29 April 2000

"O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ"-I Corinthians 15:5-57 Our Lord Jesus has never failed in anything He has attempted. We see figures of Him in David as He stood before Goliath; in Sampson as he pulled the walls down upon his enemies; and Moses as he led his people safely to the promised land. Our Lord stood before many cruel enemies: Herod; the high priests; the mob; and Satan himself all they bent their powers to destroy Him. But the climax of the battle was yet before Him. He must face death and the grave. Death and the grave are cruel enemies. They are no respecters of age or persons. Death robs the cradle, the home, the hand and the heart. From the tiny infant to the hoary head, both rich and poor, bond and free, death and the grave claim their victims every day, every hour, every moment, leaving a wake of sorrow, misery and grief in their path. Is not death and the grave man's greatest fear? We fear it for our children; our husbands and wives; our parents; as well as our own selves. Do we not fear some disease that might one day take us down to death and the grave? Do we not approach the latter years with some dread of the last day? How cruel they are. Do we not hate them? But let us take courage. Though death and the grave are still with us today, and they still rob us of our loved ones, their claim is only for a moment: they have been conquered; defeated; and overcome(1 Cor 15:25-26). Though they are real, and cause us much suffering and pain, they are only reminders of what we have been delivered from. It is from this blessed truth that we may draw our comfort: Jesus rose from the grave. He is victorious! His victory is our victory! Yes, Paul speaks of Christ's resurrection as a victory. I remember hearing stories about the victory of the United States over Hitler's Germany in W.W.II. There were many American men in secluded areas that did not hear of their victory for many days. Though victory was heralded on the air waves and in the papers, some did not hear of it for months and others for years. There were even those who died as victors before the message reached their ears. But the victory was theirs all the same. They were included in the number. Christ's resurrection did not make man redeemable; savable; or even resurrectable. What kind of victory would that be? Victory may only be claimed when the war has been won. There may be many who never hear about our Lord's resurrection. But if Christ represented them the victory is theirs all the same. Do you believe in Christ; in His resurrection; in His deity? Then he represented you. You shall rise as well. Did your loved one that has departed the scenes of this life believe in Jesus? Then you shall join them one day in glory where there shall be no more heartache, sin or good-byes. By Christ's resurrection and victory, we may look at death in a totally different way. We may look at death as a beginning rather than the end. We may see death as a separation from the body of sin; a door we must pass to a better place where dwelleth rest, peace and righteousness. Rather than looking at death as defeated captives, we may look at it as victors; we may look at our loved ones who have died in Christ with hopeful eyes rather than helpless eyes; we may approach the grave with the anticipation that one day Jesus will return with the voice that will rend the tomb and raise the body from the grave. We may find great comfort that our loved ones are with Jesus and we shall see them again. Let our "thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." Come and worship with us at Harmony Primitive Baptist Church, in Donaldson, where God is sovereign, and salvation is by His abundant and amazing grace. Visit our web page at www.primitivebaptist.org/donaldson/ Singing begins at 10:30 each Sunday morning followed by preaching at 11:00. By His mercy and grace, Neil Phelan, Jr., Pastor