What Happens Immediately After You Die?—2 Corinthians 5:6-8

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Levi Durfey

 

INTRODUCTION

 

What happens immediately after you die? I know that most people don’t like to think about dying, but really—we should. It is, after all, going to happen to every one of us. 

 

To help us in our thinking about what happens after we die, we can go to the Bible. The apostle Paul was one that thought a great deal about the afterlife, and one of his best passages is in 2 Corinthians 5.

 

Before we read our passage, you need to understand a little bit about the future. The bodies that we have now are doomed to decay and die. But if you believe in Jesus Christ, he has promised you a new body—a resurrection body.

 

This resurrection body will be given to every believer when Jesus returns. The Bible says—

 

51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:51–53)

 

This is a promise that we can depend on, because it’s a promise from God. All believers will be given new, glorified resurrection bodies when Jesus returns.

 

But wait. What happens to you between the time you die and the time Jesus returns? What happens immediately after you die? To start to answer that question, we turn to Paul in 2 Corinthians 5—

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Take God Seriously—Exodus 19:9-15

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Levi Durfey

 

INTRODUCTION

 

How seriously do we take God?

 

9 And the LORD said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever. And Moses told the words of the people unto the LORD. 10 And the LORD said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes, 11 And be ready against the third day: for the third day the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai. 

 

12 And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death: 13 There shall not an hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount. 14 And Moses went down from the mount unto the people, and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes. 15 And he said unto the people, Be ready against the third day: come not at your wives. (Exodus 19:9–15)

 

It doesn’t take much to realize how different the God in these verses is from the God that most people assume exists.

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Abortion, Disabilities, and a Sovereign God—John 9:1-7

INTRODUCTION

 

Most parents-to-be have said it, or thought it, “I don’t care if it’s a boy or girl, so long as it’s healthy.” Now, it’s a great relief and blessing to have a healthy baby. But, “…so long as it’s healthy”? 

 

That has always bugged me a little—what if the baby is not healthy? I hope that most parents would still love their baby anyway. But then you read the statistics—

 

Between 60% to 90% of women who receive a prenatal Down syndrome diagnosis end the pregnancy, according to a 2012 analysis of 24 studies in Prenatal Diagnosis. (http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/05/01/prenatal-tests-down-syndrome/2051237/)

 

Tami and I have six children, and with most of the pregnancies, a doctor would ask if we wanted to have this test that would indicate if the baby had Down syndrome. 

 

We knew what the doctor might say if the test came back positive—“Do you want to terminate the pregnancy?” We would have never done that.

 

Does the Bible speak to this current moral issue today? What does the Bible say about people with disabilities? 

 

I want to take us to one main passage that, while it won’t answer every question, and may even raise a few more in your minds, it will give us a foundation to build a theology of disabilities.

 

1 And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? 

 

3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. 4 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. 

 

6 When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, 7 And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing. (John 9:1–7)

 

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Will You Eat Meat Or Just Drink Milk?—Hebrews 5:11-14

INTRODUCTION

 

Have you ever tried to explain something to someone and then realized that they didn’t even have the background to understand what you were saying?

 

With me this sometimes happens when I am trying to explain something about computers to someone. I say, “So you click here and this app will open and you can type this command…” Then they interrupt and say, “How do you turn the computer on again?”

 

The same type of thing happened to the author of Hebrews. He was writing along, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, telling how the Old Testament high priest Melchizedek, who lived in Abraham’s day, actually foreshadowed Christ and his high priesthood.

 

8 Though [Christ] were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; 9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; 10 Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec. (Hebrews 5:8–10)

 

Suddenly he stops and realizes that they weren’t going to get it.

 

11 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. 12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Hebrews 5:11–14)

 

They have a problem, it’s…

 

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They That Wait Upon the Lord—Isaiah 40:27-31

INTRODUCTION

 

Roughly 2,600 years ago, the army of the Babylonian Empire finally broke through the walls of Jerusalem after a two and a half year siege.

 

Judah’s king, Zedekiah, fled with his nobles under the cover of darkness, but they did not make it far. The Babylonians captured him, and made him watch while they killed his sons and all the nobles of Judah. 

 

Then they gouged out his eyes and put him in chains.

 

The Babylonians burned the Kingʼs house, and all the houses in Jerusalem. Then they broke down the walls of Jerusalem.

 

Finally, they gathered all the Jews who were left and marched them across the desert sands to Babylon, where they and their descendants would remain in captivity for 70 years.

 

One person who lived through these events was Jeremiah. He recorded his struggle with what was happening in the book of Lamentations. Listen to a couple verses:

 

8 Also when I cry and shout, he shutteth out my prayer. (Lamentations 3:8)

 

18 And I said, My strength and my hope is perished from the LORD: (Lamentations 3:18)

 

Jeremiah felt like the Lord was distant. He may have even felt abandoned by God. That is something that Isaiah, who lived a century before Jeremiah, anticipated. The Holy Spirit who inspired Isaiah knew that the people would struggle with the feeling of being abandoned by God.

 

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Our Unchanging God

 INTRODUCTION

 

The more things change…well, the more things change. Nothing in this world stays the same. Even solid granite mountains are changing, if ever so slightly. Nothing on this earth or in the heavens above will not change…

 

10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. (2 Peter 3:10)

 

People, especially, are changing. We got several Christmas letters that commented on our much our children have changed since last Christmas. And we too, noticed changes in our friends as we looked at their pictures in the Christmas letters they sent. Each was a little…bit…grayer!

 

People are a-changing, but it is people—we human beings—who long for the security of something or someone who doesn’t change. 

 

Come on, admit it, you want the security of unchangeable things. 

 

We get married fully expecting to always have the love of our bride or groom until death parts us—no one gets married expecting their spouse to hate them in a year or two.

 

But there is only one person that will never change, and that is God. God is unchanging.

 

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