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What happens after the grave?

By on November 4, 2018

Rev. Audrey Spencer

Sermon Notes – What happens after the grave?
1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18
Revelation 7: 9-17

Introduction: What happens when I die? Certainly, this question has been plaguing human kind since the Fall. Living in broken relationship with our Creator, we fear the inevitable – physical death. … then, what will happen after the grave? I don’t know exactly what to expect, but I do know that I have a living relationship with a loving God whom I know I love and trust.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18: Paul is writing to a young Church in Thessalonica. The people have seen many of their fellow saints pass away, and they are wondering what has happened to them. Paul writes them: “Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.” What a beautiful picture … when we die we fall asleep in Christ, and we will return with Him when He comes in final victory. Remember what Jesus said to the criminal on the cross who believed in Him? “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” I believe that our loved ones who believed in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and have died and gone on ahead of us are with Jesus Christ right this very moment, with Christ Who sits at the right hand of God the Father.

Revelation 7:9-17: We are given a vision of the hope we share with all Christians of what happens after death. It’s not a precise, ‘just the facts’ answer to our questions, but it is a vision and this vision conveys a powerful message. As John describes his vision, he sees a great multitude standing before the throne in front of the Lamb of God. These are the Christians who have died and been resurrected. This multitude is international, multi-ethnic, multi-lingual. The barriers that divide people on this earth have been torn down. We will worship side-by-side and hand-in-hand with all believers of every age. Fear, distrust, and suspicion will have melted away, so that we can all embrace one another as brothers and sisters. This will be an experience of true community and baggage-free fellowship.

The last verses from Revelation Chapter 7 hold the most tender promises of all. These verses promise us healing of both body and soul. In the resurrection, our physical bodies will no longer be a burden. John expresses this by saying that we will no longer hunger and thirst. Right now, our bodies are part of God’s good creation, but because of sin, our bodies are weak and needy. Our resurrected bodies will not be weak and needy. This redemption of the physical world will extend even to the realm of nature. The promise that the sun wiII not strike the multitude of the resurrected speaks of reconciliation between humanity and nature. Nature is one of God’s greatest gifts, but in our present Fallen State nature can also be destructive and dangerous. According to Genesis Chapter 1, the sun was part of God’s good creation. The sun is good and life giving, but it is also harsh and causes us to wither. Who of us has not at one time or another been oppressed by the sun’s heat? It saps our strength, can make us ill, and can even kill us. In heaven, this problem will be eradicated. People and nature will live in harmony.

Conclusion: Just as our material selves will be redeemed, so will our raging emotions: pain and grief. Life is full of heartaches. The emotion many of us share on this All Saints Sunday is grief. Grief can be a devastating experience. Some of us still feel the sting of the death of a loved one decades later. … the pain may be hardly diminished by the passing of time. Sometimes anger and grief threaten to overwhelm us. John promises that God will reach out His divine hand and wipe the tears from our eyes. What peace that gives us to know that in life after death, our loved ones have already been healed of their emotional hurts. Eternity with God is an experience of true fellowship, of the joyous presence of God, of the healing of body and soul, and of reconciliation with the rest of God’s creation. Today, we acknowledge the passing from this life of so many saints who have gone before us.

Prayer: Almighty God, you have knit us together, your elect, in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord: Give us grace to follow Your blessed Son into life everlasting, Who with You and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

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Contemporary Worship 9:00am - Sunday Study Groups 10:10am - Traditional Worship 11:00am

7050 Village Center Drive, Austin, TX 78731 512.345.1743