Die Before You Die

This exhortation was given at King’s Cross Church (Moscow, ID) on May 7, AD 2023.

There once was a faithful preacher who ministered for thirty years in a small Missouri town. Over the course of his ministry, he submitted to the local paper about three hundred Letters to the Editor. As he neared the end of his life, suffering from pancreatic cancer, he wrote one final farewell to his town which said this: “Indeed, the one great thing in life is to be ready to die. It is simple, but big.” 

The one great thing in life is to be ready to die. It is simple, but big.

Every single person in this room is going to die. You are going to die. Life is but a vapor (Jas. 4:14). We are all like flowers in a field that blossom then fade away (Ps. 103:15). And as Hebrews states, it is appointed unto man once to die, and then judgment (Heb. 9:27).

So what is to be done? How do we then ready ourselves for that certain yet unknown day? 

I want to contend this morning that the only way to be ready for death is to die before you die.You must die before you die. 

You do this first by acknowledging and confessing your sin to God and by putting your faith in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. By repenting of your sin, you are then united to Christ’s death and buried with Him. And if you share in His death, then you too share in His resurrection — receiving the gift of eternal life. 

Having this new life in Christ, you then must continue in this pattern of death and resurrection. You must imitate the Apostle Paul, who wrote that he died daily (1 Cor. 15:31). 

You do this by dying to self. And you do this daily by laying down your life for your spouse, your children, your families, your friends, and neighbors. You are to even lay down your lives for your enemies, just as Christ did for you.

It is only after living a life marked by death that a man or woman can face their own mortality without fear. 

Death has been defeated and what lies ahead is more glorious than anything you leave behind – if, and only if, you are in Christ. This is the Good News of the Christian faith.

For as our Lord taught us — “If anyone would come after Me, let Him deny Himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it” (Lk. 9:23–24).

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