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One Second After You Die

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A recent sermon I preached about death of our bodies being called “asleep” have generated a little discussion and I thought it would be good to revisit the subject.
When I preached about this I said that Paul’s use of “asleep” in that context referred to a Christian’s body ceasing to live, but that our souls never lose conscious existence.
Our bodies await the resurrection, where they will be changed to a glorified and incorruptible body (1 Corinthians 15 is devoted to talking about those resurrection bodies that we will one day receive)
Tonight I want to talk more about what happens from the moment you die (or fall asleep) until the resurrection.

The Intermediate State

When I last preached about this I mentioned a few passages.
One was
Revelation 6:9–11 HCSB
When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the people slaughtered because of God’s word and the testimony they had. They cried out with a loud voice: “Lord, the One who is holy and true, how long until You judge and avenge our blood from those who live on the earth?” So a white robe was given to each of them, and they were told to rest a little while longer until the number would be completed of their fellow slaves and their brothers, who were going to be killed just as they had been.
The other was the story of the Rich Man and Lazurus that Jesus told. In that story both the sinner and the saint were aware and awake.
Today I want to strengthen the case that from the moment you die, your soul, your Spirit goes to be with the Lord. I want to look at three more passages.

The Thief on the Cross

Luke 23:39–43 HCSB
Then one of the criminals hanging there began to yell insults at Him: “Aren’t You the Messiah? Save Yourself and us!” But the other answered, rebuking him: “Don’t you even fear God, since you are undergoing the same punishment? We are punished justly, because we’re getting back what we deserve for the things we did, but this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!” And He said to him, “I assure you: Today you will be with Me in paradise.”
I want to be with you in your Kingdom.
Today you will be with me in Paradise.
Note he didn’t say today your soul will be unconscious for a long, indefinite period and then you will awaken in the Kingdom.
JW’s punctuate so that Jesus is saying “Today I’m declaring that one day you will be with me”
To be sure Paradise was understood to be a place of great joy in God’s presence. A place of awareness and enjoyment.

The Gain of Dying

Philippians 1:21–26 HCSB
For me, living is Christ and dying is gain. Now if I live on in the flesh, this means fruitful work for me; and I don’t know which one I should choose. I am pressured by both. I have the desire to depart and be with Christ —which is far better — but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you. Since I am persuaded of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that, because of me, your confidence may grow in Christ Jesus when I come to you again.
In verse 20 Paul intends to honor Christ no matter what, whether by his life or death.
look carefully at 23.
Leaving the Body results in being with Christ. It doesn’t mean unawareness or soul sleep, but to be WITH CHRIST.
Leaving the Body to be with Christ is far better. Translated from three words. Literally MUCH MORE BETTER!
better means higher in rank, preferable, superior etc.
The only reasonable explanation for thinking that dying would be better is to be with Christ.
The only thing that restrains Paul’s desire to die which is better, is his desire to continue to be used by God in the lives of those under his care.
So living is Christ, and dying is GAIN only if there is “Being with Christ” in the time between dying and the resurrection.
Finally

Home with the Lord

2 Corinthians 5:6–8 HCSB
So, we are always confident and know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight, and we are confident and satisfied to be out of the body and at home with the Lord.
Two points to be made here.
When we are in our earthly bodies, in this life we are “away from the Lord.” While we are here, we are not there. SO we walk by faith and not what we see. Part of that faith is that we will one day see the Lord. When Jesus comes back or WHEN WE DIE.
Out of body, home with the Lord.
Not to oversimplify bit if we can be absent from body, we would have aware existence even though our bodies have died.
satisfied in Holman and willing in KJV, would rather in ESV. To be out of the body and with the Lord are seen as preferred, to be chosen as the better option. This can only be so, if there is existence in the intermediate state, after our death, but before the resurrection of our bodies to be glorified in the final state.
How does the thought of your own death effect you? Do you know the Lord?
These passages can be a comfort that death leads immediately to something better. For you, this should be a confidence builder to face whatever life bring. For a Christian loved one who has died, it should inject hope into your sorrow.
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