Summary: Second in series on Eternity. Eternity is forever and it begins one second after you die.
“Eternity: What Awaits After Death”
Sermon # 2
“One Minute After You Die.”
When I began this series I had no idea how personal it was going to become. I really had a difficult time deciding whether or not I could preach today, and especially on the announced subject. In fact I only made up my mind to do so yesterday. Even now I cannot promise you that I can do so with out tears. Some of you may not be aware that last Sunday our precious little granddaughter, Aubrey went on to Heaven after just over 24 hours of life. On behalf of the Scott and Nikki, and Scott and Lisa, and Debbie and myself I want to thank each of you for your kind expressions of love and sympathy, they mean more than I can express.
Over the years of serving as your pastor I have tried to not constantly refer to my family and the circumstances of our lives. I am at heart a very private person. I hope you will forgive me this one lapse this morning. I had thought I understood at least on an intellectual basis what grief was after all I have lost my sister, my father-in-law, my father, then my best friend and then mother. But when little Aubrey died, not only did a part of my dreams die but my faith was severely tested. I was no longer a pastor comforting the grieving. I was a father who had no answers for the hurt for his family and a grandfather grieving his own loss.
I knew what I believed about eternity, but did I really believe it. The eighteen inches from my head to my heart now seemed an incredible distance. So this morning I want to speak to you from my heart on the subject, “One Minute After You Die.”
Erwin Lutzer, pastor of the Moody Church in Chicago in his book “One Minute After You Die” he says, “One minute after you slip behind the parted curtain you will either be enjoying a personal welcome from Christ or catching your first glimpse of gloom as you have never known it. Either way, your future will be irrevocably fixed and eternally unchangeable…. those who find themselves in heaven will be surrounded with friends whom they have known on earth… Every description of heaven they have heard will pale in the light of reality. All this, forever.
Others – indeed many others - will be shrouded in darkness, a region of deprivation, and unending regret. There, with all their memories and feeling fully intact, images of their life on earth will return to haunt them. They will think back to their friends, family and relatives; they will brood over opportunities they squandered and intuitively know that their future is both hopeless and unending. For them death will be far worse then they imagined.
And so while relatives and friends plan your funeral – deciding on a casket, a burial plot, and who the pallbearers will be – you will be more alive than you have ever been. You will either see God on His throne surrounded by His angels and redeemed humanity, or you will be feel an indescribable weight of guilt and abandonment. There is no destination midway between these two extremes; just gladness and gloom.” [ Erwin W. Lutzer. “One Minute After You Die.” (Chicago: Moody, 1997) pp. 9-10]