Summary: What happens to an unbeliever when they die? Jesus answers that question in a dramatic way!
1. Illus. of my ministry
• First funeral was Jewell Wrenn. As they lowered her body into the ground, I couldn’t help but think to myself, “Where is she? What is she experiencing?”
2. You and I are born to die. We try to distract ourselves from that fact, but nevertheless it is true. From the moment you draw that first lung-full of air and sound your first scream, there is a grave somewhere waiting for you.
3. At some level we all wonder, “What will death be like? What will happen to me after I die?”
4. If you ask ten different people, you will probably get ten different answers:
Nihilist- Nothing happens to us after we die. When we are dead we are gone, and that’s the end of it.
New age- Merge into cosmic all, or are reincarnated to get another chance, or we are set free of limitations of body to roam universe in search of knowledge as an ascended master.
Hollywood- Get to go to a cornfield and play baseball (Field of Dreams), or get to hang around and talk to your girlfriend through Whoopi Goldberg (Ghosts).
5. Isn’t there anyone who can cut through the confusion and give us the straight scoop? Yes there is! His name is Jesus, and if there is anyone who knows about life after death, it’s Him!
6. Text: Jesus gives a factual account of what an unbelieving rich man experienced five seconds after death.
7. Today: If you are not a Christian, Jesus is describing what will happen to you after you die.
8. What will happen to every non-Christian five seconds after death?
I. FIVE SECONDS AFTER DEATH THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF LIFE BECOME IRRELEVANT
1. See vss 19-22. This man was the Donald Trump of his day. He dressed in the finest designer clothes (purple and fine linen), he ate only the finest gourmet delicacies (fared sumptuously every day), and he lived in such a mansion that it had a gate .
2. This guy had made it to the top of the ladder! He was living the lifestyle we all dream about. He had it all- money, possessions, fame, and power!
3. But did you catch what our text said? Five seconds after he died, all his accomplishments and all his possessions became totally irrelevant! He had majored on the physical and neglected the spiritual, only to find out that after you die the spiritual is the only thing that matters.
4. Illus. of Bill Gates
• Richest man in America, one of most recognized names in America, probably one of most powerful men in America.
• Gave several hundred million $$$ to a benevolent cause, creating quite a media stir.
• An interviewer asked him, in light of his obvious benevolence, if he attended church on Sunday. His reply was, “of course not. I have more important things to do with my time.”
• Five seconds after death, Bill Gates will discover that for all his accomplishments, he has neglected the only thing in life that matters!
5. See Hebrews 9:27. God is not going to ask about car, house, bank account, high on ladder, how many people recognized your name. “What did you do with Jesus Christ?”
6. The accomplishments of life become irrelevant five seconds after death.
II. FIVE SECONDS AFTER DEATH AN ETERNITY WITHOUT CHRIST BEGINS
1. See 24-26. Five seconds after death the rich man began serving a sentence in God’s prison house that would last forever. Did you notice that there is a great gulf fixed…so that those in hell cannot pass to heaven? You are not going there to learn your spiritual lessons and be graduated up into heaven. Once you are in hell, you never get out!
2. What are the living conditions in God’s maximum-security prison? Three times in these 4 verses his condition is described as “torment.” Hell is a place of intense torment that lasts forever!
3. Illus. of Judgement House 1999
• Deliberately made it as realistic as possible.
• Dark, smoky, filled with screams of tormented souls.
• So frightening that we had several people say, “No, I’m not going in there.”
• As frightening as it was, it is only a mild picture of what the reality will be. Our wildest imaginations catch only the tiniest glimpse of what the truth will be like.
4. “God isn’t fair.” See Galatians 6:6-7. There is a connection between what we sow and what we reap. Hell is simply God allowing us to have in death what we have chosen in life!
• “I reject the message of forgiveness and grace.”- God allows us to go to a place where that message will never be heard.
• “I’m tired of being pestered by Christians.”- God allows us to go to a place where no Christians will ever go.