BURRY WILLIE STANDER, son to Charles and Mandie Stander, brother, husband to Cherise Stander (nee Taylor), friend, competitor, entrepreneur, champion MTB rider, a double South African Olympian, was born September 16, 1987 – died January 3, 2013 aged 25.
It was saddening news that greeted many the world over that Burry Stander had been tragically killed by a collision with a mini-taxi on a training ride, cut down in what many determine to be the prime of his life, in his prowess. From learning of the news of his death much has been written in way of condolences that have steadily poured in from here at home and from abroad, and there has been many memorial rides organised at various places around South Africa in memory of his passing. Whilst many convey words of sympathy to his parents and Cherise, wife of Burry, it is heart rending that parents should be burying their son, and a married life was cut so tragically short after just six months – are there any words that can be spoken to ease the pain and heartache at this time? The bereavement of the loss of this life is painful just as many others have also experienced the loss of a family member, or a close friend at some other time before!
Whilst many messages pour in through the social networks and the public media, many obituaries have been written from specific points of view, most noticeably from the point of view celebrating Burry Stander – “humble celebrity, gentleman, world champion mountain-bike legend, athlete, icon, hero” – whilst these accolades describe this South African son known affectionately as Africanmtbkid, not much has been written about the normal man – the mortal man Burry Stander.
While people the world over give much praise and homage to this celebrated life, many do not pause to ponder what lies ahead after one dies. If Burry could now speak from eternity, for death is not the end of a soul, what would he tell you? If he could speak to you, dear reader – the words would most probably be: “Repent and believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ!” While many people live life fast, hard and large, they fail to examine themselves and see where they are ultimately headed. The question that should be posted to you, dear reader, is: “Are YOU Ready?” (Gospel tract). People tend to downplay what awaits them after death. Many truly believe that they will “go to a better place”, “go to heaven”, and many will even say in sympathy statements: “My prayers are with the family” and “God bless!” But what do these sentiments really mean? Do all believe in a Creator God? Do all believe in salvation through Jesus Christ alone? Are all living truly Christ-centred lives? Or, are people just trying to soften the impact of death – as they do not really want to offend people by speaking the Truth. Is it that they don’t want to deal with the real issues of the after-life, eternity? Jesus said what is in the abundance of the heart is what a man really is.
I do pray and hope that the pastors conducting the church service on Thursday January 10, 2013 will be faithful to Almighty God, YHWH, and proclaim the unadulterated Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ (not the ear-tickling gospel of today in the Ecumenical system), and will not withhold the real TRUTH of what awaits a person once they die. There is bound to be many in attendance, some professing believers who need to be reminded of the surrendered life we are to live for our Lord Jesus Christ and many others who are unbelievers who need an urgent wake-up call to the frailty of life. Funerals are not for the deceased. The deceased’s soul has already departed and moved into eternity and the corpse is an empty shell that is lying there lifeless. Funerals are there for the family and friends that are left behind, who have been tardy or who have neglected to make preparation for the day when they too will die and meet their Creator. For God tells us in His Holy Word, the Bible, in Hebrews 9:27 ~
And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
If God says there is a judgment after death, are you prepared to meet the Creator of all the universe at that judgment?
Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? (see Genesis 18:25)
We are also reminded ~
2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
So: Are you ready? Are you prepared? And are you making preparation? Scripture warns that we are to prepare to meet our God (see Amos 4:12). Jesus said: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (see John 3:3). If any person dies outside the covering of our Lord Jesus Christ they will not enter heaven. So then what happens to them? So what do you think will happen to YOU when you die and stand naked before your Creator? Do you think God would find you innocent or guilty before His Judgment Seat? God tells us in 2 Corinthians 13:5 to examine ourselves to see whether we are in the faith and whether we will pass the test, which is the judgment. You can examine yourself to see your condition before God Almighty by looking into the ‘mirror’ of God’s Holy and Moral Law, which are the Ten Commandments (the full version can be read at Exodus 20:1-17):
Thou shalt have no other gods before me (v3)
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image [idols](vv4-6)
Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain [blasphemy](v7)
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy (vv8-11)
Honour thy father and thy mother (v12)
Thou shalt not kill (v13)
Thou shalt not commit adultery (v14)
Thou shalt not steal (v15)
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour [lie](v16)
Thou shalt not covet (v17)
Now that you know God’s standard of holiness and perfection, “we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient” (see 1 Timothy 1:8-11) and we are reminded in Romans 3:23 that:
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
So let us take a quick test to see your true condition. If you should die today, what will be your condition before God on Judgment Day? Listen to your conscience and answer honestly. The ninth commandment says you shall not tell lies (bear false witness) (Exodus 20:16). How many lies have you told in your lifetime? Fibs, half-truths, white lies – they are all lies. A lie is deception and someone always gets hurt by lying. Jesus tells us that if a person speaks lies he speaks the language of the devil, Satan, “for he is a liar, and the father of it” (see John 8:44). The eighth commandment says you shall not steal (Exodus 20:15). Irrespective of the size or value of the object, have you ever stolen something – taken it without someone’s permission. This also includes piracy which is buying, downloading or copying CDs and DVDs that belong to other people without their permission.
Then there is the seventh commandment that says you shall not commit adultery. Have you cheated on your spouse? But listen, you do not have to be married to commit adultery. Jesus said:
Matthew 5:27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
Matthew 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
Have you looked with lust? Roving eyes, lustful intent, leering at pornography; have you broken this command? This command would also include fornication (sexual relations outside the bounds of marriage) either heterosexual (mf) or homosexual (mm / ff) sex. Are you ‘living together’ out of wedlock as partners?
What about murder? Have you broken the sixth commandment? Have you murdered anyone? You do not have to pick up a gun, or knife or rope to kill someone to commit murder. If you hate someone you have committed murder in the heart:
1 John 3:15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.
Gossip is also considered murder of the heart by God’s standard.
The second commandment deals with idols and idolatry. Do you worship and bow down to things made of wood, stone, plastic, gold, silver and any other material? God has warned that no person is to fashion or make any idols or “any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:” (Exodus 20:4). God also warns that those who worship and make these idols are just like them – DEAD! It also includes people who make a god to suite themselves in their own image, a god they are more comfortable with, someone who won’t punish sin. Idols can also be placing your love, devotion and worship in things of this world – money, material possessions, sports and their athletes, celebrities in the film and music industry, family members, sex and pornography, alcohol and drugs, your work, studies and all other manner of activities, even your religious practices including your idolised favourite pastor / teacher – these are all idolatries. Vanities of vanities.
God tells us in James 4:4 that any friend of the world is an enemy of God and according to His Word no enemy will R.I.P. (Rest In Peace) for any person that does not have the Son does not have life, but has the wrath of God abiding on him (see John 3:36).
Now consider that we have only looked at five of the Ten Commandments – and if God judged you by this Holy standard and sees you as a lying thief, adulterer, murderer and idolater, do you think you will be innocent? Or guilty? You see the law is a schoolmaster, a teacher that teaches us that we have transgressed God’s Holy Commandments; it shows that we are in need of a Saviour – Someone to save us from the wrath of God. Scripture tells us:
Galatians 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
God’s Word tells us that transgressors of His law will be guilty and that:
1 Corinthians 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
1 Corinthians 6:10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
Therefore you would be guilty and God warns that all guilty persons are condemned (see John 3:18) and will end up in Hell for all eternity. This is what Hell is described as in the Holy Words of God:
A devouring fire and everlasting burnings – Isaiah 33:14
A place of weeping and gnashing of teeth – Matthew 8:12, 22:13, 24:51, 25:30; Luke 13:28
Where the fire is never quenched – Mark 9:44, 46, 48
Where they can never repent – Matthew 12:32; Mark 3:29
Where they don’t want their loved ones to come – Luke 16:28
A bottomless pit – Revelation 9:1, 2, 11, 11:7, 17:8, 20:1, 3
Where they scream for mercy – Luke 16:24
A place of sorrows – Psalm 18:5
A place of outer darkness – Matthew 8:12, 22:13, 25:30
A place of torments – Luke 16:23
And many, many more verses …
On that Great Day at the Great White Throne Judgment, this is the Revelation of Jesus Christ of Judgment Day:
Revelation 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
Revelation 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
Revelation 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
Revelation 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
If you should stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ know this that transgressors will end up in God’s prison – Hell for all eternity. On that Day there will be no Court of Appeal against your sentence, there will be no Constitutional Court to appeal to for a lesser sentence or an acquittal. There also will be no extenuating circumstantial pleas heard on your behalf. No, my friend, the judgment will be final and binding. Your only hope is – will you have the Lord Jesus Christ as your advocate (see 1 John 2:1) on that Day. If God is not your Father on Judgment Day, then He will certainly be your Judge. And Scripture warns that:
Hebrews 10:31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Matthews 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
The bad news is that Hell awaits all unrepentant evil and wicked sinners who have not repented towards God. But, O yea, there is Good News. And this is what a Good and Loving God did for you about two thousand years ago. God the Father took on human form – and became flesh (John 1:14) to take upon Himself the sins of the whole world so that redemption can be granted to His people. God is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (see 2 Peter 3:9). Scripture tells us of God’s great love for us:
John 3:16 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 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Jesus Christ – God in human form – became the sin offering – the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world – for you when He went to the cross to die in your place taking the wrath of the Father upon Himself:
2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
If God is speaking to you, do not harden your heart in the day of His visitation.
John 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
John 6:39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
John 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
Jesus Christ took your punishment upon Himself so that He can legally commute your death sentence upon the Day of Judgment if you would believe upon His Name and be clothed in His Righteousness.
Scripture tells us that when Jesus died He was laid in a tomb (grave) and on the third day raised to life. Jesus has overcome this world, death and sin for all those who would believe in Him.
John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
2 Timothy 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
2 Timothy 1:10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:
Know this, that:
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Ephesians 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
2 Corinthians 6:1 We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.
2 Corinthians 6:2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)
Call upon the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, for His mercy and grace for there is no other that can save you:
Act 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
And Jesus said you must be born again, born of the Spirit of God, not of man or his will:
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
John 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
John 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
John 3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
John 1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
So this day, your repentance must be toward God and your faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ (see Acts 20:21) and let God work repentance in you and receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour by faith:
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Come to Jesus:
Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Romans 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Find a quiet place and go before the Lord God Almighty and do business with Him today, for you are not guaranteed of tomorrow. Then get yourself a KJ Bible, read and obey what is written in it. Live it out. Get into a Bible believing assembly of believers and follow Jesus. For God commands Perfection, Holiness and Obedience. What is the cost of being a disciple of Christ?
Luke 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
Luke 9:24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.
You never know when your time will be up and you will die. Are YOU Ready?
Mark 8:36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
Mark 8:37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
Mark 8:38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
Soli Deo Gloria,
Obituary written by an evangelist who has attended at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships held in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal to reach competitors and spectators alike with the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Possibly, you too, have received a Gospel Tract. Consider this – Are YOU Ready?
2 Corinthians 5:20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
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