By Greg Gibson

Intro. How I knew the deceased: 3 stories.

My family and friends, why does there have to be death? Why funerals? Why can’t we live forever, instead of only 75 years avg.? Way back ~3400 years ago, Moses wrote in the Psalms: “The length of our life is 70 years or 80, if we have the strength…” (Ps. 90:10). Why can’t we live forever? Do you know the reason why?

The answer is: “Death Came From Sin, But Eternal Life Comes From Christ”

In the beginning, God didn’t create Adam and Eve to die, but to live forever with Him in the Garden of Eden. They enjoyed perfect happiness living with God. God spoke to them, they heard His voice, and felt His peace and love.

Life with God was perfect. There was no death, no sickness, no pain, no tears, and no hunger. And Adam and Eve had the perfect marriage, perfect love and peace, no fighting. Everyone was happy. Adam and Eve were happy, and God was happy.

But then they lost their perfect life of peace and happiness. Do you know how they lost it? Sin!

God gave them only one command, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die” (Gen. 2:17). But they disobeyed God and sin ruined their perfect lives.

How did sin ruin their lives? They started the gradual process of dying physically. Their bodies grew old, their faces got wrinkles, their hair turned gray, they got tired, and then finally they died.

But worse than that, they died spiritually, separated from God when He sent them out of His presence in the garden. They no longer felt His peace and love. And people were unhappy, and God was unhappy.

The Apostle Paul tells us,

    “…Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned” (Rom. 5:12).

And so that’s why we have to die, have funerals, and burials today because Adam and Eve’s sin brought death to us all.

After their sin, people started getting sick: Cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc. And people started hating and murdering: “Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him” (Gen. 4:8). And husbands and wives started cheating and fighting about money, sex, and house chores.

But God saw how sin separated us from Him. He saw our lying, stealing, unforgiveness, idolatry, sexual immorality, adultery, and drunkenness. So He did something to remove sin and bring people back to Him.

Jesus the God-man came down from heaven to earth to take away sins. He was born of a virgin. He lived a perfect life, the only person who never sinned. And He did many powerful miracles. He calmed the storm winds, walked on the water, cast out demons, made the deaf to hear, made the blind to see, and even raised the dead.

But evil men murdered Jesus on the cross. Then 3 days later, God raised Him from the dead, proving that He is the Son of God. After that, Jesus went up to heaven, and sat down on the throne of God, where He reigns as king over all the universe.

He is the one who has planned how many years you will live: 25, 50, 75 years or more? He is the one who puts food on your table, or holds it back. And He is the one who can forgive your sins, or punish you.

Listen, God did not send His Son the Lord Jesus Christ here to suffer and die so that we could continue living in sin like hypocrites. No! He tells us in 1 Cor. 6…

    “Do you not know that evil people will not receive the kingdom of heaven? Do not be deceived…

Please don’t be deceived by liars who tell you that you can continue sinning, and still go to heaven because you were baptized. The Lord says,

    “Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor alcoholics, nor liars, nor swindlers will receive the kingdom of heaven. And, that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were set apart, you were judged not guilty in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

Did you hear that? In the early church, there were ex-sexually immoral, ex-idolaters, ex-adulterers, ex-prostitutes, ex-gays, ex-thieves, ex-alcoholics, ex-liars, and ex-swindlers. God changed them by His power. It’s impossible to know the great and holy God without being changed by Him.

The good news is that no matter how many sins you’ve done, dozens of sins, hundreds of sins, Jesus Christ is ready to forgive you today. Jesus the True Priest, the only priest who never sinned, can wash away all those years of guilt and sin.

The Lord says,

    “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 6:23).

    “..since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:21).

    “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

God will give the free gift of eternal life to all who trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

Remember when Adam and Eve enjoyed life with God in the Garden where there was no death, no sickness, no pain, and no crying? Well, God is going to recreate the Garden of Eden. And it’s going to come down from heaven to a new earth on the last day.

He tells us in the book of Revelation,

    “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.

    And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the place God lives is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, or sadness, or crying, or pain, for the old things have passed away.’ He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new” (Rev. 21:1-5).

Also in Revelation, our Lord Jesus promises,

    “I am coming soon! My reward is with Me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done…Blessed are those who have the right to enter into the city of heaven. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lies” (Rev. 22:12-15).

My family and friends, may I please ask you a personal question? If you died tonight, do you know for sure that you will enter heaven? When you stand before God’s judgment throne, if He asks you, “Why should I let you into heaven,” what will you say?

If the first words that come out of your mouth are, “I did this, I did that, or I’m a good person,” you have faith in yourself instead of faith in Christ. Your savior is you, instead of Christ.

But if the first words that come out of your mouth are, “Jesus Christ died to pay for my sins,” and your life proved your faith, then God will welcome you into the kingdom of heaven.

When the jailer asked the apostle Paul, “What must I do to be saved?” Paul didn’t say, “Get baptized, go to church, go to confession, try to be good, do this, and do that, etc.” No, no, no! He said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”

Sin brought death, funerals, and burials into the world. But Jesus Christ brought eternal life. Trust Him now to change you and give you the free gift of eternal life.

Edited 6/03/10

An Evangelistic, Funeral Sermon:
Death From Sin, But Eternal Life From Christ
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