3 REASONS FOR THE JOY OVER THOSE WHO DIE IN CHRIST, Culled From Dipo Toby Alakija Illustrative Sermon Book Titled The Map Of Eternal Destinations.
A woman gave a touching testimony about her late mother who was a member of my Church during the Christian wake-keep programme. She said, “If there is no other person I know as a genuine Christian, I know my mother is genuine. When I think of the pains she went through in her marriage with my father and still maintained her stand as a Christian, I cannot help but to think of her as the strongest Christian I know. When I was young, my father so maltreated her that I told her to divorce him but she said she could not. I could not understand why she has to stake her health and even life in the matrimonial home until I became older. To me then, she was too gentle, too loving and too hopeful to a fault when she told us that this was a cross she was willing to carry for the sake of Jesus Christ and for our sake. Because most of us are females, we have no reason to complain about our husbands, having witnessed the pains she went through in her marriage. As God would have it, my father died fifteen years before she died. I believe she enjoyed the fifteen years she lived after the death of my father. We – the females among her children and our husbands were taking turns to host her in our homes. She was a good Christian because she carried her cross to the end. She was very good wife because she loved and respected my father in spite of the way he maltreated her since they were married. She was a very good mother because she gave us good legacy even though it cost her much pains….” Suddenly she burst into hysterical sobs as she concluded, “I wish we can keep her forever… But she is gone to be Jesus Christ in heaven….”
Most of us at the programme were touched by the testimony. Because I could confirm few things about the late mother, I changed the sermon to something like the message below so as to bring relief to the sorrowful family members, especially the children.
The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 4:13, “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.”
The three reasons for the joy over those who died in Christ are as follow:
1. Christians Only Sleep, They Do Not Die: The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 15:51-55, “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on in-corruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on in-corruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” Deaths of those who do not die in Christ are found in Revelation 21:8, which says, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
2. Christians Who Sleep In The Lord Free From Pains And Sorrows In This World: The Bible says in Revelation 21:4, “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things are passed away.”
3. Christians Will Reign With Jesus Christ: The Bible says in 2 Timothy 2:11-12, “It is a faithful saying: For if we died with him, we shall also live with him. If we endure, we shall also reign with him. If we deny him, he also will deny us.”
I pray that as many as have read this message will receive Jesus Christ in their lives before it is too late in Jesus’ name.