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What's Next...for Everyone! - Revelation 20:4-7; Revelation 20:11-15

Taught on | Keywords: death, afterlife, resurrection, life, eternity, everlasting life, born again, new birth, heaven, hell, new body, sin, judgment, Book of Life, salvation, condemnat

My mom used to wake me up early every morning with her sweet voice saying, "Rise and shine!" It took a few times, but I eventually got up out of bed. Jesus too will call everyone who has died to "Rise up!" But not everyone will rise up to shine; some will rise up to suffer. Let's consider three inevitable and unalterable truths about the future for all of us: We will all live, we will all die, and we will all rise again to live forever.... But where and how?

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5/22/2016
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What's Next...for Everyone!
Revelation 20:4-7; Revelation 20:11-15
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
My mom used to wake me up early every morning with her sweet voice saying, "Rise and shine!" It took a few times, but I eventually got up out of bed. Jesus too will call everyone who has died to "Rise up!" But not everyone will rise up to shine; some will rise up to suffer. Let's consider three inevitable and unalterable truths about the future for all of us: We will all live, we will all die, and we will all rise again to live forever.... But where and how?
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What's Next?

What's Next?

We live in a culture that is constantly asking, "What's next?" We want to know the latest fashions, trends, stocks, and gadgets. In a world that's always looking for the next big thing, we can sometimes forget the most important thing. As Christians, we are called to wait with anticipation for the return of Christ. In this series through the book of Revelation, we look forward and ask ourselves, "What's next?"

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Outline

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  1. Everyone Lives

  2. Everyone Dies

  3. Everyone Rises


Study Guide

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Connect Group Recap: May 22, 2016
Speaker: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: "What's Next...for Everyone!"
Text: Revelation 20:4-7, 11-15

Path

Pastor Skip's mom used to wake him up early every morning saying, "Rise and shine!" It took a few times, but he eventually got up out of bed. Jesus too will call everyone who has died to "Rise up!" But not everyone will rise up to shine; some will rise up to suffer. In Pastor Skip's path through the text, he considered three inevitable and unalterable truths about the future: We will all live, we will all die, and we will all rise again to live forever.

  1. Everyone Lives
  2. Everyone Dies
  3. Everyone Rises
Points

Everyone Lives
  • It's a basic truth that everyone lives. Revelation 20 shows two related scenes with two different groups that will take place 1,000 years apart. These two groups will have lived different lives and have different resurrections (see v. 6):
    • One group will be raised after having been martyred during the tribulation. They will live and reign with Christ for 1,000 years in the millennial kingdom (see v. 4).
    • The other group consists of unbelievers who have died throughout history (see vv. 5, 12) and will be raised after the millennial kingdom to face judgment.
    • Both groups will have lived, died, and been raised---one to heaven and the other to hell, or the second death (see v. 14).
  • The Bible uses three different words for life:
    • Bios---life on the physical plane, focused on external things
    • Psuché---the inner, mental and emotional life; our personality
    • Zóé---spiritual, eternal life; a quality of life that begins on earth and continues in eternity---a born-again life; used 143 times in the New Testament
  • Probe: What does a zóé life look like on earth (see Galatians 5:22-23)?
Everyone Dies
  • Death is mentioned 394 times in the Bible. With the exception of a few people (e.g., Enoch and Elijah), every human will die.
  • Death gets worse for people who are unprepared to meet God; it leads to eternal separation from God and eternal punishment in the lake of fire (see vv. 14-15).
  • Everyone dies and everyone lives forever. The question is, where will you live forever?
  • Probe: What do you think heaven will be like? Read Revelation 22 to see some of the interesting elements concerning its construction.
Everyone Rises
  • Upon death, the body decays but the soul lives on in a conscious state. One day, the soul and body will be reunited for eternal life (see John 5:28-29).
  • There are two resurrections:
    • The souls of believers---the resurrection to life (see vv. 4-7)
    • The souls of unbelievers---the resurrection of condemnation (see vv. 11-15); it will be a sobering courtroom scene with a judgment and no appeal.
  • Why do we need resurrected bodies in eternity?
    • To reverse the effects of original sin
    • The restored physical earth and millennial reign will require new bodies.
    • The new heaven and earth will require resurrected biological bodies to enjoy eternal life; the same is true for those enduring eternal punishment.
  • Every religion in the world besides Christianity is based on human achievement: our merits and efforts to be good enough. Those are the works by which unbelievers will be judged (see v. 12).
  • The Book of Life is based on divine accomplishment---the merit of Christ's finished sacrifice. It lists the names of those who truly believe (see v. 12).
Practice

Connect Up: How does the reality of hell demonstrate God's ultimate justice? As one theologian said, "Hell is about God keeping His word. That God sends the wicked to hell shows God to be faithful and just. If God does not enforce the terms He has set, He does not keep His word and He is unfaithful.... In fact, if there is no hell, we might conclude that the righteous were wrong for having trusted God." fn. 1

Connect In: In heaven, we will live eternally with our brothers and sisters in Christ. How should this affect our behavior toward one another now? (See John 13:34; Romans 12:10; 1 Corinthians 1:10; Galatians 5:13; Ephesians 4:2-3; Colossians 3:16.)

Connect Out: This teaching is both spectacular for those who believe and sobering for those who don't. How should a biblical understanding of heaven and hell influence our outreach to the world? At Calvary, we desire to "extend hope to a hurting world by proclaiming the gospel and demonstrating Christ's love." How are you extending hope to the hurting?

fn. 1 James Hamilton, "How Does Hell Glorify God?" 9 Marks, August 20, 2010, https://9marks.org/article/how-does-hell-glorify-god/.

Detailed Notes

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  1. Introduction
    1. Death and the afterlife is a difficult subject to talk and think about, but many people are fascinated by it
    2. Revelation 20 is life boiled down to its irreducible minimum
      1. Two scenes that take place 1,000 years apart with twoseparate groups of people
      2. Common experiences
  2. Everyone Lives
    1. Two groups of people
      1. People who receive resurrected bodies will rule andreign with Jesus for 1,000 years
      2. People who had physical life, followed by death,followed by a resurrection
    2. The word life is used three different ways in the Bible
      1. Bios = life, manner of life,livelihood
        1. Physical, biological life
        2. Focused on the external
        3. Where most people spend their attention, energy, and money (see Job 2:4)
      2. Psuché = the soul, life, self
        1. Personality and what we think
        2. Matthew 16:25; Mark 8:35; Luke 9:24; 17:33
        3. You can be alive physically, but tormented mentally
      3. Zóé = life, both of physical(present) and of spiritual (particularly future) existence
        1. Shifts the focus off earthbound and onto the eternal
        2. Used in the New Testament 143 times
        3. Eternal or everlasting life
        4. Quality of life we enjoy now and into the future (see John 5:24)
        5. The word zóé is the word used in verse 15
    3. How does zóé life happen?
      1. New birth (see John 3:3)
      2. No one is in heaven or will ever be in heaven who isnot born again
      3. Christian belief is belief in new birth
      4. New birth leads to new life
  3. Everyone Dies
    1. The Bible talks about death 394 times
      1. Ecclesiastes 3:2
      2. Hebrews 9:27
    2. Some people deny death
      1. They try to reverse the aging process
      2. Or they believe they are immortal
    3. Death gets worse if you are not prepared to meet your Creator
    4. Death is only the beginning
      1. Luke 16:22-24
      2. Every person lives forever somewhere
    5. Hell accepts new occupants daily
  4. Everyone Rises
    1. When a person dies, the body decays but the soul continues to live on
      1. One day, the soul will be reunited with the renewedbody
      2. Two resurrections (see John 5:28-29)
    2. Resurrection of life
      1. Physical transformation of the body
      2. Reverse the effects of original sin
        1. Decaying process in the body
        2. With age there is deterioration
      3. A renewed physical earth requires a renewed physicalbody
      4. An eternal state requires an eternal body
    3. Resurrection of condemnation
      1. The rest of the dead will be raised up in theirphysical, restored bodies to live forever, but in judgment
      2. A resurrected body to endure eternal punishment
      3. Jesus did everything He could to keep people fromhell and torment
    4. Every single person will go somewhere
      1. Judgment will be a shock to some people (see Matthew7:22-23)
      2. Many people believe they are going to heaven
      3. Every single person, small and great, will be judged
      4. "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands ofthe living God" (Hebrews 10:31)
    5. Hell will not be a big party as some people think
      1. It will be eternal torment
      2. Satan will be the chief sufferer
    6. God's booking system
      1. Everything every unbeliever has done, thought, andsaid (see Matthew 12:36)
      2. Book of Life
        1. In ancient times, kingdoms had books that recorded not only criminals' works and acts, but also loyal citizens'
        2. Imagine your name not being in that book
      3. People are judged by their works because they do notlet God judge them by Jesus' work on the cross
  5. Closing
    1. There are only two religions in the world
      1. The religion of human achievement
        1. All world religions
        2. Salvation by our works
        3. No one can get to heaven
      2. The religion of divine accomplishment
        1. Salvation by Jesus' work on the cross
        2. Believers are saved because they are believers (see John 5:24)
        3. If you want to get your name written in the Book of Life, you must believe
    2. The reason Jesus came was to keep us out of hell
    3. Every gift has to be received (see John 1:12)
Figures referenced: Maurice Rawlings

Greek words: bios, psuché, zóé

Cross references: Job 2:4; Ecclesiastes 3:2; Matthew 7:22-23; 12:36; 16:25; Mark 8:35; Luke 9:24; 16:22-24; 17:33; John 1:12; 3:3; 5:24, 28-29; Hebrews 9:27; 10:31

Topic: Eternal Life

Keywords: death, afterlife, resurrection, life, eternity, everlasting life, born again, new birth, heaven, hell, new body, sin, judgment, Book of Life, salvation, condemnat

Keywords: death, afterlife, resurrection, life, eternity, everlasting life, born again, new birth, heaven, hell, new body, sin, judgment, Book of Life, salvation, condemnat

Transcript

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Hello, and welcome to this message from Pastor Skip Heitzig of Calvary Albuquerque. We pray that God uses these messages to reach people around the world. And we're thankful to hear stories of lives being transformed by His love. If is message impacts you, we'd like to know. Email us at mystory@calvaryabq.org.

And if you'd like to support this ministry financially, you can give online securely at calvaryabq.org/giving.

One day, Jesus will call everyone who has died to rise up. But not everyone will rise to shine. Some will rise to suffer. As we continue our series, What's Next, we learn what's in store for all of us. Now, we invite you to turn your Bibles to Revelation 20 as Skip begins the message What's Next for Everyone. Revelation 20.

Can we begin with a prayer? Can we do that? Father, we ask that You would help us to find great interest and inspiration and instruction from these pages of scripture. I realize, Father, that what we are going to talk about, in many ways, is very difficult subject, but, Father, give us grace to understand what it means for us, and how the world can be touched through us. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Hey, do you ever think about your own death? If you say no, you're not alone. Most Americans don't think much about their own death. In fact, a CBS poll revealed that most Americans spend very little, if any time at all, thinking about their own death.

In that poll, three out of four Americans believe in either heaven or in hell. That's 75%. 66% believe in both heaven and hell. What's most fascinating to me is that of those who say they believe in heaven and hell, 82% expect that they will end up in heaven at the end of their lives. Whereas only 2% actually state they believe they would end up in hell.

It is a difficult thing to think about. It's not an easy or palatable subject to talk about. Death? Why should I do that? I'm too busy living my life. However, there is a growing trend of people gathering together to face that inevitable topic of their own death.

In fact, there are so-called death dinners where people will gather together over dinner to talk about death. I think you might lose your appetite doing that. There are also things called death salons where you will discuss death over craft beer. And death cafes where you talk about death over tea and cakes. And there are now over 100 cities in America that feature such establishments.

Not only that, but the trend is beginning to spread online with a popular YouTube series I found called Ask a Mortician. The idea is that you write in, you send in, a question for a mortician who will answer your question via a video, tell you about what death is like and what the process of embalming and other things like that are like.

And there are even courses you can take in college, now, that at one time never even appeared as an option. Now they are an option. Courses on thanatology or death and dying. You say, who would sign up for such a class? Well at Rutgers University in New Jersey, they offered the first class on death and dying and they had to close it off at 100 students because 400, almost instantaneously, signed up for it. They were fascinated with the subject.

And I think it's a good thing to talk about. I think it's a good thing to think about, because when we ask the question what's next? That might be the answer for some of us, because we don't know when or where, death could happen. Well Revelation 20 is what I call life boiled down to its irreducible minimum. It's the smallest common denominator. It's a set of experiences that are common to everyone.

When life is stripped down to its bare essentials, when everything else is taken away, every other experience, this is what you have left. We all live. We all die. We will all be raised to be evaluated. That's life boiled down to its basic components.

In Revelation 20, we have two scenes. Two separate scenes that take place 1,000 years apart from one another with two different groups. At the same time, the experiences are common experiences. So in verse 4, we read about the souls who were beheaded, for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God. And they live and they reign for 1,000 years, during-- what we discussed last time we were together in this series-- the millennial kingdom of Jesus Christ.

So even after they die, their souls continue to live awaiting a resurrection. So they lived. They died. They will be raised. And they will be rewarded. A few verses down, 1,000 years later, it all happens over again. This time with a different group. A group of unbelievers called the dead in this passage. They're alive at some period of time in history, but they all die. For a number of reasons, natural causes, old age, heart attack, stroke, cancer, war, murder, whatever it might be, death occurs. So they lived. They died. And they will be raised to be sentenced by God in eternal judgment.

So we're going to look at these three experiences and discuss them based on this section of scripture. Let's look at the scripture to begin with, verse 4 of Revelation 20. John writes, "and I saw thrones. And they sat on them. And judgment was committed to them. And then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God who had not worshipped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for 1,000 years.

But the rest of the dead did not live again until the 1,000 years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection over such the second death has no power. But they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him 1,000 years."

So 1,000 years transpires because verse 7 it says, "now when the 1,000 years had expired." And the verses following that tell us about a rebellion that will occur in the end of days-- don't have enough time to discuss that as well-- but go down to verse 11. "Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it from whose face earth and heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was open which is the book of life. And the dead were judged according to their works by the things written in the books.

The sea gave up the dead who were in it. And death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one, according to his works. Then death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."

So a common experience for everyone, everyone lives. I know this is one of those statements that make you go, duh. It's such an elementary statement, but these two groups live very different lives. In verse 4, they lived and reigned with Christ 1,000 years. So it's a group of people who receive a resurrected body and live and rule, reign, with Jesus during that millennial kingdom. Verse 5, the rest of the dead, which is spoken about beginning in verse 11, did not live again until the 1,000 years were finished.

So these are groups of people that had physical life followed by death followed by a resurrection. Now it might help for you to understand that when the Bible uses the term "life" there are one of three words that it uses. See, we have only one word to describe it, it so it's translated when we read it in the Bible "life." But in the Greek language, in the New Testament, there are three different words. Listen to them all.

Number one is the word [SPEAKING GREEK] or if you want to pronounce it [SPEAKING GREEK], because it's where we get the term biology. And that term [SPEAKING GREEK] IS a word that references biological, physical life. It is life focused on the externals. Which is, by the way, where more people, most people, spend their attention, their energy, and their money. How do i look?

A poll asked a group of people if you could change one thing about your life, what would it be? The most common answer? My appearance. We want to change the way we look, body weight, hairstyle, the way our face has a certain feature, or whatever it might be. It's appearance.

Job didn't know of a conversation going on behind the scenes between God and Satan. And Satan, in Job 2, made a statement that I believe is a true statement. He said to God, skin for skin, all that a man has will he give for his life. And most people spend their lives just on those externals and the routines of biological life.

I was always interested in this illustration I heard years ago about processionary caterpillars. It's this kind of caterpillar that will follow another caterpillar in line. If you line them up, head to tail, they just go around in circles. And they keep going. So experiments were done placing these caterpillars on the rim of a clay pot. And they put a plant in the middle of the pot, a food source. These processionary caterpillars went round and round and round and round and round till all of them died from exhaustion and starvation. Not one broke ranks to get a peace of that little plant which would have been its food source.

There are some people that live their lives like that. They go round and round and round, going through all the same routines, not really giving thought too much else. That's the word [SPEAKING GREEK], life, biological, external life.

But there's a second word used to describe life in the Bible. It's the term [SPEAKING GREEK]. [SPEAKING GREEK] is where we get our word psychiatry or psychology. This is the inner life. This refers to the personality. It's what we think. And Jesus used this term when He said, if you want to save your life, you must lose your life. You must surrender your life. So you see, you can be alive physically, but tormented mentally. You go through all the routines. You had a nice meal. Everything's good today, but there's no real peace of mind.

Now listen to the third term. And that's important because it's a term that is mentioned here in the text. It is not the term [SPEAKING GREEK]. It Is not the term [SPEAKING GREEK]. It is the term [SPEAKING GREEK] for life. [SPEAKING GREEK]. [SPEAKING GREEK] is a theological term. [SPEAKING GREEK] is a term that shifts the focus off of the earth bound and onto the eternal. And by the way, the Bible uses that term 143 times in the New Testament.

When you think of life-- when it says eternal life or everlasting life-- it is the word [SPEAKING GREEK]. And by the way, it doesn't just mean to live on and on and on in the future. It's rather a quality of life that we enjoy now and into the future. Jesus that whoever believes in Me, hears My words and believes the One who sent Me has-- present tense-- has everlasting life.

Now look at verse 15. "Anyone found not written in the book of life--" you see that term life? That's the word [SPEAKING GREEK], not [SPEAKING GREEK], not [SPEAKING GREEK], but [SPEAKING GREEK]. The book of life.

How does this kind of life happen? Jesus told Nicodemus. New life happens by a new birth. Jesus said, you have to be born again, right? Now I've had so many people say well you know, I am a Christian, but I'm not one of those born again ones.

[LAUGHTER]

Is there any other kind? Oh, yes, you know, there's many denominations. But then there's the born again kind. No. Do you know that no one is in heaven, nor ever will be in heaven, who's not born again? That's what Jesus said. Unless you are born again, you will never see the kingdom of God.

So it's not a brand of Christian belief, it is Christian belief. And new birth is what leads to this new life, this [SPEAKING GREEK]. So here's the question I have to ask you. I know you're all alive, but what kind of life do you have? What are you enjoying? I know you have biological life. I can see that. But what about mental life? What's going on on the inside? Do you have peace of mind?

And more than that, do you have this spiritual component of life? Are you a processionary caterpillar, going round and round, up and down, go to work, go home, breathe, eat, nice meal, happy time. And I just keep a-going? Or is there something else? Another component? Everyone lives.

Second basic truth, everyone dies. I know I'm sounding elementary again, but remember that poll that I quoted at the beginning? Most Americans don't think about their own death. So let's think about it. Let's look at it. Even though most Americans don't want to talk about it, the Bible talks about it 394 times. In fact, the seminal passage, you'll be familiar with it, Ecclesiastic 3, "to everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven. A time to be born and time to die." And it's been well said over and over and over again, even by me, that the statistics on deaths are quite remarkable. Every one out of one die.

So far, every person who's been born dies. I know there are exceptions. Don't come up to me and say what about Elijah, he was-- OK. That's the exception. The rule is it's appointed unto men once to die. And after this, the judgment.

The statistics are thus, two people die every second, 102 people die every minute, 6,136 people die every hour. Now the way it's going, because there is such an exponential growth of humanity on the earth, this is posing a problem. Especially in great cities where over time people have migrated from country living to city life. And what strain that puts on the city is that we don't have any place to bury them.

And it's such a strain on cities around the world-- I've read several articles about this-- that to manage the death problem, they're talking either about mandating cremation or grave recycling. That sounds kind of spooky, doesn't it? Grave recycling is where they exhume the body, that has been buried, out of the ground, dig the hole deeper, place that body further down, using the ground above that casket to bury one or two other people. So you'd share your grave with-- well, you'd become very close after death, I suppose.

[LAUGHTER]

Some people actually deny death. I know that sounds bizarre, but I was looking on television at a special, it was called eternal life, subtitled the battle against aging. I smile at that because has anybody ever won that battle? But the television special spoke about people who don't accept aging. They don't accept death. And they try to counteract it by a number of things, including plastic surgery, you know, they stretch it way back. And they think it looks normal and good. And their friends don't say anything, because they're their friends.

Or a thing called cryonics where you freeze the head, or the body, for a pretty hefty price. You have a disease. So you get flash frozen. And then you get thawed out sometime down the line, couple hundred years, or so. When science has developed a cure for your disease, they'll thaw you out and you'll go on living.

They even interviewed, in this television special, three people who believed they were immortal. They looked right in the camera. And they said they weren't going to die. These weren't Christians speaking on spiritual terms. They said they were immortal. They were pretty young looking, pretty good looking, but as I heard them say that, I said in my mind, I want to see you in 25 years, say the same thing. I bet you can't say it.

You've heard it said before, there's only two things that are inevitable. What are the? Death and taxes, right? Somebody heard that and said that may be true but death doesn't get worse every time Congress meets.

[LAUGHTER]

I like that. But, actually, death can get worse. Death gets worse when you die, but aren't prepared for meeting your Creator. If you are not prepared and ready to meet Him, that's when death gets worse. It's appointed unto every man to die once, but after this, the judgment, the Bible tells us.

So what does it all mean to us? In the very least, it should mean we should be prepared. We should get ready. Somebody will say, well, why should I get prepared? Because once you die, it's all over. Oh, no, it's not. That's the fallacy that the Bible corrects. It's not over.

(SINGING) You've only just begun.

It's the very beginning. Jesus told a story-- and it wasn't a parable by the way, it was a story-- of two men who died. One after death, was in a place of comfort. One was in a place of torment. And Jesus said, "and his soul went to the place of the dead in Hades. There in torment, he cried out, I am tormented in this flame." There was a consciousness after death in that story. Make no mistake. Every person lives forever somewhere. The question is where?

And this bothered one man greatly, when he got into an auto accident with his own car and he went off an off ramp. And his car plunged into a gas station pole, a sign of a gas station. And it was a Shell gas station. And the impact of the car jarred that sign so severely that the S fell off the sign that said Shell. It also rendered him unconscious. Can you imagine the horror when he woke up, and looked up? And he saw those bright letters "hell open 24 hours."

And sadly, it is open 24 hours. Sadly, it accepts new occupants constantly. Over 6,000 people die every hour. One only wonders the percentage of those who go to heaven and the percentage of those who go to hell. Basic reality then. Everyone lives. Everyone dies. And here's the third and final one, everyone rises. Revelation 20 shows two resurrections separated by 1,000 years.

When a person dies, the body decays, but the soul continues to live on in a conscious state. One day, that soul will be reunited to that physical body that will be renewed, restored, with new capabilities, like Jesus' own body. Listen to the words of Jesus. "The hour is coming," he said, "in which all who were in the graves will hear his voice and come forth. Those who have done good to the resurrection of life. And those who have done evil to the resurrection of condemnation." So according to Jesus, in that passage, there would be two resurrections. Resurrection of life, that's one category. Resurrection of condemnation, that's the second category. Both resurrection are seen in the passage here in Revelation 20.

First is the resurrection of life for the believer, a physical transformation of the body. You might be wondering, well, why do we need a resurrection of our body? And I sort of smile at that because on one hand, I want to say, really you have to ask that? I mean I've looked at myself in the mirror lately, have you? The first reason we need a resurrection is to reverse the effects of original sin. And I've been noticing the effects in my own body lately. There's this decaying process. Things are not getting better, folks. With age, there's a deterioration. To reverse those effects, we need a resurrected body.

Number two, a renewed physical earth-- we've already talked about the Millennium-- requires a renewed physical body. Then after the Millennium, the new heaven and the new earth, we call the eternal state, requires an eternal body. So that's the resurrection of the just or of life.

Then there's the resurrection of condemnation Jesus spoke about. That's for the unbeliever. And that begins in verse 11. Please, let's look at that verse, that section again. "Then I saw a great white throne--" this is the throne of judgment-- "and Him who sat on it, from whose face, the earth and heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God. And books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the book of life, and the dead were judged according to their works by the things which were written in the books.

The sea gave up the dead who were in it. Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one, according to his works. Then death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."

All I could tell you is that this is the most serious, most sobering scene in all of scripture to me, in my opinion. It is a courtroom scene, but it is unlike any earthly courtroom scene. There will be no debate about guilt in this courtroom scene. There is a verdict and no defense. There is a judge but no jury. There is a sentence without any appeal. As the rest of the dead get raised up into their physical, restored bodies to live forever, but in judgment.

Now, somebody will ask, or least I hope at least think to ask, why would an unbeliever, a non-believing person require a resurrection of their physical body? Well for the same reason, or a similar reason, that a believer would. Just as a believer will require a resurrected body to enjoy the eternal kingdom, an unbelievable will require a physical body to endure eternal punishment. And can I just say I hate preaching sermons on hell. It is the most unpalatable truth in the scripture. But it's in the scripture.

And Jesus spoke more about hell than anyone else in the Bible. And I believe He did so because He knew it's torment. He created it. And He would do anything, and did everything, He could to keep people from it. I heard that there's a tombstone somewhere-- I've never seen it. I just heard-- there's a tombstone that says, here lies an atheist. All dressed up but no place to go.

But you know, that is not true, unfortunately. Every single person will go somewhere, somewhere, to one place or another place. And I can only think that this event of the great white throne judgment will be a shock to some people. Jesus said it would be. He said many will come to me in that day and say, Lord, Lord, did we not do many wonders and signs and cast out demons in Your name? And I will say to them, depart from Me. I never knew you. Can you imagine the shock of those people who thought, I'm good. I'm fine. I'll be fine in the future. I'll be in heaven, thinking that all they had to do to get to heaven is just die. It's a shocking and sobering scene.

Notice who is there. Verse 12, "I saw the dead, small and great." All the somebody's all that nobody's, the rich and the famous, the poor, the obscure, the kings and queens and emperors and peasants, and presidents and all their voters, all standing there before God. No one exempt. And by the way, notice they're standing like a modern courtroom scene where the judge would say, would the prisoner rise and approach the bench. And the verdict is given.

If you've ever been bothered by that text of scripture in Hebrews 10 where it says, "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living God." Most of you have not underlined that particular promise. But this is what it's referring to. This is the fearful event that it speaks about. So I hope, if you have any lame ideas about heaven and hell that you banish them after today's message.

I've heard people tell me things like, I look forward to going to hell. Yeah, I look foward-- because all my friends are going to be there. That may be true. All your friends maybe there. But it's not a good reason for you to go there. And if you're thinking, oh man, it's going to be a big party. You've got it so wrong, because there will be no party at all. And Satan will not throw a party. He will be the chief victim in that place. And I say, don't join him.

Everyone lives. Everyone dies. Everyone rises. Now notice, books were opened. What are these books? Because it says they were judged out of the books, and they were judged according to their works, I can only infer that this is God's intricate bookkeeping system where He has recorded for unbelievers only everything they have ever done, thought, or said. Didn't Jesus say every idle word that men will speak, they will give an account in the day of judgment? So the books were opened.

And then another book was opened. This is called the book of life. You know it's interesting. In ancient cultures, kingdoms didn't just have books that recorded criminals, notorious criminals' works and acts, but also there was a book for loyal citizens. So imagine those nail-scarred hands opening the book and going through the pages looking for the name and your name not there. What a sad thought.

I have a question. It says it twice. Why are people judged by their works? Here's the answer. Because they wouldn't let God judge them by Jesus' work on the cross. How many times have you talked to unbelievers and they said things like this-- when you tell them the gospel-- how many times have you heard this as an excuse, well, I do my best. I try really hard. I'm a religious person. I try to go to church. Do you hear their language? Do you hear what they're saying? They're saying, I believe that I by my works, by my deeds, by my intentions, can earn my way to heaven. That's why they're judged by their works. Because they've always thought they could get to heaven by their works.

Listen, there are only two religions in the world. Did you know that? Only two. You say , oh, no, Skip. You need a class on world religions like I've had in college, you'd be enlightened. I'm here to tell you there's only two religions in the entire world. And here are the categories. There is the religion of human achievement. And there is the religion of divine accomplishment.

In the first category, the religion of human achievement, you could put all the world religions into that category because that is salvation by our works, of which no one can ever get to heaven. The second is the religion of divine accomplishment. And that is salvation by His work on the cross. You see, Jesus said whoever believes in Me will pass from death into life, will not face condemnation or judgment, but pass from death into life. Believers are saved because they are believers. They believe what God said is true. They believe that Jesus' death on the cross was enough for them. It's His work not my works.

If you want to say, I disregard His work for me. I don't want to believe in His work for me. I'm going to get to heaven by my works. First of all, there's never enough works you could ever do to earn your way there. And number two, if that's where you want to live, you'll be judged by your works. And they were. And they will be.

By the way, if you want to get your name written in the book of life, believe. When you just say, OK. I'm going to stop trying to do it on my own. I'm going to stop, turn around, and believe in Him, your name will be put in the book of life.

I'm going to close with a couple paragraphs from a book called Beyond Death's Door. It was written by a cardiologist named Maurice Rawlings, Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Tennessee. This doctor was one of those scientific types who found no support at all for the Biblical idea of heaven or hell. Until he experienced hundreds of patients whose heart stopped beating. And he recorded that experience, made it into a book.

I found this some time ago, and I've been interested in it ever since. But in that book, Beyond Death's Door, he writes, "I am thoroughly convinced that there is life after death and that there are at least as many people going to hell as going to heaven. The turning point in my own concepts occurred when a patient experienced cardiac arrest and dropped dead right in my office.

Of course, that alone did not change my thinking, but the fact that this 48-year-old was screaming, I'm in hell, keep me out of the hell, each time he responded to resuscitation efforts did cause me some concern." Spoken so scientifically. You know, that did bother me a bit. He wrote this, "about 50% of the revived persons told of having gone to a place of great darkness, filled with grotesque moaning and writhing bodies crying out to be rescued from this place with overwhelming feelings of eerie and nightmarish terror."

You see, I'll tell you why this is important to bring up because the movies, or the books, or the stories you've heard about life after death experience have all been the good kind. Yeah, man, I died. And I saw a bright light and a plate of cookies and warm milk and smiling little children. Wee, it's so good over there. You don't hear the other stories.

And he was asked about that. He was asked why are those other ones not reported, the bad ones? And this is what he said, "it's because people are too embarrassed to admit them and because doctors are too embarrassed to make inquiries into such matters. But nobody can ignore these reports," writes Rawlings. "I am convinced--" listen to his closing statement-- "I am convinced there is a hell and that we must conduct ourselves in such a way as to avoid being sent there, at all costs." Words from a physician who didn't find any support at all in heaven and hell, life after death. Now he says, I'm convinced. And to stay out of hell should be a primary pursuit.

The reason Jesus came is to keep you out of there. You think why would God-- how could a God of love-- listen, that God of love sent the Perfect One to take your place in punishment so that He could give you the free gift of heaven and everlasting life. He did that for you.

[CLAPPING]

But, you know, every gift has to be taken, doesn't it? Has to be opened up. As many as received Him, the Bible says, He gave them the power to become children of God to those who believe in His name. So as we close this service, I'm going to give you an opportunity to receive Christ personally as your Savior, personally as your Lord, not resting anymore on your good works, your good deeds, your moral activities, your great ideas and ideals, and you trying really hard, but to stop that, to turn around. The Bible calls that repentance and to believe in Him. Let's pray. Phones away, let's pray.

Father we give you our attention now. We open our hearts to Your Holy Spirit. And Father, we pray that like the Bible says and like this one time unbelieving doctor said, there's a real heaven, a place of joy and bliss and comfort and reward, but also a real place called hell where there is everlasting and eternal punishment. And here, in this chapter, in unembellished clear form, it's spelled out. People great and small, from all walks of life, all sorts of deaths, standing before God, judged according to their works that they trusted in for so many years, only to come up empty.

Lord, I pray that in this place, at this time, we would stop that and we would turn to Jesus, what He did for us. It's His work not ours. It's His life not ours. And we would say yes to Him. And we would invite Jesus to be our Savior and our Lord. I pray that many more will do that this morning.

As our heads are bowed, our eyes are closed, I just want to ask you a question. Are you certain that if you were to die you would go to heaven? Are you prepared to meet God? I people don't like to talk about it. I know preachers don't like to preach about it. But the Bible writes about.

If you're not sure, but you want to make sure, then give your life to Christ. If you've wandered away from Him, come back to Christ. Make that as a point of decision where you're just going to turn about, turn face, and go God's way.

You don't have to be perfect. In fact, realize you are not perfect. That's what this is all about. Come as you are, just ask Him for forgiveness. He'll write your name in His book of life. If you want that, if you're willing to give your life to Christ, to turn to Christ right now, I want you to raise your hand up in the air. I want you to raise it high so that I can see it from this vantage point. Just keep it up, so I can notice it.

God bless you and you and you, in the middle. And you, yes, sir, in the back to my right over here.

Raise that hand up. God bless you and you. Raise those hands up so I can see. Yes ma'am. Thank you for that. Thank you for those hands. In the back to my left, in the very back.

Anybody else? Raise those hands up. In the family room, again in the family room. Anyone else? In the balcony, raise your hand up. Right up front.

Father, thank you for all of these loved ones, dearly loved by You. These who have come and who are making a decision to place their lives into the hands of their Creator and the very One who came to die for their sin by coming from heaven to earth in human form, living the perfect life we could never live, and dying the atoning death that satisfies eternal judgment.

So it's by His work, His life, His credit, not ours. Lord, there's such freedom in that. I thank you for every person who's raised their hand. Strengthen them and bless them and help them. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Let's stand to our feet. We're going to close with one final song. And during this song, I'm asking those of you who raised your hand to get up from where you're standing right now. Find the nearest aisle and stand right up here where I'm going to lead you publicly in a prayer to receive Jesus Christ. Jesus often called people publically, did it out in the open.

You'll find the encouragement from those around you as you're experiencing. God bless you. If you're in the back, the balcony, the family room, just make your way through here. If you're an outside or in the overflow rooms, they're going to direct you this way.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

(SINGING) Lay down your burdens. Lay down your shame. For all who are broken lift up your face. Wanderer come home, you're not too far. So lay down your hurt, lay down your heart, come as you are.

Hey, let me just repeat something about not being perfect. None of the people you see around you are perfect. If they think they are, they're deluded. Every single one of us has failed. Every single one of us is a sinner. Every single last one of us.

The reason it's called the gospel, the reason it's called the good news, is because He will freely take you as you are. You don't have to get better. You don't have to clean yourself up. You don't have to do anything. You just come as you are. You ask for forgiveness. You ask Him to cleanse you. And let Him change your life. Let Him live His life through you. That's the gospel.

Is there anyone else? And I say that because I was the person who had to wait and think a long time about it. And perhaps, like me, you thought, well next time. This time is next time, because I bet you said that before. So here's your next time, this time. The Bible says today is the day of salvation. And some of you out there, you just know you need to be here. You know you need to join this crowd that's coming up here asking God for forgiveness. You've just been really good at guarding yourself and keeping it all in. And saying, well I'm still evaluating.

Well evaluate all you want, but you come, received Christ and we'll talk about any questions you have after the service. But you come now. Come now. Some of you know you want forgiveness. You want a new life. You come and get it. You ask God for it. Anybody else?

[MUSIC PLAYING]

(SINGING) Come as you are. Wanderer come home. You're not too far. So lay down your hurt. Lay down your heart and come as you are. Come as you are. Come as you are.

Ah, we're so thrilled to see each and every one of you here right now. We're just so happy you're here. Because we know what's next for you. There's forgiveness next for you. There's joy and peace that next to you. It doesn't mean that every wrinkle is going to be ironed out in your life and that you'll live a perfect, happy, carefree life from now on. But I'll tell you what, there's a level of joy you're going to experience walking with God that you can't get anywhere else.

So I'm going to lead you in a prayer. And I'm going to ask you to pray these words out loud, after me. You say these words to God. You're praying to God right now. So let's pray together. Say, Lord, I give you my life.

Lord, I give you my life.

I know that I'm a sinner.

I know that I'm a sinner.

I'm sorry.

I'm sorry.

I believe in Jesus.

I believe in Jesus.

That He came from heaven.

That He came from heaven.

That He died for me on a cross.

That He died for me on a cross.

And that He rose from the dead.

And that He rose from the dead.

I turn from my past.

I turn from my past.

I repent of my sin.

I repent of my sin.

I turn to Jesus as my Savior.

I turn to Jesus as my Savior.

Write my name in Your book of life.

Write my name in Your book of life.

In Jesus' name,

In Jesus' name,

Amen.

Amen.

Amen.

Amen.

[CLAPPING]

As believers, we are certain of our future with Christ. How will you share the truths you learned from this message with others? Let us know. Email mystory@calvaryabq.org. And just a reminder, you can give financially to this work at calvaryabq.org/giving.

Thank you for joining us for this teaching from Skip Heitzig of Calvary Albuquerque.

Additional Messages in this Series

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Date Title   Watch Listen Notes Share Save Buy
1/10/2016
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What's Next?
Revelation 1
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
People have always been fascinated with the future and what's next. As we study prophecy, we can't help but wonder if current events play into an end-time scenario. The book of Revelation is John's written account of the spiritual revelation he received from God about the future return and reign of Christ. As Skip begins in Revelation 1, he encourages us to look at the future with faith and hope.
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1/17/2016
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Come Up Here
Revelation 1:19-20; Revelation 4:1-11
Skip Heitzig
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As believers, we look forward to the return of our Lord Jesus Christ and the blessed hope of eternity with Him. Unfortunately, some are put off by the idea of the rapture, because the date has been incorrectly predicted for so many years. In this message, we get a glimpse into the throne room of heaven as we anticipate the joy we'll have at the glorious appearing of Jesus Christ.
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1/24/2016
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What Is Heaven Like?
Revelation 5:1-14
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
There are many preconceived ideas about what heaven is like: we might picture ourselves sitting on a fluffy white cloud playing a harp, or we see ourselves sitting on a porch or playing a round of golf. Some even think heaven sounds boring. In this message, we examine what heaven will really look like for believers and what we can expect when we get there.
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2/7/2016
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Stampede
Revelation 6:1-8
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
The tribulation period will be a time of deception, war, famine, and death for the occupants of the world. The Antichrist will rise to power and masquerade as the Messiah, pretending to bring peace, but instead bringing war. In this message, we learn what will unfold when the first four seals are opened and their terrors are unleashed on the earth.
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2/14/2016
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The World's Greatest Revival
Revelation 7
Skip Heitzig
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During the earth’s greatest trial and tribulation will also come its greatest opportunity for salvation. Even after the church is raptured off the earth and ensconced in heaven, there will be gospel preaching during this time of global pain. This is the flicker of hope that will be offered to the world while God pours out His wrath on it. There are three unexpected discoveries we make about the upcoming tribulation period.
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2/28/2016
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What's Next? from Jerusalem
Matthew 24:1-8
Skip Heitzig
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One of God's greatest attributes is that He knows what is going to happen before it actually happens, and His Word clearly maps the events of the future. In this message from Jerusalem, we learn why this city is the center of the world, as well as what we can expect to take place when Jesus fulfills His promise to return for the church.
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3/6/2016
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Cosmic Conflict
Revelation 12:1-6
Skip Heitzig
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There has been an invisible war between satanic forces and God’s purpose and people since time began. To fail to understand this conflict is to fail to understand both history and prophecy. Without the lens provided by Revelation 12, our vision of everything is obscured. We will never fully grasp the plan of God through the ages, the cross of Christ, the tribulation, and the future reign of Christ unless we can comprehend the cosmic conflict that is displayed in this chapter.
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3/13/2016
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Satan's Global Conflict
Revelation 12:7-17
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"War in Heaven Brings Wrath on Earth!" That could be the headline of Revelation 12. The ongoing battle of the ages that began in heaven and has played out on earth will reach fever pitch in the coming years. If you're asking What's Next?, the answer in part lies here. The cosmic battle becomes a global battle that will be filled with both woe and worship, both fury and freedom. Let's get more insight into the motivations and actions of the archenemy of God's people.
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4/3/2016
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The Most Interesting Man in the World
Revelation 13:1-10
Skip Heitzig
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Unlike the fictional beer commercials, the most interesting man in the world is coming. Dynamic, persuasive, and a breath of fresh air, this leader’s diplomatic skills will be off the charts. On one hand, he will be everything the world has been waiting for; on the other hand, he will be its biggest nightmare. Since the number six is often the designated number of man in Scripture, let’s examine six characteristics of this most interesting coming ruler.
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4/10/2016
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The Coming Deception
Revelation 13:11-18
Skip Heitzig
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We know for sure that a ruler who will have international authority is coming to the earth. We also know that he will not be alone. There will come a religious deceiver who will aid and abet this global leader. Today, we consider the end-time teaching of the world’s fastest-growing religion to see if there is an interface with the Bible’s predictions about what’s next.
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4/17/2016
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The Return
Revelation 19:11-21
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We now come to the culmination of all redemptive history—the second coming of Jesus Christ. After history runs its sinister course, after the final period of man’s rebellion, Satan’s retaliation, and God’s judgment, the end of the world will come. But the end of this world will actually be the beginning of a new one. The event that hinges these together is the future coming of Christ to the earth. Let’s consider five aspects of His return, spoken of here and throughout Scripture.
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4/24/2016
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Heaven on Earth
Revelation 20:1-6
Skip Heitzig
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Mankind long ago gave up on the idea of a future utopia. The thought of perpetual peace and undisturbed harmony became the stuff of fairy tales. But that is precisely what God promised He will bring to this earth one day. Though Satan has exercised a temporary authority over God’s creation for several millennia, the story isn’t over yet. Jesus will return to rule for a thousand years. And it won’t just be a spiritual kingdom in the hearts of His followers. This will be a literal dominion over a renewed earth. Let’s explore this thousand-year phase of your eternal future.
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6/5/2016
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Surprising Facts about Your Eternal Home
Revelation 21-22
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
Through the years, I have observed that most people (even Christians) have ideas about what heaven will be like that are vastly different from how Scripture describes heaven. In this series, we have followed the chronological flow of the book of Revelation from the rapture through the tribulation, from the second coming to the millennial kingdom. We turn now to what the Bible describes as the final phase of heaven—the eternal state. Here are a few things that might further surprise you about your future home:
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There are 13 additional messages in this series.