Post originally written 2/23/2012 Updated 12/6/2019
Good morning everyone. Today we are going to talk about another subject that may seem very simple at first. But when we get down to it, we will see that it is very complicated. That subject is Life and Death. What exactly is life, anyway? If I gave everyone in the room a chance to answer that question, in all likelihood, we would all have different answers.
How life started. The Bible tells us that life began when God made a decision to create. Genesis 1:1-2 (KJV)
1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
God created light, heaven, earth, the seas, the sun, moon and stars, fish, fowl, beasts, and finally, man. He breathed into his nostrils and man received life. The man could think and move; and had intellect and feelings. When God saw that man was lonely, He gave him a wife. He named the man Adam and Adam called his wife Eve.
When God created Adam and Eve, He gave them a couple of simple rules to follow that comprised what one might call the meaning of life. Let’s review those rules:
1. Don’t eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
Genesis 2:16-17 (KJV)
16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
2. Be fruitful and multiply.
Genesis 1:28 (KJV)
28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. With the life gift, God gave man and his wife freedom of choice. They could choose to obey God or disobey God.
We all know the outcome of the story. Eve was tricked by Satan, and she disobeyed God. She ate the fruit, then gave it to her husband, who also ate. They were banished from the Garden of Eden, and they were punished. Eve would bring forth life through painful childbirth, and Adam would provide food for his family by the sweat of his brow. Satan would slither on his belly in the dust, and the snake and man would always be at enmity.
Now that we know what life is, what is death? Adam and Eve broke God’s law, and they ushered in death. Now we need to know that there are two kinds of death: Natural death and spiritual death. Natural death happens when we leave this world. Just like flowers die and cattle die, we too are going to die. The Bible tells us that (except those that are caught away in the Rapture) all are going to die. Breaking laws has a consequence. (Break man’s law and you go to jail. You violate God’s law, and you go to Hell.)
Hebrews 9:27 (KJV) 27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
The question is what happens after we die? The answer lies in the matter of what choices we made while alive.
Let’s examine the lives of two people, Betty Jean and John Bob.
Betty Jean was born in a family consisting of a Father and a Mother. Her father was a doctor, and her mother, a lawyer. She had a very happy childhood filled with dance lessons, friends, and all the food that she needed. She had sleepovers, and her family shopped at the finest of stores. She was given a Ferrari at age 16. Now at age 18, she has the opportunity to go to Harvard, one of the best schools in the country. She lived a charmed life.
John Bob was born the 9th of 12 children to a single mother. They lived just barely above the starvation level. John Bob never knew his father. John Bob’s mother took her children to church. She taught them the ways of the Lord. In spite of her efforts, John Bob’s older brothers became drug dealers when they each reached the age of 19. John Bob loved God, and he enjoyed going to church. He gave his heart to the Lord at 18 and was at a point that he had to make a decision that would determine which direction his life would take. His mother’s advice to him was this, “John Bob, you are about to venture out into life. Make good choices. The most important thing that I can tell you is to stay with God, no matter which direction life may take you.”
Now we have two entirely different people who were raised in two totally different environments. Betty lived a charmed life, and John Bob’s life was a mess. But we are given choices in life, and our choices will determine the direction that our life will take.
Betty Jean, at age 18, decided that she would not go to Harvard. As a matter of fact, since she was such a beautiful girl and had a beautiful singing voice, she decided to become a movie star. She got into drugs while attempting to work as an actress and repeatedly had abortions to get rid of her unborn children. Her family’s finances were drained, trying to keep her out of jail. Finally, the judge who was fed up with her behavior sent her to prison for 40 years. She was involved in the death of her boyfriend in a drug sale and trafficking scandal. At age 20, she found herself in a situation that would cause her to be 60 yrs. Old before she would see freedom again.
John Bob was also at a point where he had to make a decision about what he would do with his life. Seeing the troubles that his older brothers had had, he decided that he would not go into a life of gangs, crime, and wrongdoing. John Bob got a job after High School and went to Jr. College at night. He paid his way through Junior College and then received a scholarship to a prestigious University. He worked hard and received a Bachelor’s, Master’s, and, finally, a Doctoral degree.
Dr. John Bob, because of the decisions that he made, was able to help his younger brothers and sisters get through College. He was honored because of his work in Nuclear Physics, and he became world-famous because of his hard work. He was a deacon in his church and lived for the Lord. But Dr. John Bob made a critical error in his decision making. After 20 years of marriage to his saved wife, he decided that he had married the wrong woman. He divorced his wife and married a sister in the church. They both agreed that they did not need the church or the Lord any longer. All they needed was each other.
Now, if this were all that there is to life, we would say that we knew the outcome of each life’s story. But, just as there is both natural life and spiritual life, there is both natural and spiritual death. We have to make good choices in everything that we do.
Betty Jean got her hands on a Bible while in prison. She had lots of time to read the Word of God and attend the Sunday church services. Although Betty Jean had made a mess of her life early on, that was not the end of her story. She discovered that Jesus loved her and forgave her of all of her transgressions.
John 3:16 (KJV)
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
She heard that Jesus died for her sins so that she did not have to die for her sins. Betty Jean got a firm grip on the salvation scriptures, repented of her sins asked the Lord to fill her with the Holy Ghost, and He did. At age 60, she was released from prison. She dedicated the rest of her life to living for the Lord. She started a ministry that fed 1000’s and also helped them to be saved. She was married, even at that late stage in life, and she and her husband served God.
Dr. John Bob was cruising down the boulevard in his Ferrari one day when Betty Jean happened to be standing outside of her Food Kitchen. She saw a well-dressed professional-looking man stop at a stoplight. The Spirit of the Lord spoke to her and told her to give him a tract. The tract was full of life-giving information about Jesus, about how to be saved and about how to assure that heaven would be the final destination after death.
Betty hesitated at first because the man looked so successful. She, although clean, did not look so good. She obeyed God, though, and attempted to hand the man the tract. He looked at her, and when he saw the tract in her hand, he became upset. He said to himself, “Here’s another one of those Christians trying to get me saved. I’m putting my window up.” Dr. John Bob did not realize that it would be his last opportunity to be saved. He had turned down many invitations to repent and give his heart to the Lord. The Bible says that it is appointed unto men once to die, but after death, the judgment.
Hebrews 9:27-28 (KJV)
27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
Dr. John chose spiritual death, which is eternal separation from God. A few blocks up an 18 wheeler had spun out of control and came to rest blocking, the highway that Dr. John was speeding towards. He did not notice the 18 wheeler until it was too late. His life ended in a fiery crash that very day.
Betty Jean, on the other hand, died at age 80, having done more with her life in 20 years than she accomplished the previous 60 years.
Let us fast forward to Judgment Day. Standing in line with the righteous was Betty Jean. Unfortunately, John Bob was found in the Great White Throne Judgment line for the unrighteous. Jesus’ decision concerning John Bob and Betty Jean is based on this scripture: Ezek. 18: 21-24
Ezekiel 18:21-30 (KJV)
21 But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
22 All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live.
23 Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?
24 But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.
25 Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal?
26 When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die.
27 Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive.
28 Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
29 Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal. O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? are not your ways unequal?
30 Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.
To Betty Jean, the Lord spoke the words of Matt. 25: 23
Matthew 25:23 (KJV)
23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
Unfortunately for John Bob, the Lord spoke the words of Matt. 7: 21-23.
Matthew 7:21-23 (KJV)
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Will you choose spiritual life or spiritual death? I would that you would choose life. May God bless your souls.