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What Happens When We Die?

To understand death today we must take hold of the future.


A few months ago, Google made this announcement:

Not many of us like thinking about death—especially our own. But making plans for what happens after you're gone is really important for the people you leave behind. So today, we're launching a new feature that makes it easy to tell Google what you want done with your digital assets when you die or can no longer use your account. The feature is called Inactive Account Manager—not a great name, we know—and you'll find it on your Google Account settings page. … We hope that this new feature will enable you to plan your digital afterlife—in a way that protects your privacy and security—and make life easier for your loved ones after you're gone.

That may be the answer to the question "What happens when I die?" as far as your Google accounts are concerned. But the question I want to address this morning is what happens to us. Or the person we love when the phone call comes in the middle of the night, or when the doctor says "We did all we could," or when the last, struggling breath is taken at hospice.

Paul gives us the answer in 1 Thessalonians 4. Paul is writing to believers living in the Greek city of Thessalonica. They are living within the Roman Empire. It is a world of persecution. Being a follower of Jesus Christ is dangerous. It could cost you your life. It did for many of the first followers of Jesus. It still does today in many parts of the world.

Regardless of whether death comes through illness, or through a body that's worn out with age, or through an act of violence—this is what happens when we die. Verse 13 introduces this section. Paul begins with two negative statements. There are two things he does not want for ...

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Sermon Outline:


I. The reality of death

II. The hope beyond our grief

III. The model of Christ's return and resurrection

IV. The mystery of rapture and reunion

V. Our future hope