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Is Death the Final Word?
Job 14:14
Skip Heitzig

Job 14 (NKJV™)
14 If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait, Till my change comes.

New King James Version®, Copyright © 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Job Meets Jesus

"A grave, wherever found, reaches a short and pithy sermon to the soul." These words, penned by Nathaniel Hawthorne, are right! Cemeteries remind us of our future on this earth - the only real estate we’ll hold onto for awhile! Job was keenly aware of his own mortality but unsure about his immortality. How can mortal man penetrate beyond the grave and find assurance and peace for his own heart? He can’t without Christ!

Job suffered multiple losses—his riches, his health, his family, and his reputation. When his friends accused him of sin, Job asked, "How can a man be righteous before God?" (Job 9:2) and lamented that there was no mediator between God and man. When Jesus came to earth, that Mediator—the solution for man's unrighteousness—was revealed. In this series, Skip Heitzig encourages us to trust God's purpose in the midst of suffering and presents the hope voiced by Job: "I know that my Redeemer lives" (Job 19:25).

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Outline

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I. Job’s Present Condition (vv. 1-14)




II. God’s Original Intention (v. 5)




III. Jesus’ Ultimate Solution (John 11:23-26)






Some “Grave” Questions for Home Fellowships:

1. Zophar and his two friends felt the need to “fix” Job. Was this a good time to do it? How would you have responded to them?



2. Why does the Bible call death the “last enemy? (1 Corinthians 15:26). Why is it an enemy?



3. How do you think an eternal perspective could help you with your temporary and practical daily activities?


Detailed Notes

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The answers to Job's questions are found in Christ.

Man has a fascination with leaving earth, with taking an incredible journey. If you could travel 1000 miles for 1 cent you could go around the world for a quarter. For $2.38 you could go to the moon, for $930 you could go to the sun, but it would cost $260,000,000 to go to the nearest star, Alpha Centauri. It is a vast universe.

Man is fascinated with death. Thanatology is the study of death named after the God of death, Thanatos. One seeking this degree studies grieving, stages of grief, rituals associated with death, attitudes toward death. Is there consciousness or life after death?

  1. Job’s Present Condition (vv. 1-14)

Life can be disappointing and filled with disillusionment.
Job faced man's greatest fears: the loss of health, status, property, children and his relationship with his wife. His friend mourned with him one week, but then moved to a philosophical viewpoint. Jobs words come from his lowest moment of life. He is venting and highly emotional. Unlike Job's friends we must be unshockable friends ready for gut-wrenching honesty of suffering and respond tenderly in gentleness.

If there is no hereafter nothing matters, if there is a hereafter nothing else matters. (nihilism - nothing matters)

Vs1. Job is viewing life thru the lens of pain. Life is way too short and filled with pain. He sees the brevity of life and the finality of death. Suffering people feels they are fading away, withering as life goes on. Life is short and death is sure.

Vs.2-17 Life isn't fair.

Vs. 7 Human life is vulnerable.

Vs 13, 14 If a man dies, shall he live again? Hopes, but he never get's an answer.

Socrates drank hemlock and his gathered friends asked, "Will we live again?", his response, "I hope so, but no man can ever know." Man is ignorant regarding death: "wait and find out," "cant' be sure," Job and Socrates reveal the widespread ignorance about death, which can be benign or profound. Ignorance about death creates an uncertainty about life and hopelessness about the future. 1 Thessalonians 4:13, God doesn't want us to be ignorant and sorrow like those who have no hope.

  1. God’s Original Intention (v. 5)

This is not what God originally had in mind.

Everyone has limits set and controlled by God. Something drastic happened to cause death. God intended man to live forever, but that plan was marred by sin. 146,000 people die each day, 100 per minute. Genesis 2:7, we were fashioned to be living beings. Sin caused the immediate spiritual separation of man from the Creator, and the eventual separation of the spirit from the body. Romans 5:12, Adams sin brought death, and death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. Death, die, died and dying appear in the Bible 926 times. It is the present reality.

  1. Jesus’ Ultimate Solution (John 11:23-26)


Only Jesus offers hope to life's most perplexing problems.
At the funeral of Lazarus. Jesus was very close to Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Jesus deliberately waited until Lazarus was dead to go to him. Martha blamed Jesus; she believed he was too late. God is never late. 2 Peter 3:9. Martha made the mistake of interpreting His love through her circumstance. We must interpret our circumstance through Jesus love.

Several things seem out of place.

  1. Tears, Jesus Wept. Isaiah 63:9. Jesus reveals the heart of God toward those who suffer.

  2. Anger. Jesus was emotionally agitated, angry. He was angry at death, knew it was wrong and viewed it as an intruder. Romans 6:23.

  3. Walks up to the grave. Jesus could have healed at a distance, he conquers death by resurrection. He offers a preview of our future.

For a believer death is not the final word. If you believe in Jesus it shows. You will not walk in ignorance, but in eagerness. Death for a believer is like taking a nap and is referred to as sleep in the Bible.

Cross References: 1 Thessalonians 4:13, Genesis 2:7, 16, Romans 5:12, 2 Peter 3:9, Romans, 6:23, 2 Corinthians 5:6, 1 Corinthians 15:26, Isaiah 63:9

Figures Referenced: Malcolm Muggeridge, Billy Graham, Timothy Leary, Erwin Lutzer

Hebrew terms:

Publications Referenced: One Minute After You Die, The Matrix

Transcript

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Let's open those Bibles that you brought to Job chapter 14 and John chapter 11. It's a very unique way of studying, in this series, I've never done anything like this, where you look at one section and then compare it with another section but that's what we do because that's the theme of this series: Job comes up with the issue, the question, the problem; Jesus will answer Job and we'll find he does that today. So, Job 14 and John chapter 11. Let's pray together, shall we?
Father, we always feel it necessary before we really get into out study of your word that we talk to you, that we pray, that we get our hearts right before you, settled before you. And so Father we simply give you the permission to do any kind of work that needs to be done in our hearts regarding this issue and these scriptures. We pray Father that we would become humble servants of yours, we'd become true comforters for those who suffer around us. And we pray for those who don't know you, who could be here this morning, that today would be the day where they would surrender wholeheartedly to the one who wants to give everlasting life. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
Somebody once estimated that if it costs you one cent to travel a thousand miles that you could go around the whole world for a quarter. You could then go to the moon for $2.38, you could make it to the sun for $930.00 but for you to get to the nearest neighboring star Alpha Centauri would cost you upwards of $260 million. The point of that author was to show how vast the universe was but that fascination of leaving earth and traveling to some distant place, that's a fascination that people have had for a long time. If you're into Star Wars or Star Trek and I usually find that people are on "one side or the other," it's that whole same idea: Wouldn't it be great to take an incredible journey and leave Earth and see outer space.
Well, the Bible promises that we're all going to take the most incredible journey. Death will launch us into eternity. The question is, "What's there?" That's what Job asks. Job is facing his own mortality, he's questioning immortality and he's dealing with some deep issues in chapter 14. The big issue is what happens when I die? Is death all there is? Is death fhe final word? Will there be consciousness, will there be life after death? Now people have been equally fascinated with death, from ancient times to modern times. But there has been a resurgence of this death fascination in more recent times. There's a whole study developed called phanatology, in fact you can now degree from certain institutions, a post-graduate degree in phanatology. Phanatology is the study of death, named after the Greek god Phanatos, the god of death. And phantology courses would teach you about grieving, how to work through the stages of grief. They would teach you about rituals that people engage in upon the death of a loved one, they would teach you the attitudes of different people around the world and different psychological makeups as people face death. And you could get a degree in phanatology. But that fascination, though it is in the academic world, is part of everybody's life. We all know we're going to die. Everybody grows up and looks around and sees enough people around them dying that they realize, "That's going to be me one day." But it's one thing to know that, it's another thing to think about that and dwell on that. But think for just a moment: There's a piece of real estate waiting for you six feet underground somewhere on this earth. You'll be there one day and you'll be there for a long time, at least awaiting the resurrection.
Malcolm Mugridge used to say, "I have one foot in heaven and one foot on earth and the one that's on earth is on a banana peel. I could slip at any moment." Well now Malcolm Mugridge is in heaven, the banana peel has slipped. But Job asks the question: "What happens when I die?"
Here's Job's situation: He's lost it all. You know the story, we've spent weeks in it. He lost his health, he lost his status, he lost his property, he lost his children, he lost his relationship with his life. The greatest fears that people have, Job has lived. He has a few friends that come and they offer support for a week. After the week is over, their grieving is over, they are now in philosopher mode, accusatory mode. And so the book covers basically the conversations between Job and these three friends. In chapter 11, the second of Job's three friends named Zophar the Naamathite throws his two cents worth and tells why Job is suffering so that Job chapter 12, 13 and 14 is job's responses to Zophar the Naamathite. And that's what we're going to hear from, we're going to hear from Job responding back to his friends who's accused him. Now let me warn you, what you're about to read from Job and his lips are Job at the lowest moment of his life. Job is venting, he's highly emotional, he's speaking what he feels at the moment. And let me just warn you that if you are around people like that in real life, to become an unshockable friend, to get ready for that, to get ready for that gut-wrenching honesty that comes out of suffering people. None of the responses like, "Aggh, I can't believe you would say such a thing." Well they just said it, so deal with it. And deal with it tenderly and gently. Job's friends did not do that.
There's three principles that we want to look at today. Three points and each point has a principle attached. We want to look at Job's present condition and the question that come out of that. We want to then notice God's original intention, we'll discover that's what God had in mind from the beginning and finally Jesus' ultimate solution.
Let me just, before we get into the text, kind of sum up a point I want to make in all of this: If there is no hereafter, then nothing really matters. That's really the logical conclusion: If death ends it all and there's no consciousness after death and there's no life after death, if there is no hereafter, nothing really matters. You might as well become a nihilist, that's the core belief of nihilism, nothing really matters, there's no greater purpose in life, nothing matters. Do whatever you want, believe whatever you want, have fun because this is all there is. Bu if there is a hereafter, then nothing else matters. Nothing else matters as much as that.
Now let's begin in chapter 14, not with the question but let's go back to the very beginning and look at Job's present condition. Look at just the first verse. Job says, "Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble." Wow, that's melancholy. Here's Job viewing life through this narrow lens of suffering. He looks around and he says, "You know what, life is way too short and packed full of pain." That's how he sees it. He bewails the brevity of life and the finality of death. Life is short.
Billy Graham was speaking at a university several years ago. He gave a speech to student body and then he opened it up for questions and answer. And one student said, "Dr. Graham, what is the one thing in life that has surprised you the most?" Billy Graham immediately turned to him and said, "Its brevity." Life is short. Now we all discover that as we grow older, it seems as though life accelerates its pace. Right? It's not true, it just seems that way. It's just all a matter of perspective. You see when you're two years old and your parents say, "Well we'll wait til next year," goodness you might as well tell the child you're going to wait for eternity to happen, because a year is half of that child's life at age two. But when you're seventy years old, a year is a fraction of time. A split second, a seventieth of a lifetime. But when a person is suffering, everything is changed. And this becomes more profound because a suffering person feels as though they are fading away, they discover that they're withering, weakening, others are growing stronger around them, life goes on around them, the activities continue but they're acutely aware that they're not a part of them. And this is often how they feel, life is short, and death is sure and it's a struggle. So that's a principle that we discover, that life can be very disappointing and filled with disillusionment. It doesn't have to be but it can be and Job sees it that way.
Verse 2, "He comes forth like a flower and fades away, he flees like a shadow and does not continue. And do you open your eyes on such a one and bring me to judgment with yourself? Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? No one. Since his days are determined, the number of his months is with you. You have appointed his limits so that he cannot pass. Look away from him that he may rest until like a hired man he finishes the day. For there is hope for a tree, if it is cut down that it will sprout again and that its tender shoots will not cease, though its root may grow old in the earth and its stump may die in the ground, yet at the scent of water it will bud and bring forth branches like a plant. But a man dies and is laid away. Indeed he breathes his last and where is he? As water disappears from the sea and as a river becomes parched and dries up so man lies down and does not rise. Until the heavens are no more, they will not awake or be roused from their sleep." I don't know if you caught the comparison, in verse 7 especially. I think what Job is saying, "You know life isn't really fair, because a tree, you can cut a tree down, it'll grow back up. You can cut it all the way down to its stump and just give it some time and little bit of water and a little shoot will come up. Isn't that amazing, you can get a lizard and cut its tail off and in three months it'll grow back. You can take an earthworm and cut it in half and the saddle part, the part with the head and the vital organs will bury itself in the ground and grow that other half back. Not so with the human. You can't cut a person's head off and have that person grow another one. So he looks around at nature and says, "Boy, are we a vulnerable species. And once it's over for us, it is all over."
But there's a little bit of hope in his question. Look at the next two verses and that's what we'll camp on. "Oh that you would hide me in the grave and you would conceal me until your wrath is past and that you would appoint me a set time and remember me. (And here's the question.) If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my heart service I will wait until my change comes." You hear the hope in his voice, Job hopes that there's life after death. He hopes that death is not the final word but he asks the questions: If a man dies, will he live again? He never gets an answer. The question is posed but there seems to be no solution. In the rest of the chapter he lapses downward again into despair.
Four hundred years before Christ, Socrates asked a question that wounds very similar to what we just read Job asked. You may remember that Socrates drank the poison hemlock and laid down to die. And as he was laying on his couch to die, his friends were gathered around him and they looked at the aged philosopher and said, "Will we live again?" Here's the best Socrates could come up with: "I hope so. But no man can ever know." I hope so but no man can ever know. And here's Job going, "if a man dies, will he live again?" Both Socrates and Job reveal the widespread ignorance that most people have about death. They just don't know, they'd love to know, they'd love to have a certain kind of certainty. But well we don't know, we just have to wait and find out. Nobody's pierced through the veil and come back to tall. We just can't be sure. And I find lots of ignorance regarding death by many people. Sometimes it's a benign ignorance, sometimes it's more profound. I heard about a man who was reading the obituaries on day and he said, "I don't understand how people always seem to die in alphabetical order." Well that's a benign kind of an ignorance. But Job's is much more profound than that. Job's was much much deeper than that. And let me tell you why this is important: Ignorance ab out death will create an uncertainty about life. And a hopelessness about the future. If you don't know what's going to happen after you die and if you're not ready for that, you will live in a very precarious and uncertain manner. And when death comes in the future, it makes a person very hopeless. Do you remember that little phrase tucked away in I Thessalonians as Paul wrote that letter to the church who had lost loved ones to death? And Paul writes and he goes, "I don't want you to be ignorant brethren concerning those who have fallen asleep (a euphemism for death) lest you sorrow like others who have no hope." Hey, it's okay to grieve, it's okay to sorrow but I want you to know the truth so that you don't end up hopeless, grieving like those who have no hope. So ignorance about death produces uncertainty about life and hopelessness for the future.
Here's a good example: In the 1960s was a guru by the name of Timothy Leary, an LSD drug guru. He was a philosopher and he became every young person's cool guru. Well, Timothy Leary was a guy who would often joke about death. And even when he was facing his own death, he would crack jokes and make light of it. But one of his closest friends wrote this: "Even though he jokes about death, he is as afraid of dying as any of us, maybe moreso because he really doesn't believe there's anything that comes after this. Ignorance about death produced uncertainty about life and hopelessness for the future. That's Job's condition, that's Job's present condition. There's Job suffering after losing everything and then his buddies heaping guilt on him. And he goes, "If a man dies, will he live again?"
Let me take you to the second point here. And we're going to go back to verse 5 in just a moment. But we want to consider now God's original intention. You see Job realizes that my life, your life, our lives, are set by God. There are certain boundaries and parameters that we can't get out of. Verse 5, "Since his days are determined, the numbers of his months is with you, you have appointed his limits so that he cannot pass." Everybody born has limits, everybody born is going to face the border of death where they no longer live physically, they die. And that is a limitation that is set and controlled only by God. But here's what you need to know: Something happened to cause this. This was not God's original intention. God did not intend death for his creation, he originally intended life for his creation, he originally intend that we were to live forever. But that was marred by sin. Something drastically happened.
There was father who was at the beach with his children and his four-year-old boy discovered a dead seagull on the beach and brought his dad and showed his dad, "Dad, what happened?" And the dad, the best he could come up with was, "Well I guess the seagull died and went to heaven." Well the little boy was pretty logical and he said, "Well why did God throw him back?" "Something drastically happened to God's plan with this seagull," that's what the little boy thought. Job is suffering and he realizes, "Something drastic has happened. This is not God's original design, the limits are now set." Here is God' original plan from the beginning. It's in Genesis chapter 2, it says, "God fashioned man (chapter 2 verse 7 of Genesis) God fashioned man out of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. And God created man to be a living being," the Bible says. "A living being." To live and to live and to live. But same chapter, God set certain behavioral boundaries. And he said to man, "Of the trees of the Garden you may freely eat but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat. For in the day that you eat thereof, you shall surely die." "Have at it, Adam. Go for it. Have a great time. Eat anything, go anywhere. Have a blast. There's just one thing you can't do, don't touch that tree, don't go near it, don't eat it. If you do you will bring consequences, you will die in that die." And on that day because man did it, there was an immediate separation between man and his Creator, spiritually and there would be eventually a physical separation of the spirit from the body at physical death. Now when Adam sinned and there was that death that came on Adam, you might say that Adam acted as the federal head for all of humanity ever since, a constitutional change in our makeup so that Adam's act brought death not just to Adam but to everyone. Everyone, that's what Paul says, Romans chapter 5, "When Adam sinned, sin entered the entire human race, Adam's sin brought death, so death spread to everyone for everyone sinned." So God's intention originally was eternal life but now death is the daily reality. In the last 24 hours, 146,000 people have died on earth. In the next 24 hours, another 146,000 people will die on earth, 100 every minute. Every minute. It's all around us, it's everywhere, it's pervasive. People are dying everywhere. People are dying who've never died before (laughter).
Like George Bernard Shaw used to say, "The statistics on death are quite impressive. Every one out of one dies." It's gotten everybody so far with a few exceptions like Enoch or Elijah, those who have been translated into heaven, but it is appointed to every man once to die and after this the judgment. I looked it up in scripture, the word death, die, died and dying appear 926 times. You get my point. Humanity including biblical history is stained with death. It was not God's original intention but it is now the present reality because sin marred the plan.
Okay, so what's the solution. "If a man dies, will he live again?" Death is the reality. What's the solution? John chapter 11 is the solution, it's found in the Lord Jesus Christ. A very familiar story. In verse 21 of John 11, Jesus is at the funeral of his friend named Lazarus who has died. He gets there, verse 1, "Now Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if you'da been here my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you. Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." Martha said to him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." Jesus said to here, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believe in Me though he may die yet shall he life." Now, if Jesus ever would have put out a Top Ten album of things that he said, this would be in the top ten, this is one of the greatest promises ever. Look at the next verse. "And whoever lives and believes in me shall never die." And then here's the question: "Do you believe this?" Now let me just give you the setting. Jesus was a close friend to this family: Martha, Mary and Lazarus their brother who had died. He often spent time when he was in Bethany at their house. He lived at their house when he was anywhere around Jerusalem. But now Lazarus has gotten sick. And as soon as he got this sickness, they sent a letter or a courier to Jesus to let him know, "Your buddy is sick, come quickly. Your friend is sick, come now." The bible tells us Jesus deliberately waited until Lazarus was dead and then he showed up. And you can hear the bitter disappointment in her voice, "I you'da been here, my brother wouoldn't have died." That's the voice of a sufferer. Jesus doesn't rebuke her and go "(Gasp) I can't believe you said that Martha, you believe in Me, how could you?" He says, "Your brother will rise again." But what she is saying is this: "This is your fault. You're late, God. You could've stopped this." Can I just tell you, God is never late. He's perfectly on time. You might be early, he is never late. He winds his watch differently than yours. The Bible tell us that God in II Peter 3, "the Lord is not slow in keeping his promise as some understand slowness. But (and here's the deal with Martha) it is hard to see clearly when your eyes are filled with tears, when you're suffering, when you're in grief, it's hard to see clearly. Now here was the problem. Martha interpreted Jesus' love through her own circumstances. What she should have done is interpreted her circumstances through Jesus' love. But she is skewed now, her lens is clouded, that's how she views life, much like Job.
Well, Jesus shows up, makes his beautiful promise, it's the answer to Job. Job asked, If a man dies can he live again?" And here's Jesus saying, "I am the resurrection and the life." But there's a few things that are out of place in this story. Odd, they just don't make perfect sense. Here's the first one: tears are out of place. Not their tears, they make sense, you cry when somebody when somebody dies. But Jesus' cried, his tears seem out of place. Look with me in verse 33, "Therefore when Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who came with her weeping, he groaned in the Spirit and was troubled. And he said, "Where have you laid him?" They said to him, "Lord, come and see." Jesus wept." The shortest verse in the New Testament, Jesus wept. Jesus wept? Jesus is crying? Why? Doesn't that see out of place. He knows, does he not that in a few minutes he's going to raise Lazarus from the dead? Don't you think Jesus would shows up with a Kleenex box and say, "Stop crying. You guys, watch this, I'm here now." It doesn't say that. It says, "Jesus wept." Why did he weep, that's the question. I think that Jesus is revealing the heart of God who cares when his people suffer. He's revealing the heart of God. Jesus said, did he not, "If you've seen me, you've seen t he Father." Jesus was called a man of sorrows acquainted with gtief. Here is the man of sorrows entering into their sorrow. He's weeping, tender-hearted god we serve. Isaiah the prophet said, "In all of their distresses he too was distressed."
The second thing that seems out of place in this story is anger. Did you notice the phrase that "Jesus groaned in the Spirit and was troubled," back in verse 33? Well read on in verse 37, "And some of them said, ‘Could not this man who opened the eyes of the blind also have kept this man from dying?' Jesus again groaning in himself came to the tomb, it was a cave and stone lay against it." That little phrase, groaning in himself means he was emotionally agitated, it's a very strong word. He was emotionally agitated, intensely shaken by emotion. Or angered, we would say he was ticked off if we were to use perfect slang. Why? Why was Jesus angry? Jesus is angry at death. Jesus knew this wasn't supposed to happen. It wasn't supposed to end this way. He knew that death was an intruder, that wasn't god's original intention and this is wrong. And we all feel that way, when somebody we love dies we have that instinctive feeling, "This is wrong. I've been robbed. This isn't right." The problem is we can't do anything about it. The great news is, Jesus can do something about it and he will do something about it. The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is everlasting life. Jesus is angry at the sin that causes death, because when a person dies and they die in their sin they're eternally separated.
You know there's a myth in America, I just want to touch on it, I've touched on it a few times before in the past. But there is a myth that says, "The only thing you need to do t o go to heaven is die." I've been to a lot of different funerals and I've listened and especially if I know the person in life and I knew that that person wasn't a Christian, never read the Bible, never went to church, really could care less about spiritual things at all, suddenly there's a preacher up there pushing that poor pagan into heaven. Now if this person never wanted to be with God ever, why would God force that person to be with him forever? But that's the myth, "Just die and we'll find somebody to push you into heaven." Or, "Just be sincere and very good and do a lot of good works and if you die, you go to heaven." It doesn't work that way. The wages of sin is death, spiritually and physically. Jesus was angry at sin that causes death.
There's a third thing that's out of place. Ready? Jesus not only wept, not only is angry at this funeral but he walks up to the grave itself as if to be right next to it. Now that seems a little strange. I just want to show you this. Verse 38, "Jesus groaning himself came to the tomb. It was a cave and the stone lay against it. And Jesus said, ‘Take away the stone.' And Martha the sister of him who was dead said to him, ‘Lord, by this time there's a stench for he's been dead four days." And can I just say you cannot beat the old King James in this verse. If you have one, you know what I'm talking about. "By now Lord, he stinketh." That's just so picturesque. Take away the stone, "He stinketh, Lord." Why did Jesus make a deal of walking to the tomb? Why couldn't Jesus have been a hundred yards back? And gone like this __________ with the stone. And then just said, "Lazarus, do it buddy. Go for it, now." He did that before, did he not? Did he not heal at a distance. Did he not just speak a word on some occasions and there was instant healing though in another location. No, Jesus in his tears and his anger walks up to the grave where Lazarus is buried and there he conquers death by a resurrection because one day that's exactly what he will do toy your grave and my grave, wherever that happens to be on this earth. He will conquer death by a physical resurrection that will take place at some time in the future. The reason he can do that is because he went to the cross and conquered sin that separated us from God and enabled life through resurrection. And here is a preview, let's call it that, a preview of coming attractions. That's what is happening with Lazarus.
For the believer, death is not the final word, Jesus Christ is the final word and he made that very clear that day. But go back to verse 26 and look at the very last question. He says to those sisters, "Do you believe this?" He didn't just say, "I'm the resurrection and the life." He didn't just say, "Whoever lives and believes in me will never die, he personalizes it, "Do you believe this?" Can I just say if you believe this this morning, it'll show up in how you live. If you believe this this morning, then the way you face death is not with ignorance, but with eagerness. Not in a macabe or morose kind of a way but the confidence of knowing the future, being confident in the way you live, because there's not the same kind of hopeless grief that comes. Folks, that's why the Bible calls death ‘going to sleep.' Going to sleep. Paul wrote anbout those believers who go to sleep in Christ meaning death. Go back with me to verse 11. Look at what Jesus says to his disciples here in this chapter, "These things he said, after that he said to them, ‘Our friend Lazarus sleeps but I'm going to go wake him up." Now his disciples didn't get it, it kind of went (over their heads). So they go, "Well, if he's going to like fall asleep, he'll wake up you know." So Jesus knew they didn't quite get the analogy he was making. So verse 14, "Jesus said to them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead.'" Sleep and death are the same in the Bible and here's why: It's temporary. It's like taking a nap. You don't have anything to fear of death any more than you taking a nap. If you take a nap, you'll get up, it's refreshing. Go at it again. Now when I was a kid and my mom said, "You're going to take a nap this afternoon." It was punishment. "Do I have to?" "Yep, you need to go take a nap." "I don't want to take a nap." "Take a nap." "But what if I never wake up?" "Don't worry, you'll wake up, just take a nap." That's when I was younger. Now, as an adult, if somebody says, "You're going to take a nap." Really? That's a reward. That's a whole different perspective on nap taking. Well I hope you get a whole different perspective of death as nap taking. One day your body will wear out and time for a nap. And it'll be a split second, it'll be instantly your spirit in the presence of God in heaven. And your body will be awaiting its resurrection. But you have no more to fear of death than taking a nap.
So, death isn't the end of the road, it's just the bend in the road. The bend in the road, it's just a twist, it's the doorway that leads you to something. Glory, it's graduation day.
Irwin Litzer put out a booklet called One Minute After You Die. Let me read a little section to you. "On this side of the curtain and only on this side is death our enemy. Just beyond the curtain the monster turns out ot be our friend. The label death is still on the bottle but the ontents are eternal life. Death is our friend because it reminds us that heaven is near. How near? As near as a heartbeat, as near as an auto accident, as near as a stray bullet, as near as a plane crash. I four eyes could see the spirit world, we might find that we're aldrady at its gates."
Now, as we're bringing this to a conclusion, you need to know something. The only place you get this perspective that I'm talking about is here. It's only when we view life through the lens of scripture, in fact I'll even be more narrow, the lens of the New Testament, that we pierce beyond the veil and see what's happening beyond what we call "the real world." I hear people say, "I'm not into that stuff, I live in the real world, man." Well let me tell you something about the real world. There's a really real world that lasts longer beyond the real world. And you'll never get the right perspective and pierce through that veil and see it unless you view life through the lens of the New Testament.
Do you remember the movie a few years ago The matrix? And the whole premise of the movie The Matrix is that all of this visible life is simply a computer-generated virtual reality program. And, a few people have pierced beyond the veil and they have seen the really real world. One of them was the lead character named Neo in the film. Well toward the beginning of the film Morpheus holds out two pills in front of Neo, a blue pill and a red pill. And Morpheus says, "You take the blue pill, you wake up in your own bed and you believe whatever you want. You take the red pill and you stay in Wonderland." In other words you'll see the really real world. I meet people all the time, every day throughout the community who have taken the blue pill. They wake up every morning in their own beds, they believe whatever they want, whatever they feel they're into, whatever new philosophy suits them, they'll grab onto that and they're in the real world. There's a really real world beyond it and the New Testament gives you that capacity to see it.
Job's question shows the uncertainty that people live with and the reason why so many people cling so tenaciously to this life. They don't want to lose this life, "I want to live just another moment longer." There were three guys that died and went to heaven. They died in a car crash. And they were there at orientation day in heaven. And there was Peter, right? He's always the guy in these dumb jokes that's at orientation day. And Peter said to these three buddies, "Okay, when you're in your casket at your funeral and your friends and family are gathered around, what is the one thing you want to hear them say? And one man says, "Well, I'd like to hear people say that I was a good doctor and I loved my family." The second guy said, "I'd like to hear them say that I was a good teacher and I was a great husband." And the third guy said, "Hmpf, I think I'd like to hear people say, ‘Look, he's moving!'" And there's some people who want to cling to this physical life not knowing what's ahead. Now I understand the reticence to do that if you're not right with God but if you're right with God, the moment you pass from here, the day dawns and it's an all new reality.
So if I'm ever in a deathbed situation, don't you dare pray me back. If I'm slipping over into eternity and I'm right there, just please, if I come back and I know that your prayers are responsible, I'm going to hunt you down. For me to live is Christ, to die is gain. Gain. That's why I always thought reincarnation was such a bummer. I mean who would want to come back and go through diapers again and high school English again and your first date again. And so once you pass from this life into eternity and you experience that joy that we're all waiting for, it's gain. Not only Job will a man live again, because of a resurrection he will really begin to live. I don't know if you've experienced that but the invitation goes out to you today.
Let's close in prayer. Heavenly Father, as we conclude this study and we have been confronted and comforted by your truth once again, I pray for those who may not know Jesus Christ personally. And I pray that today would be the day when they would yes to Jesus, that they would say yes to life, that they would be able because of a relationship with you, because their sins are forgiven, to face life and death on firm footing.
And as we close this service this morning, if you're gathered here and you have never received Jesus personally. Now hear what I'm saying, I'm not saying, "Have you gone to church before? Are you a religious person? Do you believe in the existence of a being?" If you have never personally received Jesus Christ as they payment for your sins, the savior of your soul and your Lord. Or, if you made some decision growing up but you haven't been walking with Jesus then just right where you're seated as we're praying right now, would you slip your hand up and you're indicating, "Pray for me as you close this service, Skip. I'm going to surrender my life to Jesus right now." I'd love to pray for you, I need to know who I'm praying for. You need to slip that hand up and say, "Pray for me." Keep it up for just a moment. God bless you, you, you, toward the back I see three of you way in the back, in the back over to my right, right up toward the middle in the front. On my right again on the side, right up toward the front here, again toward the back. In the balcony, God bless you. In the family room, I see some of you over there. Maybe you're outside, there's a pastor outside who is watching as well.
Father, I pray for every one who has raised the hand and I pray that their life would be different after today.
Instead of calling your forward this morning, what I'm going to ask you to do is those of you who raised your hands, is to pray a prayer right where you are. This is you doing business with God right here right now. And say to him, "Lord I give you my life. I know that I'm a sinner. I pray that you'd forgive me. I believe Jesus died on the cross and that he rose from the dead for me. I know that because Jesus rose I too can rise again. I turn from my sin, I turn to Jesus as my Savior and as my Master. Write my name in your book of life and fill me with your Holy Spirit to live a life pleasing to you. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Additional Messages in this Series

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8/9/2009
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The Guy No One Wants to Be
Job 1:1-5
Skip Heitzig
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This book of Scripture is largely avoided by people, except for the first two chapters (and maybe the last one). Job is the one person that no one would ever want to be! He has become the quintessential example of the sufferer in despair. He stands against everything you've ever been told about the Victorious Christian Life! This guy had issues that perplexed him, issues of the deepest kind, issues that people have struggled with since the beginning of time, and issues that the book of Job doesn't provide answers for.
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8/16/2009
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The Man Behind the Curtain
Job 1:1-2:13; Revelation 12:1-17
Skip Heitzig
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Behind our visible world is an invisible world just as real—the realm of the supernatural. Though we can’t see into this world, we can see the effects of its activities all around us, both good and bad. It’s like the difference between a visible picture on your television set and the invisible picture waves that are transmitted through the air. The invisible waves produce visible pictures. Behind the curtain of the supernatural a conversation between God and Satan was going on. Let’s listen in to what Job couldn’t listen to and learn how to triumph in this invisible battle.
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8/23/2009
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From Riches to Rags - Part 1
Job 1-2
Skip Heitzig
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For the next two weeks we will examine Job’s pain. Clearly his is an extreme example, but eventually everyone will pass through such waters of affliction. So, why does evil seem to dominate our world? How can anyone believe in a good and loving God while bad and unloving things happen all around us? Not only is this a major “deal breaker” for many people believing in God; this is also a quandary for believers who want to “make sense” out of everything in life. Today we’ll see how Job suffered and how Jesus meets the deepest cry of the suffering heart.
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8/30/2009
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From Riches to Rags - Part 2
Job 1-2
Skip Heitzig
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William Sangster, a London cleric, was dying from muscular disease. When he discovered his fate, he made four resolutions that he kept: "1) I will never complain; 2) I will keep the home bright; 3) I will count my blessings; 4) I will try to turn it to gain." Although Job wanted to keep his life and home bright, there were some around him that just wouldn’t let that happen. How should people treat sufferers? And how should sufferers live through their suffering times?
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9/6/2009
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Are You and God OK?
Job 9:2
Skip Heitzig
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"How can a man be righteous before God" Job asks! This is the age-old dilemma of all mankind. How can any person, fraught with personal failure and innate sin, make peace with God who is perfect? Does God just wink at all our sins and mistakes? Can He just arbitrarily overlook and override them? Or is there some necessary condition that must be met first? Let’s find out today how this can happen and how you can have deep and lasting peace because of it.
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9/13/2009
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You Need a Middleman!
Job 9:32-35
Skip Heitzig
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Most people think of a middleman as an unwanted and unnecessary part of a transaction. They promote, "We cut out the middleman", meaning you can save money by getting your product by buying direct and not paying a broker fee. But there are some situations that require a middleman. Salvation is one of them. What Job lacked—a mediator (one to represent him to God)—only Jesus could supply.
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10/4/2009
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Epiphany!
Job 19:23-27
Skip Heitzig
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If you were reading through the book of Job and came to this chapter, you might remark, "What happened to Job? He got religion!" It’s as if Job received a sudden and most amazing insight. When you consider how little God had revealed in Job’s day about the future and about life after death, these words are a remarkable testimony of faith. It’s nothing short of an epiphany of hope.
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10/11/2009
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When God Can't be Found
Job 23:1-12
Skip Heitzig
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Sometimes in our Christian experience God seems afar off—silent and imperceptible. We diligently seek Him and call on Him but the heavens seem like impenetrable brass. Even more disturbing is when it seems like we’re suffering in the furnace of affliction—the very time we need God the most and yet it feels like He can’t be found. Where is He then? Why don’t we hear from Him? What should our attitude be?
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10/18/2009
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The Ultimate Discovery
Job 42:1-6
Skip Heitzig
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Finally, after Job and his friendly neighborhood philosophers debated back and forth, God comes to shed His penetrating light of truth on Job’s situation. This allowed Job to make some amazing findings about God and himself. As we close our series today we see how revelation leads to repentance and how this is not a one-time-for-all-time decision, but rather a way of life. Let’s peer over Job’s shoulder as he encounters the God he’s been crying out for throughout the book.
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There are 9 additional messages in this series.