Dead people go to a better place

Did I really say that?  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  40:15
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Tombstone story
For some of us we got a chuckle, others that hits too close to home as we recently have lost someone we love. There is an amazing phenomena that happens though when someone dies, we magically remember all the good and forget the bad. We know it is not socially acceptable to speak the unkind truth at a funeral, or even in the days and weeks that follow someone’s passing. And often we hear the words uttered “they’re in a better place now.”
Friends, what I’m about to share with you is important, but I take no pleasure in sharing it. It is painful and sad while at the same time containing great hope. You see, heaven is a very real place, and so is hell, and every person who is living, has lived, or will live will spend eternity in one of those two locations. Again, I love you so I’m going to speak the truth about this topic, but it is painful.
You see the root issue is this thing we call sin. Romans 3:23 clearly states that “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” To sin means to miss the mark, in particular the moral standard that God expects of us. I have yet to meet someone who does not acknowledge that they sin, even if they call it something else. Some do not care that they sin, some are only sorry that others got hurt, and many are bothered by it. So the question comes up, what do we do about it? And this is where we have to deal with some tough truth, and some incredible hope!
From the moment Adam and Eve sinned by disobeying God and eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, God placed his plan into place. The entirety of scripture tells of the story of how He longs to see all the nations reconciled to Him. And this is where Jesus comes in. Please turn with me to John chapter 3.
John 3:16–21 CSB
For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Anyone who believes in him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God. This is the judgment: The light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the light and avoids it, so that his deeds may not be exposed. But anyone who lives by the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be shown to be accomplished by God.”
I want you to see some things in these verses. First, God loves the world. Second, Jesus did not come to condemn the world. You see our sin already condemns us. Rather, Jesus came that those who believe in him would have eternal life. This is the good news of the gospel. It is what we teach and preach each week.
Paul writes in Romans 5:
Romans 5:6–11 CSB
For while we were still helpless, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly. For rarely will someone die for a just person—though for a good person perhaps someone might even dare to die. But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. How much more then, since we have now been declared righteous by his blood, will we be saved through him from wrath. For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received this reconciliation.
Paul is writing to Christians, assuming that they have called on the name of Jesus for forgiveness of their sins, but do you you see it, Christ died for you, and for me, and offers life for all eternity to those who believe in Him.
Now, let me get back to the question at hand though, why do we buy into the lie that all dead people go to a better place?
Matthew 7:13–14 CSB
“Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it. How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it.
John 14:6 CSB
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Jeremiah 29:13 CSB
You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart.
John 14:15 CSB
“If you love me, you will keep my commands.
John 15:10 CSB
If you keep my commands you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.
John 8:31–32 CSB
Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you continue in my word, you really are my disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
1 John 2:4 CSB
The one who says, “I have come to know him,” and yet doesn’t keep his commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
Galatians 5:19–24 CSB
Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. I am warning you about these things—as I warned you before—that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The law is not against such things. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Galatians 6:7–9 CSB
Don’t be deceived: God is not mocked. For whatever a person sows he will also reap, because the one who sows to his flesh will reap destruction from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit. Let us not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up.
Where does your fruit say you are headed?
Revelation 20:10–15 CSB
The devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet are, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Then I saw a great white throne and one seated on it. Earth and heaven fled from his presence, and no place was found for them. I also saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life, and the dead were judged according to their works by what was written in the books. Then the sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them; each one was judged according to their works. Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.
Romans 10:9–13 CSB
If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, Everyone who believes on him will not be put to shame, since there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, because the same Lord of all richly blesses all who call on him. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
What will you do?
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