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What Happens When We Die

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
July 25, 2021 8:00 am

What Happens When We Die

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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July 25, 2021 8:00 am

Some people say life's too short to be "religious. But in this lesson, Dr. Tony Evans explains why eternity is too long for us to ignore being religious. Don’t miss this in-depth look at what happens when we die.

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So uncertain, so unknown, so inevitable, and so inescapable. Dr. Tony Evans talks about death and why most of what we think about the afterlife is upside down. You are not in the land of the living on your way to the land of the dying, but you're in the land of the dying on your way to the land of the living. Celebrating 40 years of faithfulness, this is the alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of the Urban Alternative. Some people say life's too short to be religious. Today, Dr. Evans explains why eternity's too long not to be as he takes a look at what happens when we die.

Let's join him. We have come today to a very challenging subject in our tour of prophecy. It is an inescapable subject, because it's the subject that we will all have to deal with if Christ be not come, and that is the prophetic subject of death.

No matter how you look at it, that's not an easy topic to talk about, because it is an uncomfortable subject to discuss. Yet to not talk about it would be to ignore a key feature in the progress of prophecy and in our own destiny. So as best as I can today, I want to explain death and tie it to God's prophetic program.

I want to make it clear so that you understand it, can respond correctly to it, and know what to do about it. In order to avoid the discussion of death, people have softened its impact. We call it being laid to rest. We say somebody has aspired. We talk about the fact that people have passed away.

Not thinking about it and talking about it doesn't make it disappear. We will all face it, and mostly everybody here has faced it in the life of somebody in your sphere of knowledge. So I want to share three things about death today from Luke 16.

Three things. The first thing that we want to share with you today is the inevitability of death. In verse 22, the poor man died, and then we're told, and the rich man also died.

Death knows how to locate you regardless of your station in life. It says he dwelt in purple. That purple was the couture garments of the day. It was royalty. He lived in splendor. He was part of the lifestyles of the rich and famous, but he died. We told Lazarus, who's a beggar.

He's a candidate for welfare, but he also died. So whether you're rich or poor or in between, whether you're black or white or in between, whether you are upper or lower or in between, it is inevitable. Or as Hebrews 9 27 says, it is appointed unto man once to die. In case you didn't know this, you die by appointment. Your death date has already been written on the calendar. You may be late for a lot of things in your life.

You'll be on time for this one. You are not in the land of the living on your way to the land of the dying. I hate to tell you this, but you're in the land of the dying on your way to the land of the living. In fact, we don't know who the old people are here today.

Look at the person sitting next to you. Do they look old? Well, technically, technically, we don't know who the old people are, because you only know if you're old by your death date, not your birth date. See, if you're 40 and you're only gonna live to be 50, you're getting kind of old. But if you're 50 and you're gonna make it to 95, you're still fairly young. But since we don't know anybody's death date, you really don't know who the old folks are here today.

You might be a lot older than your age, so uncertain, so unknown, but so inevitable and so, so inescapable. I think about the man who opened up his eyes, and he found himself at the pearly gates with Saint Peter. Saint Peter greeted him at the pearly gates and said, Son, have you done any good things in your life? He said, Why, yeah, a woman was getting ready to be robbed of her purse, and I stepped in between her and the robber. Saint Peter said, How long ago was that? He said, About 30 seconds ago. Because you just never know.

You never know. It is inevitable. It is inevitable because the culture wants you to forget about that.

They tried to advertise us out of it. They tried to distract us from it when it is oh so inevitable and oh so unpredictable. The second thing I want to share with you is, what is death? We know it's inevitable, but what exactly is it?

Why, in fact, does it even exist? In order to get rid of this thing called death, people have conjured up speculations. One speculation is reincarnation. The belief that you will, based on your life now, you'll come back as something else, in the hope that there is some force out there to bring me back. And even though I may only come back as a cricket or a frog, something will allow me to, this energy field, to keep on going. And so there is the speculation of reincarnation. There is the speculation of purgatory, an in- between destiny that affords me after my death the opportunity to get right if I was wrong in this life. Then there is the speculation of annihilation. That is, when this life is over, we cease to exist. And so this is all that there is. You live, you die, it's over.

I have not come today to tell you what everybody else thinks. Speculation is one thing, revelation is something else. God has not been silent about death, about what it is, and what happens when you partake of it. So let me help us understand the word. In the Bible, death means separation, not cessation, not the stopping of something. It means the separating of something.

So get that synonym in your head. Death is separation. God told Adam and Eve, on the day you eat of this fruit, you shall surely die. But on the day they ate of the fruit, they did not die. They were still walking and talking and living and raising kids and all of that, yet God said, in the day you eat, you shall surely die. That's because God was talking about the first kind of death, spiritual death, which means separation from fellowship with God.

They were removed from the garden, and that happened that day. Even though they were physically alive, they were spiritually separated, and God called that death. So one type of separation or death is spiritual death, separation from fellowship with God, but also because of their sin into a second definition of death, physical death. Physical death is where the soul is separated from the body. Your soul is you. You are your soul. You are not your body. Your body is merely a house, a tank, a holding place for the resident who lives there, and the resident who lives in the body is you, your soul.

Your mind, your emotions, your will, and your consciousness. All of that makes up your soul. That's why when the Bible speaks about your life throughout the Scripture, it'll talk about the word soul, the soul that sinneth shall surely die. It's talking about the life, the person. Now I know that they want the focus in our world to be on your body, how good you look, where you live, what you drive, all the stuff that is external, but none of that's you.

That's why a person can look good until you start getting to know them. They may have a beautiful body, but afflicted soul. Your soul is you. At the moment that life ends, your soul leaves the body. It separates. Picture a balloon, stick a pin in it, pop, and the air comes out, and all you are left with is the shell or the skin of the balloon, because that which gave it life, let it fly, let it rise, has been extricated from it.

It has come out because it's been punctured, and the life principle of the balloon has been removed so the balloon lays flat. When you leave this world, the skin is still here, the shell is still here, but the pop life principle has escaped, and the soul leaves the body, separation. At your funeral, the only person who won't be there is you, because the soul leaves.

The shell remains to deteriorate and disintegrate until the new body is given. So there is a separation. So there is the spiritual separation due to sin that has separated us from the fellowship of God, resulting in a physical separation from the immaterial part of us, our soul, when the soul leaves the body. There's the third kind of death, eternal death, which is eternal separation from God. My point is, I want you to understand that death does not mean the end of life. It means a separation has occurred. That's all it means. So it is technically incorrect to say about a person who's died, their life is over. Their life has just begun.

But what will that life be like? Well, that's what Dr. Evans will tell us about when he continues our message in a few moments. But first, as we take time to celebrate 40 years of God's faithfulness through the work of the alternative, Dr. Evans shares a little of how the local church grew into what would become a worldwide ministry. A friend of mine named Crawford LaRitz came down and began the church with me. And during those early days, you know, both of us would preach, and he was mainly evangelist, so he was traveling a lot. So the bulk of the load fell on me because I was local most of the time.

My wife, Lois, was involved with music. My sister-in-law, Elizabeth, was handling the kids, and so we just kept plowing along, and people would invite people. We were meeting in a house. We grew out of the house. We went to a clubhouse in an apartment complex. Then we went to a little fellowship hall in the church that they let us use, and we outgrew that. And then we bought a little A-frame building in 1980 that held a few hundred people, and we went up to four services in that.

Then we went to a high school. Then we built a family life center next to the A-frame building that we could hold a thousand in, and then that led to the building of the sanctuary, which holds 3300, and that led to the building of the education center. So we went from 10 people to close to 10,000 people over those years, and out of the church grew the social service ministry to meet the social as well as spiritual needs of the community.

And out of that, out of our church grew the Urban Alternative, where Lois worked with me to get our cassette tapes back then out to people who wanted to hear our messages, and that would ultimately lead to radio. The growth and impact God has blessed this ministry with is nothing short of a miracle, and none of it would be possible without the faithful contributions of people like you. And that's why I want to let you know about a special package we put together as our way of saying thank you when you make a donation to help keep this outreach going. It starts with our current two-volume, 12-message audio collection, Prophecy and Our World, and also includes a copy of Tony's popular book, Prayers for Victory in Spiritual Warfare. Together, this powerful package will help you better understand what's in store for our future and give you the tools to help overcome spiritual attacks as you walk through his unfolding plan. We'd like you to have a copy of Prophecy and Our World and Prayers for Victory in Spiritual Warfare as our gift when you make a donation to help support the work of the alternative.

But don't wait, this offer ends this week. Details are available for you at TonyEvans.org, where you can also sign up for Tony's free weekly email devotional. Again, that's TonyEvans.org, or call our 24-hour resource request line at 1-800-800-3222 and let one of our friendly team members help you. That's 1-800-800-3222.

Well right now, Tony's back with part two of today's lesson. So death is inevitable and unescapable. Death means separation, not annihilation or cessation of existence. But that leads to the third thing about death. It lets you escape time and enter into one or two eternal destinies. You choose, but you only have two choices.

That's it. There is no third choice. And so I now must tell you about these two destinies, since everybody will enter one or the other.

Your choice. We're told that the rich man died and the poor man died in verse 22. The poor man was buried.

We're told that the rich man was buried. We're told that the poor man was taken away by angels into Abraham's bosom, and in Hades he lifted up his eyes. The poor man enters into Abraham's bosom, we're told. When you see a mother holding a child against her breast or against her bosom, it is a place of provision and rest.

When somebody lays their head on the bosom of another person, it is a position of rest. Abraham was the father of the faith. So when it says Lazarus was escorted, notice the angels took him.

Why? Because Hebrews 1 14 says every believer has an angel assigned to them, and one of the jobs of your angels when you die is to escort your soul into paradise, the place of rest and divine provision. So you have a personal escort as a believer into the very presence of God. The rich man dies and he opens up his eyes in Hades, and he saw Abraham afar off and Lazarus in his bosom.

Well, wait a minute. The rich man dies and he can see. Not only can he see, he can recognize, because he sees Abraham and he sees Lazarus and he knows who they are. He cries out for mercy in verse 24. He says, send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water to cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in these flames. He can feel.

Notice something else about our rich friend. He's retained his sinful nature because he's still bossing folk around. You tell Lazarus what to do, because he's the beggar and I'm the rich man. Abraham said to him, verse 25, child, remember, during your life you receive good things and Lazarus bad things.

Hmm. No Alzheimer's in hell. Those who do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and you live your life without coming to grips with his salvation will forever remember this day that you were here and you heard the good news and you ignored it one more time.

You will remember. All the other times when you were satisfied with religion and avoided redemption. This man was religious because he says, Father Abraham. He says, there's a gulf between us and you, a great chasm.

26. He says, you can't come to us and we can't come to you. How terrible can it be to see heaven and not be able to go there, to recognize folk who are there and know you'll never touch them, never talk to them, never hug them, and to know that this gap is so big it can't be crossed in either direction. So men and women pass into eternity in a conscious state and you are the same person in eternity that you are now, because it's your soul that's gone there and you have been created with a form that fits that soul. That's why you can see and touch and taste and Lazarus has got a finger.

There is a free. He's in Hades, not to go too deep right now. Hades would be akin to the county jail where a prisoner is waiting federal prison. It is the interim location until permanency has been declared, which is why at the end of the book of Revelations it says Hades is cast into the lake of fire.

It's county jail waiting for federal prison. This issue is the most important issue of your life because it has to do with your forever, and you can only make that decision in this life. You cannot make it in the next. The chasm is fixed.

It's fixed. This is not an issue about your neighbor, your mother. I know the song, I got a mother over there where Jesus is, but the question is, does she have a child coming over there where Jesus is? This is an issue that must be settled because it is a fixed destiny for every man. A man was walking one day by a gravesite and he read what was on the gravesite. It said, pause stranger, when you pass me by as you are now so once was I. As I am now so you will be, so prepare for death and follow me.

The man having read that took his marker out and wrote beneath it, to follow you I'm not content until I know which way you went. There is an issue before you, me, us. You are going to die. It is inevitable and it cannot apart from the return of Christ be avoided. It is immediate. Eternity is immediate.

There's no gap. There's no soul sleep. 2nd Corinthians 5 8 says, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Philippians chapter 1 verses 21 to 23, Paul says, I don't know whether to stay here with you or to go to be with the Lord because to die is gain.

There is no gain if you're stuck in a coffin. In Acts chapter 7 verses 54 to 60, Stephen is being stoned to death. He looks up and he sees Jesus rise standing on the right hand of the Father and he says to him, Lord receive my spirit. It is immediate. The split second that life ends is the split second you enter into eternity. No gaps, no delays, no soul sleep.

Those are your options. Paradise, Abraham's bosom, the place of provision and rest. We would call it heaven, we'll talk about that, or the place of eternal separation from God.

You choose. If you are a believer today, the only hell that you will ever experience will be the hell you get in this life. If you're not a believer today, the only heaven you're ever going to experience is the heaven you get in this life. What I'm trying to tell you is you're going to die.

Pay attention, you're going to die, and you will not be late for your appointment. But as long as you've got breath in your lungs and a soul still occupying your body, you have a choice about your eternal destiny. God will allow you to choose.

You can choose him or not, but the choice is yours and you get to make it. But you don't know when time will run out. Dr. Tony Evans will come back in a moment with a final story about what God does for us when we make that choice, so stay with us. If you'd like to get the full-length version of today's message to review on your own or share with your small group, family, or friends, it's available as a part of Tony's two-volume series, Prophecy and Our World. And don't forget for only a few more days now we'll send you all 12 messages in this collection as our way of saying thanks when you make a contribution to help keep this program coming your way. Get the details before time runs out when you visit tonyevans.org. And as an added bonus, we'll also include a special keepsake edition of Prayers for Victory in Spiritual Warfare, a proven resource that's already being used by over a hundred thousand readers. Again, contact us right away to make all the arrangements at tonyevans.org. Or if you prefer, team members can help with your resource request when you call any time of the day or night 1-800-800-3222.

That's 1-800-800-3222. What's in a name? Well, everything when that name is God's.

And there are several of them that we'll be looking at next time as Dr. Evans kicks off a series titled, Knowing God's Names. Right now though, he's back with his final story to wrap up our time together. The father was driving his son, and when he was driving his son, swooping into the open window was a bee. The bee is flying around the car.

The bee is flying around the car. The boy is panicking, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, the bee, the bee, the bee, the bee's gonna get me, the bee's gonna get me. In the midst of his cry, his father reached out with his hand and grabbed the bee, held it in his hands.

After a few seconds, he opened his hands. The bee flew out. He said, Daddy, the bee, the bee, Daddy, the bee, the bee, the bee. That's when his father said, boy, that bee can't hurt you. He opened up his hand and showed him the stinger. That bee has already stung me.

And because it stung me and it only has one stinger, all it's doing now is making a lot of noise. On the cross of Jesus Christ, Jesus reached out and caught the stinger. That's why Paul says, in 1st Corinthians chapter 15, verses 55 to 57, oh death, where is your sting?

Oh grave, where is your victory? He says the sting of death has been overcome by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. So for the believer, all death can do now is go...all they can do now is make a lot of noise because Jesus holds the stinger in his hands, in his feet, in his side, when he was wounded for your transgressions, bruised for your iniquity. The chastisement of your peace was upon him and by his stripes you are healed. If you know Christ, all you get is noise. If you don't know Christ, you die. The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by the Urban Alternative and is celebrating 40 years of faithfulness thanks to the generous contributions of listeners like you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-20 00:59:33 / 2023-09-20 01:09:07 / 10

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