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#YOLO
Hebrews 9:27
Skip Heitzig

Hebrews 9 (NKJV™)
27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,

New King James Version®, Copyright © 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Hashtag

What could be more basic than life and death? There is either one or the other, and one always leads to the other. Yet even today, people live under the impression that life must be lived for the here and now, the temporary thrill, the moment—with no consideration for future consequences or rewards. To defend their choice for momentary fulfillment, they may use the hashtag #YOLO. But one verse of Scripture sheds needed light on this ideology, and from this single verse, we learn four certainties.

We live in a culture obsessed with social media. But how can anyone find anything of spiritual significance in something as frivolous as a hashtag? Millions of people add their voice to a sea of opinions through social media every day. In this series, Skip Heitzig presents God's thoughts on today's trending topics.

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Outline

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  1. Everyone Dies

  2. Everyone Dies Once

  3. Everyone Dies at the Appointed Time

  4. Everyone Who Dies Will Be Evaluated After Death

Study Guide

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Connect Recap Notes: July 17, 2016
Speaker: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: "#YOLO"
Text: Hebrews 9:27

Path

What could be more basic than life and death? There is either one or the other, and one always leads to the other. Yet even today, people live under the impression that life must be lived for the here and now---with no consideration for future consequences or rewards. To defend their choice for momentary fulfillment, they may use the hashtag #YOLO---you only live once. But Hebrews 9:27 sheds needed light on this ideology, and from this single verse, Pastor Skip taught four certainties:

  1. Everyone Dies
  2. Everyone Dies Once
  3. Everyone Dies at the Appointed Time
  4. Everyone Who Dies Will Be Evaluated After Death
Points

Everyone Dies
  • The author of Hebrews made a point about the atoning work of Jesus while rendering the truth down to its irreducible minimum: as Jesus died, so do all people. Through His death and resurrection, Jesus brought salvation; but we die and rise to judgment based on what we did---or didn't do---with Jesus' offer of salvation.
  • There are exceptions to this rule: Enoch, Elijah, and believers at the rapture. Yet for most people, it's simple---we all die.
  • God's original intention was life, not death (see Genesis 1-2). But because of sin, death entered the world, and "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).
    • Probe: What do you learn about life and death from Genesis 1-2 and Romans 6:18-23?
Everyone Dies Once
  • Though many people around the world believe in some form of reincarnation, the reality is that people only die once.
  • A Pew Research Center study stated 24 percent of Americans believe in reincarnation---including 22 percent of Christians (see http://www.pewforum.org/2009/12/09/many-americans-mix-multiple-faiths). Nowhere does the Bible suggest there are multiple lives after death.
  • Scripture teaches life's fleeting nature: "Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away" (James 4:14).
    • Probe: Other than its status as a non-biblical teaching, discuss the disadvantages of the worldview of reincarnation (i.e., reliving pain, justifying societal evils [racism, misogyny, etc.], avoiding helping others because they are getting what they deserve under karma, etc.).
Everyone Dies at the Appointed Time
  • Appointed means reserved, laid up, or destined. God has a date reserved for each of us to die.
  • This certainty points to the fact that God is sovereign---He is in control over all things. If God knows it, He controls it (see Job 14 and Psalm 139).
  • If God is in control, why do tragedies take place? One answer is found in our text: everyone dies. What happens to people who are killed in tragedies is what would have happened to them anyway---death.
  • C.S. Lewis said, "[War] certainly does not make [death] more frequent; 100 percent of us die, and the percentage cannot be increased."
    • Probe: Read Job 42:2, Proverbs 16:4, Proverbs 19:21, Jeremiah 29:11, Daniel 4:35, Romans 8:28, Romans 9:19-21, and 1 Corinthians 10:13. Is God in control of all facets of life? Why or why not?
Everyone Who Dies Will Be Evaluated After Death
  • Secularists and materialists are unnerved by the thought that there is a hereafter and judgment. The words on one Roman grave summarized this worldview: "Live for the present hour, for there is nothing after."
  • There is judgment after death because we are all sinners, unable to atone for our sins on our own. Jesus was the only one who could pay sin's price.
  • This is the point of Hebrews 9:27: Jesus died (like all people), but He didn't face judgment for sin (He didn't commit any); instead, He offers forgiveness for our sin, providing salvation to all who believe (see John 3:15-16).
    • Probe: Read Matthew 7:13-23, Luke 13:23-28, 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20, and Revelation 22:12. What do these verses tell us about judgment?
Practice

Connect Up: For the believer, death is not the end but a continuation of life in the presence of God. Why should the believer look forward to being Coram Deo (in the presence of God)? Read Philippians 1:21.

Connect In: Christians are called to love one another (see John 13:34). As a French author stated, "A friend who dies, it's something of you who dies." How can believers show love to fellow Christians and their families in times of death (see 1 Thessalonians 4:18)? What do you want people to say as they gather around your casket?

Connect Out: Woody Allen summarized many non-Christians' view of death: "I'm not afraid to die; I just don't want to be there when it happens." How does the reality of death afford Christians an opportunity to discuss new life in Christ?

Transcript

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Hello and welcome to this message from Pastor Skip Heitzig of Calvary Albuquerque. As these teachings are shared worldwide, our prayer is that God uses them to bring more people into His family. If this message encourages you, we'd love to know. Email us at mystory@Calvaryabq.org. And if you would like to support this ministry financially, you can give online securely at calvaryabq.org/give.

Many people today live under the impression that life must be lived for the here and now with no consideration for future consequences or rewards. As we continue our series hashtag, we learn four certainties about life and death. Now we invite you to turn in your Bible to Hebrews chapter six as Skip begins the message #YOLO.

Would you turn please, in your Bibles to the book of Hebrews in the New Testament, Hebrews chapter nine. Hebrews chapter nine.

Hey, let's pray. Father, now is the time in the service where we purposefully focus with open ears leaning in to what Your spirit might have to say to us, not only as a group, but individually as men and women. Lord, thank you for the opportunity to gather freely like this. And to consider truth and to apply it and to be changed by it.

Lord, thank you for the anthem of voices that have been raised up to worship You. Bless each one, we pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

So three guys all died in a car accident, and they were in the foyer of heaven. And they were asked a simple question. When you're lying in your casket and your friends and family are gathered around at your funeral, what do you want to hear them say about you?

The one fella said, well, I'd like them to say that I was a good doctor and worked hard for my community. The second man said, I think I'd like to have them say that I was a good husband and a loving father. Third guy thought about well, what would I want them to say if my body was lying in the casket in front of them? He goes, I would like them to say, look he's moving.

We don't like the idea of facing our own mortality, but we will. There is a preacher of the old school, he speaks as boldly as ever. He is not popular, though the world is his parish.

He travels every part of the globe and speaks in every language. He visits the poor. He calls on the rich. He preaches to people of every religion and no religion.

And the subject of his sermon is always the same. He is an eloquent speaker, often stirring feelings which no other preacher could, bringing tears to eyes that never weep. His arguments, none are able to refute. Nor is there any heart that has remained unmoved by the force of his appeals.

He shatters life with his message. Most people hate him. Every one fears him. His name is death.

Every tombstone is his pulpit. Every newspaper prints his text. And someday every one of you will be his sermon.

Last week we prayed for the people of Dallas because of the police officer shootings. This week we mourn over the loss of life in France as terrorists took a truck and mowed over a group of people. And just today, this morning, was another police shooting in Baton Rouge.

It seems to never end. It seems like a week doesn't go by but that there's some tragedy that we think of, and it causes us to wonder what's next, who's next. However it does serve to illustrate a very, very, very important truth found in Hebrews chapter 9 verse 27. That it is appointed for every man wants to die, but after this, the judgment.

I've done hundreds of funerals as a pastor, hundreds. I've buried all sorts of people, including three of my own family members. I've watched people die. People do die differently, because they do live differently.

The hashtag that we're highlighting today, it's a popular one. YOLO, You Only Live Once. Unfortunately, that is tag that is often used to excuse people's stupid behavior. They make some lame choice that satisfies an immediate fulfillment. And they just chalk it off to well, you only live once.

And the writer of Hebrews would actually agree with that. The writer of Hebrews would say YOLO, You Only Live Once. But he might add something else to that, YODO, You Only Die Once. You only live once, you only die once. And after this comes the judgement.

So it brings us face to face with the reality of a hereafter. There is something after this life. And that's all important.

Because you see, if there is no hereafter, then nothing matters. If there is a hereafter, then nothing else matters. That is supremely important.

Verse 27 is the verse that we're going to look at today in depth, but you know me, I like context. I think that any text taken out of context becomes a pretext. So I like to read what's around it so you understand where this comes from. Let's go back to verse 23 of Hebrews 9 and read down.

Therefore it was necessary, writes this author, that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these. But the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself now to appear in the presence of God for us.

Not that He should offer himself often, as the priest, the high priest enters the most holy place every year with the blood of another. He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world. But now once, at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgement, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him, He will appear a second time apart from sin for salvation.

Now the writer is making a point about the atoning work of Jesus Christ. And he illustrates his point with our own mortality, the fact that we live in we die once. And so the author says that look, animal sacrifices that took place in an earthly tabernacle simply foreshadowed something much better that was coming.

So that you have in the Old Testament, the old covenant where multiple animals and lots of bloodletting went on. But now, under the new covenant in the New Testament, Jesus came once to die, to shed His blood. Never has to be repeated. It's over.

And He died. Jesus died like all people die and face the judgment. Only He took our judgment so that in turn, He could offer salvation. That's the crux of this paragraph.

So we're going to look at verse 27, the illustration of our life and death. And we're going to drill down. We're going to just sort of peel it apart one phrase, one thought at a time.

And I want to give you four truths, four certainties that are universal truths out of verse 27. When I say universal truths, what I mean is you can live in Albuquerque or Angola and it's true. You can be from Los Angeles, California or from Lagos, Nigeria, it's true. You could be black, white, brown. You can be Democrat or Republican, male, female, young or old. These are axiomatic truths, self evident truths for the most part.

But as I read through these four truths that all come from this text, you're going to discover something that each statement that I make, each truth, is harder to accept. It goes from easy to more difficult as we go. In fact, I would say you can't believe all four statements unless you are a true believer. The average secularist certainly will not believe the last two statements. Let's take them one at a time and look at the text as we do.

First certainty, first universal truth, everyone dies. Verse 27 tells us, and as it is appointed for men to die, stop there. I don't know many people who would argue with that. Everyone dies. I've never met anyone who said we don't die, physically.

I have seen a television special where three people were interviewed who claimed that they had immortality and they would never physically die. But these are wing nuts. I mean, nobody pays any attention to them. For the most part, everyone understands that life is a process of dying. That every person born has an expiration date.

You are born in this world and you're on a timer. And one day you will zero out. We don't know where, we don't know when, but it will happen.

You can joke about it, but it'll still happen. Woody Allen, who used to joke a lot about life and death, said I'm not afraid of death, I just don't want to be there when it happens. We laugh at that.

But he went on to say, I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve immortality through not dying. I don't want to live on in the hearts of my countrymen. I'd rather live on in my apartment.

But of course, that's not going to happen, is it? Everyone dies. Death is a part of life. And your chances of dying are pretty good, like around 10o%.

Malcolm Muggeridge, whose writings I have long admired, he was a thinker and philosopher in England and a believer who wrote some pretty deep stuff said. He said, I have one foot in heaven and one foot on earth. And the foot on earth is firmly fixed on a banana peel. In other words, I could go at any moment.

So you can work out and you can eat right and you can take vitamins and you can count your calories and you can pump iron and you can stretch your face around the block. But let's face it, all of us are undergoing the process of decay. And one day we will all lose that battle.

One undertaker in Washington DC cleverly ends all of his letters instead of "sincerely yours" he writes "eventually yours," "eventually yours."

During this sermon that I preach, between 3,000 people and 4,500 people will die worldwide. Just in this sermon. And I give that 3,000 to 4,500 depending on how long I go.

But anywhere from 3,000 to 4,500 people on earth will die during the time it takes for me to deliver this message. In the United States alone that's between 150 to 200 people during this sermon, depending on how long I go. So I'd better hurry it up.

Now having said that all people die, there are exceptions to this. And I have to bring this up. Because somebody's going to say yeah, but what about?

And there are those exceptions, Enoch didn't die. He was taken into heaven. Elijah didn't die. He was taken into heaven. Lazarus died not once but how many times? Twice. Jesus rose him from the grave, but he still had to die again.

And all believers who are alive on the earth at the Rapture of the Church will all be exempt from death. They will be assumed instantly into heaven. But aside from those exceptions, the general axiomatic self evident truth is that every one dies.

Though death was not God's original design. He didn't design people to die, he designed them to live. It says he breathed into man's nostrils the breath of life. He gave to them life. And his intention was that they go on the living eternally from that moment onward.

But something happened. You know the story. It's now a part of all of our history. There were parameters that were set forth in that Edenic garden.

And God said have at it, eat anything you want, anywhere except for that one tree. Don't eat that. Because in the day that you eat thereof you will surely what? You'll die. And they ate it and they started dying.

So Paul sums all of that up in Romans 5. And he says, by one man, that is Adam, by one man, sin entered the world and death through sin. So that death spread to all men because all have sinned. And then he even gets shorter with the summary statement in Romans chapter 6 when he simply says, for the wages of sin is death. So everyone who is born dies. We know that.

Even though we know that, that doesn't soften the blow when it happens, does it? I mean, you know it's going to happen for everyone. But it's still-- death is an intruder. Death interrupts. It never comes at the right time.

It always comes before we're ready, not when we're ready. We're never ready. It always comes before relationships are mended. It comes before our dreams are fulfilled.

It comes before our children have accomplished all that we want them to accomplish. It comes before the wedding, before the will is completely written out. Before the family reunion. It comes and it shocks, it intrudes, it interrupts.

A man went to his doctor and the doctor said, well, I have bad news. He looked at his test. I have bad news and I have worse news. He said, the bad news is you have 24 hours to live.

He said doc, what could be worse than that? Doctor said well, I was supposed to have told you this yesterday but I forgot. So it could be I guess at any moment. Everyone dies.

Here's the second certainty that is universal. Everyone dies once. Notice it says in the text, and as it is appointed for men to die once. Now making that statement, about one fourth of the world's population will disagree with that statement.

Do you know that the second largest faith group in the world next to monotheistic, which we are, we believe in one God, is a faith group known as reincarnationists? They comprise the Hindu religion, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, and a few other isms. They believe in reincarnation, about 23 point something percent or better. Almost one fourth of the world's population believes in reincarnation.

That is the soul gets recycled from one bodily form into another bodily form. According to the Vedic scriptures in India, 8,400,000 possible forms to be reincarnated into. So they don't believe the statement that you only die once. You die multiple times. What more effective why could Satan ever use to counter the value of a single life than just to offer more lives? You blow it on this life, you just have another one to go through, and another one and another one.

I actually believed in reincarnation before I was saved. I was in Mexico, I was in a very experimental phase of my life. I had a buddy who was into all sorts of stuff. And he convinced me to engage in a practice called spirit writing, automatic writing, where you invoke the spirit world to give you messages and tell you truths about who you are.

And so I did that. And my arm took control of itself, it would seem, and wrote a message out. And part of the message told me that I had lived before. I was in the Franco Prussian War. I died in the war as an officer. I was going to die within the next week again. I wouldn't make it home to the United States from Mexico.

So for the next week in my life I lived in morbid fear. Convincing my Spanish teacher, or trying, that I couldn't go back to the States. He said get on the train.

Now of course, those days are over and I am a Bible believer. And I've thought back to those days. And I thought back to the ideology of reincarnation.

Can I just say for the record, I don't want to come back. There's a lot of experiences I don't want to do all over again. Diapers is one of them. High school English would be another. My First date would be another. Braces would be another. That I'd have to go through some of that stuff again, no thank you.

But here's the real shocker. I've given you worldwide statistics. According to a 2009 Pew Research poll, 25% of Americans believe in reincarnation. That's a little higher than the world average. 25% of Americans believe in reincarnation.

Now that might not shock you, but here's the real shocker. In that same poll, 24% of American Christians allow for or believe in reincarnation. I read that poll, and all that did was serve to underscore what I've always known, that not everybody who says they're a Christian is one.

They just love the banner. I go to church, I was taken to it all my life, therefore I'm a Christian. They're not. 24% hold to it.

Now there is a difference between Eastern reincarnation as a philosophy and Western reincarnation. You see, people in Hinduism, they see it as a bummer. They're trapped from one body to the next. It's called the cycle of karma. And their desire is to be released from the physical form and to be absorbed into totality. They see that as a prison.

Not so in Western reincarnation. And it's so, so American. But in the West, reincarnation is viewed as an opportunity for self fulfillment. That is just so America. They've taken it and say well, I could get more stuff, I could have more experiences, I can improve myself. But that does not represent the original ideology from the East.

Now either way you look at it, it's all a lie. It's all an illusion. It's all a deception.

In 2 Corinthians 4 Paul said, the god of this age, that is Satan, has blinded the minds of unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ. So whether it's through false religion or false ideology, it's false. The Bible never indicates anywhere that you have a second chance after this life, whether it's here or purgatory or anywhere else. It's you die once. You don't come back in another form.

James asked the question in James chapter 4, what is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

Now let's look at the positive side. Here's a man on a cross dying next to Jesus. He's a criminal. He has a rudimentary belief that Jesus is the Messiah, is this Saviour. Remember me when you come into your kingdom. And Jesus gave him a promise. Remember that promise?

Today you will be with me in paradise. Ah. He didn't say well, buddy, I hate to give you the news, but you're going to be transmigrated into another physical form. You're coming back as a cockroach for all you did. You've done some bad stuff. But eventually after you escape the wheel of karma my you might be with me in paradise.

He said today, today it's going to happen. You'll be with me in paradise. Everyone dies once.

So everyone dies, everyone dies once, let me make the third universal truth. Everyone dies on time, at the appointed time. Verse 27 says, and as it is-- look at this word-- appointed for men to die once. Some of the newer translations say destined. I like the word appointed. It means reserved, laid up.

God has reserved a certain date for you in the future. It will be your exit date. He knows the date, you don't.

So you have an appointment with God. Now, can I just say, if you have not kept your appointments on this earth or if you've been late for every other appointment on this earth, this is one appointment you will never be late for. You will be on time for this appointment with God. It is appointed for every man to die once.

Now in making this statement, can you agree this is a harder statement to believe than the first two? Everybody dies, got that. Everybody is into that. Everyone dies. Everyone dies once, fourth of the world won't buy into that.

But now it's even harder. Everyone dies on time. Because in making that statement, I am saying that God is sovereign in all matters of life and death. And that is a repulsive idea to lots of people.

In fact, no doctrine is more despised by the natural mind than this truth that God is absolutely sovereign. Human pride hates the idea that God controls everything, rules over everything, and runs everything. They hate that.

Because it brings up questions. Automatically there are rebuttals to that. And the first question, they're not easy questions, is well, does this mean then my fate is sealed? That I have absolutely no control over when we die?

I will answer that by saying yes and no. Both are true. From God's perspective I would say yes, because God is omniscient. He knows everything before it happens. So he knows exactly when, where, and how you'll die. And you can't change what He knows.

But from a human perspective, you have to concede no. In other words, from our perspective, we do have some sort of impact on how or when we die. Example, if someone commits suicide they cause their own death. They would have lived longer had they not done that.

If someone is involved in a foolish choice like a drug habit that ends their life prematurely or they get a heart attack because they never exercise and they eat poorly, it'll catch up with you. The end of your life won't be quality, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. So your choices do impact your death, but God knows it all, therefore controls at all.

And so you can make these sweeping statements like it is appointed for every man to die once. Or Job in the Old Testament said since his days are determined, that is mankind's, the number of his months is with you. You have appointed his limits so that he cannot pass. Or Psalm 139, all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

But it brings up another question, another sticky question. If God is sovereign over matters of life and death, how could all these tragedies occur around the world. And pick your tragedy. Go back to 9/11, September 11, 2001. Nice, this last week, Istanbul, San Bernardino, hurricanes, tsunamis, you could pick your tragedy. And we ask the question, how could sovereign God allow those things to happen?

And there are a lot of ways to answer that. In fact, to answer it correctly would take a whole biblical series on that, which we have done. But I want to answer that in the simplest way possible.

How could those tragedies happen? Because everyone dies. Because everyone dies.

Nothing happened to them that wasn't already going to happen to them. Everyone has an exit date. You can't program when that is going to be.

So you might get into a car accident that ends your life. My flight might go down in the Atlantic Ocean. Some of us might be involved in a terrorist attack or hurricane or a heart attack. Whatever it is, something's going to take us.

Billy Graham was preaching a crusade in 2003 in San Diego, one of his last big public events, where he addressed a crowd of people in the stadium, many whose family, they were families of military members who have gone to fight in the Iraq war. And one of the things he said was a quotation from CS Lewis. A single sentence I draw out from that sermon, a quote by CS Lewis. Graham said 100% of people die. And nothing, even war, will increase the percentage.

So it's going to happen all of us, however it happens. What shocks us is the manner. See, I just said 4,500 people are going to die during this sermon. That doesn't shock you. But when that many people die suddenly because of an event, we get shocked at it. But what happened to them was going to happen to them in some form sooner or later. That is the stark reality of this text.

So everyone dies. Everyone dies once. Everyone dies on time.

Here's the fourth and final. Everyone who dies will be evaluated after death. Everyone who dies will be evaluated after death. Verse 27 once again, and as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this, after this, after this death, here's the hereafter, after this, the judgment.

Now wouldn't you agree, this is the hardest of the four statements to believe? This is the hardest one. In fact, to believe this, some would say, just means you drank the Kool-Aid. You're one of them. You believe there's an eternal reckoning and a God that you'll face after death.

The secularists doesn't believe that. The materialist doesn't believe that. They believe in extinction. Death ends it all. There is no afterlife. The movie is over. The end. Lights out. No more existence. No more consciousness.

On a Roman grave 2,000 years ago was found this statement. Live for the present hour, since there's nothing else. See, that's YOLO, You Only Live Once. And that is the philosophy of the pure secularist and materialist.

Most of you have heard the name Richard Dawkins. He is sort of the apostle of new atheism. After September 11, 2001 he wrote, religion teaches the dangerous nonsense that death is not the end. But here's what's interesting to me. With all of these new voices, as well as old voices saying death ends at all, do you know that 80% of Americans still believe there's an afterlife, 80%.

When they're polled, when they're pressed and you ask them, do you believe there's life after death, 80% of Americans will say yes. That's their belief. Now if you go to non-Western countries, the percentage actually goes up, almost to 100%.

So there's something built in to us that believes or wants to believe that there's something after this life. And this verse, as well as other passages of revealed scripture say after this, the judgment. Why the judgment? Why the judgment?

Well, we've already made note and the text has already told us, because every person is a sinner. I know we don't like the word. But everyone is. By birth, it's been passed on, and by choice that we make.

So as sinners, we cannot atone for our own sins. We can't. Either we have to pay for them or a substitute pays for them. And that's where the good news comes in.

God sent His son into the world who lived the perfect life we could never live and died taking all of the punishment for our sin on Himself in a moment's time so that you and I could simply say I believe Him. I believe that. I trust what He did is enough.

And God will say, OK you do that, then I will forgive all of that sin, placing that on my son. And you get to live in heaven forever with Me. That's the deal.

That's the point of verse 28. So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him, He will appear a second time apart from sin for salvation.

So Jesus, like all men, died. But He won't have to face judgment for sin because He didn't sin. But He took our judgment by His death so you could believe and have salvation.

OK, let me take you back to a movie, a movie you may have seen called The Matrix, some years back. Anybody remember The Matrix? It's the (WHOOSHING). It was that first movie they did all that kind of crazy stuff.

OK, so anybody see the movie? OK, so a few of you are going like, OK. Some of you are bold. Second are like, I'm in church, I don't know if I can admit that I actually saw the movie. Well, I'm telling you, the preacher is telling you the illustration from the movie.

OK the premise of The Matrix was fascinating. The premise that this is not the real world, this is a virtual reality, this is a facade. There's a really real world, something going on behind the scenes. And very few people have penetrated that veil to see what's really going on.

And one of the people that has done that is the lead character named Neo. Neo is approached by sort of a high priest of the reality called Morpheus. And do you remember in the scene? It's the seminal moment when he holds up a blue pill and a red pill.

Morpheus says to Neo, take the blue pill, wake up in the morning, believe whatever you want. Take the red pill and stay in wonderland. In other words, you'll see behind the scenes what's really happening. Blue pill, red pill, blue pill, believe whatever you want. Go on, construct your own ideology. Red pill, the real world.

I've discovered that most people that I meet in this world live on the blue pill. They take their pill. They wake up in the morning, they believe whatever they want about the world that suits them.

But when you read the Bible, this is the red pill. It tells you about the wonderland. It tells you about the really real world behind the world. Now, I know people will say, but you know what, that's just not-- I live in the real world, man. I have a real job with real bills and a real family. And I live in the real world.

And I say Amen. But behind the real world is a really real world. As CS Lewis said, even more real than this one. And the Bible reveals that. It tells us all about it. And it says yep, you only live once and you only die once. And after this, the judgment.

Do you think the other night when families gathered in Nice, France to celebrate, did any one of them suppose, figure that that was their last day on earth? They didn't. Suddenly, bam, it's over. As it will one day be for all of us.

You might say, oh, but I have years to live. I'll live forever. You won't. Unless the Lord comes back and you're a firm believer, you trust Jesus.

If he comes back, great. You'll not see death. Otherwise we're all going down. Stretch it all you want, we're all going down. I would look like a freak if I tried to fix this.

So answer the question. When you're in your casket and your friends and family are gathered around at your funeral, do you want to hear them say, look he's moving? No, because that means I'm alive here again.

I want them to say, now he's living. He's really living. He's more alive now than he ever was here. He is experiencing something in the really real world that outstrips anything here.

So it behooves us all to be prepared for the inevitable. We all die. Everyone dies once. Everyone dies on time. And everyone who dies will be evaluated after death.

If you trust in Jesus, verse 28, He's taken the judgement. You'll go from death to life immediately. You won't be judged for your sin. Jesus was judged for your sin. You'll be judged for your works or the lack thereof, but not for your sin. But if you're an unbeliever, after this, the judgment. And that's the truth, baby ruth.

Father, thank you for the unmitigated, unfiltered reality of life and death from someone outside of our own time space continuum who is revealed to us here what happened, where it's all going, why we're here, who we are, what you did about our human predicament. There's truth.

Lord, we all have an appointment with death. But some of us may have an appointment with you today right here right now. Where you're going to call them to be saved and to escape the stark reality of a life apart from God. Facing eternity with certainty rather than uncertainty, with hope rather than anguish.

Death could become for us a welcome friend who opens the door of opportunity and pleasure in Your presence. It doesn't have to be an enemy. It could actually be our friend.

Lord, I pray for those who don't know You personally or who are just religious, maybe mildly so, or avidly so, or some have walked away from you, to come to a place today where they say I'm going to trust Jesus completely.

As your head is bowed, as your eyes are closed, I want you to think about your life for a moment. If you were to die today, are you certain you would be in God's presence, you'd be in His heaven? It's His, not yours, it His. He admits those He chooses to. And He will choose, He will admit anyone if they trust in Jesus.

I'm going to give you an opportunity to do that. If you have never given your life to Christ personally, if you can't remember a time when you have said, Lord, I want you to take over my life. I receive You was my Lord and Savior. I want to live for you.

Or if you've had some religious past, but you're not walking with Jesus today and you need to come to him or come back to Him, I want to give you an opportunity to grab a hold of the offer of eternal life.

If you are willing at this point to say yes to Jesus, to give Him your life, I want you to raise your hand up in the air. My eyes will be open. I want to pray for you. I need to know why I'm praying for. So I'm asking, just raise your hand up high. Let me see it and acknowledge it.

God bless you and you to my left. Awesome. And you and you, right in the middle toward the back. I saw over here on my right side, yes, I see your hand, your hand. Thank you. God bless you. And toward the back. Anyone else? Anyone else? Raise that hand up.

In the balcony, one, two, three, few of you, four, several of you. In the family room, anyone? Just you're saying yes, Lord, yes. I give You my life. I want to live for You. I want to receive what Jesus did on my behalf. Yes sir.

Lord, I pray for them. We do. We all do. We just thank you for these men and women, different backgrounds, different stuff going on in their lives, but every one of them You love, that I'm convinced of.

As You reveal Yourself to them, as You reveal Your heart to them, I pray that they will come to a place of certainty about their future and hope and enjoy. Help them to grow. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Let's all stand to our feet. As we sing this final song, we do this a lot. We think it's an important step.

You know, Jesus called people on earth. He call them to Himself. He did it publicly. He did it publicly. And I believe it does something when an individual is willing to, in a cheering environment, a happy crowd, say yes to Jesus. We're all going to cheer you on. And it just sort of cements the decision deep in your heart.

So if you raised your hand, and I saw several in the balcony. I'm going to give you time to get down those stairs and come forward. Everyone who raised your hand, find the nearest aisle and just stand right up here where I'm going to lead you in a moment in a prayer to receive Jesus as your Savior and Lord. We'll make the transaction right now. You raised your hand, you come. If you're in the balcony, we'll let you come down.

[APPLAUSE]

(SINGING) Lift up your face. Oh, wanderer come home.

Love it.

(SINGING) You're not far.

Yes, sir.

(SINGING) Lay down your hurt, lay down your heart, and come as you are. And come as you are.

This is the best part of the service. Now, if you're standing in the middle of a row and you're thinking man, I'm in the middle of a sea of people, I don't know what to do-- there's two words that are your friend. The words excuse me. Just say excuse me, and you'll part your row will just open up. People let you get by them or maybe stand with you for support.

But if you raised that hand, please come and open your heart to the savior.

[CHEERING]

(SINGING) Lay down your burdens, lay down your shame. All who are broken lift up your face.

Awesome.

(SINGING) Oh, wanderer come home, you're not too far. Lay down your hurt, lay down your heart, come as you are.

I'm going to give it just another moment, here's why. Last week we didn't do one of these and a woman came up to me and she said, I was waiting all along for you to give one of those alter calls. I wanted to give my life to Jesus. So she told me.

And I thought, I don't want to let that happen. So this is your opportunity. Are you sure you're right with God? Do you want to be right with Him? Beautiful.

Maybe you're thinking, well Skip, what if you're wrong? What if there really isn't anything after this? Well, the way I look at it, if I'm wrong and you're right-- let me put it to you another way. If you're wrong and I'm right, you have more at stake.

It's a bigger risk than it is for me. So if it's all a pipe dream and I die and there's nothing there, but I believe what the Bible says. I've had the Lord change my life. And there's a much bigger gamble on you.

So I remember the day when I finally said all right, I'm going to give in. I'm going to give my life to Jesus. Best day of my life. Opened the door to a whole new kind of existence that I never knew. It's called abundant life.

Jesus wants you to really live, not just live, not just exist, but live with His promises in abundance in fellowship with His people. We're all broken people. We're all sinners. But you know what, we do life together.

And we're all marching to glory. And one day we'll be changed in His presence. The change begins now.

Any other takers who want to say yes to Him? Yes to Him. You're just tired of the way things have been going. As my friend Franklin Graham says, you're sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Time for a change, time for life. We're going to sing this through one more time. You just think about it and you let the Lord grab your life. And you come. We'll wait for you.

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

[CHEERING]

I love the words of that song, come as you are, just as you are. And you've come just as you are. That's all the Lord wants. He wants all of you. He knows all about you.

He didn't say be perfect and then come to Me. He says come broken. Just give yourself to Me. I'm the only perfect one. Not me, that's what He would say.

And He's going to give you a gift of everlasting life. So here's what I'm going to. I'm going to lead you in a prayer. I'm going to say it out loud. I want you all to say it out loud after me. OK, sort of like vows at a wedding. You say it out loud everybody hears it. So you're doing business with God. If you can, pretend nobody is here. It's just you talking to God. OK, let's pray.

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.

Please forgive me.

Please forgive me.

I believe in Jesus.

I believe in Jesus.

That He died on a cross for me.

That He died on a cross for me.

That He shed His blood for my sin.

That He shed His blood for my sin.

And that He rose from the dead.

And that He rose from the dead.

I turn from my sin.

I turn from my sin.

I turn to Jesus as my Savior.

I turn to Jesus as my Savior.

Help me

Help me

To live for Him--

To live for Him--

--as my Lord.

--as my Lord.

In Jesus' name.

In Jesus' name.

Amen.

Amen.

[CHEERING]

We will all be evaluated after we die. And there will be no chance to change how we lived our lives. So how will you make a difference now for God's eternal kingdom? Let us know. Email us at mystory@calvaryabq.org. And just a reminder, you can give financially to this work at calvaryabq.org/give.

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

Additional Messages in this Series

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6/26/2016
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#LOL
Proverbs 14:13
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
Have you ever noticed that some people use laughter as a mask to hide the pain they feel inside? This is nothing new. As a matter of fact, the Bible tells us that even in laughter, the heart may sorrow. Sometimes the visible disguise is not the invisible reality. This week, we look past the #lol (laugh out loud) and peer into the heart to discover the truth of pain and why we are so scared to be honest. From just one verse, we can make three discoveries.
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7/3/2016
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#nofilter
Psalm 19
Skip Heitzig
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People use filters to change reality and tell a story. Some people use filters for everything. Not satisfied with the way things are, they desire something more than what the lens can capture. But one look at a sunset and you realize that God’s creation doesn’t need any filters. In fact, His created universe tells the story of His existence and His power. But the story would be incomplete if He didn’t give us more. The truth is He did give us more—the unfiltered truth of Scripture.
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7/10/2016
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#squadgoals
Luke 6:12-16
Skip Heitzig
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One of the most popular hashtags used in today’s social media platforms is #squadgoals, used typically as an inspirational term for what we want our own group or generation to accomplish or be like. Did you know that Jesus has squad goals for His followers? His plans for those who believe in Him and have become part of His church are too many to enumerate in one lesson, but we examine four squad goals in today’s message.
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7/24/2016
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#TBT
Deuteronomy 8:1-10
Skip Heitzig
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It’s funny how the past often looks much better than it really was. But it probably looks that way because it isn’t here anymore. The past can be helpful, but only if we learn from it today and use it tomorrow. Before crossing the Jordan River, Moses had his own #TBT with the nation of Israel, first getting them to look backward, then to look around, and finally to look forward and upward. (P.S. This is a good way to live every day.)
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7/31/2016
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#followme
Matthew 16:24-27
Skip Heitzig
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Taking a walk means putting several footsteps together, one after the other, along a pathway. For my two dogs, walking is their favorite part of the day. Their excitement level is off the charts when they hear me coming. But when we walk together, they’re supposed to be following me and surrendering to my lead. However, it doesn’t always work out that way. So what does it mean to follow Jesus? Let’s explore what Jesus Himself said He expects of those who follow Him.
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8/7/2016
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#thestruggleisreal
Romans 7:13-8:4
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I’m a struggler. So are you. We are Christian believers, which is why we struggle. And the struggle we face is very real. I know you love God and want to serve Him. I know you have the best of intentions to be the very best person you can be. But you fail, don’t you? So do I. The sooner we admit it, the better off we’ll be and the closer we’ll get to the kind of success God intends for us. Oh, did I mention that Paul was a struggler, too?
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8/21/2016
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#relationshipgoals
Ecclesiastes 4:7-12
Skip Heitzig
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What God said in the beginning is still true today: "It is not good that man should be alone" (Genesis 2:18). Emotional isolation can be the fallout of a fast-paced culture as well as the consequence of failed relationships. Separation can seem easier than integration. Seclusion feels simpler than assimilation. But these are not better! We are wired to be better together than apart. In these musings of King Solomon, we discover five relationship goals to balance out our lives.
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8/28/2016
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#foodstagram
John 21:15-19
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We like to eat. We have to eat. The body needs fuel, and fuel comes from food. Yet for some folks who are "foodies," it's not so much about eating to live as it is living to eat. Creative chefs can work their skills and produce dishes that are nothing less than pure art. But did you know that as believers we also need to eat spiritual food to survive? Feeding and being nourished by God's truth can make us strong and vibrant. Let's explore a few fundamentals about spiritual feeding.
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9/4/2016
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#selfiesunday
Philippians 2:1-4
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W.E. Gladstone, the one-time prime minister of England, said, “Selfishness is the greatest curse of the human race.” Though we all have an ego—the consciousness of being an individual—that doesn’t mean we have to worship ourselves or live exclusively for ourselves. To live that way is to live in a prison. Let’s see what the Bible has to say about selfish living versus selfless living. Paul taught the Philippian church both the marks and the motives of selfless living.
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There are 9 additional messages in this series.