Psalm 1341 Come, bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord,
who stand by night in the house of the Lord!
2 Lift up your hands to the holy place
and bless the Lord!
3 May the Lord bless you from Zion,
he who made heaven and earth!
Recall with me... Stephen.
“When good men die, it is not death, but sleep.” —Callimachus
Matthew Henry says this about Stephen's death:
He fell asleep; he died; his death being thus expressed, in that,
1. He died quietly, as one fallen into a sleep.
2. Because of his certain hope of the resurrection.
3. As easily to be raised again by Christ, as one that sleeps is to be awaked by us.
4. It is an ordinary Hebraism to express death by sleep; which made St. Luke use it amongst them, with whom it was frequently thus expressed.
54 Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. 55
But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
57 But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. 58 Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul.
59 And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-16
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus,
God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.
For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
Paul says in the Holy Spirit - some go directly to Jesus.
1 Corinthians 15:51-52
Behold! I tell you a mystery.
We shall not all sleep,
but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.
For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.
How will we know if we sleep or rise immediately -
Zechariah was told:
And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news."
And Mary was never told Gabriel was Gabriel. And yet - she knew.
26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth
How will we know if we sleep or rise immediately - we will know what we know we know.
Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
Let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.
Let them come to me for refuge; let them make peace with me, yes, let them make peace with me.
Light shines on the righteous and joy on the upright in heart.
Father God, we open our being to You. Flood us with the warmth of Your Love. And in that Love we are led to better ourselves to please You. And Bless those around us.
We ask for this blessing for ourselves, the ones we Love, the people You give us, spreading out to the Nation to Trust in You. In Jesus The Lord. Amen.
♔ Lord Jesus Saves †