Summary: What you believe about death and eternity will determine how you live.
King Solomon wrote, “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart” (Ecclesiastes 7:2). In other words, it’s better to go to a funeral than a wedding. The first three letters of “funeral” spell “fun,” but funerals, of course, are not fun. However, funerals do force us to think about what really matters. Fortunately, we’re not gathered here today for a funeral, but I am going to talk about death.
What you believe about DEATH and eternity will determine HOW you live.
What do we know about death?
1. Death is CERTAIN.
“You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17).
“By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return” (Genesis 3:19).
(Exception: Believers who are alive when Christ returns will not experience death.)
2. At the moment of death, your body and soul will SEPARATE.
“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).
Our bodies are mortal; our souls are immortal. (“Destroy” doesn’t mean annihilation; it means the destruction of meaningful existence.)
We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8).
A pastor was once conducting the funeral of a Christian man. He announced, “The body in this casket is not really our friend. It’s just the shell. The real nut is in heaven.”
The Bible describes death in many different ways:
• The psalmist wrote that when people die, they “return to the dust” (Psalm 104:29).
• The KJV calls death “giving up the ghost” (Genesis 25:8; 35:29; Lamentations 1:19; Acts 5:10).
• The Bible says that when Abraham died, he was “gathered to his people” (Genesis 25:8). In other words, he joined his deceased relatives in death.
• The Bible often describes the death of God’s people as “sleep” (Deuteronomy 31:16; John 11:11; 1 Corinthians 15:6, 18, 51; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-15). The bodies of believers sleep in the grave waiting for the resurrection.
• The apostle Paul called death a “departure” (2 Timothy 4:6). It’s like going on a trip…from this world to another.
• The apostle Peter said that death is like taking down a tent (1 Peter 1:13-14). Our bodies are temporary dwelling places for our spirits.
• Job described death as “the king of terrors” (Job 14:14). Death is many people’s greatest fear.
3. After death, you will face JUDGMENT.
Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment (Hebrews 9:27).
[Jesus Christ] is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead” (Acts 10:42).
For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil (Ecclesiastes 12:14).
Each one of us will face one of two judgments: