The Death of a Loved One

15 August 2021 PM – Genesis 23 – Gen2021 – Scott Childs
Introduction: The words of Frank E. Graeff’s hymn, Does Jesus Care, are a comfort to the soul when a loved one passes on. “Does Jesus care when my heart is pained Too deeply for mirth or song; As the burdens press, and the cares distress, And the way grows weary and long? Does Jesus care when I’ve said goodbye To the dearest on earth to me, And my sad heart aches till it nearly breaks— Is it aught to Him? does He see? O yes, He cares – I know He cares! His heart is touched with my grief; When the days are weary, the long nights dreary, I know my Savior cares.” GH, p. 289
Transition: When a loved one dies, there are four helpful facts that we should remember, as found here in Genesis 23.
We should remember the fact that …
  1. Death is Inevitable
a.         Physical death is unavoidable
1)         In the Garden of Eden, God warned Adam that if he disobeyed and ate of the forbidden tree he would surely die (Gen 2:17).
2)         Sadly, Adam did disobey and die. From him, we inherited death. (Romans 5:12) “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
3)         Death is the separation of the soul and spirit from the body. The body will return to dust, but the soul and spirit either will live on eternally in God’s presence or separated from God in hell.
4)         Except for Enoch and Elijah, as far as we know, every human who has ever lived has eventually died. If the Lord does not return in our lifetime, we too will die.
5)         God assures us that at the moment of death, the soul of a believer enters God’s presence. (2 Corinthians 5:8) “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
b.         Death is no respecter of persons
1)         Sarah was 127 years old when she died (v.1). We expect people to die when they are old. That is natural.
2)         Every life is like a flower in God’s garden, and sometimes He chooses to pick His most fragrant “roses” while they are still in the bud. It is heart-wrenching when a child or young person dies, yet sometimes that is God’s choice.
3)         In the midst of our heartaches, we must never forget that, “The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.” (Psalms 145:9).
We should remember the fact that …
2.        Grieving is Helpful
a.         God gave us our emotions
1)         Abraham mourned and wept over Sarah (v.2). He dearly loved her. At her parting, he missed her greatly.
2)         God created our bodies with emotions. He gave us the ability to weep. The fact that the Hebrew word for “weep” is found 100 times in the Bible is a proof that this emotion is common to man.
3)         Weeping is not shameful. It is natural. Abraham wept. Jacob wept. Joseph wept. Ruth wept. David wept. Mary wept. Even Jesus wept.
b.         Weeping helps to calm the broken heart
1)         Mourning and weeping when a loved one passes is normal, good and helpful. It relieves pent-up emotion and tension.
2)         One medical report lists several benefits of crying.
a)         Crying helps heal grief.
b)         Crying lessens pain by releasing endorphins that help numb pain and calm.
c)         Crying balances emotions.
d)         Crying helps improve your mood by releasing stress hormones.
e)         Crying helps to soothe your parasympathetic nervous system.
f)          Crying helps detox the body.
3)         As you weep, turn to the Lord for comfort. (1 Peter 5:7) “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
We should remember the fact that …
3.        Burial is Temporal
a.         Abraham looked beyond the grave.
1)         When Abraham buried Sarah knew it was only temporary because they looked for a heavenly city. (Hebrews 11:13) “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” (Hebrews 11:16) “But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
2)         Abraham buried Sarah in the Promised Land as a testimony to God’s promise that one day that land would belong to his descendants.
b.         Yes, the grave is only temporary
1)         God promises us that He will resurrect our bodies. (John 5:28-29) “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; ...
2)         God promises Christians that He will raise them to life and give them immortal bodies. (1 Corinthians 15:51-53) “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
3)         If you know Christ, saying goodbye to a Christian loved one is only a temporary separation. Draw comfort from the fact that you will see them again one day in heaven.
We should remember the fact that …
4.        Trusting God is Essential
a.         Talk to yourself about God’s goodness
1)         Your grieving soul may be tempted to think negative or even bitter thoughts. You may ask unanswerable questions. In sorrow, you may be tempted to blame God or get angry with Him.
2)         Instead of focussing on unproductive thoughts, talk to yourself as David did about God. (Psalms 42:11) “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.
3)         Meditate on God’s promises. (Isaiah 26:3) “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” Isaiah wrote to Israel, (Isaiah 41:10) “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” Paul wrote, (Romans 8:38-39) “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” In heaven, (Revelation 21:4) “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” Remember, God is really all you need. (Hebrews 13:5) “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
b.         Press on in God’s strength
1)         After a time of mourning, Abraham resumed normal life.
2)         With God’s grace, we must do the same. Our hope must be in God. (Philippians 4:12-13) “I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do [endure] all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Conclusion: When we lose a loved one, we must remember the four facts found in Genesis 23. Death is inevitable. Grieving is helpful. Burial is temporal. Trusting God is essential.
            The better we know God, the easier we will accept it when He calls a loved one home to be with Him.
Song: Does Jesus Care? 289 #4