Easter Festival
April 15, 2001
Luke 16:19-31  
Is there life after death?  

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Introduction: - Is there really life after death?  That is the question this world has been asking for centuries and, as we celebrate the first Easter of a new century, it is a question that is even more pertinent then at any other time. We are living in a declining society and many have observed that when a society begins to decay and decline it begins to lose hope. This can be reflected in our culture through art, television, and movies and in our past times.

Our declining and decaying society is rapidly becoming totally preoccupied with the subject of death. Consider please:

I. The findings

A.     Across the nations we have people quoted

1.      Those who have experienced clinical death, where vital organs have ceased to function.
2.      These people will be quick to tell you that they have had a "life after life" experience. What are we to make of this?

B.     Of these experiences there are a few observations for us to note.

1.      Basically, they are all uniform. Each has a similar experience.
2.      Included in these experiences are a sense of euphoria; open freedom; a review of life's events.

C.     What then are the results of such findings?  There are basically two.

1.      None were anxious to return.
2.      None now fears death at all.

II. This must be fiction!

A.     To this discussion, and especially on this Easter, an exact definition of death is crucial to our discussion.

1. There are medical definitions, which describe to us that a person has died such as the loss of vital signs, brain waves, a heartbeat, etc.
2. There is an actual definition of death that you and I as Christians use every day which is the separation of the soul from the body.

B.     What does this mean?

1. It means that all these cases of "life after life" experiences were examples of clinical death. They were not cases of actual death.
2. None of these people have actually returned from the dead. They were all near death experiences.

C.     So what are the results for this world?

1. Confusion reigns supreme.
2. People today are lacking in essential evidence of life after death.

III. What is needed today then, more then ever, are the essential facts.

A.     The fact remains that only one person has come back from actual death and has told us about it.

1.      That one is Jesus Christ
2.      The New Testament contains the record that He has given to us that we might know the truth of what awaits each and every one of us after we experience the reality of death.

B.     In our text for this morning there is much for us to consider by Jesus in His teaching.

1.      There is something after death, which awaits all of us. There is life after death.
2.      Life after death is in one of two locations; either heaven or hell.
3.      He is real and awful.
4.      There is no second chance after death. There are no "do overs"
5.      There is no exchange of plans after death. Recall verse 26: "Between us and you there is a great gulf fixed; so that they which would pass from hence to you can not; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence."
6.      Stations here and in the hereafter are not related. Wealth in this life does not guarantee wealth in the life that is to come.
7.      Positions there are determined by decisions made now. Reject not, the Lord Jesus Christ!

IV. Our Future

A.     We must face the inevitability of death.

1.      There is a difference between facing death and being preoccupied with death. We must learn to know the difference.
2.      Physical death then is totally inescapable. The Bible reminds us that it is appointed for a man to die, once and then comes judgment.

B.     Thus we must be prepared for what waits us at death's door.

1.      The Bible says it is necessary to be "born again" if we are to see heaven.
2.      To be "born again" simply means to be "born from above". In other words, to be "born again" means to be born spiritually, to be born from God.  When were you "born again"?  You were born again when you were baptized into the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. St. Paul tells us that all of us who have been baptized into Christ have been clothed by Christ.  In your baptism you were buried with Him in His death and raised to new life by the power of your baptism.

Conclusion:  Don't get taken in by something untrue regarding life after death. Take the Word and the record of the only One who has ever come back and told of it. His Name is Jesus Christ and on this day we celebrate life; the life that He has given to us and that life that can not end! A Blessed Easter. Amen.