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Intro: You can learn a lot by going into a cemetery. There are tombstones at Gilboa Methodist Church, just south of Morganton, NC, that contains some tombstones that have hands wrapped in chains, pointing downward, carved into them.  One of the saddest scenes I ever saw in a cemetery is at a huge cemetery in Rome, GA.  There I saw row upon row of tombstones from the Civil War that told the dead soldier’s state of birth and date of death, but most had no name. No one knows who is buried there; and no one back home ever knew what happened to their loved one, or where their body was buried.  Sad!

      Sometimes cemeteries reveal humor and deep philosophy in the epitaphs found on the stones. (Ill. Epitaphs)

      Genesis chapter 5 has been called “A desert of death.”  In essence, this is a text about the world’s first cemetery.  Just as there is much to learn by visiting old cemeteries around the world, there is much to learn from spending a few moments in this ancient cemetery. I would like to take a few minutes to talk about some Lessons From An Ancient Cemetery.  If you will go with me for just a few minutes, we will see some important lessons about dying and about living.  What are the Lessons From This Ancient Cemetery?  Let’s look and learn!


  I.                             A LESSON ABOUT LEAVING

* Ill. “…and he died.” This phrase is mentioned eight times in this chapter, v. 5, 8, 11, 14, 17, 20, 27, 31.

* Ill. Death was the proscribed punishment for eating the forbidden fruit, Gen. 2:17.

* Ill. That promise was questioned by Satan, Gen. 3:4. Yet, when sin entered the world, death entered into it also, Gen. 3:17-19; Rom. 5:12-14.

* Abel was the first to die, Gen. 4:8.  Adam was the first to die a natural death, Gen. 5:5. Most of the men mentioned in this passage lived close to 900 years.  That is a long time, but death came anyway. (Ill. Enoch 306 when Adam died.)

* That is a reminder to us that death may delay its coming; but come it will, Heb. 9:27.

* God determined the length of their days and when those days were over they left this world, Job 14:5, 14; Psa. 39:4; Heb. 9:27 – Ill. “appointed” – From the instant of our births, we begin a countdown toward death!

* Every cemetery, every funeral home, every hearse is a reminder that death is coming.  Every reminder that death is coming is a reminder to prepare. This life is a time of preparation.  You see, no one is prepared to live until he is prepared to die!

* Are you prepared to meet death? You can be; you should be; you must be! (Ill. Amos 4:12; Ill. Hezekiah – 2 Kings 20:1) (Ill. How does one prepare? – Acts 16:31; Rom. 10:9-10, 13; Ill. Easy as A.B.C.)

II.                           A LESSON ABOUT LIVING

* Ill. All these men died, but they all lived different lengths of time. Adam – 930, v. 5; Seth – 912, v. 8; Enos – 905, v. 11; Cainan – 910, v. 14; Mahalaleel – 895, v. 17; Jared – 962, v. 20; Methusaleh – 969, v. 27; Lamech – 777, v. 31.

* Ill. Death is a reality for people of all ages, not just those who have lived long lives.  Ill The first human to die was Abel – He was a young man!

* Ill. Life is as uncertain as the grass of the field, 1 Pet. 1:24; as temporary as the morning fog; James 4:14.  Regardless of its length, it passes by swiftly, Job 7:6; 9:25; Psa. 39:5, 11; 89:47.  Life is short, Psa. 90:9!

* Ill. The Rich Fool – Luke 12:16-20. He died in the prime of life.  He died when the future held the greatest promise and life the most potential.  Still, death came anyway!

* Ill. Only the foolish live their lives with no thought for the end of life, Pro. 27:1.  We are not to worry about tomorrow, Matt. 6:25-34, for the Lord holds tomorrow; but we are to live our lives in view of life’s uncertainty; and of its eventual end.

* Ill. We are alive today, but we may not be tomorrow! You see ,the old must die and the young may die!

* Ill. Are you prepared for the end of life?


III.                         A LESSON ABOUT LOOKING

* Ill. Not everyone in this chapter died.  Enoch, v. 21-24, left this world alive!

* Ill. He is a beacon of light in a dark chapter.  He is an example of life in a place of death.

* Ill. Enoch is an example of a person who walked by faith, Rom. 5:1; 2 Cor. 5:7.

* Ill. Faith brings God’s salvation to our souls, Eph. 2:8-9.  (Ill. Abraham – Gen. 15:6)  Salvation brings with it eternal life, 1 John 5:12; John 10:28; 6:47. * Ill. Therefore, death has no power over those who are saved, John 5:24; 2 Cor. 5:1-8; John 11:25-26.

* Ill. Some of the redeemed will miss death altogether, just like Enoch did! Enoch is a picture of those believers who will be alive when Jesus comes in the rapture, 1 Cor. 15:51-52; 1 Thes. 4:13-18. Of those who are alive in that day will never taste of death!

* Ill. Just as surely as we need to be prepared for the arrival of death; we need to be looking for the coming of the Lord Jesus, Matt. 24:44. (Ill. I want to be found watching, waiting and longing for Him.  How about you? – Ill. John – Rev. 22:20.


Conc: One Epitaph says, “Grim death took me, without any warning. I was well at night, and dead in the morning.” Another says, “Here lies Joyce; She’d rather not, but she had no choice.”  How will death find you? Don’t want to be morbid, but this life will end.  Where will you go?

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