Summary: God’s Word pulls back the curtain and let’s us look over to the other side of death. What happens when a Christian dies?
What Happens When a Christian Dies?
Series: The Other Side of Death
Sermon by Rick Crandall
McClendon Baptist Church - Feb. 21, 2010
*Let’s talk about Heaven. Billy Sunday once said, “If we could get a real appreciation of what heaven is, we would all be so homesick for heaven the devil wouldn't have a friend left on earth.” (1)
*Now, it is impossible for us to fully understand Heaven. As the Bible says in 1 Cor 2:9, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” But God’s Word does tell us a lot about that wonderful place. God’s Word pulls back the curtain and let’s us look over to the other side of death. What happens when a Christian dies?
1. First: You will have instant admission into Heaven. (2 Cor 5:1-8)
*There is no doubt about it in vs. 1. -- Paul says: “We know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
*Christians, our admission into Heaven is so sure in vs. 4 that Paul says we groan for our mortality to be “swallowed up by life.” And in v. 8, “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.”
*As Jack Van Impe explained: “Nearly 2,000 years ago, Christ came down from heaven's glory to shed His precious blood for the world. He knew no sin, but became sin for us (2 Cor 5:21). Through this substitutionary death, dying for you and me, all who receive this Christ can have the past, present and future stains of sin immediately forgiven, forgotten, obliterated, and liquidated, -- because the blood of Jesus Christ (God's) Son cleanses us from ALL sin. (1John 1:7) (2)
*Years ago, Rosalind Goforth was a well-known missionary in China. Along with her husband Jonathan, she had a wonderful ministry, but for years, Rosalind often felt oppressed by a burden of sin. She felt guilty and dirty, with a sense of spiritual failure.
*Finally one night, she settled at her desk with her Bible and concordance. Rosalind was determined to find out God’s attitude toward the failures, the faults and the sins of his children. At the top of the page she wrote: “What God does with our sins.” Then she searched God’s Word and made a list of 17 truths. Listen to a few of them:
-In Isaiah 53:6, God lays our sins on his Son, Jesus Christ.
-In Psalm 103:12 God takes our sins away as far as East is from West.
-In Eph 1:6-7, we are “accepted in the Beloved.” And “in Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.”
-And in 1 John 1:7, the blood of God’s Son Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin. (3)
*Christian, as soon as you die, you will have instant admission into Heaven, because you are “accepted in the Beloved” and your sins have been cleansed by the blood of God’s Son Jesus Christ!
*When Melba Biggs passed away last summer, I got to sit down and talk with her sister Gloria Wink. One of the things that gave great comfort to Gloria was something special that happened to her friend, Mickey.
*Mickey was a cancer patient, and had recently been at the doctor’s for chemo. For some reason, there was a 4-year-old girl in the office that day, and she asked Mickey, “Are you fixin to die?”
-Mickey answered, “I don’t know. It’s up to God.” -- Then the little girl replied, “Well, you will just jump out of your skin, and jump into God’s arms.”
*That little girl’s description was based on a sure Biblical truth: For a Christian to be “absent from the body is “to be present with the Lord.” Christian, when you die, you will have instant admission into Heaven.
2. And you will have infinitely greater awareness. (1 Cor 13:12)
*Some people ask, “Will I know my family and friends in Heaven?” Some people wonder, “Will I even know myself?” -- The consistent answer in God’s Word is “yes.” You will know your family. -- You will know yourself.
*Some of the verses we looked at last week help us to see this truth.
-In 1 Cor 13:12, Paul compared our life now to life in Heaven and said: “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.”
-In Matt 22:31-32, Jesus proved the resurrection with these words: “Concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” Surely Abraham, Isaac and Jacob know who they are.