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What Happens When We Die? #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
February 3, 2023 7:00 am

What Happens When We Die? #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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February 3, 2023 7:00 am

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The one great infallible certainty of your life today as a Christian is not what you're going to do tomorrow, not what you're going to do later today. The one infallible, unshakable certainty is that death will bring you into the presence of Christ, and you will then be with Him forever. When it comes to fairy tales or good stories, everybody seems to love a happy ending.

Happily ever after is a familiar phrase that's derived from that sentiment. And thankfully, when it comes to the very real fact of life and death, a truly happy ending is in store for believers in Jesus Christ. Hello again, I'm Bill Wright, and welcome back to the Truth Pulpit with Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. Today, as Don continues to teach God's people God's Word, he'll be concluding a message titled, What Happens When We Die? Last time, Don had the unenviable task of telling non-believers what lies ahead for those who die without Christ. But today comes the other side of the coin, the unimaginable beauty and rest of heaven.

Let's join Don right now in the Truth Pulpit. What happens when you die? Well, the second question is, are you a Christian? I am. I am. What I'm about to describe, you know, I'd said that talking about hell is like having an anvil on your head that just presses you down.

Now it's like there are springs in my shoes and I just want to jump and shout. Because I know what we're going to see here in just a moment. Are you a Christian?

I've got good news for you. What we just talked about that happens to the unsaved dead is what Christ has saved you from. It's what Christ came to die on the cross to deliver you from.

Scripture says he came to deliver us from the wrath of God. And he has done that to perfection for you if you are a Christian. He has set his eternal deep, deep love on you and Scripture says at the end of Romans 8 he will never let you go. What happens to a Christian who dies? Brothers and sisters in Christ, you will go instantly and immediately into the presence of Jesus Christ. Your soul will be temporarily separated from your body, but Christ has made provision for that. He will bring you into his presence. The Bible doesn't give us many details about this, but it tells us enough that we will know that it is a place of blessedness that is... Mark this.

Oh, mark this down and underline it in your notes. It is a place of blessedness that will be far, far better than life on this earth ever was, or ever could be. Turn to Philippians chapter 1. Philippians chapter 1. Oh, the deep, deep love of Jesus. Shed abroad in our hearts now, while we were yet enemies, Christ loved us and died for us. And having brought us in and adopted us into the family of God, he will never let us go. He died for us. He rose for us. He ascended for us. He's coming for us because he wants us to be with him, to share in his glory. Despite our sin, poured out blessing, and he's just started. There is so much more blessing to come. Philippians chapter 1 verse 21. Here it is, in the words of the Apostle Paul, For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. It's going to be an accrual of something better for me. To die is to gain.

It's going to get better. There is more to be had through death than what I can have in this life. Now, Paul explains that he feels a little bit of conflict of this. As an apostle, as one entrusted with the gospel, he's mindful of the fact that God has given him fruitful ministry while he's there on earth, and he wants to see the fruit of that ministry come to pass. Look at verse 22. He says, but if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me, and I do not know which to choose.

But I am hard-pressed from both directions. Look at what he says in verse 23. Christian, here is what should be the fundamental principle that shapes the way you view death. Paul says, I have the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is better. That's not exactly what he said. He said, that is much better. No, he said, that is very much better.

It's not going to be a little incremental improvement, like if you move from one middle-class house into an upper-middle-class house. This is going to be a translation into a different realm that is so very much better than anything we've ever known. Paul says to be with Christ is very much better. Verse 24, he says, yeah, to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake. I'll stay for just a little while longer in the providence and the plan of God, but I know that what lies ahead for me is to die and to be with Christ, and that will be very much better than what I have known now. Beloved, beloved fellow Christians, death will usher you into the conscious presence of Christ, where scripture says every tear will be wiped away.

We will somehow be in the immediate presence of Christ with the one who loved us and gave himself up for us, and we will be with him forever, and that will be very much better than what we know now. Look at 2 Corinthians 5. Ask me about Roy if I forget to go to Roy after I read this verse, and honestly, you can just shout it out, what about Roy? But not until after I read the verse.

Maybe I won't forget. 2 Corinthians 5, verse 8. Paul says, we are of good courage, I say, and we prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.

Do you see it? As a Christian, to be absent from the body, to die, is to be absent from the body. The soul is separated from the body. What Paul says is when that moment occurs, that absence from the body will be to enter into the realm where we are at home with the Lord.

You know, don't forget about Roy. You know, when we die and we enter into the presence of Christ, let me assure you of something. At that moment, at that very moment, from the very initial beginning of that, whatever that is like, you're going to instantly, immediately, completely realize that you are at home.

You are where you belong. In a way that you've never felt as a Christian here on earth. We're pilgrims passing through. We're not comfortable with the environment that we're in. We're weighed down by our own sorrows and sins and those around us, and life changes and we want it to stay the same, but it changes and there's a bit of a heaviness to it if you really stop and think about it. And you can never just quite be fully at home here, even in the best of times.

When you wake up in the presence of Christ, there won't be any sensation of that at all. You're going to wake up in the presence of Christ and there's going to be such a complete, total, pervasive sense of peace, such a complete, total, pervasive sense of joy, a complete, total, pervasive sense of belonging. So this is where I'm supposed to be. I belong here.

This is home and this is good. And heaven won't be able to contain the joy of your shouts. It won't be able to contain the overflow of joy inexpressible and full of glory that will be your conscious experience one second after death. You see, Scripture emphasizes that we will be in the immediate presence of Christ. What did Jesus tell the thief on the cross in Luke 23 that believed in him?

Verily I say to you, what? Today, you will be with me in paradise. Paul says, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Absent from the body, home with the Lord.

Thief on the cross, believing in those last hours of extremity in his life. Jesus says, today you, by name, you will be with me in paradise. Hallelujah. Hallelujah.

I'm saying it softly because I realize the shouting can sometimes seem just for dramatic effect. Hallelujah. Praise be to the God of our salvation that this is what lies ahead. But in our lives, there's a black curtain behind us. The black curtain of death. The black curtain of judgment. The black curtain of uncertainty and fear. And the thing of it is, that black curtain is behind you. What's ahead are the lights of glory.

The immediate presence of Christ. Welcomed. Loved. Never to be sent away. Let me tell you about Roy.

And to help you see what this does for your heart. Roy Anderson. One of my favorite old time saints from my former life back in California. Roy was, I don't know, he was 90 something. And his family called me because he was dying.

Finally time. But his mind was clear and sharp as anything. And I walked into his bedroom. They had a really modest home. And I walked into their home.

They've been married 60 years, 65 years. And I walk in and Roy is clear as a bell. And I knelt down beside his bed. And he knew he was dying. He'd been sick for a little while. And I said, Roy, tell me what you're thinking.

What's on your mind right now? Here's the beautiful thing about it. They've got this like queen size bed. They're laying next to each other holding hands. They're just with each other. And Roy is there clear of mind and just holding the hand of his earthly beloved for 65 years. One of the sweetest pastoral moments I've ever seen. I said, Roy, what are you thinking? And he said, Don, I want to go be with the Lord.

There it is. The end of his Christian life. Having spent all of his physical energy holding the hand of his wife tenderly, looking at a pastor and saying the one thing I want is I want to be with the Lord. Christian, here's the thing.

That's what this truth does to you. In the hour of your extremity, you're not afraid. When death is pressing upon you and knocking, as it were, on the door, no fear.

No concern. Only a sweet anticipation that looks in the eyes of a pastor or looks in the eyes of your beloved says with clarity, with a firmness of voice, without any doubt or hesitation, saying I want to go be with the Lord. A few days after that, Roy died.

And then, at that same instant, Roy started to live in a way he had never known before. That, beloved, what happens when you die, if you're a Christian, that's what happens. You enter immediately into the presence of Christ. All I want you to see is that there is a certain expectation. Certain. Certain. More certain. This expectation is more certain than what you will have for lunch today. It is more certain than what's going to happen in your life. It's more certain than anything. The one great infallible certainty of your life today as a Christian is not what you're going to do tomorrow, not what you're going to do later today. The one infallible, unshakable certainty is that death will bring you into the presence of Christ and you will then be with Him forever. And that, beloved, should banish your fear of death. We can contemplate death as Christians from a completely different perspective. Not from fear.

Oh, you make provisions for your family and you take care and you put your things in order. But not out of fear. Not as though you were walking into a deep, heavy fog and you didn't know what was going to happen. No.

No. When you know this, when you understand this, you realize that you're walking with clarity into a realm that you were created to enter into. You're walking into the realm that God created you to inherit, that was appointed for you before the foundation of the world. That's the realm.

The realm of blessing, the realm of Christ, the realm of home. Christian, that's what belongs to you. That's what's going to happen to you when you die.

That's what's going to happen. And you've got to settle this in your mind. You've got to establish this as a bedrock thing about which there is no doubt.

Whether you're 21 or whether you're 5 or whether you're 76. You've got to get this anchored into your mind that salvation was about more than this life. It was about rescuing you from damnation and preparing you for your eternal home, making you fit for the holy presence of God. And here's the thing, here's the kicker. When this is settled in your mind, then death has lost its sting. Heard a preacher one time comparing it to a bee that had lost its sting. The bee can bounce off your arm, but it can't sting you, it can't hurt you.

Like it would with the stinger still attached. And you never know, beloved, you never know when you're going to need to draw upon this. I have another friend who is in heaven. I can't remember if I've mentioned him here. I don't think I've mentioned this story here. But this is an illustration of what this does for you.

This is an illustration of where your heart should be and the utter certainty of the confidence that you should have. A guy I went to seminary with 20 years ago. He graduated, went off into ministry back east. Went out for donuts kind of late at night with his associate pastor and his, I think, three-year-old son strapped into the back seat.

It's a three-minute drive to the shop where he's going to get the donuts. You can only imagine what they were talking about. They were in a new ministry, they were doing it together.

You know that they were, they loved each other, they were spending time together. And he pulls out and bam! He's hit by a drunk driver. Thrown across the car. Suddenly, in that instant, his friend's head is resting on his shoulder and dying. And his son is in the back seat.

And my friend, whose name was Buddy, Buddy knew that he was dying. And in one manner or another, he's survived the impact for a few minutes. Firefighters arrived on the scene.

Ambulance, the emergency personnel. And they're reaching in to take his son out of the vehicle. And in a glorious moment of triumph of faith. A glorious moment of victory for the truth of the gospel.

My friend Buddy looked into the back seat and said, Son, you go with the fireman. I'm going to go see Jesus. Beloved, when these things are settled in your mind, that's how Christians will die. After 90 years, you can say, I want to be with the Lord. In a sudden shock of unexpected implosion of death upon the scene, you can say, I'm going to go see Jesus. Do you see that being a Christian has utterly and completely prepared you for the worst eventuality in life? And there is no fear anymore.

Death has lost its sting. The reality of what happens to a Christian who dies banishes the fear of death. Whether we were expecting it or not, Christ will receive us. And indeed, he who has given us so much already is prepared to give us so much more. And according to the words of Scripture, it will go exceeding abundantly beyond all that we could ask or think. If we're thinking rightly about death as Christians, Paul expressed some conflicting emotions. I'll wait a little bit longer for the sake of the work that's yet to be done.

Okay, cool. But in our heart, there's a desire that says to be with Christ will be very much better. And you start to lift up on your tiptoes and look ahead.

One day, that's going to be mine. And that hope transcends any fear of death. Christian, if you've lived your life from a perspective of fearing death, fearing what might happen to you or to your loved ones, come right here. Come and park it.

Park it right here, right on this spot, absent from the body, home with the Lord. To live is Christ. Oh, but to die is gain.

Very much better. The Puritan pastor, William Gurnau, said this, and I quote, Christian, let the hope of heaven conquer your fear of death. Why should you be afraid to die when you will live by dying? Praise be to God for his unspeakable gift. Oh, my Christian friends, let us not fear death. Let us trust Christ to keep his promises to us.

He will keep them more than we can imagine. For my non-Christian friend, won't you repent of sin and receive Christ? Don't you want to share in this blessing and this glory that Christ has reserved for those who love him? You're at the crossroads of the destiny of your eternal soul. God has given you the truth. He calls you to repent. He commands you to repent. He invites you to come to Christ.

He stands with the riches, as it were, the riches of all of heaven, all the riches of Christ, and says, these can belong to you. Won't you come to Christ? My non-Christian friend, why would you perish knowing the awful fate of the lost? Why would you perish knowing the riches that belong to those of us who know Christ?

Why would you perish when Jesus says, whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved, saved, delivered from that damnation? That's Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, concluding a message titled What Happens When You Die? Don has more impactful teaching from the Word of God next time, so join us then on The Truth Pulpit. But before we go, Don, let me just ask you, what do you hope listeners will take away after spending the last few days focused on this difficult topic of death? Well, friend, the takeaway is really this. If you're a Christian, you should have a sense of joy and confidence knowing that Christ has delivered you from the sting of death.

Because he lives, you will live also, and that means that you can look forward to the future and even to death with a sense of serenity that it will ultimately be well with your soul. If you're not a Christian, I would encourage you once more to consider Christ, to come to him, because only he can save you from the awful consequences of dying in your sin. To get ordering information about the CDs for this series and for more about our ministry, just visit There you can also find a link to Don's Facebook page and much more. That's all at Now for Don Green, I'm Bill Wright, and we'll see you again next time as Don continues to teach God's people God's Word from the truth pulpit.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-03 04:56:15 / 2023-02-03 05:04:45 / 9

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