Summary: What happens to us after we die? Do we just live and then die and that’s it? Do we go to be with Christ or do we end up in limbo for a while? Our text will shed some light and what comes next for a believer.
Intro: When I was a kid I’d go and stay w/my grandparents a couple of weeks each summer in Ft. Worth. I loved going there b/c my grandmother would make me whatever I wanted for breakfast and I didn’t have to take a bath if I didn’t want to. I mean life couldn’t get any better.
-But uncle would terrorize me the entire time I was there. He had this coconut that had a painted face on it like an Indian. And he’d sneak into my room at night, nudge me until I woke up and then shine the light on the coconut head and start making these obnoxious noises.
-I would jump out of my skin and start screaming bloody murder and my uncle would run off dying laughing. What’s amazing is I’d play w/that coconut head during the day but at night it scared me to death.
-Now was there any reason for me to be scared? Absolutely not! When it came down to it that coconut couldn’t do anything to harm me. But what I did was allow it to scare me when there really was no reason for me to be scared.
-One of the greatest fears most people have is the fear of dying. And it’s pretty understandable. Death is permanent. It’s not like you die and then get a do over. Death means separation. Most of us have lost people we dearly care @, and when they die, they’re gone. That personal relationship is over and it’s sad and lonely.
-But I think death is also fearful b/c it carries w/it a great unknown. What happens to us when we die? Is that it? Do we just live for a few years on this earth and then it’s all over? Or do we have a life beyond this life?
Sermon Idea: Today in our passage of Scripture we’re going to see Jesus giving encouragement to a man @ his future as he was dying. That right there is a great comfort to me to see that Jesus is speaking of a future for a man who was dying. But thru this conversation Jesus had w/this man we’re going to discover 3 things that happen to us after we die.
TEXT: LUKE 23: 39-43
Bckgrd: When Jesus was taken to the cross He had 1 man crucified on either side of Him. Luke 23: 32, “Two other men, both criminals, were also led out w/Him to be executed.” These men had heard @ Jesus and His claims to be the Messiah. And one of the criminals started abusing Jesus saying, “If you’re really the Son of God, why don’t you get us down from here! Why don’t you rescue us?!”
-He was a guy who had no hope for the future. But the other criminal understood there was something special @ Jesus. He got on to the guy for mocking Jesus. He said in Luke 23: 40-41, “But the other criminal rebuked him. ‘Don’t you fear God,’ he said, ‘since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.’”
-It’s after this statement Jesus addressed the man and let him know what would happen to him after he died. So what does happen to us after we die? We’re going to see 3 things that happen to followers of Christ after they die. The 1st thing that happens to Xians after they die is:
DIV. 1: THEY LEAVE IMMEDIATELY (v. 43)
Exp: A question I get asked every once in a while is, “What happens to a person after he dies? Does he just stay dead forever. Or does he just sit in the ground waiting for the day when God will raise him from the dead? What happens?” I don’t know @ you but I like to know what’s going to happen ahead of time. I typically don’t like it when I’m caught off guard or if things are in limbo and I’m not too sure what’s coming next.
ILLUS: When you have knowledge @ the future it gives you confidence in how you live; it gives you confidence in the way you act. During a PBS program Dr. Daniel Boorstin, the librarian of Congress, brought out a little blue box from a small closet. The label on the box read: Contents of the President’s pockets on the night of April 14, 1865. That was the night Pres. Abraham Lincoln was assassinated.
-He pulled out the items Lincoln carried w/him on that night. He was carrying a handkerchief that had “A. Lincoln” embroidered on it. A pen knife, a spectacles case, a Confederate $5 bill, and some old and worn newspaper clippings.
-One of the clippings read, “Abraham Lincoln is one of the greatest men of all times.” Today that’s common knowledge, but back then there were some serious doubts. Yet Lincoln held on to that clipping as a reminder that what he was doing was right and it enabled him to pursue an agenda that would bring our country together.