Summary: Expanded outline. Looks at 2 destinations for those who die. Suitable for intro before prayer meeting.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE DIE?
The last time we met, we looked together at Revelation 6, this same passage of Scripture, and looked at what it means, what it costs to be a Christian, and there is a cost. If your Christianity cost you nothing, than I would suggest that you are no real disciple of Jesus Christ, for Jesus said that those who follow Him, those who are His disciples, must take up their cross daily and follow Him. Discipleship cost you something.
Tonight I would to begin with this same passage and look at what happens when we die.
In verse 9, John says, though these martyrs were slain, “I saw their souls in heaven.” Even though these people, in the eyes of the world were dead, John says, “I saw their souls in heaven and they were alive.”
“Their bodies lie molding in the ground. Their bodies lie rotting in the earth. Their blood has been spilt in the sand, but their souls are alive and conscious in heaven. They speak and they know what is happening here on earth, and they live and speak unto God. Human eyes, eyes of the flesh, cannot see them.” (Sermon, The Soul After Death, by W. A. Criswell). John says, “I saw and heard them.”
Even though these people were dead in the eyes of the world, that was not the end of them. They were still alive and conscious. There are those today who teach that when you die you go to sleep. Others teach that when you die, that is the end of everything. Eat, drink and be merry. Go for the gusto, because this is all there is.
The Bible teaches nothing like that. The Bible teaches that when you die, you are still alive and still aware.
These are men the world would call dead. Their lives no longer continue in the eyes of the world. These men have entered the intermediate state, between death and the resurrection. There are two different states, one for the unbeliever and another for the saved.
II. INTERMEDIATE STATE
The first of these two died in luxury. He died surrounded by his servants. He died with attendants by his side. He died in the lap of luxury, between silken sheets.
This man had rejected the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He had rejected God. He wanted to be his own boss, to take charge of his own destiny, to “do it his way.” He died lost. Notice his state.
1. For the Lost, the unrepentant.
a. There is suffering – Luke 16:22-24. My friends, hell is not a place to party. Hell is not a place to catch up with old friends. Hell is not a place where you renew contact with the family that has gone before. Hell is a place of torment. It is a place of constant suffering.
When this man shut his eyes, he shut his eyes perhaps believing he would wake again. He shut his eyes believing perhaps that tomorrow would be like today. Sadly, when he shut his eyes, he opened them again, but this time, in a place of torment.
b. There is jail – 1 Peter 3:19, 2 Peter 2:4,9. It is a place where they are locked up, awaiting their trial, just as a person arrested today would be kept in jail until their trial date and then they would be sentenced to prison. They are locked up, awaiting their trial.
There are those who teach that after you die you can be saved. There are others who teach that when you die, if you have unconfessed sin, that you go through a period of punishment, of torment, and then when you have gone through enough, then you get to go to heaven.
What a damnable doctrine that is. The Bible says, in Hebrews 9:27 And just as it is appointed for people to die once – and after this, judgment…”. This teaching is wrong, it is sad, it is damnable for three primary reasons:
1) Delay is OK – First, it is sad because it teaches that delay is OK. There’s no rush to accepting Christ, there’s no rush to repent, you do not need to speed to salvation, delay is OK. If you miss the boat this time, you can catch a boat later. Or, if you catch the boat now, but really aren’t up to par, it’s OK, you’ll have the opportunity to straighten things out later. People can pray for you, and light candles for you, and you’ll be punished a little bit, but things will work out.
How many people delay today because they believe that a “Good God” would never let anyone go to hell. My friend, if for all of his life, a person tells God he doesn’t want anything to do with God, then how in the world could God, after death, say, “OK, we’re buds now?”