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Worship Message - What Happens After We Die?

What Happens After We Die? 

We are in a series of messages based on a series of questions you and I who are

Christians might be asked by those who are spiritually curious. Questions we need to

have thought about so we can have answers ready. Answers that will allow us to be what

Jesus called His people to be, which is the salt of the earth, thereby adding flavor to our

world, helping to preserve our world, causing others to thirst for a relationship with

God, helping them to be alive spiritually. 

The first question we have asked and answered is, “What is God like?” As we discussed,

God is the Bread of Life, the Light of the World, and the Vine that sustains us, His

branches. God is Love. He is the Creator. He is the Master Teacher. All of that is what

God is like. 

The second question. “How valuable am I?” As we discussed, I - you - we are so valuable

Jesus offers us salvation. So valuable He is willing to forgive us. So valuable He gives us

opportunities to please Him.

The next two Sundays two more questions will be asked and answered “Why does God

let bad things happen?” and “What makes for good relationships?” 

Today, the third question in the series. “What happens after we die?” 

I will say at the outset that not all of this message is going to be happy and uplifting.

That is because after we die, there are only two possibilities of what will happen, one of

which is way beyond unhappy. 

But let’s begin by considering a couple Bible passages that speak of the good, positive

thing that can happen after we die. The good, positive thing of us making it to Heaven. 

The Bible has many descriptions of Heaven. There are two that will be highlighted in

this message. The first of which appears in the 14th chapter of John. A description that

includes two absolutely wonderful things - the fact Jesus is there and the fact Jesus,

while He has been there, has been building for us our very own rooms. 

In John 14, the chapter begins with a conversation between Jesus and His disciples.

Jesus’ purpose was to try to get the disciples ready for what was about to happen, which

was that He was going to be killed. And yes, He was going to rise from the dead and

spend some more time with His closest followers. But eventually He would not be with

them anymore. In the conversation recorded in John 14, Jesus is trying to get His

disciples ready to be separated from Him physically. 

Listen to what Jesus said, this part of the conversation dealing with what was farther

ahead for His disciples. Jesus said, “In My Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not

so, would I have told you I go to prepare a place for you?”

Wow. Did you hear it? Heaven is a place where Jesus Himself has been building where

we will stay. 

And actually, I do not have a clue all that entails, as in colors and furnishings and what

we will do in those rooms. But Jesus is making them. So no matter what, they are

fantastic, more stupendous than anything I could ever even imagine. A place I want to

be. Hopefully a place everyone else wants to be. 

Actually, I remember a few years ago, when a rock star died from suicide or a drug

overdose of something like that, in an interview, a friend of the rock star was

celebrating. The friend said the star had always wanted to be in Hell, and now he was

there. 

How sad that comment was. But I think most people want to end up in Heaven. Which

is why John 14 should be part of the answer we give if we are asked, “What happens

after we die?” 

Jesus explained that when He was to go away, it was for the purpose of building rooms

for His followers. He added the promise that one day He would come again and take His

people to their rooms. But here is a key point. The disciple Thomas shared with Jesus

that having a room in Heaven sure sounded nice. But, he said, “We do not know the way

there. How can we know the way?” 

Jesus’ answer? “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one goes to the Father, but

by Me.” The teaching is that no one gets to Heaven, but by accepting Jesus. 

What happens after we die? One thing that can happen is going to Heaven. Which will

happen for those who follow Him there. Those who trust in Jesus. Those who believe in

Him. Those who accept Him as the Savior He is. 

Heaven is reserved for such people. For Christians. We know that from something else

Jesus said in the conversation. What He said was the plea that His disciples would

believe in Him, which echoed what He said earlier in the Gospel of John. In chapter 3,

Jesus said that whosoever believeth in Him - whosoever accepts Him as Savior - will

have eternal life. More on what that means a bit later, but the point is that for those -

those of us - who are Christians, what will happen after we die is going to Heaven. 

And consider some words in Revelation 21. More words that describe Heaven as a

wonderful place to be. In Revelation 21, it is said that Heaven is a place where God is

with His people. “His people” refers to those who have accepted Jesus as Savior. His

people are Christians. Heaven is also described as a place where tears are wiped away,

where death shall be no more, where there is neither mourning nor crying nor pain

anymore. Those bad things are of this earth. But in Heaven, they are former things. In

Heaven, they will have passed away. 

What happens after we die? We can go to Heaven. We will go to Heaven if we have

accepted Jesus as Savior. If we have shown that acceptance by obeying Him, which is

taught in Matthew 25, beginning with verse 31.

“When the Son of man [when Jesus] comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him,

then He will sit on His glorious throne. Before Him will be gathered all the nations, and

He will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the

goats.” 

At His right hand, God will place the sheep. 

He will say to them, “Come, o blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for

you from the foundation of the world. You are being rewarded because when I was

hungry, you gave Me food. When I was thirsty, you gave Me drink. When I was a

stranger, you welcomed Me. I was naked and you clothed Me. I was sick and you visited

Me. I was in prison and you came to Me.” 

Interestingly, the righteous will answer, “Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed

You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and welcome You,

or naked and clothe You? When did we see You sick or in prison and visit You.” 

Jesus will answer them, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these My

brethren [in other words, when they put their faith in Him into practice by obeying

Him], you did it to Me.” 

For those who are Christians - for those who live out their faith - there will be the reward

of Heaven. That needs to be part of our answer when we are asked, “What happens after

we die?” 

But on the other side of Jesus - this is where this message takes a turn toward

unhappiness - are those referred to as goats, which refers to those who did not - who do

not - who will not - accept Jesus. Those who therefore have no interest in obeying Him.

Why would they obey who they do not love? 

To the sheep, Jesus spoke wonderful words of acceptance. For the goats? Listen to the

horrible words they will hear. “Depart from Me,” Jesus will say. "Depart from Me, you

cursed. Depart from Me into the eternal fire.”

Listen. The sheep - the Christians - will be living in rooms specially prepared for them

by Jesus. The goats? They will be living in eternal - that is like forever and forever, as in

never-ending - fire. 

Why? Because they did not obey Jesus. Including His call to accept Him as their Savior.

Including His call to follow His teachings.

Evidence of their lack of faith? "For I was hungry and you gave Me no food. I was thirsty

and you gave Me no drink. was a stranger and you did not welcome Me. I was naked and

you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.”

“But Lord,” they will answer, “when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a

stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?” Their implication will be that

they would have helped if they had seen Him suffer. 

Jesus will announce, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these,

you did it not to Me.” 

And listen again. The righteous - the sheep - the Christians - will enter eternal life. Life

in Heaven. 

The unrighteous - the non-Christian goats? They will go away into eternal punishment

in the lake of fire in the place called Hell. 

And by the way, just as Heaven is described many places in the Bible, so, too, is the

punishment for those who do not believe in Jesus. That is described in passages other

than the one we just looked at in Matthew 25.

For instance, II Thessalonians 1. “Those who do not know God [those who refuse to obey

Jesus by accepting Him and by following His teachings] will be punished with eternal

destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from His glorious power.”

Matthew 25, right before the sheep and goats passage. Non-Christians will “be cast into

the outer darkness, where men will weep and gnash their teeth.”

John 3. “Whoever does not believe in Jesus stands condemned.” 

What happens after we die? One of two things. Heaven, which is being in the eternal

presence of Jesus, for those who are Christians. Or eternal punishment in Hell for those

who are not.

Both of which need to be shared with others. Especially when they ask us today’s

question of what happens after we die.

And no, that may not be the politically correct thing to do. 

The reality of Heaven might sound kind of exclusive. As in why do we say only

Christians can get into Heaven. 

The reality of eternal punishment - of Hell - for those who do not and who will not

accept Jesus might sound pretty negative. 

But both need to be shared because yes, those are the only two possibilities. Both of

which are clearly explained in the Bible. 

In fact, I was reminded of something Paul said that is recorded in Acts 2. This is being

highlighted to persuade us to share very honestly the two possibilities.

It was pretty late in Paul’s recorded ministry. He was giving a farewell address to some

Christian leaders visiting him from Ephesus. Among his comments are the words.

“Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you. For I did

not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.” 

As those thoughts are worded in The Message version of the Bible, “I declare today that I

have been faithful. If anyone suffers eternal death, it’s not my fault, for I did not shrink

from declaring all that God wants you to know.” 

What happens after we die? In his preaching, Paul very clearly shared the two

possibilities, which are the joy of Heaven or eternal punishment in Hell. 

That is what Paul shared. May we do the same. In fact, we must do the same if we are to

be the salt - the spiritual salt - Jesus wants His people to be. 

And if it will help, let me review a plan for such sharing. A plan I learned from the youth

ministry Dare2Share. have reviewed this a time or two before since I first learned it, but

even if you remember it, it is good to have a review. 

The plan is based on the word GOSPEL, each letter the start of an important statement. 

G - God created us to be with Him. 

That is evident in the very first part of the Bible. The part that tells of creation. When

everything else was created, God made the first man Adam and the first woman Eve. He

placed them in the Garden of Eden, which provided for them every physical thing they

needed and should have wanted. He also had a close, personal relationship with them,

spending time with them.

However, O - our sins separate us from Him. That was true for Adam and Eve. When

Eve and then Adam sinned, they were forced out of the Garden of Eden. Away from the

physical pleasures God had for them. Away from the close personal relationship they

had with God. 

Adam and Eve suffered because of that separation. So, too, did generation after

generation after them suffer. So, too, do we suffer as long as we are separated from God. 

And yes, we can, just as previous generations did, try to re-establish a closeness to God.

We can try to do enough or be good enough to accomplish that closeness.

However, S - sins cannot be removed by good deeds. They do not have the power to do

that.

But P - paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. He became the sacrifice

needed for us to have our sins forgiven, which is the only thing that can return us to

God.

As we have discussed today, anyone who does not accept Jesus’ sacrifice - anyone who

does not accept Jesus as his or her personal Savior - will not get the advantage of what

Jesus did. Which means he or she will remain separated from God. Which means that

such a person, in essence, chooses the lake of fire. 

However - E - everyone who trusts in Him - who trusts in Jesus - everyone who trusts in

Him alone has eternal life with Him.

And L - life with Jesus starts now. Now being when Jesus is believed in. At the moment

He is accepted. 

That means those who are Christians receive God’s blessings here in this life. The joy is

that those of us who are Christians know our blessings come from Him, which helps us

feel close to Him. 

And that life? Life with Jesus? The promise is that it will last forever, in the place called

Heaven, when our time on earth is done. 

What happens after we die? One of two things. Either Heaven, which is a wonderful

place where there are rooms prepared for us by Jesus Himself. Or Hell, which a horrible

place. A place of punishment. A place of separation from God. 

The choice is up to each person. So first of all, make sure you have made - or that you

make - the correct choice. The choice of Heaven. Which requires accepting Jesus as the

Savior He is.

Then, share that decision with others, persuading them to make the same decision, so

they, too, can have the joy of being close to God now and for all the rest of eternity. !

Today’s closing song is a hymn that proclaims the wonder of Heaven. Which, one more

time, is the reward for making the correct spiritual decision. The decision to accept

Jesus as Savior. The decision we can hopefully help others to make.

The song is When We All Get to Heaven.

Sing the wondrous love of Jesus, sing His mercy and His grace;

In the mansions bright and blessed He’ll prepare for us a place. 

When we all get to Heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be!

When we all see Jesus, we’ll sing and shout the victory. 

While we walk the pilgrim pathway clouds will overspread the sky;

But when traveling days are over not a shadow, not a sigh.

When we all get to Heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be!

When we all see Jesus, we’ll sing and shout the victory.

Let us then be true and faithful, trusting, serving every day;

Just one glimpse of Him in glory will the toils of life repay. 

When we all get to Heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be!

When we all see Jesus, we’ll sing and shout the victory. 

Onward to the prize before us! Soon His beauty we’ll behold;

Soon the pearly gates will open - we shall tread the streets of gold. 

When we all get to Heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be!

When we all see Jesus, we’ll sing and shout the victory. 

We are called to be the salt of the earth. We are therefore to be salty in our responses to

lots of questions. Including the question we might be asked, “What happens after we

die?” 

May we never hesitate in answering that question. May we instead be ready to respond

exactly according to what the Bible says. That there are only two things that will happen.

May we clearly state the horror of eternal punishment, but may we joyfully share the

wonderful alternative, which is Heaven. Which will be the reward for all who believe in

Jesus. 

May we do all we can to help people make the good choice. The right choice. May we be

salty. Amen.

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