Summary: A sermon on Hebrews 9:26-28 (Outline taken from http://www.sermonseeds.org/Hebrews%20-%20Revelation/Hebrews/Hebrews%209.htm)
Benjamin Franklin- Certainty? In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.
Thesis: FOUR THINGS ON WHICH TO COUNT
THERE IS DEATH (Just as man is destined to die once- vs. 27)
We only have one death to die. We are not coming back to die again. We are not coming back at all. The point of the word "once" here is to stress the finality of death. We die once. And that is the end of our experience of earthly dying. Death is serious because it is the penalty which God has pronounced on sin. Death is serious because it is a certainty for all men. Death is to be taken seriously because, without trying to be humorous, it is a grave matter.
We only have one life to live. There is no reincarnation. Though it was not really the point of the writer to the Hebrews to discuss reincarnation, he certainly and completely denies it here.
Reincarnation cannot account for itself. Who set up this process? Who oversees the process? Who determines when it ends for us?
THERE IS JUDGMENT (and after that to face judgment- vs. 27)
Materialism: Nothing survives. Death ends all of me. It was seldom held before our contemporary times. Through six millenniums of human history man has looked upon immortality as a reality. This is the belief of atheism about death. In an interview with the Guardian Magazine, cosmologist Stephen Hawking was as blunt and clear as he could be about his views on life beyond this life. “I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.”
The word "after" tells us that life does not end with death. No matter what we think will happen when we die, God says that His judgment will follow. If we are anticipating "nothing" after death, we will be surprised!
Acts 24:24-25: Several days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was a Jewess. He sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about faith in Christ Jesus. As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.”
The most important judgment happens right after we die. It determines where we will spend eternity. Luke 16:19-23: There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.
We see here that right after death their eternal destiny is started. Lazarus is at Abraham’s side, a depiction of those who are going to heaven. The rich man is in torment, a depiction of those who are going to hell. There is no waiting around until the end of the world.
Plan of salvation. Invitation hymn at end to come forward.
Now we do find that at the end of this world, there will be a judging of the nations. This might be described as a more formal judgment and the time where everyone goes to their final reward. Matthew 25:31-33: When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
At the end of this story Jesus says in Matthew 25:46: Then they (the goats) will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous (the sheep) to eternal life.
We have another description of this in Revelation 20:11-15: Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.