The recent deaths of American celebrities (Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, and even TV pitch-man, Billy Mays) have brought many to think (albeit briefly) about death. Oh, that the Lord would awaken many dying souls to their condition, and then graciously bring them to life by the gospel of Jesus Christ!
Some the best words from Charles H. Spurgeon (the “Prince of preachers” from a past century), come from his sermons on death, heaven and hell. On September 26, 1886 he preached from JOB 30:23, “For I know that you will bring me to death and to the house appointed for all living.”
Below are some excerpts for your consideration — the final two will be especially precious words to Christians….
Should it not be the business of this life to prepare for the next life, and, in that respect, to prepare to die? But how can a man be prepared for that which he never thinks of? Do you mean to take a leap in the dark? If so, you are in an unhappy condition, and I beseech you as you love your own soul to escape from such peril by the help of God’s Holy Spirit.
Oh! you that are youngest, you that are fullest of health and strength, I lovingly invite you not to put away this subject from you. Remember, the youngest may be taken away. …. Let others know that they are not too strong to die. The stoutest trees of the forest are often the first to fall beneath the destroyer’s axe.
Cast your eye over every land, glance from the pole to the equator, and along to the other pole, and see if this be not the universal law, that man must be dissolved in death. “It is appointed unto men once to die.” … Dust to dust, ashes to ashes, must be the last word for us among the sons of men.
That poet was half inspired who said, “All men count all men mortal but themselves.” Is it not so with us? We do not really expect to die. We reckon that we shall live a very considerable time yet. Even those who are very aged still think that as a few others have lived to an extreme old age, so may they.
Those who die daily will die easily. Those who make themselves familiar with the tomb will find it transfigured into a bed: the charnel will become a couch. The man who rejoices in the covenant of grace is cheered by the fact that even death itself is comprehended among the things which belong to the believer. I would to God we had learned this lesson. We should not then put death aside amongst the umber, nor set it upon the shelf among the things which we never intend to use. Let us live as dying men among dying men, and then we shall truly live. This will not make us unhappy; for surely no heir of heaven will fret because he is not doomed to live here for ever. It were a sad sentence if we were bound over to dwell in this poor world for ever…. Who desires to go up and down among the sons of men for twice a thousand years? … To grow ripe and to be carried home like shocks of corn in their season, is not this a fit and fair thing? To labor through a blessed day, and then at nightfall to go home and to receive the wages of grace — is there anything dark and dismal about that? God forgive you that you ever thought so! If you are the Lord’s own child, I invite you to look this home-going in the face until you change your thought and see no more in it of gloom and dread, but a very heaven of hope and glory.
We are immortal till our work is done. Be ye therefore quiet in the day of evil; rest you peaceful in the day of destruction: all things are ordered by wisdom and precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. No forces in the world are outside of his control. God suffers no foes to trespass on the domain of Providence. All things are ordained of God, and specially are our deaths under the peculiar oversight of our exalted Lord and Savior. He liveth and was dead, and beareth the keys of death at his girdle. He himself shall guide us through death’s iron gate. Surely what the Lord wills and what he himself works cannot be otherwise than acceptable to his chosen! Let us rejoice that in life and death we are in the Lord’s hands.