Summary: Why do you believe in life after death. Your reason may tell a lot about your confidence in Jesus
OPENING: "Do you believe in life after death?" the boss asked his younger employee.
"Well, then, that makes everything just fine," the boss went on. "About an hour after you left yesterday to go to your grandfather’s funeral, he stopped in to see you."
APPLICATION: Do you believe in life after death?
I. Do you realize that many who aren’t even Christians or religious believe in life after death?
They may not know why, but that’s what they believe.
ILLUS: For example, Hindus believe in life after death… and life after death… and life after death… and life after death.
It seems that nearly everyone suspects that it must be true. Perhaps it’s an innate feeling they have, or a nagging suspicion. Maybe it’s just a hopeful expectation of what they’d like to see. A hope against hope that the grave isn’t the end.
Why do Christians believe in life after death? Well… because we’re Christians - that’s what we’re supposed to believe. It’s good theology.
I Cor. 15:1-8 tells us that life after death is the main message of the Gospel - the Good News of Jesus Christ.
IN FACT in I Cor. 15:12ff Paul ticks off 7 things that would be true if resurrection were not real, and he ends by saying: "Hey, if there’s no resurrection from the dead, let’s eat and drink and be merry, because all that awaits us is a lonely empty grave (I Cor. 15:32b).
II. Do you believe in life after death?
If you believe simply because it’s "good theology," you may encounter doubts and fears that will be difficult to overcome. When faced with the reality of death of those you love or yourself you may find yourself being vulnerable, powerless, empty. You may begin to question. After all greater minds than yours have questioned "life after death."
ILLUS: Bertrand Russell was a man who had no faith in the Bible or God. He describes in eloquent terms the natural outcome of a life from which all faith in the resurrection of Christ is removed. He says:
"The life of man is a long march through the night, surrounded by invisible foes, tortured by weariness and pain, towards a goal that few can hope to reach and where none can tarry long. One by one, as they march, our comrades vanish from our sight, seized by the silent orders of omnipotent death.
Brief and powerless is man’s life, on his and all his race the slow, sure doom falls, pitiless and dark. Blind to good and evil, reckless of destruction, omnipotent matter rolls on its relentless way. For man, condemned today to lose his dearest, tomorrow himself to pass through the gates of darkness, it remains only to cherish, ere yet the blow falls, the lofty thoughts that ennoble his little day."
III. Indeed, Christians believe because that’s what we’re supposed to believe.
But if our theology is the only reason we believe in the resurrection - when life gets hard and death is real - we’ll find that "good theology" doesn’t cut it.
Lazarus had been dead 3 days and decay had begun to set in. Then Jesus shows up. In John 11 we’re told of how Martha approaches Jesus and basically tells Him - "I know the theology, but if you had only been here..."
Good theology was cold comfort. But then Jesus repeats the theology and asks Martha the oddest question:
Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again."
Martha answered, "I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." (good theology)
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die…."
And then the odd question: "Do you believe this?"
III. Do you believe this?
Keep in mind, Jesus wasn’t asking her
A. If she believed in near death experiences
B. If she understood the theology of Rabbis who would die and never leave their graves
C. If she believed the TEACHING but if she believed in the TEACHER
D. If she believed in RESURRECTION or LIFE AFTER DEATH
Rather, Jesus was asking if she believed in He WHO WAS the resurrection and the life.
ILLUS: Have you ever bought a product with a warranty? A LIFETIME guarantee? I encountered a product that promised one of those "lifetime warrentees" some time back… and do you know the first question that came into my mind???
"How long is that lifetime going to last? Just how long is that company going to be in business?"
You see, the warrantee is only as good as the one who gives it!
APPLICATION: Jesus was telling Martha that resurrection was a reality, not because it was