Summary: One question I’ve wanted to ask God is, what’s it like crossing over?
When British actor Robert Morley died, he asked that his credit cards be buried with him. After his funeral, the London Times’ letters pages were filled with reader’s opinions of what they might take with them.
A Mr Evans wrote: "I’ll take a fire extinguisher."
Miss Tanner said: “I’ll take a map. I have immense trouble finding my way in this life, so I am extremely worried about the next."
David Wilcocks wrote in and said he, “would take a set of ear plugs in case the heavenly choirs, singing everlastingly, are not in tune."
And Maurice Godbold said he would, “take a crowbar in case my funeral was premature."
People have some really mixed up ideas about what’s on the other side of death. However, the Bible says that everyone faces one of two destinations once this life is over. What are these places like? And what impact do they have on the way we live our lives today?
Jesus taught a lot on heaven and hell. One time, Jesus was over at someone’s house and he said this to his disciples …
"… the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. "Have you understood all these things?" Jesus asked. "Yes," they replied (Matthew 13:47-51 NIV)
This story that Jesus told about sorting fish shows us three things about the after life.
i) there will be judgment for everyone
the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore.
ii) people will be separated into two groups
they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away.
iii) the saved will be destined for heaven and the unsaved for hell.
The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
First let’s take a look at Hell.
Leighton Ford describes Hell as …
“… the eternal loss of being a real person. “
a. Hell involves emotional anguish.
The Bible likens hell to a place called gehenna, which was a burning rubbish dump outside Jerusalem. What it means is that in hell, people will be consciously aware that they have been deemed trash--worthless, irredeemable, fit for no good purpose.
b. Hell involves physical anguish.
Hell is also described as a place of fire and flames -a furnace. It’s a place of physical anguish. It involves heat and pain that is so intense that in another parable Jesus told, a man begs for just a few drops of water.
c. Hell involves relational anguish.
There are no friends in hell. Hell means solitary suffering. While all the time you are terrified that someone you love might be headed down the same track.
Now let’s go to heaven (Yeah let’s go!!).
Ian McCormack is a Kiwi (i.e. New Zealander) who claims to have died and gone to heaven and then returned.
McCormack was stung five times by a Box Jellyfish while he was snorkelling at night off Mauritius. The Box Jellyfish is the second most deadly animal known to humanity. There have been 70 deaths from Box Jellyfish stings in Australian waters alone. And McCormack had enough venom in his veins to have killed him within 4 minutes.
I’m going to show you the testimony of his experience of death and crossing over. While Ian McCormack lay dying in the ambulance he saw a vision of his mother praying. And so he prayed the only prayer he knew – the Lord’s prayer – and he gave his life to Christ. This is his story.
(Ian McCormack DVD - 12 minutes) [And audio copy of this testimony is available on the sermons page at www.australindbaptistchurch.com. DVD’s can be ordered online - just google search Ian McCormack]
During his testimony McCormack refers to the following Scriptures.
But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him
(2 Peter 3:13-14 NIV).
We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8 NIV).