Sunday, August 1, 2010

Lesson 4: Fear of Life's Final Moments

Read Chapter 10 from Fearless and we'll discuss the questions below.

Memory Verse: “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in Me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” John 14:1-3

God, we thank You for drawing us to You as we journey through this on-line Fearless Bible Study. For we are pilgrims on a sojourn – a journey to understand our fears and where they come from. We do so desire to live our lives fearlessly and for Your glory. Help us to discover ways we can step out of fears so that we can serve You more fully. In the strong name of Jesus we pray. Amen

We desire to face death unafraid. Impossible? Not when you can view death as a new adventure in existence. Because of Christ, we can face our next life with peace. This week we’ll look at the reasons we fear dying and see that as we grow closer to Christ we will not fear death but may even look forward to it with anticipation.

Question #1 - Describe a scene from a movie or a book when a character dies peacefully – without fright or a fight. In what ways did that image move you?

Great philosophers throughout history have lamented the passage into death, calling it “the end of everything” and “the great Perhaps.” But suppose death is different than they thought, less a curse and more a passageway, not a crisis to be avoided but a corner to be turned? If we change the way we think about death, we will change the way we feel about death.

Question #2 - If you are able to remove your association of fear with death, how will your life be changed? Will you live differently?

Death is not to be feared. Your last moment is not your worst. Charon won’t ferry you into oblivion. How do we know? What is our proof? Five hundred witnesses to Jesus’ resurrection leave a still-resounding testimony: it’s safe to die.

Question #3 - How does Jesus’ resurrection make it safe for you to die? Do you find comfort in the proof of Jesus’ resurrection?

Our uncertainty about death – what the afterlife will really be like – generates a lot of fear about it. We dread the unknown rather than look at it as an opportunity for exploration. Charles Lindbergh wrote these words to be read aloud at his burial service: “Death is a new adventure in existence.” No need to dread it or ignore it. Because of Christ, we can face it.

Question #4 - We talked the first week about our tendency to worship safety. How does letting go of that desire for control influence your fears (or lack thereof) about death?

Comfort with the thought of death is born out of an intimate relationship with God. On the night before my heart surgery, God and I had the most honest of talks (see page 122 of Fearless). We began with a good review of my first half century. The details would bore you, but they entertained us. Ultimately, I went to sleep at peace, knowing that if it was my last night on earth, I’d be safe in the arms of my Father the next day.

Question #5 - How does enjoying your relationship with God reduce your fear of death and the life to come?

Live today in Christ’s presence, remembering He is near and will sustain you as you serve in His name. Amen


  1. Test to see if blog is taking our comments.

  2. 1)I know I have read stories where the person faces death without fear but can't really recall the details. The TV /Hollywood versions of going to the Light do not ring sound to me so I don't remember specifics about those.
    2) Of all my fears I really haven't had a fear of dying for a long time. I found that accepting Christ really removed that from my life. I have confidence that He is in control. Now I do have some fears about those I love dying since I am not sure if they have accepted Christ plus just not ever seeing them again will be hard.
    3) Jesus' resurrection is the insurance policy that I am forgiven and can be accepted into the kingdom of heaven-pure and without sin. In today's scientific world where we are always needing proof and to be convinced about everything and then just taking hold of whatever suits us as 'the truth', I rejoice that the early believers had such faith and were good stewards to carry forward the truth about Jesus and His resurrection.
    4&5) Fear of safety to me pertains to this world. I am not sure where in the Scripture it is but we just had it in Sunday School-Paul is in prison writing to one of his early churches (maybe Phillipians). He tells them he is anxious to join the Lord should that be his fate but also desires to remain to support them. That is how I feel-knowing God has a purpose for me here on earth but yet looking forward to spending eternity with God.

  3. 1. In the movie (and book) Tuesdays with Morie by Mitch Albom, Morrie passes quietly and peacefully. But he does want someone there (if I recall). I have been with two loved ones when they have passed. It really is a peaceful yet frightening experience. I don't want to die alone. I don't want to be in pain and I certainly don't want to "BE A PAIN" for anyone. With God's blessing and modern medicine, when the time comes hopefully, I will go quickly, quietly, and with loved ones around me.
    2.I am like Penny, I don't really fear dying for myself. God has a plan and He already has everything worked out. I just need to hang on for the ride. I hate the thought of my loved ones dying. I know it is more of a selfish fear. I will miss them. What will I do without them?
    3. It truly amazes me that God has and will continue to forgive ALL my sins, if I just ask. Wow. I have a hard time just forgiving a family member when they hurt my feelings. Jesus' resurrection does give me security that I can go to with many loved ones...and be happy, rest, and be with loved family and friends.
    4.There are so many times when god has revealed himself to me on this earth. I believe it will be wonderful to be in HIS presence in heaven at all times. Why would we fear dying if we areconfident that God is waiting for us and has made a place just for us...?

  4. I really appreciate your comments. Thanks for sharing! Death and dying are hard for most people to grasp and loosen their grip of fear on.

    1) I also was thinking about "Tuesdays with Morrie." Mitch, one of his students, journeys alongside of Morrie as he dies. I just remember the compassion, gentleness, courage, and calmness that his dying represented.

    2) I too, have experienced peace and a loss of my fear of dying since becoming a Christian. I don't fear death but, like you all shared, I don't like the idea of being without those that I love. When my fear of dying was "healed" I lived my life so much freer and enjoyed the daily living and what life has to offer. If I do start feeling fearful, I focus on Jesus and I am always calmed.

    3) Knowing that Jesus was resurrected and that Scripture maintains that we will be too, that is all the assurance I need. Jesus came back and was not disturbed by what he saw; it is safe to die! This is comforting. I especially appreciate how Jesus knows what we are like - we need hundreds of people testifying about His resurrection.

    4) Letting go of the desire to control and worship safety, helps to dismiss fears of death and dying. If I am worshiping safety, there is no way I will be able to step out in faith when God calls me. Safety would be more important than obedience to God.

    5) Enjoying God's presence and knowing that God is good has diminished my fears of death and dying. The worse thing that could happen - being with God in person - is the best thing that can happen! Spending eternity with God is something I look forward to.

  5. Third time's a charm - I hope I get this posted this time.
    1. What moved me in those scenes was the peace that was on the face of the dying person. Not fear, or sadness, or pain,or anxiety, just a calm peace.
    2.I too, do not really fear the moment of dying. The time leading up to that moment is what I fear - the saying goodbye to family and friends, and the possibility of a painful medical issue that may linger on for a while. However, after thinking about it, I am living those moments right now, the moments before my death. So staying in touch and relationships with family and friends and keeping my body healthy become important. Like the song says - "live like you were dying."
    3.Jesus died and was resurrected which was witnessed by many. My belief in Him and the witness of those followers who saw the risen Christ allows me to be resurrected in His name also.
    4. We are not in control of the day, time or means of our death. Only God knows and giving up that control releases the fear, and without the fear, we have no need to control anymore.
    5. Enjoying time with God now can only enhance the expectation of seeing Him face to face. Death just becomes the moment we pass from wanting to be with Him to actually being with Him.
    If this posted this time, could someone please let me know by a quick email.