Death and Evangelism

This weekend our Executive Pastor, Bobby Herrington brought the message from the end of 1 Thessalonians chapter 4. The sermon basically pushed Christians to view death as a Christian should…in light of the resurrection. Death is not victorious, Jesus is. And in the resurrection of Christ we have a hope to know the sufferings in this life are nothing compared to the glory that is to come.

In the midst of the sermon, Bobby briefly addressed a couple false views that our culture holds about death. Some people wrongly view death as just part of life. Bobby called this view the “The Circle of Life” view. He then described it this way, “It’s just like the Lion King, ‘death is part of the circle of life.’ News flash; there is no circle of life; death smashes the circle of life. Life is a straight line, you are born and then you die.” Secondly, others dismiss death altogether by saying that this life is all there is. Bobby described this view by saying, “If this life is all there is, lets live for today; let’s go out and drink and party and do whatever we want, because tomorrow we are going to die. Paul actually says this in 1 Corinthians 15:32: “If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”

Obviously there are probably another 100 views that non-Christian people could hold about death. I just want to make a quick point for us concerning these views and evangelism. Here is the punch-line, we will never give the “right” answer if we don’t understand the specific wrong belief a person holds. If there are 100 views that non-Christian people hold about death, then it stands to reason that one simple answer doesn’t address them all.

Now let me get one thing clear, the Gospel is always the answer and I understand that! But, certain aspects of the Gospel and Biblical truth should be highlighted in order to address the specific wrong beliefs a non-Christian holds. For example, if someone’s view of death is “the Circle of Life” than it would be very important to make sure they understand the devastating impact that sin had and has on the world. On the other hand, if someone dismissed an afterlife altogether than uncovering sin’s impact for them may be less important (at that moment) than taking them to Biblical truth concerning the reality of heaven and hell.

In “He is There and He is Not Silent”, Francis Schaeffer says that men graduating from seminary know all the right answers, “but my observation is that most men…do not know the questions”. I agree. It is important that we answer the questions people are asking. Often it is important that we take the time to understand exactly what people think before we give them the Biblical alternative.

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