Summary: This sermon was written for our annual Heaven Week celebration
One Moment After You Die
October 3, 2004
Heaven Week Service
A man had a friend who enlarged his business. His sales had increased to the point that a larger warehouse and sales office were needed. Even though the move was a rather complicated and burdensome process, it was really a thing to be celebrated. For this reason, the man sent his friend some flowers on the day of his grand opening. The flowers, however, were poorly handled and the businessman received a bouquet that was intended for a funeral. It was accompanied with a card which said: "My deepest sympathy during this time of sorrow." When the man called his friend on the phone to wish him well, he was confronted with the error, "Why in the world," said the businessman, "did you send me these sympathy flowers?" The man went immediately to the florist to demand an explanation. The florist met him outside the shop and was obviously upset. "I am terribly sorry about the mixup with the flowers," he said, "but I hope you will be understanding. Your situation is not half as bad as the one down at the funeral home. The folks there received your flowers accompanied by the card which said: BEST WISHES IN YOUR NEW LOCATION."
Man’s life is made up of 20 years of his mother asking him where he is going, 40 years of his wife asking him where he has been and one hour at his funeral when everyone wonders where he is going.
Death has an amazing success rate: 1 out of 1 people. The sad fact of life is that one day it will come to end here on this earth for each one of us and there is nothing we can do to avoid it. We can eat healthy, exercise, and do the right things to extend our lives but there is nothing that we can do to keep from dying. One of the saddest things about life is that many people have no clue as to what awaits them when they die.
Our society buys into three primary un-Biblical perspectives on death
1. Reincarnation: This belief states that once your life ends you immediately start another life and you will climb the stairs to attain oneness with the universe.
2. Annihilation: This belief states that there is nothing beyond this life and once it is over there is no more existence.
3. Universalism: This belief states that God will allow everyone into heaven no matter how they have lived their lives because He is good.
“man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,” Hebrews 9:27
This one verse of scripture blows most of this rational thinking about death out of the water and sets a more direct course for us to follow in our understanding about life, death and the afterlife.
What happens one moment after you die?
One moment after you die…
I. Your earthly prosperity and earthly suffering end (19-21)
There is a huge contrast being made here between the life of the Rich Man and Lazarus. These two men have nothing in common during their lives.
The Rich Man is wealthy, thus the reason he is called rich man. He is extremely wealthy. His wardrobe is made of purple clothing, which was highly expensive to make and was usually reserved only for royalty, and fine linens. This man had the best clothes money could buy. He also had a large home. The fact that he had a gate would likely make his home some type of mansion. The Rich man lived in luxury everyday, which tells us that he was flamboyant and flashy with his wealth.
The Rich Man is assumed to be healthy because there is no mention of any kind of physical problems. He is living life to the fullest never thinking about what might happen when life comes to an end.
The Rich Man is unknown in this story. His name is not mentioned for a specific reason, he is not in relationship with God.
Lazarus lived an extremely different life. He was poor beyond our ability to truly understand. Lazarus was forced to become a beggar and would have had nothing but what was given to him for that day. He wanted to eat the burnt, broken and discarded pieces of bread from the rich man’s table.
Lazarus was very sick. He was so ill that his body was covered in sores that would have been incredibly painful. He would have been unable to work to support himself and started a life of begging. He was also weak because he was unable to stop the dogs from licking his sores.
Lazarus was blessed in one key way, he knew God. The name Lazarus means God is my helper. There is a direct connection between his name and the result of his eternity.