Crossroad Church has been rocked in the past two weeks by the deaths of two 29 year olds and a pre-born baby.
The first death occurred in a crash on an icy Interstate Highway on January 6th in Des Moines as Levi Diersen was making his way home from his job at the Pleasantville Hy-vee store.
The second and third deaths occurred last Thursday January 14th, 2010 when Katherine (Yetter) Bowman and her 20 week pre-born baby died of cancer. Katherine is the daughter of one of the long time members of our church. Katherine grew up in this church, and though she didn’t attend here we still feel her loss and the loss of the unborn child keenly. And…we are collectively weeping with those who weep (Romans 12:15).
In light of these three deaths, and in light of the fact that this is Sanctity of Life Sunday my attention has been drawn toward the words of Psalm 139.
Psalm 139:13-16 (ESV)
For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there were none of them.
Six Things I Would Want You to Know if You Were to Attend My Funeral Service:
First, I would want you to know that every single person on this planet was born a sinner and thus separated from the life of God. Romans 3:23 says that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Sin is simply missing the mark of God’s perfect demands. Only a complete fool would deny this reality about himself. Sin created a great gulf between God and man.
Second, I would want you all to know that there was a baby boy born to a virgin named Mary about two thousand years ago. This little baby was born so that he would one day die to bridge this gulf. Joseph and Mary were instructed by the angel to name this baby “Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). The name “Jesus” means “The Lord saves.” This is the reason Jesus, the divine and only begotten Son of the Father, came into this world.
Third, I would want you all to know of how Jesus lived a sinless life in perfect obedience to all of God’s Law. I would want you all to know of Jesus’ roughly three year public ministry where He healed the sick, raised the dead, and loved the lost.
Fourth, I would want you all to know that there is no Gospel without the death and resurrection of Christ. As 100% God and 100% man Jesus was the only person uniquely able to satisfy the righteous demands of a holy God. At the end of Jesus’ public ministry He was brought before two kangaroo courts, convicted on bogus charges, and sentenced to die a cruel death by crucifixion, alongside two common criminals.
As Jesus hung on the Cross He cried out “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” In this moment the Father abandoned His Son. And as Jesus died atonement for sin was indeed made for all who will repent (have a complete change of heart and mind regarding their sin) and put their faith in Christ’s finished work on Calvary’s Cross.
In the perfect sacrifice of Christ’s death He paid the just penalty for sin that we could never pay ourselves. God’s wrath should by all rights have fallen on each one of us but it has been averted for all who surrender themselves to Jesus Christ. Redemption was accomplished, but it still must be applied. There is no such thing as a universal salvation. All people will not go to heaven in the end. All paths do not lead to the same place. All of the major religions of the world do not serve the same God.
As Jesus breathed His last the thick curtain that divided the Holy Place from the Most Holy in the Jewish temple was torn in two (Matthew 27:51). This signified that access to God was now available directly and only through Christ.
The Apostle Paul would later write in I Timothy 2:5 “There is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus…” Apart from this one mediator reconciliation with God is impossible.
Jesus said, as John 14:6 records it, “I am the (definite article as opposed to “a” one among many possibilities) way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me.” It may not be popular. It’s certainly not inclusive, but that does not mean it’s untrue.
Fifth, I would want you all to know that you must repent (have a change of mind and heart) of your sins and put your faith in Jesus Christ, who was “…delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Romans 4:25).
I would encourage you to do what Romans 10:9-10 tells you to do in the most important conditional clause in Scripture: “If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead [then] you will be saved.” But this “believing” is much more than merely a verbal acknowledgment of a propositional truth.
Romans 6:23 says that the wages of sin is death (both physical and spiritual) but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. I would exhort you and plead with you not wait until tomorrow or next year, for no one knows what tomorrow holds. Today is the day of salvation.
I would want you all to know that if God has shown you your need and given you the desire, to do it right now…to pray aloud to God on the spot and tell Him the desire of your heart. I would encourage you to confess before God that you are a guilty, lost, and helpless sinner, and with all sincerity ask Christ to save you and take His rightful place as the Lord of your life, enabling you to turn from sin and live for Him. That’s what I would encourage you to pray.
Sixth and finally, I would encourage each and every one of you to begin attending a church where the Bible is believed to be the Word of God, where the death, resurrection, and Second Coming of Christ are believed to be literally true, and where the people are filled with grace and love toward one another and outsiders, and where the glory and grandeur of God oozes from its DNA. These are just a few things that I would want you to know if you were attending my funeral service.
I’m optimistic that this event will not occur in the near future, but if it does then you have been duly warned. Either way you have been duly warned. If I could predict with pinpoint accuracy the epicenter of a 7.0 magnitude earthquake that would end up killing 70,000 people on the Island of Haiti, it would be unloving for me not to disclose this information.
There is a very high likelihood that you and I will someday die. When that day comes what will happen to you and upon what is your answer to this question based?
Once again pondering my own mortality in recent days,