For the last several weeks, I have been preaching on the future of every human being that has ever existed. Below, you will find the first of several installments taken from these messages. To listen to the audio of this sermon, click here.
Philosophers, scientists, and poets all say that the future is not written in stone and that you can make it what you want it to be. They say that your destiny is in your own hands and to a point, that may be true. There are decisions that you can make that will shape your future: education, career, marriage, children, etc. Those are but some of the decisions we can make that will determine what life is like for us in the future – but that’s only part of the future.
I am going to tell you right now that there are some aspects of the future that are written in stone. It is the future of all mankind, and you can find it in the Bible. You know, the sad thing is that it seems these days that everyone wants to know what the future holds for them, but they keep looking in the wrong places. People read their horoscopes every morning. They pay to have biorhythm charts made up to see what kind of day they will have. They go to these palm readers, all because they want to know what their future is. Well, I’m going to tell your future for you today as the Bible teaches it. “It is appointed unto man once to die, and after that the judgment.”
Try to understand this. Your life is going to end one of two ways. One, just as every human being that has ever lived except for Enoch and Elijah has died, you will die. Or two, if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you will be raptured – taken from the Earth much like Enoch and Elijah were taken, but this time, it will happen when the trumpet of the Lord sounds and Jesus comes to claim His bride – and only those of us who have held to His teachings, who are truly His disciples, will be taken.
But just as your life is going to end one of two ways, your life will also continue one of two ways. You will either go to heaven, or you will go to hell. Heaven is a place of eternal peace and joy in the presence of God. There is no more pain, no more sorrow, and no more suffering. But Hell is a different story. Hell is a place of eternal torment where the flames burn hot but never consume and where the conscience constantly torments but the soul never dies. Jesus taught us in Luke 16 that at the moment of death, the soul of man went to a place that the Greeks called Hades. This was the resting place of the dead. On one side of Hades was Abraham’s bosom where the righteous dead, those who believed in God, were sent. The other side was the hell that we know of as the place of eternal damnation, the lake that burns with never ending fire, where the pain never ceases. Fixed between the two was a great span that could not be crossed. When Jesus died on the cross of Calvary, I believe that he went to Hades. 1 Peter 3:19 tells us that Jesus descended into Hell itself where for three days He presented Himself as the Messiah, the Savior of the world to the unbelievers and evil-doers of Noah’s day to show them that not only had Noah been victorious but also that the complete victory over sin had been won. Then He also preached to the Old Testament saints so that all of the righteous people who died before would have the opportunity to believe on the name of Jesus because, my friends, salvation is found only in the name and person of Jesus Christ. And the good news is that Paul says in Ep. 4:8 that when he ascended he led the captives free, the righteous in Abraham’s bosom, to their new home in glory.
It is appointed unto man once to die, and after that the judgment. I tell you today that unless Jesus returns before that day comes, all of us will experience death. We are going to die, and at the moment of death we will face our judgment. At the moment you die, your destiny is sealed. If during your lifetime you have confessed your sin before our Holy God, trusted in the fact that Jesus died on the cross for your sins, but rose again three days later, and professed with your mouth that He is Lord of your life, then your destiny is heaven. Your judgment is for eternity in glory. If you have never confessed your sin to God and made Jesus the Lord and Savior of your life, your destiny is Hell. It is appointed unto man once to die and after that the judgment.
More next week.