Summary: Death is not a dead end street, it is not an end but a doorway to eternal life.
Life After Death – Part One
There have been quite a number of folks (5 families in the past two months – Bernita Sample’s husband passed on Wednesday morning) in our congregation who have had loved ones die in the past few months. My own family had to come to grips with saying goodbye to my wife’s father. Being a part of so many funerals in such a short period of time, I paid attention to some of the conversations people had during the wakes. I was rather surprised by some of the strange beliefs that people had concerning the afterlife. Let me share a few observations about death itself and then share with you why death is such an integral part of our lives.
Death is a great mystery, with faith alone offering answers while science believes that it has nothing to offer us because it cannot measure or see the results.
Strangely enough, science ought to give us hope because it has observed the first law of Thermodynamics. This law states mass and energy are never destroyed but only changed. If you burn up a piece of wood, it becomes a pile of ash, heat and light energy and carbon dioxide smoke. It isn’t destroyed, but rather changed.
If this is true of the material world, can it be so hard for us to believe it for the spiritual world? Harry Emerson Fosdick once said, “Can it be that God is the most unscrupulous waster in the universe, making great personalities, only to throw them utterly away?”
I believe that God is the great preserver and sustainer, wasting nothing! And that alone provides a strong case for life after death!
Because death is such a great mystery, we have concocted great explanations for what happens to us after we die:
Muslims believe that the men will spend eternity with 72 black eyed perpetual virgins. They hold to the belief that those whose good deeds do not outweigh their bad will be delivered to hell for eternal suffering.
Hindus believe that they will come back as an insect or an elephant or a cow, depending upon how they have lived their lives.
Buddhists believe in transmigration, where they will be born in another body with the hopes of achieving Nirvana which will be his escape from this suffering and life.
Some sects of Christianity believe that you go to an in-between place called purgatory where you are cleansed by fire of the sins that the blood of Christ couldn’t clean you of.
Some folks believe they will become angels playing harps and sitting on clouds.
Others think they will be disembodied spirits, visiting relatives and friends and tormenting their enemies as ghosts.
Still others, more hopeless, believe that this life is all there is. When you are dead, you are dead, and when you are gone, you are gone. So live it up because tomorrow you might die.
What do you believe?
Do you believe there is life after death?
This two sermon series will deal with the facts and the biblical truths concerning death and the afterlife, what life will be like beyond the grave.
This series will consist of 2 parts:
This week: Death – its origin, types and meaning as well as deliverance from it.
Next week: Life – what we will look like, act like and become.
Let me start then with a story about a man who laughed at a Christians belief about life after death. He said, “The only thing we can prove about a human being is that he is made of things like sulfur; iron; magnesium and water.” The Christian ignored the man and kept on talking. The man laughed and said, “Why don’t you answer me? You don’t have any answer.” The Christian said to him, “Yes sir, I do have an answer, but I am not in the habit of talking to a pile of sulfur; iron; magnesium and water.”
We need to go back to the beginning, when man was created to best understand the concept of death and the afterlife.
Genesis 2:7 “Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”
The garden of Eden is a place of perfection, where man is created to live, reproduce and walk with God. Man becomes a living being, literally a soul (Nephesh ) in a breathing, living body fit for his surroundings.
That is what our bodies are, clothing for our souls that allow us to interact with our environment.
Adams body was a physical body.
Contrary to what some claim that Adam’s body became physical after he disobeyed God, the Bible says that Adam’s body was created as a physical body to interact with a physical existence and with a spiritual God.