Sunday, September 26, 2010

September 26,2010


Week Two – “One Moment After You Die” Luke 16:19-31

The clock of life is wound but once, And no man has the powerTo tell just when the hands will stop. At late or early hour.To lose one’s wealth is sad indeed. To lose one’s health is more,To lose one’s soul is such a loss. That no man can restore.
Thirty-nine people died while you listened to this short poem. During the time we spend in this service 5,417 will go to meet their Maker. According to the CIA World Factbook, as of July, 2005, there were approximately 6,446,131,400 people on the planet, and the death rate was approximately 8.78 deaths per 1,000 people a year. According to our nifty desktop calculator, that works out to roughly 56,597,034 people leaving us every year. That's about a 155,000 a day.

A middle-aged woman had a heart attack and was taken to the hospital. While on the operating table she had a near death experience. Seeing God, she asked "Is my time up?"
God said, "No, you have another 43 years, 2 months and 8 days to live."
Upon recovery, the woman decided to stay in the hospital and have a facelift, liposuction and a tummy tuck. She even had someone come in and change her hair color. Since she had so much more time to live, she figured she might as well make the most of it.
After her last operation, she was released from the hospital. While crossing the street on her way home, she was hit and killed by an ambulance.
Arriving in front of God, she demanded, "I though you said I had another 40 years?"
God replied, "Oh, Sorry, I didn’t recognize you."

A troop of Boy Scouts was being used as "civilian victims” in an emergency services disaster drill. A mock earthquake was staged, and the Scouts impersonated wounded persons who were to be picked up and cared for by the emergency units. One Scout was supposed to lie on the ground and await his rescuers, but the first-aid people got behind schedule, and the Scout lay "wounded" for several hours. When the first-aid squad arrived where the casualty was supposed to be, they found nothing but a brief note: "Have bled to death and gone home..." What happens when we die? Do we go home, home to where?

That IS the question of the day! In this second message of our Fall series, “Happily Ever After?” we will answer the question of what happens after you die?

Jesus once told a story that gives insight to what happens one moment after death. It is found in Luke 16:19-26. Turn in your Bibles to Luke 16, please.

"There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man's table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. "The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.' "But Abraham replied, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.'"

I. Death Ends Prosperity And Adversity, Vv. 19-25

Would it come as a shock to you if I told you that life is not fair? I am pretty sure you have noticed. I like the way Jesus just addresses that head on. Some people have wealth and live in luxury and others suffer under extreme poverty and adversity. So it is in these two characters in the story Jesus told.

We have no idea how the Rich Man came by his riches and we don’t know how Lazarus fell upon such dire circumstances. But they illustrate that in our world there are people who prosper and others who suffer the adversity of poverty.

One thing we DO know from this parable is that death ended the prosperity of the Rich Man and the Adversity of Lazarus. Death was the great equalizer as the Rich Man left his wealth behind and Lazarus left his suffering.

One moment after death ushers you into eternity all injustice will cease and you will receive justice. LIFE IS NEVER FAIR BUT DEATH ALWAYS IS!

Eternity Brings JUSTICE.

II. Death Begins Eternity, V. 22-23

One thing you need to understand is that life is eternal. For the moment you were conceived you became an eternal being. You begin life in the womb floating around in amniotic fluid attached to your mother via an umbilical cord. That period lasts about nine months. Then you are born into the world and live in a new world in a new form for some 70 years or so. At the end of that phase of life – then what?

Someone has put it like this:

“If you are Christian, eternal life does not simply mean going to heaven for eternity. Eternal life means a never-dying spirit that has already sprung to life in you! In other words, eternal life starts NOW! Your life that lasts eternally in the next world is the same life that begins here in this one. When you die, only your body dies. Your spirit – your eternal spirit that is the essence – the deepest reality – of who you are – never stops existing. Never. You pass from one life into another one, with not a moment’s gap in existence.”

“It does a great disservice to Christian ideas when heaven is simply some abstract place after death where we sit on clouds playing the harp. No my friends, eternal life begins here on this earth when God’s Spirit breathes into our Spirits the breath of life and our spirits spring to life for the first time, suddenly capable of living without sin. At that moment they take on a completely different quality and kind of life. Plants are alive, but not in the way cats are. Cats are alive, but not in the way human beings are. Human beings without Christ are alive, but not in the way human beings with Christ are. There are different levels of life and when Christ comes into our lives, he gives us the best kind of life – one that starts at that moment and never ends!’

Jesus expressed this truth in the form of a story.

It is important to understand why Jesus told the story and what He wanted to communicate:

1) Eternal life had nothing to do with financial statue.
2) The purpose of earthly life is to prepare for eternal life.
3) The preparation we must make is spiritual preparation.

Passing through a country graveyard, a man was struck by the inscription on a tombstone. The stone was by the side of the path where everyone could see it. It had been placed there in memory of a young man who died at the age of seventeen. It was, "Reader, stop and think; I am in eternity! and you are on the brink."


III. Death Ends Opportunity, V. 26

Wow! This is tough! This is definitely NOT a happy ending for this Rich Man. His destination was not happy and his fate was sealed. He had an opportunity to prepare for eternity but that opportunity was now gone –FOREVER.

By the time Abraham broke that awful news to him it was too lake to do anything about it.

Now, here is the Rich Man facing the horrible realization that he is forever damned in the torment of hell. What could be worse than that?

Here’s what could be worse – realizing that you will be in hell for EVER and remembering ALL THE OPPORTUNITES you had to miss hell and make Heaven. Add eternal regret to eternal suffering!

This part of the story is heart-breaking. THINK ABOUT IT – your eternity never ends but your opportunity does! When your earthly life ends your opportunity to choose your eternity ends.


In his book, Thirteen Days to Glory, author Lon Tinkle tells about Colonel Jim Bowie and the brave defenders of the Alamo. That sacred Texas shrine had only 183 defenders against a huge army led by Santa Anna. On March 3, 1836, two hours before dusk, the Mexican guns quit firing. William Travis lined his men up in a single line inside the Alamo. He told them no reinforcements were coming and that their destiny was sealed. "Our doom is certain," Travis told the weary men. Travis then pulled his sword from its sheath and drew a line in the dirt floor in front of them and asked every man who was determined to stay in the Alamo and die to cross the line. Topley Holland was the first man across the line. Others quickly followed--Daniel Cloud, Micajah Utry, Davy Crockett. Colonel Jim Bowie was sick and unable to cross the line so he called for help and four men sprang to the side of his cot and lifted him over the line as the other men cheered. On March 6, the Alamo fell and the brave defenders within her walls died. They made the choice that counted most and the Republic of Texas was born out of their shed blood.

Eternity Is No JOKE!


In Jesus’ story one man did seize the opportunity and the other squandered it.

Meditate on this:
"He answered, 'Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father's house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.' "Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.' " 'No, father Abraham,' he said, 'but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.' "He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.' " Luke 16:27-31