Summary: # 3 in series on Eternity. Deals with the glory of heaven.
“Eternity: What Awaits After Death”
Sermon # 3
“Heaven is Even Better Than You Imagine”
Today we return to our series “Eternity: What Awaits After You Die” and today we return again to Luke 16:19-31 to look at two men and two destinies. This morning we examine the subject of “Heaven: It’s Even Better Than You Think.” This subject is much more complex than I originally thought and so I have added at least three more to the series.
Next week – “Hell It’s Forever and It’s not Funny”
June 11th – “The Great Transformation”
June 18th – “Living In the New Jerusalem”
June 25 –“Living In the Light of Eternity”
In Luke 16:19-31 we find the story of two men and what happens to them after they die, here we are given a clear picture of the most basic truth, that there are only two possible destinations after death: Heaven and Hell. Each is just as real and eternal as the other.
If we are to judge by what is said at most funerals, you would think that everyone is going to eventually make it to Heaven. This only confirms what we find in society as a whole. It is a little amazing to understand that for every American who believes he is going to Hell, there are 120 who believe they are going to Heaven. Yet as Randy Alcorn states in his book entitled “Heaven” “…Heaven is not our default destination. No one goes there automatically. Unless our sin problem is resolved , the only place we will go is the true default destination….Hell.” [Randy Alcorn. “Heaven.” (Coral Stream, Illinois: Tyndale House, 2044) p. 23.]
Unless we surrender our lives Jesus Christ, we are headed for Hell. We will return to the subject of how to be sure you’re going to heaven as our last objective in the message.
Let’s turn to Luke 16:19 and see what we can understand about heaven itself, “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. (20) But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, (21) desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. (22) So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. (23) And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. (24) “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ (25) But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. (26) And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.”
Next week we will look at the Rich Man and his torment in Hell but this morning we are going to examine the fate of Lazarus as he awoke in heaven,
Scripture tells us in Eccles 12:7, “Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, And the spirit will return to God who gave it.” There is no purgatory, no limbo, no soul sleep. The body when separated from the spirit remains behind temporarily. It does not matter if it is buried, if it is cremated, or lost at sea. Sometimes the question is raised, how can God raise the dead if the body has been somehow destroyed? If you think about it if you can raise the dead, you can raise the dead. Dust or ashes will not matter.
Scripture tells us that at death our bodies are committed to the grave where they return to dust but our spirits go immediately either to Heaven or Hell. In our text Lazarus and the Rich man both have conscious existence immediately after they died. Jesus told the dying thief on the cross, “Today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). Paul stated in Philippians 1:23 that to die was to be with Christ and in 2 Corinthians 5:8 that to be “absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”
The bodies of those believers who have died
awaits the day according to (1 Thess. 4:16-17) when the Lord will return from Heaven with a shout and when the trumpet sounds, the graves are going to splint asunder and the disintegrated molecules are going to be reformed into our gloried bodies. .