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THE DEATH OF SUPERMAN!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord's Day Morning, October 17, 2004
at the Fundamentalist Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

"There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it" (Ecclesiastes 8:8).


Christopher Reeve played the part of Superman in three major movies. In 1995, during an equestrian competition, he was thrown from his horse and broke his neck. He lived for nine years as a quadriplegic, unable to move any part of this body below the neck other than an index finger. He died last week at the age of fifty-two. He was Superman to a whole generation of young people. Now he is dead.

The day before his death, Senator John Kerry mentioned him by name during his debate with President Bush. Christopher Reeve advocated federal funding for stem cell research. While Reeve is to be admired for his courage and grit, I disagreed with him on federal funding for stem cell research. That would force Christian people to pay for abortions with their taxes. I for one don't believe that Christians should be forced to pay for abortions through their taxes. I don't want my tax dollars spent to pay for even one abortion! The words "federal funding for stem cell research" may sound good when some liberal politician says them, but those words really mean that they want you and me to pay for abortions with our tax money. I for one think that is pure evil.

People in America are already killing nearly two million babies a year by abortion. They have already killed over forty-four million helpless children. Christopher Reeve and his crowd wanted us to spend our tax money to kill even more. They act like it's a terrible thing that we don't want our tax dollars to be spent on the slaughter of even more innocent babies. But the Bible says,

"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil…Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the Lord of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel" (Isaiah 5:20, 24).

"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil." We should be thinking of every way possible to save the lives of future generations, rather than spending the money of Christian people to kill even more of them - to keep some old person alive for a few more years, living a godless life.

No, I did not agree with Christopher Reeve. I do not want to pay my money, any of it, to kill even more babies than the forty-four million that have already been slaughtered, many thousands of them in the ninth month of life.

President Reagan is the only sitting president who ever wrote a book while he was in office. In his book, Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation, President Reagan said,

Abortion concerns not just the unborn child, it concerns every one of us. The English poet, John Donne, wrote: "…any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for me." We cannot diminish the value of one category of human life - the unborn - without diminishing the value of all human life…the greatest misery of our time is the generalized abortion of children (President Ronald Wilson Reagan, Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1984, pp. 16-18).

I agree with President Reagan. I disagree with Senator John Kerry and Christopher Reeve. We must stop the killing of babies or God will punish our nation. I believe God is already punishing America. We are bogged down in a terrible war in Iraq. The American people are deeply divided. Our homes are shattered. Drugs and "free" sex, and bad choices have ruined a whole generation. No! We don't need to kill yet more innocent babies! No! We need to turn back to the God of our fathers, Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. We need to turn back to Christ, and we need to come back home - to church. That's what America needs more than anything else at this hour!

Christopher Reeve, Superman to your generation, was wrong about abortion. He was wrong to crusade from his wheelchair for federally funded abortion, trying to force Christians to pay their tax dollars to fund the American Holocaust!

But Superman is dead. He has gone the way of all flesh - to death - and he now faces the judgment throne of Almighty God. He struggled hard to overcome his physical disabilities. But he could not put off the appointed hour of his death. Our text speaks of that when it says,

"There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it" (Ecclesiastes 8:8).

I. First, no one has the power to retain his spirit.

You can work out and eat right, and you should. But "there is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit." Even "Superman" couldn't do that.

When the appointed hour of your death comes, you cannot retain, or keep, your spirit. God will call, and your spirit will be taken away to face Him in judgment. It was true of "Superman" and it will be true of you. "There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain [or keep] the spirit." Dr. Gill said, "It is to be understood of every man's spirit at the hour of death, and of the unavoidableness of it, as the next clause explains it ['neither hath he power in the day of death']" (John Gill, D.D., An Exposition of the Old Testament, The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1989 reprint, volume IV, p. 601).

You have an eternal spirit within you. The Bible says, when you die,

"Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it" (Ecclesiastes 12:7).

When you die, your spirit returns to God, and you will be judged to eternal damnation, or received into Heaven. What you do with Jesus Christ in this life determines your eternal destiny. If you trust Christ, you will go to Heaven. If you reject Christ, you will go to Hell. Jesus made that plain when He said,

"And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal" (Matthew 25:46).

"There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit" (Ecclesiastes 8:8). No matter how rich and famous you may become, you cannot hold on to your spirit when death comes to you. No one has the power to retain his spirit, not even Superman!

II. Second, no one has power in the day of death.

Our text says,

"There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death…" (Ecclesiastes 8:8).

Dr. Gill said,

Death strips a man of all power and authority…no king or ruler can stand against death any more than a beggar…death is lord of all; all must submit to it, high and low, rich and poor; there is a day fixed for it, and that day can never be…put off to another...man has not power to deliver himself in the day of death (Dr. John Gill, ibid.).

When the time of [death] is come; not riches, nor honours, nor wisdom and learning, nor strength and youth, nor all the force of medicine [can stop death]; the time is fixed, it is appointed of God, the bounds set by him cannot be passed (Dr. John Gill, ibid.).

The Bible says,

"His days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass"
      (Job 14:5).

God has set a fixed day and hour when you will die. God already knows the day and hour of your death. You don't know it, but God does. "His days are determined, the number of his months are with thee…that he cannot pass." The Bible says,

"It is appointed unto men once to die" (Hebrews 9:27).

You have an appointment with death. You cannot break that appointment. You cannot cancel that appointment. When the appointed day and hour comes, you will die. Christopher Reeve played Superman while he lived. But when his appointed time came he died. When your appointed time comes you will die also. No one has power in the day of death.

"There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war…" (Ecclesiastes 8:8).

Matthew Poole said,

There is no discharge, as in other wars, when soldiers either are dismissed from the service, or escape by flight or otherwise. In that war; in that fatal conflict between life and death, between nature and disease, when a man is struggling with death, though to no purpose, for death shall always be the conqueror (Matthew Poole, A Commentary on the Whole Bible, Banner of Truth Trust, 1990 reprint, volume II, p. 297).

"There is no discharge in that war." When death comes to you, and you are in the last struggle for life, you cannot escape. "There is no discharge in that war."

III. Third, no one can escape death by wickedness.

Please look at Ecclesiastes 8:8 again. Let us stand and read it aloud one more time.

"There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it" (Ecclesiastes 8:8).

You may be seated. "Neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it." Matthew Poole said,

Although wicked men, who most fear death, use all possible means, whether good or bad, to free themselves from this deadly blow, yet they shall not escape it (Matthew Poole, ibid.).

Even a very rich man like Christopher Reeve, who had the finest medical help money could buy, was not able to escape death. He used all possible means to escape death, but he could not escape from it. The Bible says,

"Riches profit not in the day of wrath" (Proverbs 11:4).

"Treasures of wickedness profit nothing" (Proverbs 10:2).

Death can only be overcome through Jesus Christ. The Bible says so.

"…our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel"
      (II Timothy 1:10).

Jesus came to earth and died on the Cross to pay the penalty for your sins. On the third day, He arose physically from the dead. If you know Christ, death is abolished through Him. He has brought life and immortality to those who know Him.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

"He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life" (John 3:36).

But you must come to Christ. You must believe on Him fully. You must be washed clean from your sins by His precious Blood.

That's the reason we say, "Why be lonely? Come home - to church. Why be lost? Come home - to Jesus Christ, the Son of God." As Mr. Griffith sang a moment ago,

If you have Jesus, there's more wealth in your soul
Than acres of diamonds, or mountains of gold.
    ("Acres of Diamonds").

(END OF SERMON)

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: II Timothy 1:7-10.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith: "Acres of Diamonds."

 

THE OUTLINE OF

THE DEATH OF SUPERMAN!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

 

"There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it" (Ecclesiastes 8:8).

(Isaiah 5:20, 24)

I.   No one has the power to retain his spirit, Ecclesiastes 8:8a;
Ecclesiastes 12:7; Matthew 25:46.

II.  No one has power in the day of death, Ecclesiastes 8:8b;
Job 14:5; Hebrews 9:27; Ecclesiastes 8:8c.

III. No one can escape death by wickedness, Ecclesiastes 8:8d;
Proverbs 11:4; 10:2; II Timothy 1:10; John 3:16, 36.

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