In this presentation, I want to share some final thoughts on Basic Christian Beliefs that I like to call the Seventh Task of the Teacher. We are going to be looking at Death, the Return of Jesus Christ, Hell and the Judgement to Come, Heaven and Eternal Life.
The Bible has a lot to say about death. There are several passages that provide insight into what happens to people when they die. It is my hope that I will be able to begin writing notes on each part of the Bible, and I will help you identify what we are told along the way.
There is, however one thing I think needs to be said here. The Bible tells us that death is not the end, when a person dies and we have to bury their body, the soul and spirit of the person who died continues to exist.
One day, the souls and spirits of everyone who has died will be reunited with their bodies. This includes the followers of other world religions. “Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to a Resurrection of Life, and those have done evil to the Resurrection of Judgement.” (John 5:28-29 ESV)
The Resurrection(s) mentioned here will take place after Jesus Christ comes back.
The Return of Jesus Christ
Nearly two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ left a small group of men who he had personally taught how to do the work of the ministry on earth. Those men were given the responsibility to begin building healthy, well balanced Churches around the world.
Their goal was to help people all around the world become ready for Jesus Christ to return. They expected the return of Jesus Christ to be an event that would bring human history as we understand it to a close.
“Therefore stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you must also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect him.” (Matthew 24:42-44 ESV)
Every person who has experienced the change of heart I mentioned in The Message of Christianity has an obligation to be ready for the moment Jesus Christ returns to bring human history to a close. The Holy Spirit’s main goal for the Church is for people who have more experience serving the Lord to provide guidance to those who are less experienced.
This is the whole point of discipleship.
Hell and the Judgment to Come
If discipleship involves learning how to do evangelism among those who have not heard the Message of Christianity, then what is going to happen to the untold millions who followed other world religions and were never given a chance to hear about Jesus?
The Bible tells us there are two things that will happen to them. The first thing is that they will die and go to Hell. After that, they will be brought out of Hell to face God’s Judgment and then they will be sent to the Lake of Fire.
In Hell, there are evil spirits who torture the people who arrive in the underworld. In Hell, evil spirits torture people because the hate us for being made in the image of God. They desire to destroy that part of human nature, but it has been designed so well that it cannot be destroyed, and so the suffering they cause never ends.
The suffering they inflict on people in Hell will continue until God summons everyone out of Hell to face His Judgment. One day, the people in Hell who have been tortured constantly by evil spirits for bearing the image of God are going to be brought out and punished by God for rejecting His efforts to rescue them from the consequences of the corruption that exists in human nature.
God is going to explain in detail to them what he did to rescue them, and then He will remind them of how many times they ignored His efforts to help them. In that moment, when they cannot deny any of the evidence God will say “I hate you. You are not welcome in my home and you are not allowed to enjoy any of the good things I have to share anymore.”
This is why the Bible tells us that “the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night…”(Revelation 14:11 ESV). This event will mark the end of every non Christian religions.
Heaven and Eternal Life
What is going to happen to the Church in the future? When Jesus Christ returns to bring human history to an end, there is going to be another judgement by God regarding the Church.
In 2 Corinthians 5:10 (ESV) the Apostle Paul said “for we must all appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.”
The implication here is that people who were more obedient to the Holy Spirit will be given rewards that are not available to people who did not help the Holy Spirit share The Message of Christianity with the followers of other world religions.
The people who made sacrifices to participate in goals that the Holy Spirit set for their lives are going to be given something that God is not going to share with the people who never tried to help the Holy Spirit build healthy well balanced local Churches.
“And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.” (Luke 12:47-48 ESV)
This is why Revelation 21:4 says “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
It is because God is going to sit each one of us down and explain in detail what would have happened if we had made better choices with our lives. God is going to go over every choice you made in your lifetime, and show you how you could have done better.
I am not really looking forward to that conversation, but it is coming anyways. God has chosen a day when He is going to let us know who we could have brought with us to Heaven and why they did not make it.
“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done.” (Revelation 22:12 ESV)
The members of the Church who cooperated with the Holy Spirit’s agenda will receive a reward for their obedience that is not available to the members of the Church that did not cooperate with the Holy Spirit’s agenda.
And then we will be with the Lord forever.
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