Chapter 10: Eternity...What Happens After You Die?


    In August, we encouraged everyone to write the story of God's salvation in your life. I hope you did as that will be our theme for our evangelism conference for the Bell Baptist Association on February 7, 2017 when we have Johnny Hunt coming to speak.

     Here is my short story of salvation. My first experience with God wasn’t so great. My dad died when I was 4 years old, and my mother told me that Daddy went to heaven. So when I went to the funeral home, and there was Daddy, laid out in the casket, I wondered why everyone was crying in heaven!

    Four years later, I that same funeral home again, this time for my grandfather’s funeral. I knew this time that this was not heaven, but also realized I wanted to make sure I would go to heaven when I died. My mother explained that my life was like an unkept garden, with flowers and weeds, not really in order but in need of a gardener. If I asked Jesus to come into my life, He would take out the weeds, put my garden in order and give me a purpose. So I did!

    Four years after that, I had to go again to a funeral--this time to my mother’s funeral. Though I was sad, I knew for sure I would see her again, not because of anything I had done, but because of what Jesus, my Gardener, had done for me.

    The gospel is the greatest story ever told, because it is God’s story...the true story of salvation. It is how God came in the person of Jesus, who lived a perfect life, died on our behalf on the cross to take the punishment of our sins. He was raised from the dead to purchase our eternal life. And only He offers it to us, not of works, but by grace through faith. If we place our trust, our faith, in His death, burial and resurrection, we too can leave our lives of sin, death and separation from God. By His grace, we can have eternal life with Him. See 1 Cor. 15:1-11

1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. 6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. 7 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. 8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.
9 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 11 Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

The following devotional is from Zondervan to help us prepare for Chapter 10, Eternity, which will be taught and preached at FBC Killeen on November 13, 2016.

KEY QUESTION: 
What is going to happen in the future?
    What happens when we die? The New Testament indicates that people experience an “intermediate state,” which refers to a person’s existence between their time of death and the promised resurrection of their new body. Their earthly body goes into the grave; their spirit lives on in one of two places — in God’s presence where they enjoy a time of peace until they receive their resurrected bodies or in a place of torment where they await final judgment. Jesus talked about this vividly in the story about a rich man and Lazarus (not the Lazarus Jesus raised from the dead). Jesus depicted the place of blessedness for the righteous as Abraham’s side and the place of torment for the wicked as Hades. (See Luke 16:19-31.)

    The grand promise of God and the ultimate hope for all Christians is the resurrection. Just as Christ was raised from the dead and received an imperishable body, so will all those who believe in Christ. Paul, writing to the church at Corinth, details this major truth.(See 1 Corinthians 15:51-58.)

    The event that will trigger this promised resurrection is the Second coming of Christ. Often the Bible refers to the return of Christ as the “day of the Lord.” Paul explains that on the great day of Christ’s return God will resurrect those who have died and then all believers will be brought together and will be with the Lord Jesus forever.

    After Jesus returns and we are resurrected into our imperishable bodies, there will be a final judgment by God of every nation. John saw and recorded a vision from God about what will happen at this time of judgment. John wrote down the final movement in God’s grand story — the restoration of what was lost in the beginning. What we read in the opening creation story of Genesis we see again in Revelation — a re-creation — but on a grander scale to accommodate all the people over the centuries who have embraced Christ and received eternal life. (See Revelation 20:11-22:21.)

KEY VERSE
     Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 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? (John 14:1–2)

KEY IDEA
    I believe there is a heaven and a hell and that Jesus will return to judge all people and to establish his eternal kingdom.

KEY APPLICATION: 
What difference does this make in the way I live?
    I ask you to prayerfully take a moment to do an inventory of your relationships.
How many non-Christians are currently in your circle of influence? And of these non-Christians in your circle, how many are you actively sharing God’s love with? 

YOUR TURN
What do you most look forward to in heaven?

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