THREE SIDES IN THE HOUR OF DEATH

Bill W Lovie

1 Thessalonians 4: 14 (from “so also”)

John 11: 33-35

Song of Songs 6: 2

        I would seek help, beloved, to say a little as to the three sides in the hour of death: our sister’s part, the part the family and the brethren, and the Lord’s part.  The Lord, of course, is involved in all three.  Our sister’s part is to be “asleep through Jesus”.  She has “fallen asleep through Jesus”.  It is a wonderful care and consideration of the Lord Jesus for His own, one that has loved Him, one that He has loved.  It is His own act.  He comes Himself to put to sleep a lover of Himself.  How wonderful that is!  So our sister’s part, as we know from another scripture, is “very much better”, Phil 1: 23.  The exercises and concerns of life are over:

        "Asleep through Jesus” - blessed state!

                              (Hymn 375)

What a blessed state it is!  “Asleep through Jesus” involves perfect peace.  That is tremendous encouragement for every one that is a lover of the Lord Jesus.  Paul could say what was lying before him was being raised in a “body of glory”, Phil 3: 21.  “The Lord Himself” comes.  That shows that He has the authority over death; He has the authority in power; in that day our sister will shine.  He will gather every lover of Himself to be forever with Him.  Our sister awaits that; that is what lies before her; nothing else is lying before her except that.  Responsibility is over, “asleep through Jesus”.  How wonderful!

        When we come to chapter 11 of John we have the family’s part - it is a well-known section of scripture - it is Jesus Himself who loved them  He loved them individually.  He loves every one who knows Him as Saviour.  The Lord Jesus in the presence of death “was deeply moved in spirit”.  The Lord felt it like no-one else could; the family feel it when those that we know and love die.  The Lord says that of Lazarus: “Lazarus has died”.  We feel that, the links that are broken.  Our sister has been a sister, a wife, a mother and a grandmother.  These links are broken, and the Lord felt that, felt it like no other.  He was the sinless One, but He was going to deal with the whole matter of sin.  Sin and death had intruded upon the natural family.  He felt it like no other could in divine perfection.  He “was deeply moved in spirit, and was troubled”.  “Jesus wept”.  Think of these feelings!  The Lord is able to sympathise with those that are left.  What a comfort that is too that the Lord Himself wept with this family here.  He was going to deal with the whole matter.  There is that wonderful hymn we began with:

        Thy death and resurrection, Lord,

         (How faith rejoices in the word!)

                               (Hymn 398)

What word is that?  Resurrection!  The Lord Jesus has gone into the grave, has broken its power.  What a wonderful resurrection, but the Lord in this chapter says, “I am the resurrection and the life”, v 25.  It is in Him.  We were reminded last week that burial is in view of resurrection.  The Lord Jesus is out of death, and every one that believes on Him who dies is going to live.  This occasion is not for our sister; it is for those that are left.  The Lord would bring in His own word of comfort in this occasion.  What a comfort we find as we have to do with the Lord Jesus!

        We can apply the Song of Songs to the Lord’s part.  The Lord “is gone down into his garden”.  Think of the Lord in His movements; He has rights in His assembly.  It is His garden.  “My beloved is gone down into his garden, to the beds of spices”.  There is that which is fragrant, that which is pleasing to His heart, that which He is working out throughout all the exercises of life, that which is for His own joy.  He goes down “To feed” and “to gather lilies”.  The Lord has gathered our sister.  Beloved, that is His own precious work; lilies speak of purity.  We have had a touch as to that.  Think of the purity of that which goes through, His own work, and it is a little picture of what He is going to have when He comes to take His assembly to be forever with Himself, what joy for His heart, but at the present time one by one the Lord is gathering, gathering His own, gathering His lilies.  It is His own act.  It is what Jesus does, gathers those to be with Himself, those that He has pleasure and delight in.  He takes them one by one, soon to be seen in display in a day to come, but at the present time the Lord is taking one by one to be with Himself because they are His own. 

        May we be encouraged by these things for His Name’s sake!  

Peterhead

23rd August 2023

Words at the burial meeting for Mrs Muriel Gray