He’s Been There
Jesus tasted death for us. He knows the agony of death and He went through it for our sake... “O death, where is thy sting, O where is thy victory?”
Alright, thank you very much, and hello again radio friends. How in the world are you? Well, I’m fine thank you, nice of you to ask. I feel great. Why, it’s so great to know that I’ve got friends. We belong to each other in the bonds of Christian love, it just enriches my own heart and I’m grateful. Hallelujah for that. Thank you for being there on the listening end!
We’re looking at Psalm 23, you and I; we’ve come through three verses of that Psalm. Last time we got together we talked about, “He restoreth my soul, He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake”. That’s where we were when we stopped the last time, and I was reminding my own heart and of us with it, that God’s name is at stake in what I say and the kind of person I am. The opinion people have of Jesus is formed through watching Him in your life. “The secret of the Christian life”, Paul says in Colossians 1:27 is, “Christ in you, the hope of glory”, and Paul said in Galatians, “Nevertheless, I live yet not I but Christ liveth in me”, so the Lord Jesus living in you by the blessed indwelling Holy Spirit, is the evidence that Christ is real. People form their opinion of God, by watching you and me. That’s an awesome thought!
You think about it for a while, it’ll shake your up. What kind of an opinion have people formed of our Lord, by watching us. The things we’ve said and done, the times we’ve said, “Well, it doesn’t matter now”, the time we’ve thought to ourselves, “Well, nobody knows, I can get away with this now”, and then you found that you were observed and the people did know, and what was their opinion, not only of you at that point, but of your Lord, Oh, that is thought to shake one’s very soul, and it ought to do so. His name is involved, but the other side of it is, He’s going to protect His good name. He’s not going to let anything that you and I say or do, affect His good name, “He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake”- thank God for that.
Now, we go on, He says, “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for Thou art with me, Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me”. I wonder whether you’ve thought about this? I remember one morning when, J. Edwin Orr was a guest at my home. He was holding a series of meetings. Well, he got up early and so do I, and so I made breakfast generally. I’d fry him a couple of eggs and maybe some bacon or whatever, you know, and we’d have pretty decent breakfast, I’m not a bad cook after all, and so we’d enjoy breakfast. One morning he sat there, finished his breakfast, wiped the last spot of egg off his chin, looked at me thoughtfully and said, “Bob, have you ever thought of dying?” I burst out laughing and said, “No man, I’m too busy living to think about dying”. Well, I suppose it’s a good thing to be active, I am, and intend to be for a while, but at the same time, it is a very good thing, as J. Edwin Orr pointed out to me, to think about the fact that life does come to a end physically, and you slip into the presence of the Lord. As Paul says, “To depart and to be with Christ which is far better”. At the same time we have to face the ultimate evaluation of our works in our life at what is known as the judgment seat of Christ, and another thing that’s very good to think about is to leave your affairs in some decent kind of order, so that people who survive you won’t have to agonize over, “What do we do, and where did he put it, and how many deposits are there, and how much do we owe?” and so on. I’ve had personal experience with a few cases like that, where the dear departed had left their affairs in sort of a mess, you did know where the money, was you did know how much was owed to whom, and for how long. You did know that there was a will or not. These are things that you really ought to think about, aren’t they? Don’t bristle if I ask you, my dear friend, have you made your will, because if you don’t make a will the state will distribute your assets, according to law, and that means that the Lord’s work won’t get a dime, for one thing and that also means that some folk may get more or less than you might have intended, it also means that a sizable amount of tax will be taken out.
There is a way to make a will: number one, to remember the Lord’s work; number two, to take care of your loved ones; number three, to avoid unnecessary taxation. See evading dating taxes is a crime, but avoiding them is a good idea. You know the difference? And you can do all of that by making a will, and we like to encourage people to testify to their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ in their will. You know, you can start out by saying, “I being of sound mind and body, and in full control of all my faculties”, all that you know, but you can also say, “Trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, in the hope of eternal life, which has come to me through faith in Him”, and all that. You can give a testimony in the preamble to your will. You ought to think about that. And then you ought to think about the balance between providing for your loved ones, and remembering God’s work. If you’re a tither, I hope you are, you don’t have to be to be a New Testament believer, but God has promised to bless the person who tithes, if you’re a tither you have been giving a 10th of your regular current income to the Lord’s work, have you not? Well now, why not tithe from your estate? Why not remember God’s work at least, with a 10th of your estate, and see to it that His work is remembered. Your local church, your Christian radio station, your missionary society, faith missionary society, and all sorts of outreaches of God’s blessed work and workers that you might be led to remember as you pray about it. “Yea though I walk through the valley”-have you thought about it? What’s going to happen, have you provided for it, does your wife or your husband know where different their bank accounts are, where the bank books are, and where the bills are, and all that? Is there any kind of order to your provision about these matters?
Well, no, I’m not a gloomy Gus, and I’m not morbid, I’m simply sensible as you know, in reminding us that this does happen, if the Lord tarries His coming for a while then you and I are going to be the recipients of that inevitable comment when people look down upon our corpus delicti and say, “How natural he looks”. It’s going to happen. Well, why not prepare for it properly with your Lord? Good idea? Well, I threw that in free. I don’t know who needs it, but somebody does because it’s good sense.
He says, “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death”. Now, it’s a personal walk, it’s a dark walk, shadow, it’s a final walk, death, but thank God it is a walk with direction; “through” the valley of the shadow. Want to think about that? “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death”, I walk, it’s a personal walk, and when it comes down to going through the valley, to the other side, it’s personal, nobody can do it for you. You have to walk that Valley all alone, have to cross Jordan alone. Well, the song says I won’t have to cross Jordan alone. Why? For Thou art with me, He’s with you. But physically speaking, I’m may hold your hand as I sit beside your bed and read the Bible and pray with you and comfort you, but it’s a personal matter, I walk. Then it’s a dark to walk it’s a thing that you and I don’t like to think about, let alone experience. We were created to live. I don’t know what God’s original plan was concerning the cessation of physical life, but I know that the death we know about now has a stinger in it, and is associated with the curse of sin, “As by one man sin entered into the world and death by sins and so death passed upon man all then, for that all of sin”, Paul says. So, I don’t know how God planned originally to deal with the cessation of physical life, whether a person was to live forever or whether there was to come out a gradual, blessed painless, victorious, end, I don’t know. I’ll find out when I get to heaven. I only know that when sin came in, a curse came with it, and pain came with it, and the agony of ending physical life came with it. Now what? Well, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Bible tells us, tasted death for every man. He went through the valley of the shadow for you and for me. He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him and with His stripes we are healed. Jesus, when He paid it all on Calvary. Jesus tasted death for us. He knows the agony of death and He went through it for our sakes, so that Paul now can write, “Oh, death where is thy sting, Ò grave, where is thy victory?” The sting of death is sin and the strength of sin is the law, but thanks be unto God which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. He pulled the stinger out of death, yes physical death. Yes, physical is there for you and for me, but it need not be something that we fear, it need not be something that is threatening, it need not be something that conjures up visions of horror, it can be a blessed, wonderful prospect.
I’ve told you numbers of times I guess, about my father sitting in his old rocking chair, hugging his Bible to his heart, couldn’t read it any longer now he was blind, but he would hug his Bible and that one day when I surprised them in that little action, he said, “Well, boy I can’t see to read this Bible anymore, but oh, how I love this blessed Book! ”, and then he went on to say, “One of these days my boy, I’ll have a new pair of eyes and I’m going to walk down the golden streets with your mother, and we’re going to sing again the song that we sang 10 days before she left us.” I shall know Him by the print of His nails in His hand. ” His face just lit up-he lived with the knowledge that physical life was going to end, which it did for him when he was going on 84. But he also lived with the thrilling knowledge that he was going to see his Savior and his beloved Daisy and going to praise God with, and as he said, a new pair of eyes. Well, hallelujah. “Yea, though I walk through the valley, I will fear no evil”. Isn’t that a blessed prospect? Have you crossed that border yet? The place where you stop worrying about “what happens if I die” and instead you see it as a reality that will come, but something that is fraught with blessing, and victory, and the presence of your blessed Lord? Oh, this is so important and I hope God enables you by His Holy Spirit, to achieve that wonderful balance between the reality of physical death and the reality of eternity with Jesus.
Dear Father today, we ask that we may walk through life with the knowledge that Thou will be with us through the valley, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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