Series of 13 Sermons by Pastor Ron Thomas On
"Our Final Journey"

801 West Buckingham Rd. - Garland, TX 75040

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Final Journey Series

Text: Ecclesiastes 8:8. "There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it." Ecclesiastes 12:7. "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it."

Text: Ecclesiastes 8:8. "There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it." Ecclesiastes 12:7. "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it."

Introduction: Our lives are filled with all sorts of journeys; short journeys, long journeys; journeys in our minds and hearts; journeys toward God and away from God; journeys that are as trivial as a trip to the store, or as powerful and life changing as a trip to the hospital to witness the miracle of birth. Our lives are made up of such journeys; journeys that shape and mold us into who we are today.

Life itself is a journey that begins at birth and ends with death. There are hills and valleys along the way as well as sudden turns and surprises. Job comments about his particular journey in Job 23:10 and says, "But He knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold." Everyone has a life journey that is distinct and different. Many if not most of the events of our lives are beyond our control, ordained by God for our good.

This series is about our greatest journey of all, the journey that lies just ahead of us, our last journey, our journey into eternity. While we have a measure of control over our own lives in this world, no one controls the moment of their death, nor the departure or destination of their soul spirit. Someday, some moment, we will leave this world, this existence, this body. We will make our final exit and be transported into the presence of God. From there all humanity will take one of two directions, and arrive at one of two destinations, that are as different as light and darkness.

In this series, we will trace OUR FINAL JOURNEY with the intent of making the most of this brief pilgrimage on earth, and better preparing ourselves for eternity!


Introduction: In this sermon, we are going to talk about the one thing no one likes to discuss. No, its not diarrhea. Its Death. Death is the topic most people avoid. Even when we are facing death and must talk about it, we use all sorts of euphemisms to disarm and soften its severity. Instead of saying "He is dead," we say things like, "He has passed away," "has gone to a better place," "is laid to rest," "has gone on to his reward," "has gone home," "is with the Lord," "has laid down his burden," "has crossed life's river," "he gave up the ghost," "has checked out," "has kicked the bucket," "has bought the farm," "has bit the dust," "is deep sixed," "has cashed in his chips," "he croaked," or " has mailed in his warranty card." There is a lot of fear, superstition, and ignorance, associated with death. Somehow we feel the mere mention of death, might hasten our own.

People deal with death in different ways and with different attitudes.

Some deny it altogether. Rather than admit that death is inevitable, they deny that it will ever happen to them. There was a cosmetic commercial not long ago that urged women to defy the process of aging by using their product. Over and over again they used the phrase, "Defy it. Defy it," as if the inevitable could be avoided by using their product. Well, it might help disguise it, it might cover it up, but it will not cancel the appointment. We can do battle with the process of aging and death both cosmetically, with creams, jells, mud packs, and procedures such as face lifts, tummy tucks, lypo-suction and the like, , athletically through exercise, dietary with fiber, and medically with surgery and transplants, but it is a battle we will ultimately lose.

Another attitude toward death is that of dread or fear. Notice Hebrews 2:14-15. "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage." Of all the fears and anxieties we sustain in human life, the fear of death is likely the most universal, and it can be an especially paralyzing fear. This passage says that to some, death is a lifetime preoccupation and paranoia that can enslave. Those afraid of death are so, because to them, the term is associated with darkness, pain, suffering, loneliness and the unknown.

A third common way people deal with the inevitability of death, is to delay it. This might be called the bridge attitude. They view death as a bridge that must be crossed somewhere, sometime down the road, a bridge they will cross when they get to it. Meanwhile, why worry? These people do not deny death or dread it, they simply resolve to put it out of their minds, taking it as it comes. Death is a bridge they will cross when they get to it.

So, what should our attitude be as believers toward death? Are we to embrace death? Look forward to our death? Are we to be morbid in our outlook and lifestyles, only wearing black and constantly inserting the topic in our conversations with others? The answer is obvious. As believers in Jesus Christ, we are about life, not death. Our Savior has told us in John 10:10, "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."

FACING THE INEVITABLE is important as it relates to our lives for Jesus Christ. Henry Van Dyke said, "Some people are so afraid to die that they never begin to live." Truly we are not ready to live, until we are prepared to die. FACING THE INEVITABLE is something we all must do, especially believers. By facing death properly, we can face life and invest our lives for Christ. How? Here are four ways we as believers, FACE THE INEVITABLE.


We are not to view death through the eyes of ignorance and superstition. Our view of death must be one that is based on the Holy Scriptures. A look into God's Word emphasizes two central truths regarding death.

First, death is our enemy. Death must be viewed as an intruder and a thief. In the beginning, God created all things and it was "good." Death was never a part of God's creation. It was not a natural occurrence. It did not exist. Death had its entrance with Satan and sin. By man's disobedience, death made its entrance into the world, and became both inevitable and considered a natural part of our existence. Romans 5:12 says, "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." Genesis 5 gives a long genealogy beginning with Adam, and throughout the chapter is recorded that mournful phrase, " and he died.., and he died.., and he died..." Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 says, "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:2 A time to be born, and a time to die." Death is evil. It is not good. Death is the thief that robs us of our friends and loved ones. Death is our enemy. By the way, death as an enemy will one day be destroyed! Notice I Corinthians 15:26. "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death."

Second, death is associated with the devil, and is under his authority. Notice Hebrews 2:14 again. "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil."

Death is the consequence of sin, and one of the weapons used by Satan to wage war on humanity and against the cause of Christ. Jesus said in Matthew 23:29-31. "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets."

Because death is evil and our enemy, it is entirely appropriate to be angry at death, hate death, and grieve at the death of our loved ones. In John 11, Jesus responded to the death of His friend Lazarus with both anger and weeping. In verses 33-35 we read, "When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, He groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto Him, Lord, come and see. Jesus wept. Then said the Jews, Behold how He loved him!" The phrase "groaned in the spirit," describes an attitude of indignation or anger. Jesus was outraged that His friend was dead. The enemy, the devil, had claimed another victim and was using it to create doubt. Then Jesus wept tears of sympathy for those around Him in their loss and grief.


I Corinthians 15, is known as the great resurrection chapter. At the conclusion of this chapter, the apostle Paul records a victory shout over death. Notice verses 51-58.

"Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

52 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.

53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord."

We love to get even. We love it when the bad guy gets it in the end. Some of us cannot wait for Sadam Hussen to get a cond dose of his own medicine! We also know that vengeance belongs to the Lord, it is never our business to get even with anyone. We are not to rejoice in the bad news and misfortune of others. However, here is one exception. Praise God, at the resurrection of Jesus Christ, death got ripped off! Jesus picked the pockets of death! Because of Jesus Christ and His glorious resurrection, death has been transformed form an ending into a beginning; from a period into a comma; from a conclusion into an introduction; from a final destination into a rest stop."

Our victory over death is evidenced time and time again throughout the Word of God, in how the death of God's children is expressed and exposed. Here are nine references in the Bible to the death of the redeemed.

1. The death of the saints is precious in the sight of God. Psalms 116:15. "Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints."

2. To die in the Lord is to be removed from evil. Isaiah 57:1-2. "The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come. He shall enter into peace: they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness."

3. Those who die in the Lord are escorted by the angels of God from this world into the next. Luke 16:22. "And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried."

4. Those who die in the Lord go immediately into a place called Paradise. Luke 23:42-43. "And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise."

5. The death of the saved is a departure, an exodus. II Timothy 4:6. "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand."

6. To die in the Lord is to experience an existence, that is far better than anything on this earth. Philippians 1:21-24. "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you."

7. To die in the Lord is to go home. II Corinthians 5:6-9. "Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of Him."

8. Death for the believer is compared to sleep. I Thessalonians 4:13-14. "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him." I Thessalonians 5:9-11. "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do."

9. Death for the believer is to enter a blessed rest, to cease from our earthly labors. Revelation 14:13. "And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them."


Psalm 90:9-10. "For all our days are passed away in Thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told. The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away." Verse 12. "So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." Surely you have heard the joke of the drunk who stumbled into an open grave at night. The man struggled and struggled for hours to get out and finally gave up. As he sat there in the darkness, another man who was inebriated fell into the same open grave. Of course, he immediately tried to get out never seeing the other fellow in the same grave. After a few minutes of struggling to get out, the first man who was sitting there in silence, spoke up and said, "You might as well give up. There's no way out." Guess what? He got out!

Understanding our own appointment with death and the brevity of life, it should teach us, motivate us, to make the most of the days before us. Life is the most precious commodity we posses, because it is a limited resource. Today, we have less time, fewer days, than we had yesterday. Jesus Himself said, "I must work the works of Him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work."


Hebrews 9:27. "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." They say a man's life is made up of 20 years of his mother asking him where he is going, 40 years of his wife asking him where he has been, and one hour at his funeral with everyone wondering where he went. Every individual on this earth will one-day make their FINAL JOURNEY. We are all born for eternity, and we all have an appointment with death. You see, eternity has a door, and death is that door. It is the door of no return. Beyond that door there are no second chances. The Bible says that all have sinned and fallen short of God's glory, God's righteousness. Jesus said that all must be "born again." Are you ready for that FINAL JOURNEY? Is our family ready? Are your friends, your neighbors, your school mates ready? FACING THE INEVITABLE should give us a vision for a lost world that is by and large unprepared to meet God.

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