Summary: This sermon showcases the lie the Roman soldiers told; why they told it; and how that is still affecting our walk in Christ today.
I want you to picture something in your mind this morning. Imagine yourself going up a hill, and you know that on the other side of that hill is a cliff that drops off hundreds of feet below into a lake of burning sulpher and volcanic lava.
You know you have to get to the other side of that lake, but you do not know how you are going to do it. Then, you notice 20 different paths in front of you, all seeming to lead in the same general direction. At the beginning of each path is a person who seems very friendly, and that person is urging you to take his path.
They all seem so nice and inviting, and you just don’t know which one to take. So, which path should you take?
That symbolizes where humanity is today. We know that our future is either going to be falling headlong into that lake of burning sulpher or finding true peace on the other side of the lake where it is safe. But, just how do we know which path to take?
And that is the dilemma that we find ourselves in today, isn’t it? How do we know the true path when there are so many ways that seem like the truth at first glance? The truth can only be found if we are willing to search for it.
There is the story of a man who took his wife and mother-in-law on a trip to visit the Holy Land. Unfortunately, while they were there, the mother-in-law suffered a heart attack and passed away. He now faced the decision to spend about ten thousand dollars to ship her back to America to be buried, or to pay less than $200.00 and have her buried in Israel.
After much consideration on his part, he decided to have her shipped back home. One of the local rabbis asked him if he was sure he wanted to spend so much money when he could have the same thing done so much cheaper over there.
The man told the rabbi that 2,000 years ago, they buried Jesus in Israel, too, but he arose on the third day, and with his mother-in-law, well, he just couldn’t take that chance.
That man knew something about the resurrection, but he didn’t know the truth, did he? That is like many people in today’s churches. They know something about Jesus, but they don’t really know Jesus.
We all seem to have an interest in the subject of life after death, and at the same time, many of us have a fear of it, don’t we? I want to talk about life after death this morning, but first, let us open in prayer.
The whole subject of life after death makes many people skittish. They feel very uncomfortable with it. That leads us into our first point of observation this morning.
1. How do we handle things that make us uncomfortable?
Have you ever noticed that when a person is very uncomfortable, or afraid of a situation, they will either make fun of it, or they just flatly deny it? That is what many of us do with the topic of eternity.
We are afraid of it because we do not fully understand the precepts of the afterlife, and that makes us very uncomfortable with it, so instead of trying to find out more about it, many people just deny that it exists. Or, they admit it exists, and then they make up some kind of story about how they want their personal eternity to be like.
For instance, some say that as long as you really care for others and try to do good things in your life, you will go to Heaven. Still others say that it doesn’t really matter what you do or how you are in this life, everyone will eventually find their way to Heaven.
Let me say that if you are a good person, that is fine, and if you love everyone you meet, that is fantastic – BUT – trying to rely upon either one of these, you are trying to buy yourself into Heaven with what you do or how you feel, and you just cannot do that. Heaven is not for sale, period!
And, as far as everyone getting there; to that, let me just say, “RIGHT”. That is a scenario that might make someone feel really, really good, but it just isn’t going to happen that way.
Okay, then if we don’t get to Heaven by being loving and good to those around us, and if we are not all going to go to Heaven, just how do we get there? In other words, how do we know which path to take? The answer is actually so simple that an innocent child can understand it.