SERMON DATE AND TITLE: 2010/10/31: "Death Is Swallowed Up In Victory"

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I get the call to prepare for a funeral service one to three times per month. This has gone on for more than 18 years. I have served at more than 600 funerals since my call to the ministry. It's the one ministry I am weary from. . .The ministry of tears.

INCREDULOUSLY, the culture we live in is obsessed with death and dying. American culture has desensitized itself to death. Every hour of programmed television has at least 3 to 5 deaths or murders. in past decades it was what I call, "Bang! Bang! You're dead!" "Shoot 'em ups."


Ephesians 5:9-11 warns us very clearly to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.

"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.


The Bible condemns witchcraft and magic, and Christians should have nothing to do with witchcraft or magic in any form! But the dangers of Halloween are broader than simply witchcraft. Christians should have nothing to do with Halloween.

19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God." Galatians 5:19-21 (NIV) 


Listen carefully to God’s warnings in the Bible about the dangers of the occult.

Deuteronomy 18:10-12

Let no-one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you."

Be careful, lest you be deceived.

1 Peter 5:8

"Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."

October 31, 2010

Sheepfold Ministries, Pastor Phil Roland



1 Corinthians 15:50-58



Pronounced, (SOWA-HEEN)

1. Ancient Druid Festival of Death Celebrated at Harvest during the month of November in Ireland, Scotland and the British Isles

2. Druids were pagan nature-worshippers

3. Crops gathered, quantities assessed, animals slaughtered

4. Bones cast on communal fires, "Bonfires"

5. Participants hoped to scare away lurking evil spirits

6. Trick or Treating had its origins in Druidic practices

7. The Druids believed that on the night of Halloween, wicked souls that had died in the past year returned to their original homes.

8. To exorcise these ghosts or to free yourself from their evil influence, you had to set out food and provide them with shelter for the night

9. If they were satisfied, it was believed they would leave you in peace.

10. If they were not satisfied – if food and shelter were not provided – the ghosts would cast a spell on you and reek havoc in your home

11. So if you set food out on your door step for the night-the spirits would pass you by, not cause your milk to spoil or your cattle to have birth defects, or damage your family

12. It is said that the Druids would then go around collect the food and burn it as a sacrifice to their gods.

13. It is also said that they tended to burn your house down if they arrived and the treat was not at the door!


1)  Samhain is the season of the year when the veil between Life and Death is the Thinnest

2) On this night the barrier between the natural world and the supernatural was removed, and the souls of the dead were able to move freely among human beings

3) Druids believed that, as the sun god grew pale and Samhain “the lord of the dead” grew stronger, these lurking evil souls also became more powerful




"The voice said, "Cry out!" And he said, "What shall I cry?" "All flesh is grass, And all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, Because the breath of the LORD blows upon it; Surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever."

DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP IN VICTORY, cont., p.2            


            A. Our own death mocks us as failure - (Read Poem)

                        1. Four Primal Adult Fears          

                                    Fear of Death                       Fear of Lack

                                    Fear of Suffering                Fear of failure

                   2. We lose control at death       

            B. We rehearse our “If Onlys. . .”

                        1. The backward look

                        2. Ever feel like a “has been?”

                        3. "My life is over?"

            C. Human Death is Inevitable - Hebrews 9:27

                 " Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,"

                        1. Cynical George Bernard Shaw, "One of one people. . .Die!"

                        2. Human Flesh and its Values will Die in Frailty

                        3. Death Obsessed Culture


II.   DEATH IS COLD - Hebrews 2:14,15

"Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death--that is, the devil-and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. "

            A. Ancient term: "Assumed Room Temperature"

                        1. Synonyms for Death

                                    a. "Kicked the Bucket"

                                    b. "Croaked"

                                    c. "Bought the Farm"

                                    d. "Gone"  "Departed"  "Gone to a Better Place"

                        Fear of Death can make your Heart a Mausoleum

                        2. Can become Cold to God and Man

            B. Culture is obsessed about Death and Dying

                        1. Natural Part of Life

                        2. Grief: Broken heartedness of Loss, Failure and Rejection



          A. Treasures of Darkness - Isaiah 45:3

                "I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places,                    so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who

                 summons you by name."

                        1. Jesus' Grave was Empty - 1 Corinthians 5:54,55

                            "Death is swallowed up in victory."                                     "O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?"                         2. Can we hide in darkness from God’s Spirit? - Ps. 139:8-10

                           "If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell,

                            behold, You are there.  If I take the wings of the morning, And

                            dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall

                            lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me."

                        3. Weeping may Last for the Night - Psalm 30:5

                           "For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping

                             may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning."

DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP IN VICTORY, cont., p.3            


            B. Darkness is the birthplace of creative miracles - Genesis 1:2

                    "The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of

                 the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the


                        1. The Womb is Dark, but Life is Present in Conception

                        2. The Ground is Appears Lifeless when Seed is Planted. . .

                        3. God Speaks in Darkness - Matt. 10:27

                           "Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you

                             hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. "

                        4. Speak Out About What God has done in the Darkness

                        5. Walk in the Light: It Banishes Darkness - 1 John 1:5-7

                           "This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare

                             to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.  If we say

                             that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie

                             and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in

                             the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of

                             Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin."


            C. Patriarchs - Mighty Men of Old - Found God in Darkness

                        1. MOSES - Ex. 20:21

                        "So the people stood afar off, but Moses drew near the thick

                          darkness where God was."

                        2. JACOB - Genesis 32:24

                           "Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the

                             breaking of day."

                        3. DANIEL - Daniel 6:22

                           "My God sent His angel and shut the lions' mouths, so that they

                            have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and

                            also, O king, I have done no wrong before you."

                        4. JESUS - Luke 23:53

                           "Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a tomb that

                             was hewn out of the rock, where no one had ever lain before."

                                    a. Gethsemane       

                                    b. Golgotha - "The Place of the Skull"



1 Corinthians 15:50-58 50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed-- 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory." 55 "O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?" 56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.



The Spirit of Death

"Then death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire."    Rev. 20:14


I thought I saw the Old Specter dodge behind the closet door,

    But I only found mops, rags, towels and cleaning solutions.

His Presence was there, nonetheless,

       Taunting me, haunting me, giving me no peace nor rest

                     From the desperate beating of my heart,

                           And the clammy hand of fear

                                  As it grabbed my taut abdominals.

There was nothing there the eye could see,

       But still it lingered there,

              As palpable as a chef's tasting spoon.

What is the shuddering down my spine?

       Was it the leering Old Specter, threatening again,

              Or was he just rattling his chains?

Or was it me, girding up for battle,

       And feeling once again Specter's rage and opposition?

Lord, grant me your power

       In this tough and trying hour

                     To look to You and find

                           Your comfort, strength and peace of mind.




 Phil Roland

Copyright, December 1996