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]
This morning we are going to look at the question, “What Is The First Thing That Will Happen To Us After We Die?” As I stated in the first message in this series, the Bible is the only trustworthy source about life after death. I will take that one step further and state that Jesus is the only one qualified to speak authoritatively about death and the afterlife. Turn with me to Luke 16 as we examine a story that will take us the next two weeks to complete. Here in Luke 16 beginning in verse nineteen we find the story of Rich man and Lazarus. Jesus tells a story that gives us a glimpse into life on the other side of death. This story is unique to the Book of Luke and is the only one where we find these characters. I have come to believe that what we have before us today is not a parable but rather I believe this story to be a real report of the fate of two very real men.
Three things you will discover one minute after you die.
“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.’ (27) “Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, (28) for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ (29) Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ (30) And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ (31) But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’”