Summary: There will come a day when I will breathe my last and die. So will you. So, do you go immediately to heaven when you die? Will we recognize each other in heaven?
Joke: A very wealthy man decided to prove the quote, "You can't take it with you", wrong. Before he died he requested that his gold be buried with him. Sure enough after his death he found himself in heaven along with his gold. He was so excited that he had actually taken it with him. He went up to St. Peter to enter the gates and exclaimed "Look at this, you can take it with you." Peter looked at the gold in the mans hand and asked "Why would you want to bring pavement with you?"
There will come a day when I will breathe my last and die. So will you. I will be put in a coffin with a suit and tie. People will come to the church, songs will be sung, and words will be said. The casket will be closed and I will be taken to the cemetery where I will be lowered into the grave. Then all will come back for tuna salad, celery sticks, and maybe ham sandwiches. That will be it.
So, do you go immediately to heaven when you die? Will we recognize each other in heaven? What happens to babies when they die? Yes, to heaven. Are you afraid to die?
1. We all have a box with our name on it.
Illustration: It is like the board game Monopoly. My story when I won and when I lost -- bad sport. The thing I had to learn was that at the end it all goes back into the box; the money, houses, hotels, railroads, and properties. But the winner does not want to put it back, but to look at it and savor it. Like the game all we do here on earth will go back in the box; houses, harley’s, cars, 401k’s, and iphones.
Heb 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: KJV
I am reminded of this every day. I am in the process of dying. My knees give me trouble, my eyes need glasses, my hair is dwindling, and I have to pace myself more. I try to eat healthy and exercise, but there is no avoiding it.
Quote: Steve Jobs said, “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the best choices in life.”
Choices for family, love and faith; doing something that will make a difference for the Kingdom of God.
2. At the moment of death you are ushered into eternity.
Jesus taught that at death the spirit and soul separate from the body and immediately goes to one of two places. Jesus told the man on the cross beside him:
Luke 23:43 Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." NIV
Paul said in 2 Cor 5:8 that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. When we die the body separates from the spirit and soul. Our bodies return to dust while our souls live forever. Paul calls our bodies a temporary tent (2 Cor 5:1,4). When your loved ones pick out the songs, flowers and casket, you are more alive than ever. Either you will be before the throne of God with all the redeemed and the angels celebrating your homecoming, or you will be facing utter darkness and despair.
Do we have a body in heaven? Yes. You will have a resurrected body like Jesus when He rose; He ate, walked and talked. But He also appeared through walls.
1 Cor 15:42b,44 Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. 44 They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies. NLT
So, too, we will be able to recognize each other in heaven and talk about the good things of our past together. I believe our new bodies will come at the 2nd coming, but it could be immediate?
3. Heaven and hell are real places.
There is no middle ground, and no limbo. The bible says that God has placed eternity in every human heart (Eccl 3:11), so we do not cease to exist. If we did not have eternity then there would be no reason to be moral as there are no eternal consequences. There is eternal reward and celebration for those who accept Christ and there is a place of eternal pain and separation for those who reject Christ and live immoral lives. As our first scripture says that after we die we face judgment. God is perfectly just and judges correctly; rewards goodness and punishes evil. Anyone who got away it, with evil, and did not repent will be held accountable. Everything wrong in the world will be made right.