I am going to pose a question here that before some of you finish reading it will may say to yourself “Perhaps I will read a different letter on this website, maybe I will save this one for a later time.” So, right to it then, if you were to be executed tomorrow at nine in the morning for your faith in Christ by having an especially big sword, wielded by a very, strong large man, thrust through your heart, and you had the skills to sharpen that sword to a razors edge, would you ask permission to do so before that fateful hour arrived?
For those of you who have dared to continue, I know, some of you are thinking “That is so morbid, it’s bad enough to talk about death, much less in that way, why would he bring that up,” and that is a very good question, why would we want to give any assistance at all to the inevitable, should we not try to run and hide from death at every opportunity. Have you noticed that the one thing that is going to happen to every single individual on this planet is generally the one subject that nearly everyone wants to avoid, even though the mortality rate for humans is at one hundred percent.
It has never ceased to amaze me the number of born-again believers that hope for the rapture in their lifetime, those that will be caught up, (1st Thess. 4:13-18) to be one of those that will not have to face the death of the flesh, along of course with Enoch and Elijah, but the sad thing is they want this event to occur not so that they can be forever with Christ, but to escape this worlds trouble and suffering, specifically in their own lives, and to escape the touch of death, or in some cases the fear of how they might die. In my opinion, this is a statement that disturbs me about these individuals, for they are not willing to suffer for Christ to the end, to bear the honor of the burdens of pain, sorrow and heartbreak that He allows to enter into our lives, for they seek only a way out, instead of the strength to bear the cross that He has blessed them with. These will not only not desire to sharpen the sword, the instrument of death I spoke of, but will flee from it, for in my mind I see these as those who are lukewarm, (Rev. 3:16) those who will not endure to the end.
“It is appointed a man once to die, then the judgement.” (Heb.9:27) We will leave the superstitious nonsense till another time, the deceiving of millions by Satan of reincarnation, becoming rulers of planets and becoming gods themselves at the moment of their deaths or of a place called purgatory, instead today we will look at the truth that it is appointed for you, me and everyone we have ever known to ultimately leave the flesh and to begin an eternal existence in either heaven or hell from that moment on.
By using the analogy of making sure the sword is sharp, and whether or not you would take that opportunity to sharpen it, I do not mean to make sure that your exit from this life is quick and painless, for we are to die daily, (1st Cor. 15:31) and we are all well aware that when we leave this mortal temple behind the disassembling of it, as it were, can take a very long time, not only for the ones that it is occurring to, but to the eyes of those that have to watch, and the heart can be so very heavy in these times of departure. My heart breaks for those that do not know Christ as Savior at these times, or who have been deceived by a false religious organization into thinking anything other than the truth of the word of God, for they truly have no hope, and the fear must be devastating. “Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1st Cor. 15:57) there is no sting of death for the obedient servant of our Lord, there is but the passing of a moment from this life to the glorious revealing of His wonderful face to us in the next.
Think then, on this narrative if you will, of preparing to board an airplane to go on a trip, a one-way ticket if you will. Your loved ones come to your house from far and near to visit you after you inform them of your upcoming departure, many staying for an evening meal with you, some of them even staying overnight to be with you as long as possible before you leave. As you wake up in the morning, they assist you in packing your bags, sadness is in every hallway, but the sounds of joy is intermixed with it in every room, for you will be sorely missed, and many exclaim their desire that they could go where you are going.
On the ride to the airport there is laughter and memories, and in the terminal the knowledge of the truth that you are leaving starts to set in, that you are leaving for good and you are not coming back, ever. As you walk down the tramway to board your flight, you turn and wave to those who have come so far with you, to those who have loved you, the smiles and tears on the faces of those you have loved the most are the last thing you see as you turn and enter into the Kingdom of the Living God, and to eternal joy and pleasures forever more. (Psalm16:11)
Your entire life you have kept the sword scalpel sharp, you have oiled it, you have ensured that the smooth handle is securely fastened to it, you have prepared your entire life for this one moment, the moment you will finally meet your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. “To live is Christ, to die is gain.” (Phil. 1:21) You are leaving nothing behind here of any value, save those you know you will see and hold again, and they have been entrusted into the hands of Him who will in no wise lose them, (John 10:28) and as for your treasures, they are stored in heaven where they are eternally safe.(Matt. 6:20)
Those who you will see again, sooner than you can imagine, have been taught well by you how to keep the sword sharp, how to rightly divide the word of truth, (2nd Tim. 2:15) how to wield it accurately in righteousness and love. They have been trained to keep it oiled and free from rust, to study His word daily, to seek His will for their lives at all times, to realize the blessings of every single moment, to know that because He lives, they too will live.
You have taught them how to keep the handle free from cracks and defects, the trials and tribulations will never broach the integrity of it, the sufferings that He has allowed has given them a firm grip on the truth of His care and love, the blade will never be separated from the handle, for they have been taught how to endure temptation, to flee from the lust of the flesh, to deny self for the Glory of God.
The implement you wielded in this life has been tested and found to be true, you have rightly divided the Word of the Truth of God. By the strength and power of the Holy Spirit in their lives, theirs will be just as sharp, for not only have they been trained in the use of His powerful Word, but they have never taken off the whole armor of God.
Satan may be allowed by the Lord to hit you with many and varied hard blows while you are on this earth, my friends, but it will be only the soft and gentle voice of the Savior who will call you home, and that day will not arrive until all the work that He has for you is finished. I do not hide from the fact that I am going to leave this mortal temple, and neither should you, for we have no fear of it, the sting of death holds no sway on us.
I will leave you with perhaps the most beautiful and assuring verse I know of in Scripture on this subject, may it give you hope, and cause all fear to depart from you.
“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” (Psalm 116:15)