“Death Is Dead, Christ Has Conquered”
by Sam Allberry.
“Death Is Dead, Christ Has Conquered”
Selected quoted portions from “The Good Man’s Life and Death” a sermon by Charles Spurgeon.
“ Oh, I would to God that every statesman, that every minister, that every Christian were free to hold that his only form and his only fashion for imitation
must be the Character of Christ! I would that we could scorn all superstitious attachments to the ancient errors of our ancestors! And while some would be forever looking upon age and upon hoary antiquity with veneration, I wish we had the courage to look upon a thing not according to its age, but according
to its rightness—and so weigh everything not by its novelty, or by its antiquity—but by its conformity to Christ Jesus and His holy Gospel! Then we would reject that which does not conform to Jesus, though it is hoary with years. Then we would believe only that which is—even though it is but the creature of the day and, saying with earnestness—“For me to live is not to imitate this man or the other but ‘for me to live is Christ!’” “
“Now, this is the true life of a Christian—its source, its sustenance, its fashion and its end all gathered up in two words—Christ Jesus! And I must add, its happiness and its glory is all in Christ.“
“Death comes and smites the best of us all. The most generous, the most prayerful, the most holy, the most devoted must die! Weep, weep, weep, O Church, for you have lost your martyrs! Weep, O Church, for you have lost your confessors! Your holy men are fallen! Howl, fir tree, for the cedar has fallen! The godly fail and the righteous are cut off! But stay awhile. I hear another voice. Say you unto the daughter of Judah, spare your weeping. Tell the Lord’s flock, cease, cease your sorrow. Your martyrs are dead but they are glorified! Your ministers are gone but they have ascended up to your Father and to their Father! Your Brothers and Sisters are buried in the grave, but the archangel’s trumpet shall awake them and their spirits are ever now with God.“
“unless you really know the character of your own heart, you will never value the Gospel as you ought, you will never love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, you will never see how absolutely necessary it was that He should suffer death upon the cross, in order to deliver our souls from hell and bring us unto God.”
– From “A Bad Heart” by J. C. Ryle.
“LIFE AND DEATH”
by Margaret Manning Shull.
“The crucified, resurrected, and exalted Christ” by Herman Bavinck.
“It is the crucified but also the resurrected and exalted Christ whom the apostles proclaim. From that vantage point of the exaltation of Christ, they view and describe His earthly life, suffering, and death.
For the work He now carries out as the exalted mediator, He laid the foundations in His cross. In His battle with sin, the world, and Satan, the cross has been His only weapon.
By the cross He triumphed in the sphere of justice over all powers that are hostile to God. But in the state of exaltation, consequently, He has also been given the divine right, the divine appointment, the royal power and prerogatives to carry out the work of re-creation in full, to conquer all His enemies, to save all those who have been given Him, and to perfect the entire kingdom of God.
On the basis of the one, perfect sacrifice made on the cross, He now—in keeping with the will of the Father—distributes all His benefits. Those benefits are not the physical or magical after effect of His earthly life and death; the history of the kingdom of God is not an evolutionistic process.
It is the living and exalted Christ, seated at the right hand of God, who deliberately and with authority distributes all these benefits, gathers His elect, overcomes His enemies, and directs the history of the world toward the day of His parousia.
He is still consistently at work in heaven as the mediator. He not only was but still is our chief prophet, our only high priest, and our eternal king. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
There is, of course, an enormous difference between the work Christ did in His humiliation and what He accomplishes in His exaltation. Just as after the resurrection, His person appeared in another form, so also His work assumed another form.
He is now no longer a servant but Lord and Ruler, and His work is now no longer a sacrifice of obedience, but the conduct of royal dominion until He has gathered all His own and put all His enemies under His feet.
Nevertheless, His mediatorial work is continued in heaven. Christ did not ascend to heaven in order to enjoy a quiet vacation at the right hand of God, for, like the Father, He always works (John 5:17).
He went to heaven to prepare a place for His own there and to fill them here on earth with the fullness that He acquired by His perfect obedience. What He received as a reward for His labor for Himself and what He received for His own cannot be separated. He is all and in all (Col. 3:11).
The pleroma (fullness) that dwells in Christ must also dwell in the church. It is being filled with all the fullness of God (Eph. 3:19; Col. 2:2, 10).
It is God whose fullness fills Christ(Col. 1:19), and it is Christ whose fullness in turn fills the church(Eph. 1:23). The church can therefore be described as His pleroma, that which He perfects and gradually, from within Himself, fills with himself (Eph. 4:10), and is therefore itself being filled by degrees.
As the church does not exist apart from Christ, so Christ does not exist without the church. He is ‘the head over all things’ (Eph. 1:22; Col. 1:18), and the church is the body (σωμα) formed from Him and from Him receives its growth(Eph. 4:16; Col. 2:19), thus growing to maturity ‘to the measure ofthe full stature of Christ’ (Eph. 4:13).
The union between Christ and the church is as close as that between the vine and the branches, between bridegroom and bride, husband and wife, cornerstone and building.
Together with Him it can be called theone Christ (1 Cor. 12:12). It is to perfect the church that He is exalted to the Father’s right hand.
Just as through His suffering and death Christ was exalted in His resurrection and ascension to be head of the church, so now the church has to be formed into the body of Christ.
The work of the Mediator is one grand, mighty, divine work that began in eternity and will only be completed in eternity.”
“A disarmed and conquered enemy” by Richard Sibbes.
“Even death itself, which is the end of all, though it be fearful and irksome to nature, yet it is to God’s servants a bed of down, easing them of all their miseries, and putting them in possession of an heavenly kingdom.
Therefore saith Solomon, ‘The day of death is better than the day of birth,’ Eccles. 7:1. God will be the God of His, not only unto death, but in death.
Death is the death of itself, and not of us. It is a disarmed and conquered enemy to all the faithful; for which cause St Paul desired to be dissolved and to be with Christ, which is best of all, Philip. 1:23.
Death, albeit it seems terrible and dreadful, yet the sting thereof being taken away by the death of Christ, it brings everlasting joy along with it.
Death is only as a grim porter to let us into a stately palace.
Whither tend all the troubles we meet with in this world, but only to fit us for a better condition hereafter, and to assure the soul that when earth can hold it no longer, heaven shall.”
“Hope for the lost” by J.C. Ryle
“I entreat them to seek ‘a good hope’ while it can be found. A good hope is within the reach of any man, if he is only willing to seek it. It is called emphatically in Scripture, a ‘good hope through grace.’
It is freely offered, even as it was freely purchased: it may be freely obtained, ‘without money and without price.’
Our past lives do not make it impossible to obtain it, however bad they may have been.
Our present weaknesses and infirmities do not shut us out, however great they may be.
The same grace which provided mankind with a hope, makes a free, full, and unlimited invitation:—’Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely;’—’Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find.’ (Rev. 22:17; Matt. 7:7.)
The Lord Jesus Christ is able and willing to give ‘a good hope’ to all who really want it. He is sealed and appointed by God the Father to give the bread of life to all that hunger, and the water of life to all that thirst.
‘It pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell.’ (Coloss. 1:19.)
In Him there is pardon and peace with God, bought by the precious blood which He shed upon the cross.
In Him there is joy and peace for any believer, and a solid, well-grounded expectation of good things to come.
In Him there is rest for the weary, refuge for the fearful, a cleansing fountain for the unclean, medicine for the sick, healing for the broken-hearted, and hope for the lost.
Whosoever feels labouring and heavy-laden with sin, whosoever feels anxious and distressed about his soul, whosoever feels afraid of death and unfit to die,—whosoever he is, let him go to Christ and trust in Him.
This is the thing to be done: this is the way to follow. Whosoever wants ‘hope,’ let him go to Christ.”
Glory to God Alone.
“The day may come when after a long fight with disease, we shall feel that medicine can do no more, and that nothing remains but to die. Friends will be standing by, unable to help us. Hearing, eyesight, even the power of praying, will be fast failing us. The world and its shadows will be melting beneath our feet. Eternity, with its realities, will be looming large before our minds.
What shall support us in that trying hour? What shall enable us to feel, ‘I fear no evil’? (Psalm 23:4.) Nothing, nothing can do it but close communion with Christ. Christ dwelling in our hearts by faith,—Christ putting His right arm under our heads,—Christ felt to be sitting by our side,—Christ can alone give us the complete victory in the last struggle.
Let us cleave to Christ more closely, love Him more heartily, live to Him more thoroughly, copy Him more exactly, confess Him more boldly, follow Him more fully. Religion like this will always bring its own reward. Worldly people may laugh at it. Weak brethren may think it extreme. But it will wear well. At even time it will bring us light. In sickness it will bring us peace. In the world to come it will give us a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
The time is short. The fashion of this world passeth away. A few more sicknesses, and all will be over. A few more funerals, and our own funeral will take place. A few more storms and tossings, and we shall be safe in harbour. We travel towards a world where there is no more sickness,—where parting, and pain, and crying, and mourning, are done with for evermore.
Heaven is becoming every year more full, and earth more empty. The friends ahead are becoming more numerous than the friends astern. ‘Yet a little time and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry.’ (Heb. 10:37.) In His presence shall be fulness of joy. Christ shall wipe away all tears from His people’s eyes. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is Death. But he shall be destroyed. Death himself shall one day die. (Rev. 20:14.)
In the meantime let us live the life of faith in the Son of God. Let us lean all our weight on Christ, and rejoice in the thought that He lives for evermore. Yes: blessed be God! Christ lives, though we may die. Christ lives, though friends and families are carried to the grave. He lives who abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light by the Gospel.
He lives who said, ‘O death, I will be thy plagues: O grave, I will be thy destruction.’ (Hos. 13:14.) He lives who will one day change our vile body, and make it like unto His glorious body. In sickness and in health, in life and in death, let us lean confidently on Him. Surely we ought to say daily with one of old, ‘Blessed be God for Jesus Christ!’”
“Part 2, Christianity’s answer to the justice of God”
by STEVE BRUECKER