"From Here to Eternity" Sermon #1 (Luke 16:19-31)

“From Here to Eternity Series”

“ONE MINUTE AFTER YOU DIE”

Luke 16:19-31

Introduction:

A young business owner was opening a new branch office, and a friend decided to send a floral arrangement for the grand opening. When the friend arrived at the opening, he was appalled to find that his wreath bore the inscription: “Rest in peace.”
Angry, he complained to the florist. After apologizing, the florist said, “Look at it this way—somewhere a man was buried under a wreath today that said, ‘Good luck in your new location.’

 

A.  I hope you are depending on more than luck for your future

            new location.

B.  But many people have questions about death.

            1.  Some because of confusion.

            2.  Some because of conflict.

            3.  Some because of condemnation.

 

C.  Fortunately God does not leave us in the dark about death.

            He tells us what will happen to us.

            That is what this series is about—From Here to Eternity.

 

D.  Tonight I want to focus on what happens immediately after

            you die.

            I entitle this “One Minute After You Die.”

            I could have called it “One Second After You Die.”

 

E.  Three things are certain:

 

I.  You Are Awake.

 

A.  You are Awake, Not Annihilated.

            Some think you are “Dead like Rover; dead all over.”

 

            ILL:  A family’s cat was run over by a car and the mother quickly disposed of the remains before her 4 yr. old son Billy found out.  After a few days, though, Billy finally asked about the cat.

 “Billy, the cat died.  But it’s alright.  He is up in heaven with God.”  The boy asked, “What in the world would God want with a dead cat?”

 

            You weren’t created like Rover.  You are in the image of

God.  You have a soul that will live forever.  Therefore,

because you weren’t created like Rover, you won’t die like

a dog.

 

B.  You are Awake, Not Asleep.

            Some people think death is just going to be like sleep.

            Either they will sleep for eternity—never-ending nap.

            Or they will sleep until the resurrection.

 

            This occurred because of a misinterpretation of Paul’s

writing.  (see I Thess.15-18)

But Paul was just using poetic language to depict death.

Jesus also used this of Lazarus.  (see Jn.11:11-14)

 

C.  You are very much awake one minute after you die.

            1.  The believer is awake—Lazarus.

            2.  The unbeliever is likewise awake—the rich man.

                        He will wish he were not awake.

                        He will wish he had never been born.

                        But he is fully conscious and awake.

 

II.  You are Away.

 

A.  You are away from earth one minute after you die.

            1.  You are not a ghost who will continue to haunt here.

            2.  You are not a spirit who will continue to roam here.

            3.  You are not reincarnated to continue to dwell here.

            4.  You are away from this earth.

            ILL:  We tell a lot of ghost stories around the campfires.

                        They are all just stories. 

            ILL:  We hear about psychics connecting the dead.

                        They can’t.  They are away.  It is long distance.

            ILL:  We hear in the movies that some “see dead people.”

                        Sorry.  You can’t.  They are away.

 

 

B.  You are away to your eternal home.

            1.  The unbeliever immediately is away in Hell.

                        (22,23)

                        a.  The unbeliever doesn’t wait in purgatory to see if

his friends and relatives can pray him into

heaven.  If you haven’t prayed to receive

Christ, then nobody’s prayer can help you.

                        b.  The unbeliever doesn’t wait until the Great

White Throne Judgment at the end of the

 Millennial Reign to go to Hell.  Hell is the

holding room for those going to the Lake of

Fire.

                        c.  The unbeliever doesn’t wait because the

judgment is already given.

“He that believeth on Him is not

condemned: but He that believeth not is

condemned already, because he hath not

believed in the name of the only begotten

 Son of God.”  (Jn.3:18)

                        d.  The unbeliever is away from family & friends.

·        He can’t contact them.  (27-31)

·        They won’t join you.

O, they may be in Hell, too.

But you won’t be partying with them.

 

            2.  The believer immediately is away in Heaven.

 

            “I tell you the truth, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”  (Lk.23:43)

            “I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far”  (Phil.1:23)

            “Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord.  We live by faith, not by sight.  We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”  (II Cor.5:6-8)

 

                        a.  What is Abraham’s bosom? 

                                    Before the cross, sin still separated from

God.  But after the death of Christ, the veil

of the Temple was rent and we have access

to God.  Jesus removed the barrier of sin and

provided direct access to God.   The believer

goes now into the very presence of Christ at

death.  (see above Lk.23:43 and Phil.1:23)

 

                        b.  What is Paradise? 

                                    Heaven is Paradise.  (II Cor.12:2-4)

                                    Now after the cross paradise is in the direct

                                    presence of God.

 

                        c.  The believer goes immediately to heaven,

paradise, the presence of God one minute

after he dies.

 

II.  You are Aware.

 

ILL:  Have you ever woken up in the morning and not be aware?

            Visiting someone and not aware where you are?

            Arm gone to sleep and not aware whose hand it is?

            Beside someone and not aware who?

 

            In eternity you will be aware of many things.

 

A.  Believers Will be Aware in Heaven.

 

            1.  You will be aware of Heaven’s Splendor.

                        Just as John was able to see it, we will see it.

                        (Rev.21)

                        Lazarus had nothing on earth.  (25)

He had great riches in heaven.

 

            2.  You will be aware of Heaven’s Comfort.

                        Lazarus in Abraham’s bosom was comforted. (25)

                        We shall be comforted.

                        “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes;

                        and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow,

nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for

the former things are passed away.”  (Rev.21:4)

 

            3.  You will be aware of Heaven’s Residents.

                        Lazarus knew Abraham.

                        We will know each other in heaven. 

                        “For now we see through a glass darkly; but then

face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I

know even as also I am known.”  (I Cor.13:11)

EX:  Abraham & Elijah on Mt. of Transfiguration

            recognized by Peter, James, John

 

B.  Unbelievers will Be Aware in Hell.

 

            1.  They will be aware of the Torment/Fire.

                        Rich man was in torment.  (23,24)

 

            2.  They will be aware of the Finality.

                        Rich man could not pass out of Hell.  (26)

 

            3.  They will be aware of their Family & Friends. (27)

                        Rich man had not forgotten his family.

                        You don’t lose your memory.

                        Your greatest torment will be thinking of

                        missed opportunities and lost loved ones.

 

Conclusion:

A.  One minute after you die your judgment is set forever.

            There is no second chance.

 

B.  However, there is a chance for you even until One Minute

            Before You Die.

            EX:  Thief on the Cross

                        Hospice patients Bro. Jerry led to Christ

 

C.  But since you don’t know when you will die, it is best to make

that decision now.

ILL:  Teens killed by Tiger

 

 
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