Summary: This is the 3rd sermon in a series of sermons about heaven. It focuses on WHERE we GO after we DIE and WHAT it is LIKE there.
Sermons about Heaven: March 14, 2010
Sermon #3: WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Part #1:
In an INDIANA CEMENTARY is a TOMBSTONE that is MORE than 100 YEARS OLD & it has this EPITAPH written upon it.
Pause stranger when you pass me by;
As you are now, so once was I.
As I am now, so you will be;
Prepare yourself to follow me.
& a YOUNG MAN came along & WROTE a FEW LINES BENEATH the POEM.
To follow you I am not content;
Until I know which way you went.
That’s a PRETTY GOOD EPITAPH right there, isn’t it?
Did you KNOW that there is an ORGANIZATION called AFTER LIFE TELEGRAMS?
They offer to DELIVER MESSAGES to the DEAD for $10 a WORD with a 5 WORD MINIMUM. & the WAY they DO THIS is they GIVE THESE MESSAGES to TERMINALLY ILL PATIENTS who PROMISE to DELIVER the MESSAGES upon PASSING into the AFTER LIFE.
That is actually TRUE.
In the FINE PRINT of the AGREEMENT however, it WARNS CUSTOMERS that they CANNOT GUARANTEE the MESSAGES will GET THROUGH because the TRUTH is, AFTER LIFE TELEGRAMS SOLEMNLY WARNS, NO ONE KNOWS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN SOMEONE DIES.
ALEXANDER STEWART , a GRIEF COUNSELOR, has said there are basically TWO THINGS MOST PEOPLE WANT to KNOW about their DECEASED LOVED ONES.
#1: WHERE ARE THEY?
& #2: HOW IS IT GOING WITH THEM?
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
That is a QUESTION a LOT of FOLKS has ASKED ME when I have tried to COMFORT them in their GRIEF. WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Apparently there were THOSE WHO LIVED in the NEW TESTAMENT TIMES who were just as CONCERNED ABOUT THAT QUESTION as we are TODAY.
Do you REMEMBER when PAUL WROTE to the THESSALONIANS & he was WRITING to them because of the QUESTIONS in THEIR MINDS concerning DEATH & the AFTER LIFE.
1 Thessalonians 4:13 ‘My brethern, I would not have you ignorant concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.’
Now PAUL WASN’T TALKING ABOUT THEM FALLING to SLEEP like we FALL to SLEEP AT NIGHT.
The TERM “FALLING ASLLEP” is a SOFTENED TERM for a CHRISTIAN’S DEATH.
It is USED OFTEN in the SCRIPTURES to DESCRIBE a CHRISTIAN WHO DIES.
For instance, do you remember when LAZARUS was RAISED FROM THE GRAVE?
JESUS said about LAZARUS:
St. John 11:11 ‘These things HE said & after that HE said to them, Our friend LAZARUS SLEEPS.’
LAZARUS WASN’T ASLEEP, HE WAS DEAD!
He has BEEN IN THE GRAVE for 4 DAYS.
& then there was DAVID in the OLD TESTAMENT & we READ OF HIM in the book of ACTS 13:36 It says:
“After he had served his own generation by the will of GOD he FELL ASLEEP & was buried with his fathers & saw corruption.’
In the NEW TESTAMENT this PHRASE, ‘TO FALL ASLEEP” when it refers to a CHRISTIAN is referring to DYING.
& it is really a VERY INTERESTING WORD in the GREEK LANGUAGE.
It MEANS to RECLINE.
It is the SAME WORD that is USED for SOMEONE who SLEPT in a HOTEL for just ONE NIGHT & then the NEXT DAY they would GET UP & go on with their journey.
It is a BEAUTIFUL ILLUSTRATION of WHAT HAPPENS to a CHRISTIAN when they DIE; their BODY GOES TO SLEEP & it is PUT INTO THE HOTEL WAITING for the TIME when the RESURRECTION of the SAINTS of GOD will happen.
Now EVERYTIME someone ASKS ME WHERE ARE THEY NOW?’ the 1ST THING I have to TELL THEM is:
THEIR BODY IS ASLEEP:
THEIR BODY has DIED & THEIR BODY is in the GRAVE.
& every time we PASS the CEMENTARY we’re REMINDED of WHAT HAPPENS to a PERSON’S BODY when they DIE, THEIR BODY goes into the GRAVE.
But THAT is NOT the ISSUE.
The ISSUE is ABOUT the REAL PERSON.
Because we all KNOW that the BODY is NOT the REAL PERSON.
The BODY is just the HOUSE which the REAL PERSON LIVES.
The BODY is just the SHELL in which the REAL PERSON RESIDES.
So WHEN THIS BODY GOES TO SLEEP & GOES into the GRAVE, WHAT HAPPENS TO THE REAL PERSON?
The BIBLE GIVES US THE ANSWER:
In the MESSAGE this morning I want us to take a LOOK at these 3 POINTS:
In order for us to GET OUR ARMS AROUND THIS SUBJECT & EMBRACE IT I want you to look with me at a PASSAGE of SCRIPTURE which many of us are FAMILIAR WITH.
There we have the STORY which is USUALLY REFERRED TO as the RICH MAN & LAZARUS the BEGGAR.
So we START with TWO PEOPLE:
LAZARUS & the RICH MAN: