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September 12, 2013
By Pastor Gregg Woodard
First Baptist Church, Greenhill
An elderly friend was recently diagnosed with end-stage cancer and given one to three weeks to live. This diagnosis was a shock to his friends and family as he had been in very good health up until this time. After I returned from visiting with my friend for the first time after his diagnosis, my wife asked me a very thought-provoking question: “What do you say to a dying man?” Three truths came to my mind at that moment.
One, death is the end of every person. In a real sense, every person is like my friend, a “dying man.” We may not know when our time on earth is coming to an end and there may not be a prediction of weeks or months for us, but each day we live brings us one step closer to our own eventual death. From the moment we are born, the countdown begins until that day our life ends. Hebrews 9:27 says, “Just as man is destined to die once.” No one escapes death. Death is the universal experience of man: it is our common destiny. It is an appointment none of us will miss.
Two, after death comes judgment. The remainder of Hebrews 9:27 says, “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.” God’s Word makes it very clear that every person will face judgment after their death. And like death, this judgment is inescapable. Every person will eventually answer to God “for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10). Man is born with an innate sense of this impending judgment in the hereafter. We may outwardly deny that we will answer for our decisions regarding Jesus Christ and His offer of salvation, but deep down inside every person knows they will answer to God someday.
Three, the time to prepare for judgment is now. The Bible teaches that God provided a way for man to avoid this impending judgment. Hebrews 9:28 says, “so Christ was offered once to take away the sins of many people.” Jesus offered Himself on the cross to pay the price for our sins, to provide forgiveness for us. It is up to each person to either reject what Jesus has done for us or to accept it. And that decision time is now.