Below is an excerpt from the conclusion of Bob Russell’s sermon, “Back to Bible Basics,” preached at Southeast Christian Church, July 16 & 17.
My friends John and Doris Foster looked after an elderly widow for several years. Bernice Ely, a retired Jefferson County teacher and a Sunday School teacher at Saint Matthews Baptist Church lived by herself. But Mrs. Ely needed increased assistance as she aged.
Bernice dreaded losing her independence and ending up in a nursing home but she had no immediate family to take care of her. “Please don’t let me wind up in a nursing home,” she pleaded. Doris and John assured her they would help as long as possible.
But there came a day when Mrs. Ely got so feeble the Fosters said, “Bernice, we’re sorry but we’ve just got to take you to a care facility.” She reluctantly agreed. John packed some of her basic belongings in a pickup truck and Doris followed with the feeble Mrs. Ely in the front seat of her car.
But halfway to the nursing home Doris noticed her frail passenger was slumped over in the seat and was unresponsive. Doris pulled over to the curb to secure Mrs. Ely’s seat belt. However, when she touched her arm she realized Bernice Ely had died. She died on the way to the nursing home! How good is that?
When Doris got to the care facility John asked, “What happened to you? I thought you were right behind me.” Doris said, “I was. But we had to stop by heaven on the way.”
To die peacefully on the way to the nursing home is one of the best ways to go I can think of. But the truth is no one escapes death. The Bible says, “It is appointed unto every person to die.” We all die at one time or another. What’s most important is that when death comes it’s just a brief stopover on the way to heaven. That’s the basic goal of all of us.
That assurance of eternal life is only promised through Jesus Christ. Only Jesus claimed to be God and proved it by performing undeniable miracles. Only Jesus lived a sinless life and could fulfill the law’s demands. Only Jesus died an atoning death; the Bible says, “God laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Only Jesus can realistically say, “I am the resurrection and the life, whoever believes in me will live even though he dies.”
Our eternal hope is summed up in this one phrase of Scripture: “As in Adam all die. Even so in Christ will all be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:22).
I like the words to the contemporary Christian song, “We Believe.” It’s a relevant rallying cry for believers all across the nation:
In this time of desperation
When all we know is doubt and fear
There is only one foundation
We believe, we believe
In this broken generation
When all is dark, You help us see
There is only one salvation
We believe, we believe
We believe in God the Father
We believe in Jesus Christ
We believe in the Holy Spirit
And He’s given us new life
We believe in the crucifixion
We believe that He conquered death
We believe in the resurrection
And He’s comin’ back again, we believe
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