Summary: Beginning of a series on Eternity and what awaits the Christian after Death. Three points, Death is a Certainty, Judgment is a reality, and salvation is a possiblity.
“Eternity: What Awaits After Death”
“What Does The Bible Say About Death”
[Began sermon with video clip - “Ever Think About Dying?” www.sermonspice.com]
“And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, (28) so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.”
The reason for this series has been the growing awareness that over the years some of the most confusing preaching I have ever heard has been at funerals. I felt that if the preaching reflected a poor understanding of eternity on the part of the preachers involved then is must be even worse among the general population. I have solicited from you (the congregation) your questions concerning what happens after we die, and these have already proven helpful. Don’t hesitate to pick up one of the forms on the information desk in the foyer, you can still include your questions. These questions, demonstrated that there is still confusion even among good Christians concerning the subject. For that reason this morning we are starting a new series that I have entitled; “Eternity: What Awaits After Death.”
The lineup for this will be;
“Eternity: What Does the Bible Say About Death.”
“Absent From the Body Present With the Lord.”
“Heaven Is Better Than You Think.”
“Hell is Forever and It’s Not Funny.”
This series is important enough that I don’t want you to miss any of it. In addition perhaps there is someone who you know who also needs to hear what God says on the subject, so why don’t you invite someone to come to the services as your guest during the series.
This morning we are going to consider “Eternity: What Does the Bible Say About Death.” You’ve probably heard the old saying - “The only things guaranteed in life are death and taxes.” I’m not so sure that statement is absolutely true, though. I’m guessing that with enough deductions, loopholes, and “creative” accounting, some people avoid paying most, if not all, of their taxes. So, there’s no guarantee there, about taxes. But that still leaves us with death to deal with.
People have used and continue to use some unusual methods to attempt to peer past the portal of death, into the afterlife. People who say they have had “Near Death Experiences” write books to tell what they say eternity will be like. Books like Betty Eadie’s book “Embraced by the Light” which tells of her supposed “death” and her visit to heaven. Unfortunately, the book not in line with the teaching of the Bible and is in fact closer to Mormon theology than it is to the New Testament. That is hardly a trustworthy source.
Others attempt to find out about the afterlife by so called “psychic research” – attempts to contact the dead through séances and mediums. The Bible explains these experiences as not truly communication with the dead but rather with devious evil spirits impersonating the dead. Once again I would hardly consider that a trustworthy source.
The only sure word concerning life after death is the Word of God. In 1 Thess 4:15 the Apostle Paul says, “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.” Now obviously the term “fallen asleep” is a softened term to refer to those believers who have already died. Paul is concerned that the church at Thessalonica not be misinformed about what happens after death.
So perhaps I should begin by dispelling some misconceptions about death.
•Some folks say that death is the end of existence.
As is evident from the video clip that we began the sermon with, some people think that when you die, you simply cease to exist. But that isn’t true according to the Bible. The Bible says in Genesis 2:7 “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (KJV). This implies an existence after death. So death is NOT the end of existence.
Yet that this body is a temporary dwelling place is a universal truth, instinctively understood by all until as Ray Stedman says, “they are educated beyond their intelligence and they start denying it.” He tells of an incident when his children were small, “years ago, when one of my daughters crawled into bed with me one morning. I kept my eyes shut and, as children will, she tried to wake me up by poking and punching me and trying to get me to open my eyes. Finally, she crawled up and sat right on my chest and, reaching down, pried open my eyelid. Then she leaned over and said, "Are you in there, Daddy?" [Ray Stedman. “Life Beyond Death. – www. pbc.org/dp/Stedman/misc/0295.html]