Sunday Morning | August 13, 2023 | John C. Majors | Louisville, KY
In the sermon titled "Dying to Live," Pastor John discusses how Jesus confronted the concept of death differently from us. It emphasizes that our view of death shapes our approach to life. Jesus' encounter with Greeks symbolizes his mission expanding beyond Jews, highlighting the transition in his ministry. The structure presented is a ladder, with one side illustrating Jesus' approach to death and the other applying it to us. Pastor John highlights themes of Christ's death bringing life, dying to self leading to true living, trusting and listening to the Father's will, achieving reconciliation through death, and the fleeting nature of time urging us to walk in the light and contemplate the significance of Christ's death and resurrection for hope and meaning.
At Valley View Church we are currently studying through the entire gospel of John, verse by verse. You can join us on Sunday mornings at 11 AM for worship. We are located at 8911 3rd Street Road, Louisville KY 40272.
Welcome to Valley View Church's podcast. We hope this message encourages you. For more information about our church, check us out at the church. Talk. You are the. Oh, God. Oh, hey, men. Thank you, Lord. Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh. Thank you, Lord God, You love your Lord. I love you. I love a man I love. Oh, you. Oh, good boy. A man can't stop praising. How many of you wish that was your problem? Every day, right? Can't stop praising the Lord. Oh, you. Thank you, Lord. I'll just. Just keep. I'm just going to keep praying here, Lord. We do. Thank you. Thank you for what you've done. Oh, God. We just praise you, Lord. Oh, yeah. We praise you for being faithful to through whatever we face. Oh, thank you. That you were there. Oh, I thank you for your comfort, for your character, for Your Holiness. When we're not holy, you're holy, we're not pure, you're pure, we're not faithful. You're faithful. Can I pray this morning as we continue to worship, as we look at your word, I pray your presence, the overwhelming nature of your presence would just continue on us. Thank you, Jesus, for this morning, Lord. Thank you. That we can worship. Thank you for that. You comfort us. Amen. Well, good morning. It is good to worship with you today. And I love when the spirit moves in ways we can't plan. Not in my sermon notes. All right. We're going to be okay with that. I've got to be okay with that. I mean, that was our prayer this morning. I was walking down the hall with the lady and she says, I know that God is going to move in revival in a powerful way. And honestly, I felt a little uncomfortable. Are you sure? Are. You sound a little too confident about that. Are you really sure? No. I know God is going to move. She had to get on me. I've been praying. I've been waiting too long. He's going to move in Revival in a powerful way. We forget that. It's easy to forget that he he really does want to move. He really does. The question is, am I ready for that? I'm not always ready for that. It's not always comfortable. It's not always according to plan, which fits in well with what I had did plan to talk about today, because one reality of life is one of the things we don't always plan for. We're looking at John chapter 12 today, and it reminded me of a story that I experienced and that my family experienced when we were serving as missionaries in the South Pacific. I've mentioned that before. We lived outside of the capital city on a large island. The capital city was Suva. We lived in a small village outside of it and each day when I would drive or ride in the taxi from our village to the main city where we worked, there was just one road into the city and along the side of that road was this gigantic clearing on the hill and covering the entire hill for what seemed like a good solid mile was a cemetery, and it was so overwhelming. Many times we like to took our cemeteries away out of sight behind gates. Because I don't know about you, but I don't really like to be reminded about death. I like to avoid it. I like to not think about it. But every day driving past that, I got to tell you that it was almost like an audible voice that came to mind over and over again. Don't forget, don't ever forget that you'll be there someday. I didn't like hearing that. I would have gone a different route. That was the only way to get to that city. I would have gone all the way around that cemetery every day. Don't forget. Don't be deceived. There will be a day. The death rate, I'm pretty sure, is pretty close to 100%. None of us will escape death. And in the passage today, though, John, Chapter 12 Jesus talks about death. And this This is one of the reasons why I preach through a book. It's the Bible, by the way, because I don't wake up on Monday morning to go, you know, I think Sunday we really need to focus on death. Wouldn't that be great? Wouldn't they just come in in droves to hear that? No, I'm not showing up for that sermon series on death. But when we preach through books of the Bible, when we work our way through a book of the Bible, we're going to encounter stuff that we might naturally avoid, that I might naturally avoid. But death is a reality we all face will face and honestly have faced with loved ones and those close to you. And Jesus has a perspective on death. And today we're going to see John. Chapter 12 versus 20 is where we're going to start What Jesus thinks about death. Now, there's one challenge for us as we look at his view on death. One challenge for us is he's going to view death personally very differently than we will, right? Because he knows resurrection for himself is coming back. That's very different than, well, there will be a resurrection, but in the near term, his death is a little different than ours. But what we're going to see in this passage are four ways he view death. And to try to make this a little easier. If you're a note taker, Isaac's going to hate me for this. Okay. By the way, Isaac, the guy who's jumping around here, he's also kind of our graphic design guy, and he makes ugly things look pretty on screen. Isaac, I apologize in advance. I sketched this on a sheet of paper last night, but I had in mind kind of a ladder structure. All right? And on each rung of the ladder are the four ways Jesus viewed death. He's going to talk about death in here. And of course, the way it applies to him on the left side is different than how it applies to us. So we'll talk about his perspective on death and then what that means for us. So if you like taking notes, you might sketch that out on the sheet of paper and fill that in as we go. It might help you track along with the reality. Jesus has a perspective on death and he wants us to learn from him in the midst of that. So, John, Chapter 12. We've been working through the book of John. John Chapter 1220 through 36 is what we're going to work through. And if you don't have a Bible, we have Bibles out in the connection corner. That passage, I think the passage has already been up on the screen with the page number of page 845 is tied into that free Bible that's out there for you. Take that. Keep it. We want you in God's word. We want you studying God's Word. We want you reading it on your own. That is the way you are going to grow personally, spiritually, in knowing the Lord. We're going to start with the first couple of verses here, verse 23, 22 and get our bearings, get the setting of the passage, get the setting up today's story. So I'm going to read here verse 20. Now, among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. So these came to Philip, who was from Masada in Galilee, and asked him, Sir, we wish to see Jesus. Philip went and told Andrew. Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. So we have the setting. Jesus has been in the temple area teaching, and now some Greeks come and they want to get some time with him. They want to get some of Jesus teaching with them as well. Now we got to do a little bit of unpacking to understand why this happened. This way, though, calling someone a Greek at this time doesn't mean in particular that they are only from Greece. I heard our mother talk about it this way. He said he has Amish roots. His family came from Amish backgrounds. Our mothers and president Southern Seminary, very influential throughout Baptists shout out to Southern Seminary over here. But he said that he has Amish background. And for the Amish, anyone who's not Amish is called English. If you're from Iran or as Becca, Stan or even Arkansas, they call you English if you're not Amish. And at this time, with the spread of Hellenism which was Greek culture that spread across the world because of Alexander the Great conquering the world from a Jews perspective, anyone who was not Jew was oftentimes we say Gentile, but also Greek. Anybody else other than Jews, those who follow the one true God, they are the Greeks. Now, if you remember back to our study in the book of Ephesians, we talked about how there was this wall, this partition in the temple, because part of what the Ephesians talked about was we need to break down the barriers that are between us. Christ breaks down the barrier that is between us. But there was literally a wall in the temple that said if you're not a Jew, don't come past here. And if you do, your death is on your own hands. It's not necessarily a great church growth strategy. I don't think we're not going to employ that here. But the point being, the Greeks couldn't get to Jesus. He must have been on the other side of that barrier. They couldn't get to him. And so they come to Andrew and say, Can get time with Jesus. Why did they come to Philip? Why did they come to Philip, and why did Philip go to Andrew? Philip and Andrew are the only disciples with Greek names. And so there's a good chance, much like Timothy, Timothy's mother, was Jewish, but his father was Greek, and more than likely their Greek names were a clue. These are guys we can probably go to Philip if you know the city, Philadelphia city of Brotherly Love. Filippo is one of the Greek words for love, but it's also Philip Leo Hippo, which doesn't mean he was really large, but hippos, the Greek word for horse. A horse probably raised horses. Horse lover, friend of horses. Andrew The Greek word behind that, Andros just means man, That would simplify a lot of things, wouldn't it? Hey, man, let's go on. Chief. Andrew Manly, courageous. And I know what our worship leader is thinking. That's right. Manly. His name's Andrew, by the way. Courageous. So they come to them and they say, we we need to get an audience with you. They probably could speak their language. There was a good chance. I spent this week on a road trip going from here. I left last Sunday after church on the way to Arizona because my oldest son, he's a sophomore, starting his sophomore year in college, Grand Canyon Canyon University, in fact, show up some of these images of our road trip. This was our first night camping spot, unbelievably majestic. That was our second night sleeping under this Mexican hat. If you've seen cars, a lot of this scenery showed up in the movie. Cars keep going. Here we are at Monument Valley. A lot of those buttes. And then lastly, we were at this arch. That's us. You can barely see us standing in the middle of this free standing. Oh, thank you. That's how you do it. Free standing, arch and arches. We traveled across the U.S. We stopped and camped a few nights, and you can take that down. Eventually we ended up in Phenix and we stayed at a buddy's house. A friend of mine I went to seminary with in Phenix. His name's Harold. And Harold married a Hispanic woman. And what they do in their home is he talks to the kids in English. She talks to them in Spanish from the very beginning. That's how they've done it. And the kids can go either way, no problem at all. Our world. It's crazy how quickly our world is changing in a lot of ways, just even the languages we use. But in their home. Yeah, we've raised our kids to be able to talk. Who knows? Maybe Philip. Andrew had been raised that way. For whatever reason, the Greeks come to them and say, We need to get time with Jesus. And here is the shocking part of that where we ended last week in verse 19. Just look back at verse 19, if you recall what was happening. The Pharisees said to one another, You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him at the very moment. Those who should have been bowing down at Jesus, those who should have been saying, We will follow you, you are a messiah. The very moment they are rejecting him, literally, the whole world is coming to him. Those from other parts of the country, God, fears of the world, God fears who just want to know how do I get to know God? I've got I've heard about Jesus. Maybe he has the answers. I've got to get time around him. And you get this contrast between those who are rejecting him and those who are coming to him. And this sets the stage now for how Jesus is going to respond. So Philip and Andrew come and say, Jesus, can you get a little bit of time here with these guys they've traveled from? Who knows where they just want a few minutes with you. Let's look at how Jesus responds to them. Look at verse 23. Jesus answered them the hour has come for the son of man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it. Whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me where I am there will my servant be Also, if anyone serves me, the father will honor him. So Philip and Andrew. Jesus. Can you get some time with these guys? They're expecting just yes or no. And Jesus goes off on some rambling about fruit and death and hating yourself. And they've got to be going. What? In fact, they probably are expecting him to say yes. He scolded them before for keeping the children away. I'll bring them to me. Don't keep them away. And they're anticipating. Yes. And Jesus goes another direction. He doesn't even acknowledge that they are there, doesn't even acknowledge the question. And here we're going to get his first perspective on death, how Jesus views death. And the key phrase to write down here on that top ladder rung is the word life. When Jesus thinks about death, he thinks about life. In fact, on his side, death is what brings life. You can throw up that phrase as well. This hopefully will help you track with it. One a first wrong side has Jesus has said death equals life. Death brings life. It's through his death that real life comes when he died and was raised again. That's where we now can find real life. So he doesn't fear death because he knows there's so much of greater reward through his death. Death equals life. But the other thing that happens here is notice his very first response. Jesus answered them. The hour has come. If you've been paying attention to the book of John, what has he been up until this point? About his hour. It's not here yet. His mom comes. Ask him to turn or do something about the wine that had run out. It's not my time. It's not my hour. He says it again to another group, not my hour, not my time. But when the Greeks show up now it's my time. Now things have been set in motion that will bring about my death, which will bring about life. Now, he also has some other comments on that as well in terms of what that means for us. And one of the ways this applies to us as well is that there is some truth to that. Our death bringing life not in the same way that Jesus does, but surely a number of us have read stories of famous missionaries or martyrs who have laid their life on the line for the gospel, and it has led to hundreds, thousands, millions more knowing about Christ than ever would have known because of their sacrifice as well. You know, their death doesn't save anyone, but it is a factor in the spread of the gospel. I remember hearing about Jim Elliott in College Missionary to in Ecuador, to the Alcoa Indians. He was martyred. He was killed. His wife stayed to continue to reach those missionaries. The books by Elizabeth Elliott about that or mind blowing. Unbelievable. And he had this famous quote that he wrote obviously before he died, thought of on screen. He says he is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain, what he cannot lose. I mean, saw his life as a vessel, whether I keep it or not, the ultimate goal is for God to be glorified, for the gospel to be multiplied. And there's a famous story of two guys that could take a while to unpack, but two guys are being martyred. They're being burned to death in the 1500s for basically distributing copies of the Bible in English. Now, when allowed and they're being led to be burned. And one of the guys is really struggling with this, understandably so. And here's what the other guy says to him. Here's what you Lattimer says to him, though, that up on screen as well, play the man, Master Ridley, which was another way of saying man up. Okay, be courageous in this moment. Stop whining. Play the man, Master Ridley. We shall this day lights a candle, which is another layer of irony. They're about to be burned. We shall this day light such a candle By God's grace in England, as our trust shall never be put out. Meaning our death will multiply, will spread the gospel. Many will to know of God's Word and to know Christ because of our sacrifice. So that's one dynamic of the way our death might also bring life to others. But here's one I think that's going to apply to us, most of us, on a daily basis, most often to all of us. And that's just simply dying to self brings life. In fact, that's on that other side of the word life. Dying to self brings life. And anybody who's lived any amount of time knows the reality of this. When I am self-focused, when I am self-centered, when I am only thinking of myself, life does not go well for me or anyone around me. That's not how you want to live. That is death. But if, as Jesus says here, whoever loves his life gives it up, loses it, understands that there's a greater reality than just my own existence. That's where you lose it. But whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. That's a strong word hate about in your home. But in our home we try to avoid using that word, you know? Oh, I hate broccoli. I really hate it. It's pretty strong now. Hate you, hate your life. Does this mean I'm supposed to hate myself? No, that's not what this means. Okay. Jesus already assumes you love yourself. That's one of the great commandments of Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind is drink. Love your neighbor as yourself. Love your neighbor as much as you already love yourself. There's already an assumption that you love yourself but hate your life in this world. Recognize that our existence, our significance, the purpose doesn't exist in this world. The worldly realm is not going to ultimately satisfy. Yes is joy. Yes, there is delight. Yes, there are things that bring us fulfillment. But it's not ultimate, real, meaningful life dying to self is where we find life. And if you've experienced anything of significance in life, you've experienced this. The kingdom work requires dying to self. Spreading. The Gospel requires dying to self. Marriage requires a good marriage requires dying. The self parenting requires first acknowledging how selfish I really am. I get exposed pretty quickly, dying to self to serve others. If you're trying to build a business, you know the amount of sacrifice you've had to put, the amount of things you've had to say no to. For us, part of life comes from death, dying to self day in and day out, over and over and over again. So that's his first perspective on death, is that through death comes life. That's that whole analogy. Grain, wheat falls in the ground multiplies. It's only through death that life ultimately springs forth and comes forth. The second rung here is in the next set of verses. Look at verse 27 with me now my soul is troubled and what shall I say? Father saved me from this hour. But for this purpose I've come to this hour, Father, glorify your name. Then a voice came from heaven. I have glorified it. I'll glorify it again. The crowd that stood there heard it, said that it had thundered. Others said An angel has spoken to him. On the second rung of the ladder is the father's will. When Jesus thinks about death, he thinks about the Father's will. To him, obeying the Father is more important with going than going with how you feel. And look what I love about what he says here. Now my soul is troubled. Jesus says My soul is troubled. It is okay to acknowledge how you feel, but it is okay to acknowledge the reality of where you are. In fact, I would say it's unhealthy to just over Spiritualized what you're feeling and where you are. Acknowledge where you are. My soul is troubled, but here's what he says. In fact, the common phrase today is follow your heart. I follow your heart. Take where your heart leads you. The Bible says, Lead your heart. Go before your heart. Lead it along where it needs to end up. If I just follow my heart, that is not a good place to be. I need to lead my heart. And this is what Jesus does. My soul is troubled. So what shall I say in response to that? Is this what I should pray, Father? Save me from this? Our should I pray the same thing that the crowd has just been saying to him, Hosanna, save us now. That's what Hosanna means. Just in the previous verses. Hosanna! Hosanna! Save us now! Jesus. Should I pray that saved me. Lord. But for this purpose I have come in the midst of struggling. He preaches truth to himself. No, this is why I'm here. Yes, I'm trouble. But this is what I'm called to do. And so when we think of the Father's will for Jesus, he said, I got to trust the father's will. That's on his side of the ladder. Number two, the trust of the fathers will. Now, what does that mean for us? Okay, We need to trust the father's will as well. But there's a first layer to that. God shows up God the father, and speaks for the crowd to hear. But there were two responses. What? What does half the crowd say or whatever? A portion of the crowd, whether it's half or not? How did it sound to them? Like thunder, Just large, loud sound, no discernible words like maybe like the parents and Charlie Brown's is wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah. Just well, you don't even know what they say. You don't know what it means. Their ears weren't attuned to hear from the Lord. In fact, it could have been easy to say Maybe that was God, maybe it wasn't. It could have just been thunder. You said it was God speaking, but another part of the crowd goes, They get a lot closer. Oh, that was an angel. An angel has spoken to clearly some divine voice has spoken to Jesus. This is a holy moment. This is a divine moment in this. And so for us, when we think about the father's will, the first step is to hear the fathers will listen to the father's. Will Jesus trust the father's will? He already knew it. But first we got to hear it. We've got to have ears that are attuned to hear from him, ears that are open to hearing from him. We've got to want to be in the place to hear from him. Minute I've been there where I'm like, I don't know that I want to hear what he has to say about this right now. I think already know what he'll say. I'm not sure I want to hear that. I want to just kind of keep thinking what I think. But how can we have ears to hear, to hear him, to move towards him in the midst of whatever we're facing, while at the same time acknowledging the reality of the pain? There is real suffering and real pain in life. And it's okay to acknowledge that, but keep moving towards him in the midst of that. All right. That's the second rung of the ladder. Now. Number three, look at verses 32, 33, Jesus answered. This voice has come for your sake, not mine. Now is the judgment of this world. Now we're the ruler of, this world be cast out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself. He said this to show about what kind of death he was going to die. The third word on the third rung of the ladder is reconciliation. When Jesus thinks of his death, he knows, as he said here, when I'm lifted up, I will draw all people to myself. And this is important in this context in the Jews versus Greeks or Gentiles, context, it exposes the reality that we naturally divide. We naturally find ways to pull apart from one another. We have to fight for unity. We aren't naturally drawn to one another. A friend of mine in seminary went to pastor a church in Ohio. It was a church he had grown up in as well. It was part of the Brethren denomination. And he said, just to be clear, I want you to know we're from the Pro Buttons side of the Brethren denomination. Pro buttons. What are you talking about? It's like, well, if you go back far enough, hundreds of years ago, there was a time where they were so conservative that if you wore buttons that was considered too showy or too ostentatious, I'm thinking not having buttons would be pretty showy, right? That'd be a bigger problem. But apparently one group said buttons are bad, One group said no, buttons are okay. We're being innovative here. And so they went with the probe. We will find anything to divide over. The whole group splits over buttons. And you've seen it. I mean, we laugh at that. You've seen you've seen people divide over even sillier things. I've done it now. I can point the fingers out here. I've done it. I married a girl who went to UK. Okay, Do you? Well, there's some division in our home too, but we're working through it. It's okay. We'll get there. The point being dividing is natural. That's easy. But we've got to fight for unity. There's a reason why this church had one of our key words for the church unity for a season. It's not random. There probably was some division, by the way, that could be a key word for every year of any church forever, because we naturally divide we we naturally square up against one another. But Jesus knows, as he said, his death brings reconciliation. It's through his death that reconciliation can happen, first reconciled to him, but then the chance even to be reconciled to one another comes through him. And so for us, applying his death to reconciliation, the way that comes is reconciliation for me to be reconciled to you. If we have a difference that requires death, I have got to die to self to be able to move towards reconciliation. I have got to say no to my own desire to take vengeance, to make sure everyone knows I was right for retribution. I've got to die to some of that to see reconciliation happen. Forgiveness is really hard. It's not easy. Ephesians 432 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ is forgiving you. The reason I can forgive someone else is because He has forgiven me so much. That doesn't mean it's easy. It requires a death. In fact, there is a cost to forgiveness. But it's what we're called to do. And it's what Jesus saw was a key part of his death, was that it would bring about reconciliation. It would provide the opportunity for even people to have the chance of reconciling. I remember when Julian, I were serving in ministry in Little Rock, she got involved in a ministry to international families, in particular those who had come to Little Rock Four to study, which, you know, that's the mecca of places colleges to study at is Little Rock, Arkansas. But they would come from all over the world. And one family came. A number of families came from Iran. And I had just when these families came, I had just finished reading a book about the Iran hostage crisis back at the end of President Carter's presidency. And so I'm kind of on edge about Iranians at this moment, you know, And they're like, what are you talking about? That was a long ago. But, you know, I wanted to talk about its history. It's interesting. But naturally, there's a division nationally. We are against you. One of those families comes to Know Christ, which, by the way, is a death sentence. I can't think of a moment in my life when I've been worried for my life just because I call Christ Lord. They literally said, We can't go back home now. In that moment, all of those divisions and it is just fade away. I mean, we're unified in Christ in a way that bridges all other differences. And just think about some of the people that you hang out with here. You wouldn't hang out with them otherwise, probably, and you may not want to now, I don't know. But you see what I'm saying? You're sitting next to someone you had nothing else in common with except that you both know Christ and that man that transcends all those other differences that seem so significant, even sports teams or professions or interests or hobbies. Reconciliation comes through Christ and then number four, look at me. Look with me at these last few verses, verse 34. So the proud answer him. We have heard from the Lord the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the son of man must be lifted up? Who is this son of man? Jesus said to them, The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light lest the darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light that you may become sons of light. Sons of light. Okay. First thing to note here is the crowd responds to him. Still notice Jesus never went to talk to those Greeks, never even acknowledged them. He he's engaging with the crowd but also their presence started the hour of his coming started the day of his death when he is lifted up, as he mentioned. When I am lifted up, I'll draw people to myself. When he is lifted up on the cross. But the crowd who is there is confused about who he is. They get a few things right. They understand that he is claiming be the Messiah. They understand that he's claiming to be the son of man. They use the word Christ. They use the phrase son of man, although they say, Who is this son of man? Most agree. By that they mean who is the son of man? Like, what type of messiah will he be? What do you mean by this? We are expecting the Messiah to last forever. Isaiah talks about and of his reign. There will be no end. But you're talking about die. And we don't understand. We're confused. And Jesus, in this moment, and this is so important to hear, He tells them what they need to hear, not what they wanted to hear. Jesus answer our questions about the Messiah. Jesus says, You're asking the wrong question. Look again at how He responds to them. Jesus said to them, 35, The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light lets the darkness overtake you. So on this ladder rung the fourth. When he thinks about death, he thinks about time. And for him time is fleeting. He My time is short. Okay? Jesus knows I'm not going to be with you much longer. And if you want to be able to endure in the light, spend as much time with me as you can, make the most of the time with me that you can. I'm not here much longer. They don't fully understand what that means yet. But for us today, we can say the same walk in the light. Yes, there will come a day when we all pass away. It'll happen to every one of us. But for now, walk in the light. Don't let that derail you. Don't let that lead you to wonder what is then? Does life have any meaning? Why am I living? Why am I trying now? Walk in the light, keep pursuing Christ in the midst of the reality that there will come a day. There will come a day, and none of us knows when that is. I prayed with a man down here last week who shared with me how great God has been moving in his life and was asking for prayer for his son, whose distance from. And he passed away this week, probably about the same age as me. Very close. You never know. Walk in the reality. Time is fleeting. Walk in the light. Walk in the light. That's where you're going to find life. All the other things that provide some measure of life are all going to fall short, walk in the light, find true life there with him there. You know, it's interesting that we tend to avoid thinking about death. I know I do. I asked my son as we were driving to Arizona a random question, How often do you think about your own death? You know what? I wasn't expecting that question like I know. Just tell me, what do you think it's like? I never think about it. Me either. I try to avoid it. I've been listening to a book called The Comfort Crisis, which has its highs and lows. It's not a full blown endorsement, by the way. And he's making the case that our fascination with comfort is what's killing us. After sleeping on the ground a few days while camping or traveling across the US, there's some truth to that. Learned a lot about myself along the way. But one of the recollections, or one of the observer observations he makes in this book is that he at least had read and seen that one of the measurably happiest countries in the world is a little country called Bhutan. If any of you heard of Bhutan, I'd heard of it. But and I feel like I'm pretty strong at geography. That's one of my skills in life. Maps navigating. I don't know. I confess. Had to look it up. All right. It's like in between Nepal and China and India over there in the Himalayas. And this author makes the case that one of the reasons why they are some of the measurably happiest people on Earth is that their country encourages them daily to meditate on their own death. You need to daily think about the reality that there will come a day when you are no more. So how are you living now? And I heard that and I thought about that and I thought, is that what we need? Is that our problem in America? Bhutan measurably happy America, measurably not. High suicide rates, high anxiety, depression, some of the highest in the world, yet some of the wealthiest miserably not happy. Is that what we need to be to? If I just every day start meditating on? Don't forget there will be a day maybe. But what is way more important for us is to meditate on Christ's death. That is where we're going to find. I don't need to think any more about myself, whether it's my death or life. I need to think about him more. His death, his is what brings life. And so this week, as you're facing whatever you face, whether it's bus delays or parenting or marriage or work, Yes, acknowledge that life will end, but also focus on him, focus on his life. Focus on the fact that through him we have reconciliation, focus on the father's will, focus on finding the father's will and walk in the light. Let's pray God, we thank you for this morning. We thank you for your word that guides us. We thank you that through your death, we have hope. We don't have to live as those without hope. We don't have to live as those who think the day will come when it all ends and there's nothing else. We have eternal hope, eternal life, eternal purpose. There will be a day of the resurrection of the dead who come to walk with you for eternity. And I pray today that each of us would find strength, peace, comfort and hope in the midst of whatever we're facing. Thank you, Jesus, for loving us and caring for us. It's in your name. We pray. Amen.