If there is one thing that you must always try to remember when speaking to the lost, it is that they fear death, he is seen as the enemy that must be avoided at all cost. The grim reapers visage, as they call him, is rarely portrayed as anything other than that of a fearful and dreadful entity, one whose appearance means the finality of all that they have ever known. “He has come to collect” they will say, but collect exactly what they cannot answer. There is no real comprehension within them that the body they inhabit is useful only to the one who indwells within it, that it is all that they have ever truly been in control over, that they themselves are inside of and ruling, as much as is physically possible, the body they inhabit. In other words, the concept of the word “spirit” in this area is foreign to them.
A spirit to the lost is a ghost, the returning of one long since dead without their physical body, and again in their minds, something to fear. Even the apostles when they were in the boat were fearful when they thought it was a spirit and not the Lord Jesus walking towards them on the water (Matt. 14:26). When angels have appeared to those of the human race, they have always appeared as men, or an extremely close facsimile of men, never as spirits, or what could be called ghosts in today’s terminology. After David sinned in the counting of the people of Israel, he saw the Angel of Lord at the threshing floor of Araunah, (2 Sam. 24:16) the visage of this angel, the Angel that passed thru Egypt on the First Passover, and of others in separate instances in the Scriptures, the forms they assumed we are not told of, only the reasons and accounts of their actions.
Unless they have heard of these accounts in the Word of God, all the lost know of spirits are the stories they have subjected themselves to, and nearly all of their accounts would be in the nature of what they would consider horror stories. Ghosts, spooks, spirits, the dead returned to haunt them, they call them by many names, and it is a very rare occurrence indeed when some type of fear is not associated with these titles. Just a quick question here, if you would please, speaking solely to those who are born-again believers, whose faith rest in Jesus Christ, you’re not afraid of the dark still, are you?
For the vast majority of the lost, these ghosts are nearly always seen as evil, frightening forms, portents of doom, bearers of bad news, for others, they are the “lost souls”, condemned to walk the earth for their terrible deeds and misuse of others while they were here in bodily form on earth. Either way, these “spirits” are not allowed for whatever reason to enter into their “final rest,” and are almost always feared by those who have been deceived into believing this lie of our adversary. “It is appointed a man once to die, then the judgement.” (Heb.9:27) The dead go to one of two places when they have departed this earth my friends, there are no ghosts, but there are demons who pretend to be.
What I have attempted to do to assist those who say they believe in such things is to remind them that these types of accounts have been reported for thousands of years, yet never even once has any proof been brought to bear. It rarely helps, but it is worth the effort, for with the lost, those that retain a dreadful fear of death, and those they claim that have come back from it, our first step in the conversation must be to tell them of the one that defeated death. If you read in Rev. 20:14 you will see that death itself is thrown into the Lake of Fire along with hell at the close of this age. One cannot throw an idea or concept anywhere, much less into eternal torment, and so death is, as it were, a substantial entity, a created something. In other words, he, for lack of a better term, is real, exists within a specific plane of reality, and is of course as all of reality is, subject to the ordinances and commandments of God.
To explain though to the lost the concepts of heaven and hell as a beginning point of a conversation is not always the wisest place to start, for soon in the conversation they must be told of the consequences of a life spent apart from Christ, and while we are to save some “as if by fire,” a topic on eternal damnation and an eternity on fire is rarely a good place to start. The sting of death is gone for us (1 Cor. 15:55), but for the lost this fear resides in them, and they are terrified of it. I have yet to meet even one lost soul who will discuss at length and in detail their tremendous fear of death, and to tell you the truth, very few believers care to delve into the topic, not so much as to where they are going of course, but the path that the Lord may require of them to take to get there.
The Christians life is not one of fear, for “perfect love casts out all fear,” (1st John 4:18) it is Christs perfect and abiding love that has cast fear far from us, not so the lost though. Every opportunity they have financially to go to a physician to heal them of the newest pain, they will take, pills, medicines and supplements are ingested by the handful to ensure a longer, healthier life, better nutrition, exercise, any possible “fountain of youth” will be dove into headfirst, any and all things to attempt to thwart the enemy of death, continued survival is seen as the greatest good, and the alternative is unthinkable.
To recognize that one must die is in the thoughts of the wiseman, to ponder at length the many ways that one might die is in the heart of the fearful, to not know ones destination after death is in the mind terrifying beyond all comprehension, and it resides in the heart of everyone who has not accepted Christ as Savior. Have I just given you another viable reason why you should be witnessing to the lost, have these words encouraged you to the point of conviction that the hope that is within you should be shared with others? I have been saved over thirty years, and I cannot think of even one time that I have been fearful when the thoughts of death, not the way of my death mind you, but the actual moment of my death have come to my mind, and I have seen his face, as it were, several times. My assurances rest in the faithful promises of my Lord Jesus Christ, my life, and death, are safe in His hands. This is the hope that we are to speak to the lost about, the blessed assurance that Christ can be trusted, that He who conquered death will cast out all fear of it from their minds, in fact, He will turn it completely upside down.
In a strange way that only the born-again believer can understand, a way that the world mocks and ridicules, the Christian actually looks forward to departing this mortal temple. That is not to say that we are in a hurry to go, for there is much work here to do and we are blessed to be used by our Lord to do the work, but along with death comes an exciting anticipation, for the day, the moment we pass through that final door is the moment that we will begin eternally to be in the presence of our Lord, the first day of an eternity in the Fullness of His Joy, and Pleasures Forevermore (Psalm 16:11). Can you explain that to them my friends, can you show them even a small part of that unbounded joy that rest inside of you, a small part that would bring enormous joy and happiness to the lost soul that is seeking a way out of the pit of fear.
Death is not our friend, our friends are not going to be cast into the Lake of Fire, but he is also no one to fear. When he comes for you it will be because our Lord has sent him to you, commanded him to go, and bring His faithful servant home to be with Him forever. “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His Saints.” (Psalm 116:15) Go tell someone today how much Christ loves them, help them with their fear, lead them to the one who conquered fear and death.