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Summary: Answers the question concerning the departed spirit.

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Sermon Series: “Questioning the Faith”

Sermon #3 “Questioning Death”

Text: 1 Peter 3:15

OPENING JOKE: “He Wouldn’t Eat the Mushrooms” Mrs. Mohler was on trial for the murder of her third husband. As the court proceedings transpired, Mohler was called to the witness stand. The prosecuting attorney asked, “What happened to your first husband?” She answered, “He died of mushroom poisoning.” The prosecutor then asked about her second husband. She told the courtroom that he also died from mushroom poisoning. The attorney then queried, “And what happened to your third husband?” Mohler replied, “He died of a brain concussion.” The lawyer asked, “And how did that happen?” The widow confessed, “I hit him with an iron skillet because he wouldn’t eat the mushrooms.”

INTRODUCTION: Tonight we are continuing our series of sermons on ‘Questioning the faith’

If you remember last week we talked about the importance of asking questions and how I believe questions will inspire us to want to study and learn and know more.

Please remember to write your questions on the sheets provided and turn them in as soon as possible.

This series will go on as long as I have questions to answer, so please know that even if it takes a few weeks, I should get around to your questions.

This week we are going to talk about the subject of death

Death is a process that never ceases to function, yet we seldom believe it will happen to us.

Listen to some of these odd stories of unexpected death…

Illustration(s)

“Death by Soda Machine” Lance Foster certainly wasn’t thinking about it when he broke from his dormitory desk to get a soft drink in March of 1988. The twenty-three-year-old student at the University of Kansas encountered a vending machine that took his money but didn’t deliver his drink. Foster aggressively shook the machine and it ended up tipping over on top of him. He died of internal injuries shortly thereafter.

“Shot by Snake” Ali-Asghar Ahani never dreamed he would die by a gun-firing snake, but that’s exactly how he met death in 1989. When he came across a snake in Iran, he attempted to capture it rather than shoot it. He pressed the butt of his shotgun behind the snake’s head. The snake immediately coiled around the gun and its tail activated the trigger. Ahani died of a single shot to the head.

“Stress of Winning the Lottery” William Curry believed life was just beginning in 1990 when he won $3.6 million in the lottery. But just two weeks after striking it rich, the thirty-seven-year-old Curry died of a heart attack. His sister-in-law told reporters the stress of winning is what killed him.

Death is the ultimate statistic - 10 out of 10 die!

And so many of us have questions about what will happen ‘on the other side’

Illustration: “Crossing Over” The show ‘Crossing Over’ is about a psychic that speaks to the dead relatives of those in his studio audience. While I believe this is the epitome of phony, it does show one amazing truth: ‘People want to know what happens when you die’.

Even Christians are sometimes confused on the subject.

Quote: We, who are supposed to be the ‘bearers of light’ concerning the after-life, are just as often in error about what we believe about death as unsaved people.

So tonight I want to answer a question concerning death.

Question: Does the spirit leave the body and go to heaven to be with God upon death? Matthew 27:52-52 do not seem to imply this.

Let’s first look to this scripture. This is an event that takes place right after Jesus’ death on the cross…

Matthew 27:52, 52 “And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.”

Here we have bodies of saints that were dead, raised to life and appearing to many people.

To really get a good idea about what has happened in this case; let’s first look to other Scriptures that tell us about the condition of the departed spirit.

I. The Case of Lazarus and the Rich Man

a. Everyone look with me at Luke 16: 20-31

b. There are some points we should see in this story…

i. This is an actual event

1. Jesus used many stories to explain Heavenly truths called parables

2. This is the only case where He actually named a character in His story, showing that this was an actual event, not just a parable

3. v. 20 says, “But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus”

ii. Their spirits were taken immediately

1. v.22, 23 says “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. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.”

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