Paul was facing death at the hands of the Roman government. It would not have been a self-imposed death except that he could probably have escaped it by denying his faith in Christ. In Philippians 1:21-27 he discusses his ambivalent feelings about life and death. In a small measure, Maurice (not his real name) must have felt similar feelings.
Eulogy: It has been my privilege to be Pastor and friend to Maurice Lamb for most of his adult life. He has served with distinction on the deacon board of this church for a number of years, and played on our church softball team. Unfortunately, Maurice got his eyes off Jesus and drifted away from Him and the Church. But about six months ago he realized what had happened to himself and he rededicated his life to Jesus. In January of this year, he formalized that rededication by praying a prayer of repentance with me in my office. I am convinced of his sincerity, and a visible change came over Maurice at that time.
The unfortunate circumstances surrounding his death on Thursday night give rise to a lot of questions. I don’t presume to have all the answers, but I believe I do have some. Let’s look at some of the questions and their corresponding answers:
1. Isn’t suicide a slippery slope into hell?
A. The logic on which this assumption is founded:
Suicide is the murder of one’s own life and Murder is a sin. Besides one cannot repent after death
Therefore, that sin can never be forgiven and un-forgiven sinners go to hell.
That logic appears to be sound but fails to take into account one very important thing: the grace of God!
God’s grace is big enough that it covers every sin you committed in the past, in the present, and in the future.
2. Isn’t suicide a cheap and easy ticket to heaven?
A. It isn’t cheap: the cost in human suffering is immeasurable. Look at the impact on those who love you and depend upon you.
B. It isn’t easy: it may be the easy way out for the individual, but somebody else ends up paying the price.
C. The price is protracted: this family will now grow up without a husband and father. Something will be missing from their lives, for all their lives.
D. If Maurice had stopped to think about all this, he never would have taken his own life. He loved his family too much to submit them to this pain. He was a baby Christian who had not learned how to apply Christian principles to solve the problems of life.
E. More often than not, suicide is a costly way to die, in long-term human pain and suffering. It forever closed the door of opportunity to be of service for the Kingdom of God.
3. Did Maurice go to heaven?
A. As with anybody, only God knows that answer for sure, but I believe Maurice had made his peace with God 6 months ago.
B. There was an obvious change that came into Maurice’s life (even those of you who are not ready to meet God probably saw that change in Maurice.)
C. Even though the last six months were a time of personal turmoil in Maurice’s life, that Christian grace showed through in his life.
D. In the light of these, in my mind there is no doubt about where Maurice is today.
4. What would Maurice tell you today?
A. How much he regrets giving up the gift of life Thursday night. And how he wishes he could change that.
B. What a fool he was to walk away from God several years ago. That he regrets all the years he wasted living in sin.
C. How thankful he is that he came back to God 6 months ago. How important it is that you get ready today?
5. How do you do that?
A. Salvation is as simple as ABC. Accept the fact that you are lost without God (Romans 3:23 “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God”)
B. Believe that God loves you and will forgive you (Romans 10:9-10)
C If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Confess Jesus as Lord of your Life
A sermon by Dr. Arnold Lastinger
(If this sermon was helpful to you please consider leaving your feedback in the comments section at the bottom. It would be a great encouragement to me personally.)