Summary: The resurrection is of practical value when we consider what happens after life ends.
1. Today is “Easter” on the Christian calendar
a. Annual remembrance of Jesus’ resurrection
b. In Churches of Christ each first day of the week is to remember the Resurrection
c. To get to Jesus’ resurrection, he had to go through crucifixion and the grave
d. On that first day of the week exciting things happened:
• The disciples saw the empty tomb and the grave clothes
• They encountered angels with instructions
• Some even encountered Jesus himself that day
e. We are not sure of all that happened while Jesus was in the tomb but his resurrection gives us courage and hope (1 Corinthians 15)
2. Have you ever stopped to think of what it is like to die?
a. There are books and movies on NDE – some had positive NDE and some had frightening ones
b. The movie, “Flatliners” was about medical students who wanted to experience death scientifically, so they took turns stopping their hearts while their friends would wait the prescribed amount of time and restart their hearts. They would record what they experienced and compare notes.
c. I have documented 97 funerals that I have conducted over the years. On occasion I have stopped and wondered what the deceased person might be experiencing at that moment.
3. God could tell us what it is like to pass from this life to the next but does not seem to share the same angst about it that we do.
a. Mt. of Transfiguration – Jesus met with Moses and Elijah; both are in the same place
b. Lazarus in John 11 – no one asks, “What was it like?”
c. Nor with Jesus in his resurrection
4. Questions we have about the afterlife:
• What is it like?
• How long will it take to reach our destination?
• Will we remember our time on earth?
• Will we recognize loved ones?
• What determines our final destination?
• We cannot answer these questions by mere human reasoning or experience.
5. Maybe he does give us a little insight into the afterlife in Luke 16.19-31
a. Parable or Reality?
b. Either way, it is insightful for us
I. The Reminder of the Reality of Death
A. Defining Death – James 2.26
26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.
1. Corpse; lifeless; separation
2. Spirit – wind; breath
3. God breathed life into Adam; Adam would die because he was separated from the tree of life and God -- lifeless
B. Death is Universal
1. Wealth Can’t Stop It
• [Wealth often brings privilege and special treatment – “Do you know who I am?”
• Wealth is often thought of as a sign of God’s approval and poverty, his disapproval – Job; Pharisees and Sadducees
• We pay for improved physical appearance; Health; Intellect – money doesn’t stop death
• The Rich Man was:
o Wealthy and self-serving – Abram was blessed by God to bless others – that is the purpose of wealth;
o Not Torah-Observant – Purple and fine linen – mix of wool and linen – prohibited in Deuteronomy 22.11
2. Poverty Doesn’t Change It – Might think of poor having special blessings – inherit the earth, etc. not in this case
a. Beggar – Lazarus or Eliezer in Hebrew (Abram’s servant in Genesis 15.2) – crumbs from the rich man’s table
b. Ill as well as poor – sores; “laid at the gate”
II. The Revelation of Eternal Destiny
A. Prophetic Prediction
Daniel 12.2 2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
B. Presented in the Two Characters
1. Lazarus – a place of
• Paradise with Abraham (Matthew 8.11)
As paradise with Jesus – Luke 23.43 43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Philippians 1.23-24 23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. 24 But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.
2. Rich Man in Torment – Hades, place of the dead
• Consciousness – recognized Abraham; Lazarus; remembered brothers; despairing
• Not there because of wealth – selfish/law-less; chose HIS way above God’s way
• CS Lewis once said that there are two kinds of people in the world. One says to God, “Your will be done.” God says to the other, “YOUR will be done.”
• When we get ourselves into a lost condition it is because we chose it, either out of ignorance or rebellion and consequences follow
1. A possible order of events when we die: