1 Corinthians 15:5-8
And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:…
Yes, the companions of Jesus died one by one. Consider the great value of such men and of all good men to the Church, and the loss caused by their removal. Yet no word of lamentation is used. It is not said that they have perished, or passed into the land of shades, but that "they are fallen asleep." The spirit is with Jesus in glory: the body rests till His appearing. "Fallen asleep" suggests a very different idea from that which distressed the minds of the heathen when they thought of death.
I. THE FIGURE HERE USED.
1. An act of the most natural kind: "fallen asleep."
(1) It is the fit ending of a weary day.
(2) It is not painful, but the end of pain.
(3) It is so desirable that, if denied, we should pray for it.
(4) It is most sweet when the place of our sleep is Jesus.
2. A state of which rest is the main ingredient.
3. A position of safety from a thousand dangers, such as beset the pilgrim, the worker, the warrior.
4. A condition by no means destructive.
(1) Neither destroys existence, nor even injures it.
(2) Should not be viewed as an evil.
5. A posture full of hope.
(1) We shall awake from this sleep.
(2) We shall awake without difficulty.
(3) We shall arise greatly refreshed.
II. THE THOUGHTS AROUSED BY THAT FIGURE.
1. How did we treat those that are now asleep?
(1) Did we value their living presence, work, and testimony?
(2) Ought we not to be more kind to those who are yet alive?
2. How can we make up for the loss caused by their sleep?
(1) Should we not fill their vacant places?
(2) Should we not profit by their examples?
3. How fit that we should also be prepared to, fall asleep!
(1) Is our house in order?
(2) Is our heart in order?
(3) Is our Christian work in order?
4. How much better that the faithful should fall asleep than that the wicked should die in their sins!
5. How patiently should we bear up under the labours and sufferings of the day, since there remaineth a rest for the people of God!
III. THE HOPES CONFIRMED BY THAT FIGURE.
1. The sleepers are yet ours, even as those in the house who are asleep are numbered with the rest of the inhabitants.
(1) They have the same life in them which dwells in us.
(2) They are part of the same family. "We are seven."
(3) They make up one church. "One church above, beneath."
2. The sleepers will yet awake.
(1) Their Father's voice will arouse thrum.
(2) They shall be awake indeed: full of health and energy.
(3) They shall have new clothes to dress in.
(4) They shall not again fall asleep.
3. The sleepers and ourselves will enjoy sweet fellowship.
(1) Sleep does not destroy the love of brothers and sisters now.
(2) We shall arise as one unbroken family, saved in the Lord.Conclusion:
1. Let us not hopelessly sorrow over those asleep.
2. Let us not ourselves sleep till bed-time comes.
3. Let us not fear to sleep in such good company.
Parallel VersesKJV: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: