Post Resurrection Celebration if in-Christ
1. Where do we go after this life? The answer to this age old question is of interests to some. Paul expressed his interests this way—"...If being a Christian is of value to us only now in this life, we are the most miserable of creatures. But the fact is that Christ did actually rise from the dead and has become the first of millions who will come back to life again someday. Death came into the world because of what one man, (Adam), did, and it is because of what this other man, (Christ), has done that now there is the resurrection from the dead. Everyone dies because all of us are related to Adam, being members of his sinful race, and whereever there is sin, death results. But all who are related to Christ will rise again" (1 Corinthians 15:19-22, TLB). "...The hour is coming... when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live" (John 5:25). But not everyone is related to Christ! And among those unrelated to Christ, the departure of loved ones, either expected or unexpected, brings a sense of loss, and a realization that "...there is a... time to be born and a time to die..." (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, CJB). Death is inescapable. Images like the one shown below only reinforces the transience of life, and for others, might even evoke questions about the afterlife.In fact, one Bible character explicitly inquired—"Can the dead live again? If so, this would give me hope through all my years of struggle, and I would eagerly await the release of death"(Job 14:14, NLT). In view of these things, this study explores preparation for the afterlife, focusing on specific themes, outlined below:
- No one can live forever; all will die—¶ 2
- There is hope after expiration—¶ 3
- Planning for eternity is smart—¶ 4
- Eternal life is within your grasp—¶ 5
- Admittance to the next life requires intentional preparation—¶ 6
- To delay eternal preparation is a catastrophic mistake—¶ 7
- Do not exit the aircraft of life without a working parachute—¶ 8
2. "No one can live forever; all will die. No one can escape the power of the grave” (Psalm 89:48, NLT). "…Each person is destined to die…” (Hebrews 9:27, NLT). Sooner or later, the moment comes, when, if we retain consciousness, there is the recognition that "I am going where every man on earth must some day go..." (1 Kings 2:2, TLB)—to the land of death, where only Christ can announce the wake up call (John 11:11-44, NLT). Cryonicists and scientists at the Cryonics Institute may beg to differ! Nevertheless, death is an undeniable reality? So, how does awareness of impending death make you feel? Is this reality traumatizing to you? Do you know what awaits you when you get to the end of life? Are you aware that how you live determines your eternal destiny? Is eternal life or eternal death on the radar of your mind? Where do you plan to spend eternity? Do the answers to these questions matter to you? If these questions are important to you, then let us work on your portfolio for post resurrrection celebration.
3. There is hope after expiration! "How do you know revival is even possible? [There are two options to consider. Option one comes from the advertising—PR—arm of the Cryonics Institute website, which states—'Current progress in stem cell tissue regeneration, 3D biological printers and other advanced technologies convinces many experts that we might be able to revive people in a healthy and youthful state when these technologies mature'" (Cryonics Institute Technology for Life—General Questions). Such progressive, futuristic technologies have their nemesis—long-standing rival—in "...the Tree of Life, producing 12 kinds of fruit, a different kind every month; and the leaves of the tree were for healing the nations. How blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they have the right to eat from the Tree of Life and go through the gates into the city" (Revelation 22:2, 14, CJB). The Tree of Life is option two. God made life after death a surety by resurrecting Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:6). "Be strong, be bold, don't be afraid or frightened... for Adonai your God is going with you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you" (Deuteronomy 31:6, CJB). "Thus says the Lord who made you and formed you from the womb..., 'Fear not, O Jacob My servant..." (Isaiah 44:2, NKJV). "...For you will NOT leave my soul among the dead" (Psalm 16:10, NLT). "...When the last trumpet is blown..., all the Christians who have died will... become alive, with new bodies that will never, never die..." (1 Corinthians 15:52, TLB). Like insurance, you have a choice of where to get your coverage—Option 1 or Option 2. Don't permit the open enrollment period to close before you get coverage! So, are you covered by the divine assurances so that "...after [your] body has decayed—if you are not preserved in liquid nitrogen—yet in [your renewed] body [you] will see God [on resurrection day]" (Job 19:26, NLT)? For the millions of believers who have died in Christ and gone to their internment without acccess to liquid nitrogen, they are at rest until Christ is ready to give white robes unto them (Revelation 6:11).
4. Planning for eternity is smart. Like planning for retirement, planning for eternity is also a worthwhile investment.. Do not delay making preparation for eternity! A helpful starting point follows. "Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life” (1 Corinthians 15:22, NLT). What does it mean to belong to Christ? Review the comments of two people who belonged to Christ and embraced the hope of eternal life that He offers.
"…I know that my Redeemer lives, and that He will stand upon the earth at last. And I know that after this body has decayed… I shall see Him, not as a stranger, but as a friend…” (Job 19:25-27, TLB)!
Job looked at the end of the road of life as the beginning of a new life. Can you do the same? Like Job, Paul also embraced a future with God. He said,
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of His return. And the prize is not just for me, but for all who eagerly look forward to His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8, NLT).
Paul anticipated the end of life and without despair or anxiety, he describes a victory lap and coronation ceremony (1 Corinthians 15:51-53). How do you envision the end of your earthly life? What preparations are you making to secure the future you imagine?
5. Eternal life is within your grasp. We have reviewed two examples of people who embraced the hope of eternal life. These examples are on record to encourage us to do the same. God has left many appeals on record to get our attention focused on His appearing. He said, “My mercy and justice are coming soon… to the nations… [that] look to me and wait in hope for my powerful arm” (Isaiah 51:5, NLT). "…The Lord Almighty will spread a wondrous feast for everyone around the world…. At that time He will remove the… pall of death that hangs over the earth. He will swallow up death forever…” (Isaiah 25:6-8, TLB). In the city, called—"the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, ...the home of God..., He will wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor pain. All of that has gone forever" (Revelation 21:2-4, TLB).
6. Admittance to the next life requires intentional preparation. You must have a valid passport to enter the New Jerusalem. It is a city with citizenship requirements that has secure borders (Revelation 20:9, CJB), and only "...the pure in heart... will see God" (Matthew 5:8, CJB). "Nothing evil will be permitted in it—no immoral or dishonest [person]—but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life" (Revelation 21:27, TLB). "Not everyone who call out..., 'Lord! Lord!' will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter" (Matthew 7:21, NLT). Are you doing God's will? Are you remaining united with Jesus Christ (John 15:7, CJB)? What is hindering you from making a complete surrender and committment to Christ, which guarantees your participation in God's post resurrection celebration (Matthew 22:11-12, CJB) for all who have died in-Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:16)? "...Keep watch on yourselves, or your hearts will become dulled by carousing, drunkenness, and the worries of everyday living, and that Day will be sprung upon you suddenly like a trap" (Luke 21:34, CJB)!
7. To delay eternal preparation is a catastrophic mistake. Jeremiah tells a story of his people's infatuation with "...worthless foreign gods." In the end, they acknowledged a sad experience—"The harvest is finished, and the summer is gone, ...yet we are not saved" (Jeremiah 8:20, NLT)! Do not replicate ancient Israel's experience in your own life! God has commissioned proclamation of this alarm—"...Many Israelites (Galatians 3:29, KJV), those for whom the Kingdom was prepared, will be thrown into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 8:12, NLT). So don't kid yourself about membership in a particular religion. There is no safety in organized religion. Your safety is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Deuteronomy 33:12; Psalm 4:8, Proverbs 21:31, CJB, TLB). Jesus has gone to prepare a place that has enough room for all people (John 14:2-3, KJV). In the interim, His disciples are commanded to "Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel [guests] to come in..." (Luke 14:23, KJV).
"So the servants brought in everyone they could find, good and bad alike, and the banquet hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to meet the guests, he noticed a man who wasn't wearing the proper clothes for a wedding. 'Friend,' he asked, 'how is it that you are here without wedding clothes? But the man had no reply. Then the king said to his aides, 'Bind his hands and feet and throw him into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth'" (Matthew 22:10-13, NLT).
8. Do not exit the aircraft of life without a working parachute. The man in Matthew's parable is a typology. He represents a type of individual who is NOT prepared for entrance of the King. Are you ready for Christ's return? It will be a sad day when Christ leaves His place of honor next to the throne, (Revelation 5:1-6, NLT | John 1:29 | Isaiah 53:7 & 10), and utters these irrevocable words—"Let the one who is doing harm continue to do harm. Let the one who is vile continue to be vile [Revelation 9:20-21, NLT]. Let the one who is righteous continue to live righteously. Let the one who is holy continue to be holy" (Revelation 22:11, NLT). "...You are to be holy because [God is] holy" (1 Peter 1:16, CJB). Holiness is the divine qualification for participation in the post resurrection celebration. Take an inventory of yourself! Is there a need to pray—"Create in me a new, clean heart, O God, filled with clean thoughts and right desires" (Psalm 51:10, TLB)? "Whoever loves a pure heart and gracious speech will have the king as a friend" (Proverbs 22:11, NLT).
Bro. Graham F. Watts, Sr.