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  Alan Jones, Editor

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"Brightly beams our Father's mercy

From the lighthouse evermore;

But to us He gives the keeping

Of the light along the shore."

       Published monthly by the church of Christ, 35900 Palmer Road, P.O. Box 86-233, Westland, MI  48186     

Volume 3                                                                       November 2003                                                                             No5 

 

WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO YOU AFTER YOU DIE?

 

Tomorrow you will carry out the plans you made today.  Or will you?  You make plans as if there will be a tomorrow to accomplish them, but one day tomorrow will not come.  You will die.  You will leave behind an unfinished “to do” list.  As the Psalmist wrote, “What man can live and not see death?” (Ps 89:48) A cemetery spot awaits you and I as all who have gone before us.

            James spoke of the folly of making certain plans for an uncertain life.  He wrote, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’  Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow.  You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.  Indeed, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” (Js 4:13-15)

You plan for life, which is uncertain.  But, do you plan for death, which is certain?  After you die, what then? 

 

YOUR LIFE WILL GO ON

            Job, thousands of years ago, asked a question relevant to you in the 21st century, “If a man die, shall he live again?” (Job 14:14)  Jesus answered the question of Job, “Yes!” 

            Jesus debated the Sadducees, a Jewish sect

 

who did not believe in life beyond the grave.  The Lord quoted from the Scripture that recounts God speaking to Moses at the burning bush.  God said to Moses, “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”  At the time that God spoke to Moses; Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had been dead for many years.  Yet, God said “I am their God”, not “I was their God”.  So, Jesus stated the obvious implication of the passage, “He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”  Though Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were not living on the earth, they were still living.  (Mt 22:23-33)

            According to Jesus, man is made up of both body and soul.  After the body dies, the soul lives on.  He warned His disciples not to be afraid of men who could only kill the body, but to be afraid of God, “who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” Mt 10:28).  After your body dies, where will your soul live?

            In His story of the rich man and Lazarus, Jesus gave us a glimpse of precisely what life is like immediately after death (Lk 16:19-31).  He called the name of the place where both men went “Hades” (vs. 23).  Hades, according to Jesus, is divided into two sections, a place where the righteous are comforted and a place where the wicked are tormented.  A great gulf is fixed so that the wicked cannot go to the place of comfort and the righteous cannot go to the place of torment (vs. 26).  When a man dies, his destiny is fixed.

            How are you living?  If you died today, in what section of Hades would you live on?..

 

WHAT WILL HAPPEN AFTER YOU DIE? (continued)

YOU WILL BE RAISED AND JUDGED

            Jesus is coming to judge “the living and the dead” (2 Tim 4:1).  If you die before His return, you and all who are in the tombs will hear His voice and will come out (Jn 5:28).  In this resurrection, you and all the souls of those in Hades will be given new, changed, imperishable bodies. (1 Cor 15:52).  In the same twinkling of an eye, the bodies of the living will become imperishable as well  (1 Cor 15:51-53).  You, along with all men, will stand before the judgment seat of Christ.  He will judge you by comparing what you have done in your earthly body with His gospel   (2 Cor 5:10; Rev 20:12-13; Rom 2:16).

            Those who have been raised from the dead (as well as those living at Jesus’ return) will be given either the sentence of eternal life or eternal condemnation (Jn 5:29; Mt 25:46).  For the righteous who died, the comfort they received in Hades will have been the appetizer before the main course of heaven (1 Pet 1:3-4).  But, for the wicked who died, the torment they received in Hades will have been like the punishment in the county jail before sentencing, now to be continued at the state prison of hell.  But,  the sentence of hell will never be suspended by clemency or parole, nor can it ever be served, for it is described as “the unquenchable fire” (Mk 9:43-48).

            Which sentence do you expect to receive?

 

LIVING IN VIEW OF THE BOTTOM LINE?

            Imagine yourself stretched out in a casket at the funeral home, as you will be, unless the Lord comes first.  What will those who grieve be talking about?

            Perhaps your family will be telling how wonderful you were as a grandfather/grandmother, father/mother, son/daughter, brother/sister, etc.  Perhaps your fellow-workers will be praising your work and the kindnesses you show to them over the years.  Perhaps your neighbors will be reminiscing about all the good works you did for them and others.  Perhaps your friends will be speaking about why you were so special to them.  Perhaps all will be marveling at the material prosperity you had or will be discussing the long life you were fortunate to live.

            But, at your death, only one topic of conversation really matters, “How did you live in respect to the gospel of Christ?” and therefore, “Where will you live on?” and “Following judg-ment, where will you live for eternity?”.  These questions will be decided not by those who attend your funeral- not even by the preacher- but by Jesus Himself.

            Are you living in view of life’s bottom line?  You plan for life, which is uncertain.  But, do you plan for death, which is certain?  Are you getting ready for life after death?

 


 

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