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One Minute After You Die

One Minute After You Die  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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WELCOME YOU HAVE ARRIVED! Your Personality INTRODUCTION : When Del Fahsenfeld was battling a rare brain tumor, the doctors assured him in April that he would be dead before Christmas. When he was inter­viewed, he said that he wanted to follow God so fully while he still had strength that when weak­ness came he would be able to endure his suffering with confidence. When you come home at night, he said, "you can manage to get around the house in the darkness because you have been there so often in the light." When Del died in November of that year, those who were with him reported that he died well. For him, the darkness of death was as the light. He was prepared for that final hour; the Christ he had known for so many years led him through the curtain all the way to the other side. What can we expect one minute after we die? • While relatives sorrow on earth, you will find your self in new surroundings, which just now are beyond our imagination. • Most probably, you will have seen angels who have been assigned the responsibility of escorting you to your destination, just as the angels who carried Lazarus into "Abraham's bosom." • Back in January of 1956, five young missionaries were speared to death in the jungles of Ecuador. The offenders have now become Christians and have told Steve Saint, the son of one of the martyrs, which they heard and saw what they now believe to be angels while the killings were taking place. A women hiding at a distance also saw these beings above the trees and didn’t know what kind of music it was until she heard a Christian choir on records. • Though such a revelation of angels is rare, this inci­dent is a reminder that these heavenly beings who watch us on earth await us in heaven. Of course our greatest desire is to see Christ, who will be on hand to welcome us, but angels will be on hand too. Since we are Christ's sheep, He calls us by name, perhaps standing even as He did for Stephen (Acts 7:55). We look into His eyes and see compassion, love, and understanding. Though we are unworthy, we know His welcome is genuine. We see His nail-prints, and this triggers memories that make us fall on our faces in worship. Were it not for His tender hand helping us to our feet, we'd be unable to stand up. So much is different, yet you are quite the same. You have entered heaven without a break in con­sciousness Back on earth our friends will bury our body, but they cannot bury us. Personhood survives the death of the body. Just before Stephen died said, “Lord receive my spirit." He did not say, "Receive my body." Death, someone has said, "is powerful business," for you just keep living some­where else without undue interruption. 1. YOUR PERSONHOOD CONTINUES We are accustomed to talk about the differences there will be when we make our transition from earth to heaven. But there are some similarities too. Given the fact that our personalities continue, we can expect continuity. Heaven is the earthly life of the believer glorified and perfected. A. PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE CONTINUES 1. One minute after we die, our minds, our memories, will be clearer than ever before. 2. Remember Jesus' story of the rich man who went to hades with his memory intact. He knew his family on earth, pleading, "I have five brothers." Death does not change what we know; our personalities will just go on with the same information we have stored in our minds today 3. Think back to your background : your parents, brothers, sisters, family reunions. Of course, you will remember all of this and more in heaven. Do you actually think you might know less in heaven than you know on earth ? Unthinkable ! 4. Once in heaven we will soon get to meet a host of others, some known to us in this life or through the pages of church history, others nameless in this world but equally honored in the world to come. 5. On the Mount of Transfiguration, three of the disciples met Moses and Elijah. So far as we know, there was no need for introductions; no need for name tags. In heaven there will be intuitive knowledge, for our minds will be redeemed from the limitations sin im­posed upon them. 6. Of course, we will not know everything, for such knowledge belongs only to God. But we shall "know fully," even as we are "fully known" (1 Corinthians 13:12). In heaven, we will know just like we do on earth, except more so. Only our desire to sin will no longer be a part of our being. B. PERSONNEL LOVE CONTINUES 1. Again we are reminded of the rich man who was concerned about his brothers, lest they come to the same place of torment. He not only knew who his brothers were, but he was concerned about them. He loved them so much that he was willing to never see them again if only they would not join him in this place of torment. He would endure isolation if they experienced consolation. 2. Of course, dear widow, your husband who is in heaven continues to love you as he did on earth. To­day he loves you with a fonder, sweeter, purer love. It is a love purified by God. Your child loves you; so does your mother and father. There is no more a break in love than there is in continuity of thought. Death breaks ties on earth but renews them in heaven. 3. Christ made clear that we will not marry in heaven nor be given in marriage. a. But that does not mean that we will be sexless. In heaven we will retain our female or male gender. b. Your mother will be still known as your mother in heaven, your son or daughter will be known as a member of your earthly family. c. I like what Chet Bitterman said after his missionary son was killed by guerrillas. “We have eight children. And they are all living : one’s in heaven and seven are on earth.” d. Our love for God will also be intensified. Here, at last, without distractions, God can be loved, for faith has given way to sight. e. We will keep loving whatever we loved on earth, apart from sin. In heaven, our affections will be like they were on earth, except more so. 4. There is no evidence that those in heaven can actu­ally see us on earth; though that might be possible. It is more likely that they can ask for regular updates on how we are doing. I cannot imagine that such a request would be denied. a. When her grandfather died a 5 year old girl at the Moody Church asked her father, "Can we ask Jesus to get a message to grampa ?”He was caught somewhat by surprise but realized that there was nothing in his theology that would cause him to say no. So he responded, "Yes, that might be possible; let's tell Jesus what we want grampa to know." b. We might not be sure whether Jesus gave the mes­sage to grampa, but we must agree that this little girl's theology was much better than that of millions of other people in the world. She knew that although we might pray to Jesus to get a message to grampa, we don 'tpray to grampa to get a message to Jesus! c. We must warn, however, that those who are in heaven cannot communicate with us. d. Let’s not forget that the Bible strictly forbids any attempt to communicate with those who have died. We must be satisfied that they are more knowledge­able than we and that someday we will be with them. e. God has told us all we need to know in this life; we need to entrust our loved ones into His loving care for the life to come 5. If those in heaven could talk with us, what would they say? They would tell us to be faithful; they that if we only knew how generous God is, we do all we could to please him. 6. “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory that is to be revealed to us" (Romans 8:18). They would tell us to live on earth with heaven in mind. C. PERSONAL FEELINGS CONTINUE 1. Think of your purest joy on earth; then multiply that many times and you might get catch a glimpse of heaven's euphoria. 2. Even in the Old Testament, David knew enough to write, “In Thy presence is fulness of joy; in thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalms 16:11) 3. Heaven is the perfecting of the highest moments of our present Christian experience. 4. What about sorrow? Yes, there will be sorrow until God Himself "shall wipe every tear from their eyes" (Revelation 7:17; 21:4). a. When we think of the oppor­tunities we squandered, when we consider how imperfectly we loved Christ on earth, we will grieve. b. Such sorrow will vanish, but for the moment the reali­ty of what could have been will dawn upon us. 5. If we still question whether the departed spirits ex­perience the same emotions as we, let us read these words: “And when He broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testi­mony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, "How long, 0 Lord, holy and true, wilt Thou refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" (Revela­tion 6:9-10) 6. Knowledge, love, feelings, a desire for justice all of these are the present experience of those who have gone ahead of us to heaven. 7. Remember that the entire personality simply carries over into the life beyond. Heaven has its differences, but it is populated with your friends, who are still the people who once dwelt on the earth. They are still your friends! D. Personal Activities Continue 1. Yes, in heaven we will rest, but it is not the rest of inactivity. We will most probably continue many of the same kinds of projects we knew on earth. 2. Artists will do art as never before; the scientist just might be invited to continue his or her exploration of God's magnificent creation. The musicians will do music; all of us will continue to learn. 3. Says Maclaren, “We are, saplings here, but we shall be transported into our heavenly soil to grow in God's light. Here our abilities are in blossom; there they shall burst forth with fruits of greater beauty. Our death is but the passing from one degree of loving service to another; the difference is like that of the unborn child and the one who has entered into the experiences of a new life. Our love for God will con­tinue, but awakened with new purity and purposeful­ness.” 4. The famous Puritan writer Jonathan Edwards believed that the saints in heaven would begin by contemplating God's providential care of the church on earth and then move on to other aspects of the divine plan, and thus "the ideas of the saints shall increase to eternity." 5. The "real you” will be there. CLOSING : What can we expect one minute after we die? ANGELIC VISITATION : Most probably, you will have seen angels who have been assigned the responsibility of escorting you to your destination, just as the angels who carried Lazarus into "Abraham's bosom." UNDERSTANDABLE JOY : While relatives sorrow on earth, you will find your self in new surroundings, which just now are beyond our imagination. SOVEREIGN WELCOME : Since we are Christ's sheep, He calls us by name, perhaps standing even as He did for Stephen (Acts 7:55). We look into His eyes and see compassion, love, and understanding. Though we are unworthy, we know His welcome is genuine. We see His nail-prints, and this triggers memories that make us fall on our faces in worship. Were it not for His tender hand helping us to our feet, we'd be unable to stand up. PERSONAL AWARENESS :So much is different, yet you are quite the same. You have entered heaven without a break in con­sciousness Back on earth our friends will bury our body, but they cannot bury us. Personhood survives the death of the body. Just before Stephen died said, “Lord receive my spirit." He did not say, "Receive my body." Death, someone has said, "is powerful business," for you just keep living some­where else without undue interruption.
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