Here we are with another year. Many of us are making resolutions to get healthy, save money, and be better people. We want to “start” something new, something that will make us feel or look or be better. What will you start? Have you considered your spiritual side and what to do in that area? Here is the question…
Do you know that you know, that you know, where you are going when you die?
The funny thing is, we are not getting out of here alive. We will leave this earth by death unless the Lord comes to take us with Him before that (more on that later).
People all over, believe different things but let’s see if this gives you some perspective:
Common Misconceptions of What Happens after Death
1. No life after death
This is the view of naturalistic, secular humanist that says there is no God. When we die there is nothing. I suppose everything just goes dark when the lights are turned out.
This view is primarily espoused today by Richard Dawkins. He is a devout atheist who has made a career attempting to debunk Christianity and take away hope from all those who follow Christ.
But in Hebrews 12:6, the author says that God made the universe out of nothing.
It breaks my heart that Dawkins and other atheists are trying to take away the hope that is within us as Christians.
2. Soul Sleep
“Soul sleep” is the belief that after a person dies, his/her soul “sleeps” until the resurrection and final judgment. The concept of “soul sleep” is not biblical.
Until the final resurrection, there is a temporary heaven called “Paradise” (Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 12:4). The temporary hell is known as “Hades” (Revelation 1:18; 20:13-14). In Jesus story of the rich man and Lazarus the beggar, as told by Jesus in Luke 16:19-31, no one in Hades is sleeping.
The Seventh-Day Adventist church and Jehovah’s Witnesses, just to name a few, are believers in soul sleep.
Reincarnation is the idea that after we die, we return again and again for multiple lives. Life is a cycle of coming and going, birth and death.
Many believe that a good and blessed life is a reflection of how well we behaved in previous lives. The better we were, the farther up the food chain we return.
Reincarnation is foreign to the Bible. The Bible teaches just the opposite. Hebrews 9:27 declares: “It is appointed unto men once to die and after that comes judgment.”
The idea of reincarnation has been around for millennia. Think about it. After wintertime came Spring and the planting of crops. Plants grew in the summer and were harvested in the Fall. Everything died in the winter and then came alive again in the Spring. It’s easy to see why ancient peoples believed in reincarnation. They experienced it in the repeating seasons.
4. The bright light
We’ve all heard people testify of near death experiences in which they look down a long hall and see a bright light. I have some experience with that.
I’ve had heart rhythm problems since I was 13. On numerous occasions my heart rhythm went into supra ventricular tachycardia, when the upper chambers beat over 400 times per minute and the lower chambers, the ventricles, tried to keep up. The result was a quivering heart with no pumping action.
With no blood going to my brain everything started to go dark. When SVT hit I knew that I had only seconds to get on the ground.
You know what it’s like when you stare too long at an electric light bulb? That’s what it looked like to me when my heart was failing to get blood to my brain. There was nothing spiritual about this. It was totally explainable as a physical manifestation.
The idea behind Purgatory is that many people are not good enough to go straight to heaven. They are placed in a “holding tank” until enough people pray for them so that they can get out of purgatory and on to Heaven.
Purgatory is never mentioned in the Bible. It is mentioned in one of the apocryphal books that were written by the Jews for the first century. The Jews do not accept this book as divinely inspired. Unfortunately, it is seen as Scripture by the Roman Catholic Church. It did not make it into the actual Canon of the 27 books of the New Testament.
The idea of Purgatory comes from 2 Maccabees 12:39-46. By acting honorably Judas Maccabeus was qualified to make atonement for friends who had been involved in sin. These men needed someone to pray them out of hell.
6. St. Peter at the gate
There seems to be an idea commonly accepted by many Americans that when they die they will meet St. Peter at the gate. On the basis of their behaviors on earth Peter will determine whether they can go to heaven or must go to hell.
Unfortunately, too many people feel that the Bible teaches that going to heaven or hell is based on how many “goods” or “bads” they’ve done.
That is never true. Going to heaven or hell is based on our response to the gospel. Jesus died on the cross to forgive the sins of the world and whoever believes in Him might have sins forgiven and live eternally.
START HERE WITH THE TRUTH:
7. The truth of the Bible
Jesus promised that at the moment of our death He will personally take us by the hand and escort us to our new home in Heaven. This is not a job for angels. He reserves for Himself the right to personally accompany us into Heaven’s glory (John 14:1-6).
Death is nothing to fear; in fact, we Christians can look forward to it with anxious anticipation. In Philippians 1:21-23, Paul declared: “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain. I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far.”
DO YOU WANT TO KNOW FOR SURE THAT YOU WILL SPEND ETERNITY “WITH” GOD?
We can’t live with God in the shape that we are. He is a Holy God and nothing unholy with even a blemish can be in His presence. So, something has to be done. Our sin has to be paid for some how so that we can be made right with God so we can live with Him eternally:
1. We must acknowledge God as the Creator of everything, accepting our humble position in God’s created order and purpose. Romans 1:20-21
“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
2. We must realize that we are sinners and that we need forgiveness. None of us are worthy under God’s standards. Romans 3:23
“For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.”
3. God gave us the way to be forgiven of our sins. He showed us His love by giving us the potential for life through the death of His Son, Jesus Christ. Romans 5:8
“But God demonstrates His love toward us, in that, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
4. If we remain sinners, we will die. However, if we repent of our sins, and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we will have eternal life. Romans 6:23
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
5. Confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead and you are saved. Romans 10:9-10
“That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
6. There are no other religious formulas or rituals. Just call upon the name of the Lord and you will be saved! Romans 10:13
“For whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”
7. Determine in your heart to make Jesus Christ the Lord of your life today. Romans 11:36
“For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.”
“Father, I know that I have broken your laws and my sins have separated me from you. I am truly sorry, and now I want to turn away from my past sinful life toward you. Please forgive me, and help me avoid sinning again and turn around. I believe that your son, Jesus Christ died for my sins, was resurrected from the dead, is alive, and hears my prayer. I invite Jesus to become the Lord of my life, to rule and reign in my heart from this day forward. Please send your Holy Spirit to help me obey You, and to do Your will for the rest of my life. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”
Happy 2018 and welcome to the family!! Tell someone what you have done. If this is a true statement of faith on your part, your life will start to show fruit, the fruit of love, patience, peace, joy, longsuffering, patience. Read the Bible, start in Ephesians, it is your lifeline and the love letter from God to you.