DOCTRINE OF DEATH – Part 15
AFTER DEATH: YOUR PERSONAL LOVE CONTINUES!
This doctrine will also be available in note & audio format @ http://fbcweb.org/doctrines.html
Preparation for Bible Class
In preparation for Bible class let’s make sure we understand what true, pure, and authentic Christianity is. Christianity is not a religion. Christianity is a relationship with God based on GRACE! God alone provides the most fantastic GRACE assets. I remember when I first became a Christian at the age of 26 just how fresh and fantastic these things were to me very soon after salvation. Do you enjoy just how unique and fantastic Christianity is or have you gunked up Christianity by mixing it with some form of human good works, confidence in self-improvement, some form of positive thinking paganism, are you living for the kosmos, or are you involved in some form religionism where your works and you are the issue? Do find yourself filled with worry and stress or are you living the Christian way of life? Are you occupied with yourself or the marvelous matchless grace of God? Do you feel entitled to more in life or are you grateful for all that God has blessed you with? Are you bitter and so quick to complain, or are you filled with gratitude? If you find yourself lacking appreciation for just how wonderful and unique Christianity is, the most important thing for you is to do is get back to pure Christianity – which alone offers the most fantastic life imaginable. If you are NOT thriving in the grace of God, you need to get back to those three vital areas of authentic Christianity.
First there is salvation. Salvation is not part God’s work and then part your work. Salvation is 100% a work of God and 0% your work. Titus 3:5, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit. Perhaps the best way to see if you really understand the grace in salvation is to check your belief about eternal security. If you believe you can lose your salvation you cannot believe that you were really saved by GRACE. Any belief that you can lose your salvation is an implicit denial of salvation by grace alone. If you are not eternally secure, and thus can lose everlasting life because of bad actions, then you believe in a tacit form of salvation by works. You cannot get around it. Furthermore, if salvation is not gained by our works, then how can it be lost by our works?
Second there is the Spiritual life. After my salvation I remember that wonderful experience I had when I realized that God the Holy Spirit was in me and all I needed to do was have a relaxed mental attitude of faith, confess my sins when I failed, and the Holy Spirit would work through me, cf. Gal 3:1-5. I am so glad I was not saved under some legalistic program of attempting to do the will of God on my own as Paul did as a believer in Romans 7:15ff.
Third, there is spiritual maturity. Though it was about thirty years ago when I was saved by listening to Thieme’s basics (by the way his basics are temporarily on FBC web site under guest speakers “T-basics 1ff.), I recall it like it was yesterday, when I was taught about the edification complex of the soul (cf. Acts 20:32) and the need for maximum doctrine in the soul to have maximum true love for God. It is in maturity that we really love the Real God. We cannot truly love someone unless we know him. How ridiculous would it be for someone who is about to go on a blind date to talk about how they loved someone they have not met? Even if they were given a picture of the person! Well, with God we do not have a picture. He is invisible and He is only revealed in the Word of God as developed and categorized by Bible doctrine. God is not revealed in our imaginations or emotions. It is all in the Word of God – objective truth, divinely revealed propositional truths from which to build our knowledge and love of God! Learning about God is so much more than taking a passage here or there. In maturity you gain the whole and accurate picture of God. An Old Testament example of this is David. It was David, the only one who was called a man after God’s own heart, who took the Word of God and with it put all of the pieces together and actually moved into a profound understanding of God, His attributes, and His very essence. Through maturity David was able to go from a passage here or there to Bible doctrine where he brought them all together and instead of trusting a passage here or there when faced with a difficult actually trusted God as he oriented to the essence and attributes of God. That is why he loved Bible doctrine: it taught Him about God and how to live before, with, and after God, and moved into occupation with the Person of Christ a thousand years before Christ even came to this earth, Psa 19:7-14
7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. 8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. 9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. 10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. 11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. 12 Who can understand his errors? Cleanse thou me from secret faults. 13 Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. 14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my Redeemer [Christ as Second Member of the Trinity].
AFTER DEATH: YOUR PERSONAL LOVE CONTINUES
In our last study of what happens after death I noted how personal knowledge continues. Let’s advance on that thought and move into consideration of how personal love continues. Let’s turn again to the rich man (who was lost because he trusted in wealth rather than Christ) after his physical death in Luke 16:19-31,
19 "Now there was a certain rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, gaily living in splendor every day. 20 "And a certain poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores, 21 and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man's table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores. 22 "Now it came about that the poor man died and he was carried away by the angels to Abraham's bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. 23 "And in Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 "And he cried out and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue; for I am in agony in this flame.' 25 "But Abraham said, 'Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. 26 'And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, in order that those who wish to come over from here to you may not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.' 27 "And he said, 'Then I beg you, Father, that you send him to my father's house-- 28 for I have five brothers-- that he may warn them, lest they also come to this place of torment.' 29 "But Abraham said, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.' 30 "But he said, 'No, Father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!' 31 "But he said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.'"
Notice the rich man’s love for his five brothers. He did not want them to come to the same place of Torments. He not only knew who his brothers were, but he was concerned about them. He loved them so much that he was willing to never see them again if only they would not join him in this place of Torments. His love was so great for them that he was willing to endure isolation from them if that meant that they would not be sent to Torments. He would endure isolation if they could experience consolation.
Love does continues after death! To all of you widows, your husband who is in heaven continues to love you as he did on earth. Today he loves you with a fonder, sweeter, purer love. It is a love that is unsullied by the old sin nature. It is a love purified by God. To those who have lost a child – your child continues to love you. To those who have lost your mother and/or father – they continue to love you more than ever before. There is no more a break in love than there is a continuity of thought. Death breaks ties on earth but renews them in heaven.
This brings up the issue of marriage and Heaven. Christ made it clear that we will not marry in heaven nor be given in marriage, Mark 12:25. Now that does not mean that we will be sexless. In Heaven we you will retain your female or male gender. Your mother will be still known as your mother in Heaven; your son or daughter will be known as your son or daughter in Heaven. As Chet Bitterman said after his missionary son was killed by guerillas, “We have eight children. And they are all living: one’s in heaven and seven are on earth.”
Our love for God will also be intensified. Here, at last, without distractions, God can be loved with more intensity. We will keep loving whatever we loved on earth, apart from sin. I will always and eternally love my wife, mother, father, siblings, my son Paul, my daughter Amy, and my FBC church family. In heaven our love and affections will be like they were on earth, except purified and more intense.
If our loved ones in heaven could talk to us, what would they say? (of course all communication with the dead is strictly forbidden in the Word of God!) They would urge us to be faithful! They would urge us to live in fellowship with God and grow in His Word! They would tell us to trust God completely! They would tell us “not to sweat the details of life!” The would tell us to trust God always! They would tell us that if we only knew how wonderful God is, we would do all we could to please Him! They would tell us to live on earth with heaven in mind! THEY WOULD TELL US THAT WE HAVE NO IDEA ABOUT THE GLORY OF GOD AND THE GLORY IN STORE FOR US,
Romans 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
On the Glory Road,