The night of the living dead
Halloween is a very weird holiday what started out as 6th-century catholic adaption of a Celtic holiday celebrating the dead, has turned into something so much more
Through movies, tv shows, stories, and the tradition of trick or treating we continue to live out this tradition in our culture some in mild ways and others whereas they try to scare each other nearly to death.
Our culture has an obsession and fear of death. I believe it is part of the curse from the fall. Jesus has been there, came back, and now lives again forever as our savior.
Many Christ-followers have gotten caught up in the folklore that comes with the holiday and get confused about life/death and life after death. AS I mentioned a few weeks ago we are far more influenced by the world than by the Kingdom of God and this is one of this areas….don’t worry, I’m not attacking your trick or treating
From the moment of conception, we are destined to live forever.
If you see yourself as simply the shell you are, in this body then your view of life is based on when the brain waves cease…but the Bible says differently
Every Christian knows this verse
For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
Here are a few others
1 John 2:24,25
So you must remain faithful to what you have been taught from the beginning. If you do, you will remain in fellowship with the Son and with the Father. 25 And in this fellowship we enjoy the eternal life he promised us.
1 John 5:13
I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life.
The early church wrestled with believing in eternal life but the Holy Spirit through all of the letters and Gospels reminds us that we will all live forever.
The challenge of where we will spend eternity is not chosen by God but instead by each of us. Salvation is a free gift, entrance into heaven is something that God desires for all of us. I say it is a free gift because it can not be earned. You can not be good enough, do enough stuff, keep the rules and commandments well enough it is only through….
“… if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
We show our love for him through the things we do like I talked about last week but our salvation is secured through grace and faith
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
So we have that locked down I hope…we all live for eternity those of us who have accepted the free gift of salvation have chosen to live in heaven with the Lord for eternity and the opposite is true to….if we have not chosen to accept Jesus as our Lord and savior we live for eternity but in a place called hell where Jesus says there is nothing but regret, and such anguish from that regret that we weep and gnash our teeth, we will feel the weight of our rejection of Christ and be absolutely alone for all eternity suffering
How do I know this…the Bible tells me so….
2 Corinthians 5:7,8
For we live by believing and not by seeing. 8 Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord.
If we are immediately in the presence of the Lord after death so those who do not have faith in Christ are immediately sent to hell.
Why is this so important?
Spiritually – we need to understand, God does not leave us to corruption but immediately accepts us in our heavenly bodies into heaven and we are free from the weight of this world.
Culturally – this time of year we talk about ghost and people claim to have seen them
What are they if they are not the souls of the recently departed? My thoughts are either people’s imaginations, fond thoughts and feelings, or demons trying to destroy the Gospel message.
In case you are still doubting Jesus told us a story that actually took place, how do I know? He used a real name…
Jesus said, “There was a certain rich man who was splendidly clothed in purple and fine linen and who lived each day in luxury. 20 At his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus who was covered with sores. 21 As Lazarus lay there longing for scraps from the rich man’s table, the dogs would come and lick his open sores.
22 “Finally, the poor man died and was carried by the angels to sit beside Abraham at the heavenly banquet. The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and he went to the place of the dead. There, in torment, he saw Abraham in the far distance with Lazarus at his side.
24 “The rich man shouted, ‘Father Abraham, have some pity! Send Lazarus over here to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue. I am in anguish in these flames.’
25 “But Abraham said to him, ‘Son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing. So now he is here being comforted, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides, there is a great chasm separating us. No one can cross over to you from here, and no one can cross over to us from there.’
27 “Then the rich man said, ‘Please, Father Abraham, at least send him to my father’s home. 28 For I have five brothers, and I want him to warn them so they don’t end up in this place of torment.’
29 “But Abraham said, ‘Moses and the prophets have warned them. Your brothers can read what they wrote.’
30 “The rich man replied, ‘No, Father Abraham! But if someone is sent to them from the dead, then they will repent of their sins and turn to God.’
31 “But Abraham said, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’”
So many points I could easily make here but I can’t take us off of the track for today’s teaching.
- Lazarus, Abraham, and the rich man are all fully alive even though their bodies have ceased
- Even though Lazarus is in his heavenly body the rich man recognized him
- Both of them were immediately in their eternal destinies there was no hanging around earth
- Lazarus is in Abraham’s bosom, paradise where he is no longer in pain, hungry, or rejected but is loved and honored by the saints who have gone on before
- The rich man is alone, suffering, thirsty and without hope.
Just for a further reference about the righteous dead…in the passage about the transfiguration of Jesus we also see that Moses and Elijah are alive.
You see, we all live forever, these earthly houses cease but we are not these houses we are our soul/spirit and we live forever.
There are no zombies, goblins, ghouls, or ghost there are however, demons, and the fact that we eternal beings and will live forever in either heaven or hell based on what we do about Jesus. BTW we don’t need to fear demons, we have the Holy Spirit in us he created the fallen angels so he can easily take them out as well as give us peace always
It is strange to me in our culture that we have made vampires, werewolves, zombies and such as heroes
Eternal life is real and maybe that is why these things have become heroes because they do represent a type of eternal life, a dark one but still eternal life.
Our culture tells us hell is a place where we will spend with our friends as Billy Joel sang in his song, “Only the good die young!” “I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints”
Hell is a lonely place, friends and family may be there but they will never be seen because it is meant to be a dire lonely place with no possibility of comfort and as we have seen with the rich man it is a place of torment, more because it is an absolute separation from God….
God is peace, love, joy, patience, gentleness, meekness, kindness, faithfulness, righteousness and so much more and hell is being in a place where you will never feel that again
Heaven is not a place where we become angels, God has created all of the angels he needs. As we see with Lazarus is a human being, at a banquet, being comforted and resting and he is not alone the inference is he is there with all of the saints that have gone on before.
We know from other passages it is a place of rejoicing. There are trees and animals there, streets and houses, streams and all kinds of beauty that the human eye and tongue could not describe nor could the human mind comprehend Paul told us.
Satan has glorified the darkness but it is still darkness and heaven is full of life, love, joy, and peace all the things missing in hell.
The dead do not speak to the living, the rich man asked to have Lazarus speak to his brothers but the unrighteous dead do not return the righteous dead who return go on to life with the exception of the prophet Samuel which was a special case ordained by God which messed up the demonic forces at work.
So Psychics and fortune tellers are all either completely false or you are listening to demons. I’ve been told “they know things only my departed love one would know….demons can tell you anything about your past, they are superior beings, fallen angels but they can’t tell you your future.
So please don’t waste your time and money….however, know that God knows your future and that he can relay vision, encouragement, and life to your through people with a prophetic gift or functioning in the office of prophet.
So the dead are still living….demons are real but ghosts are not. Psychics are real but either phony in their fortune-telling or demonically moved…life is for eternity, those of us who know Jesus have a real relationship with him are going to celebrate for eternity, we will be so overwhelmed with love and joy that these mortal bodies couldn’t stand it so we have to get immortal bodies to be able to celebrate that way the Lord wants us to.
Today where are you?
Do you know you have a relationship with Jesus?
We have nothing to fear from the darkness but must overcome the darkness in the world and in our lives with His light.