TEEN TREE OF LIFE
The Doctrine of Death
February 26, 2017
BEFORE we begin, if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, take a moment to name your sins to God the Father. This will allow you to be filled with the power of The Holy Spirit as you read this booklet (EPH 5:18 & 1JO 1:9). IF YOU HAVE never believed in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you have that opportunity right now. Simply tell God the Father that you are believing on His Son Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. If you make that decision, you are now a believer and will always be a child of God! When you die, you will spend eternity with Him forever in heaven! (JOH 3:16 & ACT 16:31).
We studied last week that when a mature believer experiences physical death, because he/she has doctrine resident in the soul, he/she receives the greatest blessing in life – dying grace! As we also learned, the other side of the coin is the loser believers who never learned God’s Word during their lifetimes: All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. (HEB 11:13) This verse describes the loser believers who did not receive their blessings in eternity because they didn’t seek God’s Kingdom while on earth. It’s a very sad verse. These believers will not experience dying grace and this is sadder, still!
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. And, when a mature believer dies he/she can be confident of the fact that his/her blessings will continue on earth, as well, toward family members, loved ones, and even pets after his/her departure! So there is no point in 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 for everything. Remember that ignorance of God’s Essence and Plan for your life will bring bitterness and destroy your capacity to receive 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 makes us very inflexible and weak.
The story of Elijah (1 Kings) is an example of someone with self-pity. The Northern Kingdom had eight kings in its first 58 years as a nation. This story about the great prophet Elijah occurred during the reign (874-853 B.C.) of King Ahab. Ahab married Jezebel, daughter of the king of Sidon, who worshiped Baal. Ahab built a temple to Baal and consecrated priests to serve Baal.
In an encounter between Elijah and King Ahab, Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal. The challenge was to see which god — Baal or God — would answer his prophet(s). Ahab took the challenge, gathered 450 Baal prophets, and met Elijah on Mount Carmel. Many Israelites were present to watch the outcome. Baal’s prophets placed a cut up bull on an altar of wood dedicated to Baal; the prophets called to Baal to ignite the sacrifice. Despite entreating Baal from morning until evening and slashing themselves, the sacrifice to Baal did not catch on fire.
Elijah repaired God’s altar on Mount Carmel which had fallen apart from disuse and neglect. He arranged wood on the altar, cut a bull in pieces, and placed the pieces on the altar. Massive amounts of water were poured over the bull and altar. Elijah prayed naming God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel. He asked God to light the fire so the people would know that he did these things at God’s direction and also to let the people know that the Lord was God. Immediately, fire consumed Elijah’s sacrifice. The people fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord – he is God! The Lord – he is God!” Elijah commanded the people to seize the Baal’s prophets; they were taken to the Kishon Valley and slaughtered.
When King Ahab reported what happened to Queen Jezebel, she sent a messenger to Elijah that she would have him killed by that time tomorrow. Instead of a day of triumph for Elijah, it became a day of terror. He fled Samaria and ran over 100 miles to an area south of Beersheba in Judah. Elijah came to a broom tree, sat down under it, and prayed that he would die. Elijah was completely disheartened. This is utter and complete SELF-PITY. Finally, Elijah fell asleep and while he was sleeping, an angel touched Elijah, and directed him to get up and eat. Looking around, Elijah saw a cake of bread baked over embers and a jar of water. Elijah ate and drank, then lay down again. The angel came back a second time, touched Elijah and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” Elijah rose, ate, and drank. Strengthened by the food, Elijah traveled forty days and nights until he reached Mount Horab, where God gave Moses the Ten Commandments. The point here is this: don’t sit under the broom tree! Don’t feel sorry for yourself! It is useless and a waste of time. You won’t accomplish anything and it’s a sin!
The Bible teaches us that there is no self-pity in impersonal love. Impersonal love eliminates the manipulation of emotions and self-pity in the search for attention. God is definitely not interested in people’s self-pity. You are not honoring the Lord Jesus Christ to become abnormal in your grief or to perpetuate your sorrow to the point of mental disorders. When you have disaster and trial and heartache, what you need to do is apply Bible doctrine. Your source of comfort in times of grief and sorrow must come from The Lord and metabolized doctrine circulating in your right lobe. When you are caught up in self-pity, there is no hope. You make the choice of whether or not to drown in self-pity and it’s up to you to choose to get out of it!
Another scary thing about self-pity is that it 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 therefore, quite arrogant. If they weren’t stuck on themselves, they would make others feel good rather than try to elicit pity from them by making them feel sad.
Sorrow from a loss of a loved one is totally understandable but shouldn’t expect others to share your grief. Your grief and sorrow should be between you and The Lord. Remember this verse by the apostle Paul when you feel bad for those in Christ who have died: But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. (1TH 4:13) Death must be looked at from Divine viewpoint and the point is that life must go on. Most believers do not live a Godly life and so 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. This is taught in JAM 4:14: Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Death is a reminder of the futility of cosmic glory and wealth, fame and profit. Death is also a reminder to be prepared for eternity. This is so IMPORTANT to remember. The majority of Christians are not prepared. But you, just by reading this Tree, are preparing. And that is awesome! That means you’re on your way to becoming a mature believer. And that should be your goal in life! If you do become a mature believer, you will have complete confidence in death. Divine viewpoint, which you can only get if you study God’s Word, will enable you to view death as the victory it is in God’s Eyes! God sees death as the promotion of believers in Christ to a place of no more sorrow, no more pain. The death of the believer means being face to face with The Lord: …we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home 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? They are in the place of eternal inheritance. They are in the place which should be the ultimate focus of every believer. We will no doubt miss those who have gone to their new home before us but we will meet up with them again. If we have Divine viewpoint, we will thank God for the time enjoyed with them and be thankful to Him that they are saved and are face to face with Him in the most glorious of all locations!