Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The TREE OF LIFE weekly teaching summary from the week ending December 28, 1997
Tree of Life 12/28/97
The Doctrine of Death.
Tree of Life for 12-28-97
In continuing our study in the doctrine of death, it must be clearly understood that death is a matter of the sovereignty of God,JOB 1:21; PSA 68:19. Therefore we must trust in the essence and plan of God over that of our own personal opinions as to the timing of the death of anyone, including ourselves. Death is an appointment that everyone in the human race will keep, Hebrews 9:27. Whether believer or unbeliever, all will die. But it is the death of the believer which is precious in the sight of the Lord, Psalm 116:15; Ecclesiasties 7:1. It is the believer in Christ who is promoted to heaven after the death of the physical body. The unbeliever, that is the one who has rejected Jesus Christ as the Son of God/their personal Savior, is demoted to hades and then the eternal lake of fire, forever separated from God. So, for the believer death is a time of victory not discouragement.
In 2Timothy 4:6 Paul calls death a "departure" rather than a termination or an end. Death is actually a relocation for the believer's soul and human spirit. As such, death is designed to be the greatest experience of the believer's life! Death is a great blessing to the believer, especially the mature believer who goes out in dying grace. Death is the believer's ticket to heaven and in heaven there is no physical body with it's old sin nature! So why do we mourn for the promotion of a believer?! Seems rather ludicrous. Believers who are in spiritual adulthood, meaning they are where they should be in their spiritual advance, will not only use the 10 problem solving devices in living but in dying as well, whether it's in relation to their own death experience or the death of a loved one. The mature believer knows that death is based on God's perfect timing.
In dying, both winners and losers leave their body behind on earth while their soul (soul and spirit for believers) travel billions of light years into their new destination. Winner believers can die in two general ways, (1) painlessly and quickly, or (2) painfully and prolonged. Dying grace can be found in either category. The decision is God's and His reasoning is perfect therefore no one can judge the reason for the death of anyone nor the way they die, Psalm 68:19. Matthew 7:2 tells us that those who are in the habit of judging others while living will judge them while they are dying. For the loser believer, he will die the sin unto death which is the last act of divine discipline from God. Note that the sin unto death is not warranted by a sin per se, but by a status of being. 1John 5:16 is often misunderstood in its statement that, "...there is a sin leading to death...". This simply means that there is a status of sinfulness which can exist while dying, and basically that status is one of bitterness; a time of a mental attitude filled with pain. 2Timothy 1:7 calls it a lifestyle of fear which characterizes the sin unto death. On the other hand, grace challenges the believer to deploy the problem solving devices hence the believer is able to travel through his own death- shadowed valley with the most fantastic blessings, Philippians 1:21; Psalm 23:4. But, the training for such profit in dying comes one way, disciplined devotion to the study of the word of God in time.
There are four ways the believer can transfer from time to eternity:
1- Dying grace
3- Sin unto death
Divine discipline is confined to time, Revelation 21:4, and results from the believer using his own volition to create his own failures, Psalm 7:14-16. The subject of the sin unto death is found in Revelation 3:20; Psalm 38:1-14; and Revelation 3:16. Hebrews 12:5-6 tells us the sin unto death is the final stamp of divine discipline placed on the loser believer in time. A case history of believers who have died the sin unto death would be:1. Ananias and Sapphira, Acts 5:1-10 who both lied to God.
2. 1Corinthians 11:27-30 describes the ritual activity resulting in the sin unto death, i.e., the violation of the Lord's Supper, cf with1CO 11:24-25.
3. Hymenaeus and Alexander, 1TI 1:19-20, who both had persistent negative volition toward doctrine to the point of attacking the word of God.
4. King Saul, 1CH 10:13-14, due to his occult reversionism.
Many also use the account of the incestuous Corinthian but 2Co 2 tells us he rebounded and recovered from his reversionism. David, who was also dying the sin unto death recovered as well, PSA 118:17-18. Now, the antithesis of the sin unto death known by the loser believer is dying grace which is the monopoly of the winner believer only. Dying grace is the experience of physical death under the special provisions of grace whereby the believer involved experiences both blessing and happiness while dying. And whether there is maximum or minimum pain the winner believer still has maximum soul happiness and soul stimulation.
Dying grace removes the fear of death, Psalm 23:4, and this is not something that all believers can claim! Dying grace takes the sting out of death, 1CO 15:55. Physical death plus doctrine gives the believer the greatest blessing in life, dying grace, but this takes faith to understand and believe. Dying grace is the link between the temporal and the eternal escrow blessings, Romans 5:20; Hebrews 11:13. John 1:17-18 explains that dying grace is going from grace to grace, i.e., from grace in time to grace in eternity. Dying grace then is the divine link between time and eternity, Hebrews 11:13. According to the word of God dying grace is greater than any blessing in time and is the ultimate in glorifying God. Dying grace proves the believer's status of "winner" for all eternity. 2Timothy 4:6-8 gives us the apostle Paul's testimony under dying grace. Hence we see that as a part of dying grace there are no regrets and there is no fear cf JOB 5:19-27.
Dying grace is the final escrow blessing distributed in time. Death does not terminate escrow blessings for the winner believer but transfers those blessings to the eternal state, JOB 5:24. And, when a mature believer dies he or she is confident of the fact that his blessings will continue on earth as well toward his family members, loved ones, and even pets after his departure, therefore there is no worrying about the details of this life. In all matters of life and death timing is important and only the expert (God) can determine the right time. Therefore ignorance of God's essence and plan brings in bitterness and destroys the believer's capacity for dying grace. This bitterness leads to self pity which is a disastrous sin. Self pity is basically occupation with self and that is one of the greatest distractions in life. Self pity becomes very inflexible in the non-essentials and produces a weak person.
Many seek to gain pity from others in the case of the loss of a loved one. If you are the type who seeks to make others feel sorry for you, you are a weak person! And when people respond to the weak person because they feel sorry for them they only serve to contribute to their weakness. Romans 12:9 tell us that impersonal love excludes self pity. Impersonal love eliminates the manipulation of emotions and self pity in the search for attention. Our deeds are not to be performed in order to arouse attention from men but from God and God is definitely not intrigued by one's sorrowful self pity. It is not honoring to the Lord Jesus Christ or to the dead in Christ to become abnormal in one's grief or to perpetuate one's sorrow to the point of mental disorders. When you have disaster and trial and heartache what is needed is the reflection on application of doctrine, not pity from others. Your source of comfort in time of grief and sorrow must come from the Lord, i.e., from the metabolized doctrine circulating in the right lobe of your own soul. In the status of self pity there is no hope and no doctrine. It's your own volition which puts you into self pity and it's that same volition that must decide to exit the self pity game.
Self pity leads the weak believer into a false sense of self importance. People who are full of self pity are arrogant though they seem to be humble and broken in spirit. They are in reality very much stuck on themselves and quite arrogant. If they weren't stuck on themselves they would make others feel good rather than try to elicit pity from others by making them feel bad.
Sorrow from a fragrance of memories concerning a lost one is okay but don't expect others to share your loss. Your grief and sorrow should be between you and the Lord. To grieve for the dead in Christ is to act as unbelievers who have no hope, 1TH 4:13. In the death of anyone - what does not belong to you is bitterness or resentment toward others who do not seem to care about or share in your sorrow. Death must be viewed from divine viewpoint and the point is... life must go on. Of course, the believer must have "life" to continue in it. That is where the problem lies, most believers do not live in the life of God, hence they sink in whatever tragedies come their way. Death is designed by God to be a blessing, in fact, for the believer, death is designed to be the greatest blessing in life!
Death is a reminder that time is short in comparison to eternity, James 4:14. Death is a reminder of the futility of cosmic glory and wealth, fame and profit, Mark 8:36-37. It is also a reminder to be prepared for eternity, Hebrews 9:27. For the unbeliever, death is a reminder of the uncertainty of judgment, John 3:18,36.
This brings up the subject of The Second Death, Revelation 2:11; 20:6,14; 21:8. The second death is part of the second resurrection and is for unbelievers only. It is the time when all unbelievers are resurrected, judged (for the sin of unbelief) and cast into the eternal lake of fire. But... Revelation 2:11; promises that the mature believer will not be hurt by the second death. This means that no one will be cast into the lake of fire in the mature believers life that would cause the mature believer pain. This is not to say that God violates anyone's volition! God in His omniscience knew who would become spiritually mature and so took those souls He also knew would respond to the gospel and placed them in the bodies of those in the mature believer's family, and loved ones, etc., thereby insuring the fact that the future mature believer will not be hurt by losing anyone in the second death to the eternal lake of fire. That is a serious blessing issued to the mature believer only, Revelation 2:11">REV 2:11!
It is the mature believer who has complete confidence in death, as he had in life, in the perfect essence of God and is therefore rightly relates him to God's plan. Such divine viewpoint enables the believer to view death as the victory it is in God's eyes; the promotion of believers in Christ to a place of no more sorrow, no more pain, Revelation 21:4. The death of the believer means no appointment with judgment, Romans 8:1; it means being face to face with the Lord, 2CO 5:8, and what could be greater than that?! Why is it that we mourn for those who have been transferred to their new home, John 14:1-3? They are in the place of eternal inheritance, 1Peter 1:4-5 and eternal life, 1John 5:11-12. They are in the place which should be the ultimate focus of every believer. Those who have gone to their new home before us we will no doubt miss but we will meet up with them again. Divine viewpoint thanks God for the time enjoyed with them and is thankful to God that they are saved and are face to face with Him... the most glorious of all locations! To the mature believer these words are much more than comforting incantations at a funeral, they are life and truth and eternity is the ultimate objective.
For further study get tape numbers 159 through 167 in our Philippians series (0190).
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