Summary: Sermon about what happens when we die. Death ends physical life. Death does not end spiritual life. Death can end in eternal life
God: What Happens after I Die? Job 14:14; 2 Cor. 5:1-8
1. Have you ever heard the expression, ''the elephant in the room?'' this expression refers to a situation where something major is going on. Everybody knows it. It is impossible to ignore, like an elephant in a room, but nobody talks about the ''elephant'' because nobody really knows what to do about it.
2. The elephant in the room, that we live with every day of our lives, is death. One of the things you will learn as you grow older is that the elephant in the room called ''death'' gets bigger and bigger and bigger.
*** Paul Azinger learned this the hard way.
1. Professional golfer Paul Azinger was diagnosed with cancer at age 33. He had just won a PGA championship and had ten tournament victories to his credit. He wrote, "A genuine feeling of fear came over me. I could die from cancer. Then another reality hit me even harder. I'm going to die eventually anyway, whether from cancer or something else. It's just a question of when." Before, Azinger lived for golf. No more. Now all he wanted to do was live!
2. One day in the early stages of the panic following his diagnosis, Azinger remember some words he had once heard in a Bible study. "We're not in the land of the living going to the land of the dying, "the teacher had said, "We're in the land of the dying trying to get to the land of the living." That reality led him to a living hope through faith in Jesus Christ.
3. Golfer Paul Azinger recovered from chemotherapy and returned to the PGA tour. But the bout with cancer changed his perspective. He would later write, "I've learned that happiness is only temporary. The only way to true contentment is in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I'm not saying that nothing ever bothers me and I don't have problems, but I feel like I've found the answer to the six-foot hole."
4. Until we find the answers to the six-foot hope, we don't know the facts of life. The most important lessons in life are wrapped-up in three short statements: Life is short. Death is certain. Eternity is forever.
3. The truth is most of us live, not like we were dying, but like we are going to live forever. Yes, we know we are going to die, because we know everybody dies, but nobody wants to talk about. Until old age or sickness forces the issue, we don't want to think about it.
4. Even the way we talk about it tells us how big this elephant is. We call it things like ''biting the dust'', ''buying the farm'', ''kicking the bucket'', or ''joining the angels.'' yet, when we are faced with it either personally or when a friend or a loved one dies, there is the question that comes to mind that is as old as civilization itself. In fact, it is found in what bible scholars believe is the oldest book of the bible - the book of job. We know that thousands of years ago, people were already asking this question Job 14:14, “If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.” Is death a period in the sentence of life or is it just a comma?
5. The reason why it is such an important question for us is because there is something that every life has in common with a street, a book, and a movie and that is they all have endings. Your life has an ending just as surely as it had a beginning. Your heart has only so many beats and then it will beat no more. Your lungs only have so many breaths and then they will breathe no more.
1 Sam 20:3, “And David sware moreover, and said, Thy father certainly knoweth that I have found grace in thine eyes; and he saith, Let not Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved: but truly as the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, there is but a step between me and death.”
*** As the cowboys use to put it, ''when you come to the end of the trail'', ''when you reach the end of the journey'', when you finally make that inevitable move that every person in history has made, or will make, from the cradle to the casket, the question is, ''Is there something more?''
6. There are a lot of competing answers to this question. Atheists believe that at death you just simply cease to exist. I was talking to a man not long ago who, if he lives, will be ninety this year. He believes that when you die you are just dead. There is no afterlife, and no eternal soul that continues in eternity.