DEATH & HEAVEN
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THE DOORWAY TO YOUR DESTINY
Are you prepared for the final certainty of death?
“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.’”
What do you think happens after you die? And more importantly . . . are you prepared for it? Realize, eternity is too long to be wrong. These Keys for Living provide biblical truth on the realities of the afterlife and show how you can know for sure you will go to heaven. Discover practical steps on preparing for end-of-life matters, overcoming the fear of death, planning a funeral, and leading others to the hope of eternal life. Death is a reality we all must confront. With Christ, you can find peace and hope as you look forward to your eternal home in heaven.
The good news for us, God specializes in redemption and transformation. He takes that which was lost and restores it. He takes that which was dead and gives it life. He takes that which had no hope and rewrites its story. This is our God! As you pray today, ask God boldly to transform the thing inside you that you want to see changed forever!
Is Death the End?
Are you prepared for the final certainty of death?Death is seldom a popular subject for casual discussion or academic debate. We’re bombarded with information about how to lose weight, make more money or prepare for a potential disaster, and facing the reality of death is a subject most of us tend to avoid. Can you afford to ignore the eternal consequences of this ultimate reality?
Throughout the ages people have asked, “Is death the final end ... or is there something more?” From the ancient Egyptians to today, entire cultures, have established laws and created customs to accommodate their predominant views of death—even though their varied views are in stark contrast with each other.
Consider your own life. You will never face a more significant issue! The consequences of death make all other concerns pale in comparison. ...
“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
What Is the Biblical Perspective of Death?
Death is not a popular subject for casual discussion or academic debate. We’re bombarded with information about how to lose weight, make more money or prepare for a potential disaster, but facing the reality of death is a subject most of us tend to avoid. Can you afford to ignore the eternal consequences of this ultimate reality? Are you prepared for the final certainty of death?
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die.”
- The separation of the spirit and soul from the present physical body
“As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.”
- Inevitable for everyone
“What man can live and not see death, or save himself from the power of the grave?”
- Determined by God
“Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
- The doorway to your eternal destiny
“Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.”
- The last enemy to be destroyed
“The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”
(1 Corinthians 15:26)
- The result of sin… violating God’s will
“Just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned—for before the law was given, sin was in the world.”
- The price Jesus paid to provide eternal life to all who place their confidence in Him
“He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.”
- To be regarded positively by Christians
“When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’ ”
(1 Corinthians 15:54)
Death Is Not …
- Rebirth into another life form through Reincarnation (Hinduism)
“Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.”
- An unconscious state of the soul (Intellectualism)
“Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.”
- Being absorbed into the “cosmic consciousness” (Buddhism)
“Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.”
(1 Corinthians 15:51–52)
- The doorway to eternal bliss for everyone (Liberalism)
“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (Matthew 25:46)
- The end of our existence (Atheism)
“Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.”
(1 Thessalonians 4:13–14)
What about Heaven and Hell?
There are some who say that this life is all there is … that when people die, they cease to exist. However, the Bible states clearly that we are created in God’s image, a part of which is an eternal nature that survives death.
Others engage in a theological wishful thinking that a “loving God” would somehow negate the righteous demands of His law, ignore the willful sin of humankind and allow every person entrance into His eternal kingdom. Again, the Bible is clear: the wages of sin is death. That’s not just the ceasing of a bodily existence in time—it is separation from God throughout all time.
So, you have only two alternatives: eternity in heaven or eternity in hell.
Hell Is …
- A place of separation from the person and the love of God.
Hell is a place of eternal regret for the willful failure to receive the gift of God’s salvation through Christ Jesus and thus never to experience fellowship with Him. Jesus is described as the divine King…
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’ ”
- A place of Eternal punishment for the failure to achieve the standard of God’s righteousness and holiness. Hell is a place of physical, emotional and spiritual torture. It is a place of fire without light, a place of eternal darkness.
“The smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name.”
The Bible uses metaphors to describe heaven.
- Paradise (the same word as Eden)—Heaven will be what God intended in Genesis chapters 1 and 2. He recreates it in Revelation chapters 21 and 22. Man is not destined to “float on a cloud” in some ethereal out-of-body experience. The redeemed will have an eternal existence on a new perfected earth, a restored Eden.
“Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.”
Questions about Heaven
Question: “Is heaven a physical place?”
Yes. The Bible describes heaven as a place. Jesus said to the thief on the cross at the Crucifixion ... “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). This suggests a place.
“No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.”
Question: “In heaven, will we have physical bodies?”
Yes. The Lord Jesus Christ will transform our lowly bodies to be like His glorious body. Our bodily resurrection rests on Christ’s bodily resurrection.
“[The Lord Jesus Christ], by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”
Question: Does anyone really care?
The Lord not only loves you, and is also able to meet every need that you face.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. ... Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me”
Question: Will I be abandoned?
The Lord has promised to never leave you nor forsake you.
“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged”
Question: What is going to happen to me?
The Lord is the author of every good and perfect gift. He has promised to care for you with the tenderness of a mother with her infant.
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you”
Question: What will happen to me after death?
“Jesus said to her [Martha], ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die’” (John 11:25).
God has promised...
“My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you may also be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
How to First Respond When a Death Has Occurred
- Acknowledge the person’s loss immediately (a call or personal visit).
- Pray for family and friends (publicly and privately).
- Be affectionate (a warm hug or handshake).
- Adapt to the communication needs of the person (listen, laugh, cry, affirm feelings).
- Be genuine. (Don’t use pat responses.)
- Come ready to help with details.
- Call family attorney.
- Locate existing will.
- Apply for death certificate. (Time varies, but it takes about six weeks to receive.)
- Call insurance companies.
- Locate all insurance policies and bank accounts.
- Check existing retirement funds.
- Contact Social Security office.
The Five Stages of Sorrow
- Denial... avoiding the pain of reality (Job 8:20)
“The test results are probably wrong. I’ll go to another doctor.”
2. Anger... opening up honest emotions (Job 10:1)
“God is not fair.”
3. Bargaining... attempting to change reality (Job 13:20–21)
“If I have enough faith, God will miraculously heal me.”
4. Depression... feeling despair over the grief and loss (Job 7:16)
“My life is over. I don’t want to live.”
5. Acceptance... gaining a positive outlook on life (Job 42:5)
Acceptance (not resignation) embraces God’s grace on a daily basis. This kind of acceptance allows you to move from being a “victim” of the illness to being a victorious, shining testimony to God’s sufficiency in a world that does not know Him.
Key Verse to Learn
“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.’”
Key Passage to Read
1 Corinthians chapter 15
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God desires to give you hope as you face life challenges, problems and difficult trials. The good news for us, God specializes in redemption and transformation. He takes that which was lost and restores it. He takes that which was dead and gives it life. He takes that which had no hope and rewrites its story. This is our God! As you pray today, ask God boldly to transform the thing inside you that you want to see changed forever!
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