- During this 5-week series, we will be discussing the realities of life after death.
- Week 5 (May 24th & 26th): We will have the honor of having Randy Alcorn here with us, and we will be asking him questions that you have about these topics. You can send those questions to [email protected]
- This week: What happens when you die?
EVERYONE HAS HAD TO WRESTLE WITH THIS QUESTION.
- Jesus is an expert on this topic. So, we will look at God’s word and see what He has to say.
- There’re a lot of views and opinions on what happens after we die.
- Even within Christian circles, there is a lot of confusion and debate.
- There are some things we have to believe to a follower of Jesus. Other things are more divisive than they’re important to salvation. Remember, we’re to also strive for unity in the body of Christ! (See 1 Corinthians 1:10)
TAKE-AWAYS FROM THIS SERIES FOR BOTH THOSE WHO FOLLOW JESUS AND THOSE WHO DON’T:
WHERE DID DEATH COME FROM?
LET’S GO BACK TO THE BEGINNING.
Genesis 1:26-27, Genesis 2:7, Genesis 2:8-9 & 15-17, Hebrews 9:27
- In Genesis 3, Adam and Eve are tempted by Satan and disobey God.
- Not only were they no longer allowed to live in the Garden but also physical death is now a reality.
WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT DEATH?
- The Bible tells us that there will be one physical death (which eliminates the possibility of reincarnation).
- After death, there is a preliminary judgement that happens, and you are then assigned to one of two places.
- Next week’s topic is Judgement and the difference between the preliminary and final judgments.
- If you die and you have accepted Jesus, you will go to a temporary heaven or what Jesus called “paradise.”
- If you die and you have NOT accepted Jesus, you will go to a temporary hell or what is also called “hades,” which is translated in the Greek as “the place of the dead.”1
THOSE WHO DIED BEFORE JESUS’ DEATH AND RESURRECTION HAD A DIFFERENT DESTINATION THAN WE DO NOW.
- In the Old Testament, when you died, you went to a place called “Sheol,” which is translated in Hebrew as “the world of the dead.” There were two parts or “chambers” in Sheol.1
- Those without faith in God would go to Sheol (translated Hades or hell in the New Testament).
- Those with faith in God would go to “Abraham’s side” or “Abraham’s bosom.” We know they weren’t with God because it would’ve been called “God’s side” or the “Messiah’s side.”
- After Jesus rose from the dead, He went to Sheol, preached to the unbelievers, and took those in Abraham’s Side to Paradise or heaven to be with God forever. (See 1 Peter 3:18-19 and Ephesians 4:8-9)
WHERE YOU GO WHEN YOU DIE DEPENDS SOLELY ON WHAT YOU DECIDE TO DO WITH JESUS.
FOR THOSE WHO’VE ACCEPTED JESUS AS THEIR LORD & SAVIOR: HEAVEN. PARADISE. WITH GOD.
Romans 10:9-10 (NLT) 9If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. [See also Luke 23:39-42]
- We know we will be given a new body when we go to paradise. (See 2 Corinthians 5:1-2)
- This paradise, or heaven, is not permanent. (See Revelation 21 and join us in Weeks 4 and 5 of this series.)
FOR THOSE WHO’VE REJECTED JESUS AS LORD & SAVIOR: HADES/HELL.TORMENT. FEAR. WITHOUT GOD. (Many Bible scholars believe this isn’t just a story or parable because it’s the only time Jesus uses a name.)
- There are two very real places after death. One place is a place of comfort and one place is a place of torment.
- It is impossible for anyone to leave Hades. There’s a great, impassable chasm that separates the two places.
- The rich man who was in Hades did not want anyone he loved to go there.
- This hell, or hades, is not permanent, either. (See Revelation 20 & 21 and join us in Week 3 of this series.)
IF YOU ARE A FOLLOWER OF JESUS… Do you forget there’s something more waiting for you? Do you live like you’re trying to make this earth your heaven?
Hebrews 13:14 (NLT) For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.
IF YOU ARE NOT A FOLLOWER OF JESUS… What will you decide?
John 3:16 (NIV) For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
QUESTIONS TO DISCUSS IN LIFE GROUP OR WITH YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS:
Passages to consider: Luke 16:19-31 and John 3:14-18
- Share from the sermon what was insightful to you.
- What have you heard about this topic from the society and media? Or: What do you think the people you around believe? (Consider the people you know from where you work, live, and play.) A) What have you thought about this topic?
- What from the timeline was impactful to you? A) What questions do you have? (This doesn’t mean you or your life group have to have the answers, but write them down and send them in to the address below.)
- Take a look at Luke 16:19-31. What are some things you observe about what happens when someone dies? A) What are some insights you gained? A) How does viewing yourself and others as eternal beings impact how you interact in the world?
- Take a look at John 3:14-18. What is Jesus saying to Nicodemus and to us?
- Where are you in the process of believing Jesus? What is your next step in that process? A) Who in your life needs to hear about Jesus and eternity? What is your part? (Ask God to show you, and look for opportunities.)