Summary: This sermon is a Biblical picture of life after death. For the Saved-Heaven...For the unsaved-Hell
Five Minutes after we DIE!
The Church of England issued a theological report on Hell in the opening months of 1996. While not suggesting that everyone would eventually wind up in heaven, the Anglican report does propose that if there is a Hell, it is empty. The report says:
“In the past the imagery of hell-fire and eternal torment and punishment…has been used to frighten men and women….”
“Hell is not eternal torment, but is the final and irrevocable choosing of that which is opposed to God so completely that the only end is total non-being.”
1. Heb.9:27 says, "And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment." It is a scientific fact that someday you and I and everyone who lives will die. Our hearts will stop beating and blood will stop coursing through our bodies. Our chests will no longer rise & fall with each breath. Our brain will stop sending millions of signals to various parts of our body.
2. Millions of people will die this year in the U.S.A. alone. Some will be friends of ours, some will be our loved ones, some will be prominent public figures. By the end of the year, all of us will be touched by death.
3. Few subjects interest men more than life after death. Most people have considered the question of the ages found in Job 14:14, "If a man dies, shall he live again?"
4. The question we must each ask of ourselves today is: What will happen to me five minutes after I die? The only place we can find an accurate answer to our question is in the Word of God: The answer is found in Luke 16:19-31.
5. Let’s learn five realities of what happens after we die.
I. Five Minutes after We Die We will Still Be Alive.
The story is told of a Persian prince who was about to ascend the throne. Acutely aware of his need for more knowledge (to be a good ruler), he summoned his wise men and commanded them to prepare a history of humanity (, leaving nothing unrecorded, for him to read). Twenty years later the scholars brought him 6,000 books.
Too busy with the affairs of the state to wade through that many books, the (busy) king told his wise men to edit their work and to condense their findings in one book.
Another twenty years passed, and the scholars presented the king with the one book he had asked for. The king, (alas,) was dying and not able to read it. From his deathbed, he (the sad king) looked up at the wise men and cried, “Then I shall die without knowing the history of humanity!” One of the group, (seeing how heartbroken the king was,) said: “Beloved King, I will sum it up for you in a few words: ‘They were born; they suffered; they died.’”
A. Both Lazarus and the Rich Man Experienced Life After Death.
1. Often this passage is referred to as a parable-But this is not a parable. Names are never mentioned in parables.
2. The "rich man" had a life of luxury. He was abounding in wealth" . He was "clothed in purple and fine linen" which were great status symbols. He "fared sumptuously every dayHe lived in great luxury.
3. "Lazarus" was "a beggar." He was probably crippled and/or diseased. He had to beg in order to live. His name means "God is our helper." God was his only hope. He was "full of sores," He had to be "laid" at "the gate" of the rich man. He ate the "crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table" We also see that "dogs came and licked his sores."
4. Yet, both men were equalized in death. Both "died." Just as their lives were marked by contrast, so were their lives after death.
B. All People Experience Death.
In Dante’s Divine Comedy the author journeys through the Inferno. There is a sign posted over the mouth of the entrance to Hell which reads: Abandon hope all you who enter here. There isn’t a second chance after death. Unlike the Eastern idea of reincarnation, where if you blow it the first time around you an eternity of opportunities to get it right, the truth is, as the author of Hebrews points out, it is appointed for man once to die, and after that comes the judgment. In Hell there is no relief, no escape, no end, no kidding.
1. Death is the GREAT EQUALIZER. It is no respecter of persons. rich or poor, young or old, black or white, American or European, male or female... death comes to all.
2. Death is PERSONAL. It will happen to you. It will happen to me.