surrounded by people who are paying attention to and so I don't need to know what it is because I can turn here and say what was that, and they'll tell me and what are we doing next and they'll tell me it is wonderful but in the issue of the Bible that will not do I need to know for myself. Note thirdly and finally, in applying it.

What about this matter of realistic grief as opposed to abject hopelessness.

What is grief. We use the word grief with frequency Charlie Brown has popularized it in good grief. There is a sense in which grief is good. I thought of entitling this this evening. Good grief. I thought it was more clever than was helpful and so I let it go. J.

Adam says this is grief. It is a life shaking sorrow over loss, grief, tears life to shreds. It shakes one from top to bottom, it pulls a person loose he comes apart at the seams.

Grief is truly nothing less then a life shattering loss in that designation. It is clear that grief is not only related to death. We may experience something very close to that in the breakup of a personal relationship, we may experience grief in relationship to the parting with loved ones even on the human plane, we may experience that in the loss of a job, and it is important for us to be able to define it and to understand what's going on. The idea of bereavement is another helpful word because bereavement and marriages from the verb to read and it is an uncommon word.

It was common in earlier English but to leave simply means to ravish or to forcibly deprive, or to take captive by force, and that is exactly what happens in the expedience of bereavement because in being believed in the loss of loved ones. We are broken up, we are ravished we are invaded and it is an intensely personal experience of the fact that our loved ones are with the Lord, which is what Paul is pointing to. Here is he's going to go on in verse 14 and following the fact that our loved ones are with the Lord lightens but does not remove the expedience of loss and loneliness. I got our loved ones are with the Lord mitigates our experience, but it does not dispel the hard to face reality that in this experience of loss great joys are now irretrievably gone and were not being particularly Christian to deny that indeed were actually being sub Christian to deny the idea that to walk around saying I don't miss my loved one or I really am compensated for in all these ways has more to do with biodiversity than it has to do with biblical reality.

I believe Paul in chapter 1 of Philippians has got such a view of death that he says he is not sure whether he finds he is dying or staying. That's his view, his personal view of death.

Also, you would save yourself then presumably when any of Paul's friends would die, he would be able to handle that and I snap it would be a breeze to it really wouldn't phase in very much.

After all, he such a solid awareness of what death means for the Christian, absolutely not. And you can see this in chapter 2 in relationship to his buddy up Aphrodite's Philippians chapter 2 verse 25.

This gives is a real insight into the apostles heart concerning death. He says I think is necessary to send back to you up Aphrodite's my brother, fellow worker fellow soldier who is also your messenger whom you sent to take care of my needs beginning get a picture of the intimacy that he feels with up Aphrodite's. He says for he longs for all of you and is distressed because you Herod.

He was ill. He says you're right.

He was ill he almost die. But God had mercy on him and not on him only, but also on me notice the phrase to spare me so.

Upon sorrow, thought of losing up Aphrodite's broke his heart's sure he understood about heaven. If I depart and be with Christ. That's far better if I stay I can do your work, but if apart from schools. I will be overwhelmed by sorrow.

We don't want to take this to an extreme and start celebrating requiem masses on a 24-hour basis and have faces as long as a dreadful looking donkey but it is realistic to recognize in the expedience of loss that is genuine grief and realistic sorrow Jesus at the grave of Lazarus wet John 11 and 35 he wept at the grave of his friend Yuri the commentaries on this as a why Jesus wept.

Goodness gracious to words and common three move that would fill the back of a donkey and all kinds of ideas as to why Jesus went you know when we plummeted the depth of it. The fact of the matter is he wet because he was sad at the loss of Lazarus. The mystery in that encounter is not that he raised Lazarus from the dead. That was easy for Jesus, the mystery, and that is that he so identified with our humanity that he shed genuine tears at the loss of his friend and when Isaiah 600 years before Christ pictures and coming over the horizon of history. He says of him and he is a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.

And although the Bible introduces us to the reality of Christ's victory over death and the grave. It doesn't call his loved ones to some kind of glossy, heartless triumphalism and I am personally unaware of how it is that dear folks in the loss of dear ones. To that I able to tell me. Within moments of it all happen, but it's really not a problem at all that I'm going to tell you is spiritual geography into which I have never entered. I'm not denying the reality of that experience. I'm simply saying I have an entered into that kind of spiritual geography. I haven't been on that latitude in Long Beach loss for me has been grief and the expedience of bereavement is such that every tearful memory actually wants to be replaced by another tearful memory and every sharp pain of loss is succeeded by greater tell me that because you have some great experience of faith.

The pangs of human sorrel mean nothing to you.

Be careful, you may be in a more dangerous predicament than you even understand Sue and I had lovely friends in Scotland marking Margaret Boland.

He was a student with me in London for three years. He had previously graduated from the University of Glasgow. He was a bright fellow capable in many ways and he along with his wife and children went off to serve in Morocco and in 1982 received this letter from an written genetically because of the nature of the event, dear friends, as most of you are aware, Margaret gave birth to our little son Benjamin at 4:45 AM on 25 March just after the successful delivery of a lovely healthy boy. Margaret began to hemorrhage profusely. I was involved in a race for blood to save her life. Being old Reese's negative it was but little at the blood bank. The British Consul Gen. not only notify potential donors, but came to give his own blood at the clinic by 9 o'clock. The surgeon assured me that the bleeding was coming under control and that it would be possible for me to see Margaret at noon just after 11 o'clock, I was awakened how they help market to deliver Benjamin all morning. I hadn't slept. I was awakened to be told by the doctor said Finis. I looked up and he repeated himself to make sure I understood later I found out that though there had been plenty of blood donated. It did not coagulated, and Margaret steadily weakened and so she faded away so the children had to be told alone in the living room with the three of them. I started to tell them the great news of their baby brother, Kirsten said, daddy, why are you sad as I cried. I tried to talk but as I got the word diet out a howl like that of a wolf pack went up from all three with the girl safely stored away with friends. We proceeded to the British section of the symmetry with cannon green gave us the deeply moving burial service from the Anglican prayer book. He came to the section for as much in Schiller goes to ensuring certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life. I looked at cannon green and thought of the funerals I had taken I had so much wanted to give the mourners a hope for the future and the promises of Jesus. Now he was doing the same and I was being filled with the power of that new creation. God had given me bereavement to unveil the power of the gospel in a dynamic way. Alec Mattea writes tears are proper for believers. Indeed, they should be all the more copious for Christians are more sensitively aware of every emotion when out of joy out of sorrow than those who have known nothing of the softening and enlivening grace of God. Tonight we face our own death with triumphant assurance, but don't tell me you face it, without a pang for all that we enjoy in this life, and which will then be lost to us forever.

I followed Sue and I followed Ron and Tina, who had previously been at this site so happened within days of one another and we went to the grave of James Miller down in their homes, County, and as we stood there thought of James. I recall this letter, which I pulled from my files. Just this evening and I read it in relationship to what I just said we face our death with triumphant assurance, but not without a pang for all that we enjoy in this life, and which will then be lost forever. This was written on 18 June and 93 to his wife, my dearest Lynn, only God's love through Jesus Christ to man exceeds by infinity of course the love held between a woman and a man yet in my marriage to you.

I feel I've experienced at least a sign of that highest love from you. You were instrumental in bringing me to faith. You are always there.

As we grew together know now.

Dearest Lynn, that eyes my keeping in the hands of God seems about to take me to eternity in his goodwill you are keeping in the hands of God on this sure can be no less firm know that I will always love you dear Lynn, that all the hosts of heaven, of whom I shall be one will always be looking to comfort you and protect you read the word dearest Lynn, let it speak to you. We shall one day be gathered together around his throne. I do not want you, says Paul to be ignorant concerning those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men who have no hope. Grieving with hope, a comforting message today from Alastair Bragg in our series. My times are in your hands, your listing to Truth for Life.

Alastair will be back in just a minute to close our program with prayer so please keep listening. Well today I want to take just a minute and tell you what a privilege it is for us to come alongside you every day on Truth for Life to help you understand God's word better, especially during the past year.

We trust you have seen evidence of God at work in your life as you glistened to Truth for Life with our program comes to you by way of a remarkable and collective partnership.

Our team is based in Cleveland. Your listing all around the world together, our talents and resources help to fulfill the instruction given by the Lord Jesus to take the gospel to all of creation that God has purposely put us together in this way, and now as we approach the end of the year. Your partnership takes on a particularly essential role in these coming weeks were looking to fund our year-long efforts and to have the resources we need to press him to 20, 21, so would you please reach out to us today to make a generous year-end donation when you do, we'd love to send you upon your request are featured book, which is written by the great 19th century preacher Charles Spurgeon.

It's a compact devotional that includes 365 daily reflections that draw from the promises of God in the Bible. Spurgeon's book is titled checkbook of the bank of faith and it comes from his analogy, the God's promises are like bank checks what God promises he will fulfill when the time is right.

This devotional is beautifully bound with a leather cover and it's the size of a checkbook. It fits easily in a pocket or purse.

If you're looking for a great Christmas gift idea. This is something that can slip into a stocking requester copy of checkbook of the bank of faith.

When you give a donation to Truth for Life today. Simply click on the image on the mobile app or visit us online at

If you'd rather mail your donation with your request for the book like to us the Truth for Life PO Box 39, 8000, Cleveland, OH 44139. Now here's Alastair to close with prayer. Our God and our father, we thank you for the clarity of your word and we pray that all and anything that is introducing notes of confusion to our mind may be lost sight of in the centrality of the truth which is here emphasized. I pray Lord for those who tonight hold between two opinions who vacillate between faith and unbelief, whose hearts are stirred and yet remain defiant before your grace, soften their hearts draw them to. I humbly pray for those of us who are living in ignorance which is harming us to desire to resolve with your enabling to make progress now and the things of God, grant that this day may be a genuine step four in our Christian pilgrim and then Lord, and the method of beauty teach us what it means to agree, and yet not like the rest of men who have no we do pray that the words of our mouse and the meditation of our hearts this day may be found acceptable in your sight oh Lord our strength and our Redeemer on Bob Lapine. Hope you can join us again tomorrow as Alastair deals with the biblical truths that stem from the foundational principle that our times are in God's the Bible teaching of Alastair Bragg is furnished by Truth for Life with Learning is for Living

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