WHAT HAPPENS AFTER DEATH? August 15
Dear friends and neighbors…
Thank you for joining us in our E-mail Forum presentation WHAT HAPPENS AFTER DEATH. It is our sincerest desire that you will be greatly comforted, especially now during these troubling times.
Our initial presentation which was launched on August 12th, as a practical matter so as not to be overwhelming, has been spread out over 4 consecutive days. This is the fourth and concluding day of our initial Forum presentation. We will continue in greater depth on a weekly basis every Wednesday hereafter, beginning with Wednesday August 19th. Feel free at any time to E-mail any questions you may have, or to contribute any thoughts and input. We will always get back to you on a personal one-to-one basis, so as to maintain confidentiality and your privacy. None of your personal information will be shared with anyone else in the Forum; we will honor and respect confidentiality in all matters.
If you remember nothing else from this Forum, never forget this: GOD LOVES YOU.
God’s Love 4 U is…
In today’s discussion, we will begin with answering the question: Since the Eternal Purpose for my existence is to be joined together with the Triune God in a Sacred Covenant relationship, how do I enter into this relationship?
Jesus answered that question in His response to Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council: I tell you the truth, unless one is born again, he cannot be in God’s Kingdom. How can a grown man be born again, Nicodemus asked? He certainly cannot enter his mother’s womb and be born a second time! Jesus replied, I tell you the truth, no one can ever enter the Kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at My saying You must be born again.
Every one of us here came into existence in the physical realm by birth. My physical human life began at conception…at that moment of fertilization, at which time I was conceived from my father’s male human seed planted in my mother’s womb and fertilized through union with her female ovum. At that point in time, a new, genetically unique cell, a genetically distinct living organism…a new human being…came into existence. Then the process of growth began. God the Father formed all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. In the fullness of time, I was brought forth from my mother’s womb and born into the physical realm…a newborn baby! This is what God has said in His written Word: I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I chose you and set you apart for My Own purposes. I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you…plans to give you a hope and a future.
My spiritual life also began at conception. The Divine seed of God the Father… the Word of God recorded in Scripture…has within itself the capacity to start a new life. When it is planted in the heart of a human being, it has the potential to bring a new life into existence. God’s Divine seed in itself, however, lies dormant; it cannot bring forth a new life on its own. Fertilization must take place within my heart through the consent of my will. I give the consent of my will when I make a solemn vow before God in giving myself to be the bride of Christ, receiving Jesus the Christ into my life in a spiritual marriage, promising to honor and obey Him as both Lord over my life and Savior of my soul. The consent of my will takes place by my making a solemn vow before God. That is the moment when fertilization takes place, at which time a new life is both conceived and born in me through the Power of the Holy Spirit: the Holy Spirit will sweep over you and the Power of the Most High will overshadow you.
A distinct and uniquely new life comes into existence. I am born again, this time into the spiritual realm…born into the Family of God in the Kingdom of God. I am now a child belonging to the Royal Family of God, through the new life conceived in me by the Holy Spirit! I became a child of God by birth! God Himself is therefore my Father, and I bear His spiritual DNA in my soul! I am literally a new creation…not in the physical realm, where I already exist…but in the spiritual realm, where prior to this I did not exist.
My spiritual birth is not a mental or a theological concept; it is as literal and real a new birth as was my physical birth. A person is born into physical life through human parents, but is born into spiritual life in the Kingdom of God through Divine parents…by God the Father through the Power of the Holy Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.
Jesus has clearly stated, I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. The only way to the Father is through Me. There are not many ways to God; Jesus stated clearly that He is the only way. There is no way to enter into a relationship with the Triune God other than through God the Son, Christ Jesus…at that moment in time when I make a solemn vow before God in giving myself to be the bride of Christ. That is the moment when fertilization takes place, at which time a distinct and uniquely new life comes into existence. I am literally born again…born into the spiritual realm, where prior to this I did not exist! I have became a child of God by birth!
OK, I understand now how to enter into God’s Eternal Purpose for my existence… but does that have any bearing on, or answer the question concerning, WHAT HAPPENS AFTER DEATH?
Jesus said to Martha, I Myself am the Resurrection and the Life. Anyone who lives their life believing in Me, though dying a physical death like everyone else, will never actually die at all but will rise to an eternal life together with Me in Heaven. Do you believe this? Yes, Lord, Martha replied, I do believe that You are Christ the Messiah, the Son of God, Whom God promised was to come into the world, fulfilling Your promised coming the world has long awaited.
The man…Jesus the Christ…claimed to be God Himself in the flesh, both fully human and fully Divine. Jesus did not mince any words…He proclaimed clearly and beyond the shadow of any doubt that He was, in fact, God. The religious leaders understood clearly that Jesus claimed to be God, and in their refusal to believe Him, were determined to kill Him for what they considered to be blasphemy, “because You, a mere man, claim to be God.” They eventually were able to carry out their determined purpose by having the Roman authorities crucify Him.
Is there any credibility to Jesus’ claim to be God in the flesh other than what is written in the Bible?
- Resurrection of Jesus is a recorded historical fact attested to by secular writers during that time period.
- Disciples were eye witnesses, willing to be martyred for what they saw with their own eyes and therefore knew to be true.
- Miracles of Jesus are recorded historical facts attested to by secular writers during that time period. [Josephus, etc].
- Jesus called Lazarus out of the grave after he had been dead for 4 days.
- Jesus Himself walked out of the grave after having been dead for 3 days.
Here is the one Supreme, preeminent claim that separates the belief system based on the Bible from every other…all 99 other belief systems. No other belief system embraces a human being claiming to also be God Himself in the flesh. Either Jesus is indeed God, Who He claimed to be, or He is not God.
If Jesus was indeed God in human flesh, both fully human and fully Divine, then all that the Bible teaches is the Truth and without any error, because the Bible claims to be the Word of God, and Jesus Himself claims to be the Living Word of God. If Jesus was not God…then the Bible is no different than the writings of the other 99 belief systems, and all bets are off. Take your pick…because no one, then, knows the actual Truth.
It comes down to this: What is the most important question to answer while you are still alive? Was Jesus the Christ the Divine Son of God? What is your opinion?
If yes…then the Bible is the one and only belief system that truthfully reveals the reality of death and what actually does happen after death.
If no…then take your pick; any of the 100 is just as good a guess as the others.
The only difference between you and I is…
you have an opinion that you do not know whether it is true,
and I have an opinion that I know is true, because I have personally experienced its truth.
You have an opinion about Jesus based on what you have heard or read about Him; I have an opinion about Jesus based on what I have personally experienced of Him. You know about Jesus like you would know about George Washington; I know Him personally. I know Him because I have personally experienced His Presence and His Power. I have seen Jesus with my own spiritual eyes, and have heard Him with my own spiritual ears…and I can testify to His great Name and mighty Power.
You also will personally experience Jesus and come to know Him as a Person once you are born-again…a second time…by the Spirit of God into the spiritual realm. Until then, you can only know about Him through what you read…like you would know about George Washington by reading history books and biographies. You can never get to know a person…any person…unless you spend time alone together with them. Apart from that, all your reading and studying only gives you more information about them. An historian can be an expert on George Washington, but can never know George Washington through the personal experience of walking with him and talking with him, of living with him and doing things together with him as part of his family, or as a very close friend. I can never experience George Washington as a person, never experience what he is like through personal contact with him. He is no longer living, that I can be with him in a deep and intimate personal relationship. I can only know about him in my mind, my intellect.
But our relationship, Lord Jesus, is very deep, very intimate, very personal. Your Holy Spirit does not reveal to me Who You are only by showing me what the Scriptures have to say about You, and illuminating my understanding of You as revealed in Scripture. He doesn’t only just broaden and deepen my knowledge about You, and Who You are, and what You have done…like an historian would do. He doesn’t only just give me more information about God…so I can know more and more about You like I can know more and more about George Washington by reading and study. No…I know You through my personal experience of You as the bride of Christ in our Sacred Covenant relationship. I can walk with You and talk with You; I can meet together with You and commune with You. I can spend time alone together with You, just You and I, whenever I want. Our relationship is very personal, very intimate. There is an Eternal difference between knowing You through personally experiencing You, and only just knowing about You.
I proclaim to you Christ Jesus…the One Who existed from the beginning, from Eternity Past, Whom I have heard with the ears of my own inner being, and have seen with my own spiritual eyes. I have gazed upon Him and have spiritually touched Him with my own hands. He is the Word of Life. His Life is continually being revealed to me; I have seen it and testify to it, and I proclaim to you that He is the One Who is Eternal Life. He always existed with the Father, and is now continually being manifested afresh and anew to me. I proclaim to you what I have personally seen and heard in the depths of my soul, so that you also may enjoy this same fellowship together with us. The fellowship I continually enjoy is with the Father and with His Son, Christ Jesus. I am writing these things so that you also may fully share together with me in this fullness of joy. It is our birth-right as a child of the Most High God!
Now this is eternal life: knowing You, Father, the One True Living God, and knowing Jesus Christ Your Son, the Messiah Whom You have sent. God Himself has given this testimony concerning His Son: I have granted you eternal life, and this life is given through union with My Divine Son Jesus. Whoever is joined together with My Son in a living union of oneness possesses that life; whoever is not joined together with My Son in a living union of oneness does not possess that life. I have written this to you so that you who place your trust in Christ My Son will know, beyond the shadow of any doubt, that you do now indeed have eternal life.
Listen to what God Himself has said, clearly and beyond the shadow of any doubt: I have granted you eternal life; it’s a free gift. If you are joined together with My Son in a living union of oneness…by giving yourself to become the spiritual bride of Christ and thereby being born again…you possess eternal life; it is a guaranteed certainty. If you are not joined together with My Son as the spiritual bride of Christ, you do not possess eternal life; that is a guaranteed certainty as well.
The gift of eternal life is a free gift; Heaven is a free gift. It is not dependent on merit; it need not, and can not, be earned. The free gift of eternal life is not an object, a thought, a theological concept, or a prayer. The gift is a Person…Jesus the Christ.
The Free gift of eternal life is an unconditional right offered to every soul to freely choose to receive as their own. To all who received Him, to those who believed in His Name, He gave the right to become children of God… children born of God! All of the various other opinions that embrace an eternal existence in either Heaven or Hell are dependent on merit. The opinion of the belief system based on the Bible is the sole exception…your eternal destiny is dependent simply upon exercising your right to choose to accept the free gift of eternal life in Heaven offered to everyone. It is as simple as that. If you were to die tonight, do you know where you will be for all eternity? You can choose your eternal destiny right now and know at this moment, for sure, beyond the shadow of any doubt, in which neighborhood you will be after death.
There are only 3 choices when someone offers you a gift:
- You can refuse to take it; reject it
- You can ignore it
- You can accept it and receive it.
God can be likened to the Captain of a ship coming to rescue you. If you are out there in the middle of the ocean, shipwrecked, clinging to a piece of wood trying to survive the wind and the waves threatening to engulf you, nothing but ocean as far as the eye can see…you know beyond the shadow of any doubt there is no hope for you unless someone comes to your rescue. Then off in the distance you see a speck on the horizon, coming toward you, and you see that it is a ship. As you frantically wave your arm that they would see you, hope wells up in you as you realize they do see you! As the ship pulls near you, the Captain of the ship…God Himself…throws a life preserver to you. But you ignore the life preserver and push it away, as you continue to thrash about in the water. So God the Captain reels in the life preserver and throws it out again to you. Again, you ignore it and push it away. The Captain keeps on reeling it in and casting it back out to you, but you keep on refusing to take hold of it…until finally, you sink into the waters of the ocean and drown. That life preserver is Jesus the Christ. If you drown, was it the Captain who caused you to drown? No…He was trying to save you! And if you sink down into Hell, was it the Captain who sent you there? No…He was trying to save you, but you wouldn’t have it…you refused to take hold of the life preserver Jesus the Christ!
Beloved…if you have never been born again,
or you are not sure whether you have been born again,
or you have been living your life as a lukewarm Christian and would now like to recommit your life and enter into a deep and intimate relationship with Christ Jesus in preparation for the soon coming marriage supper of the Lamb…
then I counsel you to get alone with God, read the solemn marriage vows you must make to become the spiritual bride of Christ and thereby be born-again, and with sincerity of heart from within the depths of your being, acknowledge before God, “I DO.”
SPIRITUAL BRIDE OF CHRIST
Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Divine Son in the Triune God, the Lamb of God Who came into this world to become the One only, all-sufficient, atoning sacrifice through His death on a cross and subsequent resurrection, thereby securing forgiveness for your sins and restoring your relationship with God that had been severed by sin?
Do you now solemnly vow before God to give yourself to be the bride of Christ, receiving Jesus the Christ into your life in a spiritual marriage, promising to honor and obey Him as both Lord over your life and Savior of your soul?
To be joined inseparably together with Him in a Sacred Covenant relationship…an eternal living union of oneness through the new life to be conceived in you by the Holy Spirit…
To have and to hold Him, above all others and above all else this world has to offer, as the choicest, most precious treasure of your heart…
To love and to cherish Him, above all others and above all else this world has to offer, reserving for Him alone your sweetest, most tender affections…
For better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, all the days of your life, until death of this body brings you to be together with Him in Heaven for all eternity?
My friends, we will now be continuing this presentation in greater depth on a weekly basis every Wednesday hereafter, beginning with August 19th. May the Eternal Lord bless you and keep you in His watchful care; may the Lord make His face to shine upon you and pour out His loving-kindness and mercy upon you; may the Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace and a tranquil heart.
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Preserve Christian Family Ministries, Inc.