Summary: Paul, in 2 Corinthians 12 speaks from experience that there are events that follow our physical death. The burden of this talk is to prepare you, not for death, but for the events that occur between your dying and your final destination.

S012002 What happens when we die?

2 Corinthians 12

Sermon series Sermons you would bring a friend to hear

Preached by Scotty Killingsworth to the Evergreen Church.


Here is how it will happen: You will be distracted for just a moment by something in the car. You will hear tires sliding, glass breaking and metal bending. You will feel a sudden and forceful change of direction followed by instant death. You may never even see what hit you.

For some you will see it coming for weeks but be able to do nothing at all to resist it. Death will creep into your body in spite of chemotherapy, radical surgery or some heroic effort by our medical best. Some will have time to say good-bye to family and friends and then slip into a drug induced sleep and never awaken from the surgery. Others will feel a sudden pain in the chest or head will be followed by unconsciousness and death. A few will die in sleep. Some will die in old age; some in utero, but all of us will die.

Death is the common denominator. It doesn’t matter how you have lived, or how rich or poor you are. Women live a few years longer than men. Europeans live a little longer than Africans. The rich have access to more medical opportunities and live longer than the poor, but all of us die.

What is death? How is death defined? Our medical culture is struggling with how to actually define death. Cold-water drowning victims who have had no heart beat for up to 20 minutes are revived and live normal lives. Human existence ceases when the brain dies. If we follow that definition to its ultimate conclusion, some people I have dealt with this week are dead and don’t know it.

There are other aspects to the subject of death

There is Spiritual death. This death is tasted when we choose to live a life separated from the grace of God. This pre-Christian existence is not so much soul death as it is never having been spiritually alive to begin with. Jesus said that he didn’t come to condemn the world. He came because the world was condemned already. He didn’t come to point out the darkness that already existed. He came to bring us light.

Eph. 2:1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,

Rom. 5:12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men

Rom. 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The second death plays right beside this spiritual death idea. It is a death of hope. This death is a death to any chance of redemption. This second death happens at the final judgment of the non-Christian.

Rev. 20:12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done.14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.

How do you plan to meet your death?

Some people die in terrible fear and dread. Their last days and last words are panic laden and horror filled.

The passengers on the planes last September 11th met their deaths in very individual ways. I like to think I would have reacted as they did on the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. That with my last breath I would have struggled to fill even my death with meaning and bless others by it.

Some of us will have time to say last things.

Conrad Hilton was born in 1887 and over the next 92 years he built a dynasty of hotels around the world, on his deathbed just before he died, Hilton was asked if he had any last words of wisdom for the world. And these were the words that Hilton went out with, "Leave the shower curtain on the inside of the tub."

Samuel Upham had been a professor at Drew Theological Seminary for years and as he lay dying, friends gathered about. The question arose as to whether he was still living or not. Someone advised, "Feel his feet. No one ever died with warm feet." Dr. Upham opened an eye and said, "Joan of Arc did."

Winston Churchill- on his 75th birthday -I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.

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