1.         IF WE ARE CHRISTIANS, angels come to get us. 


                        "The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side" (Luke 16:22).


                        What angels?


                                    "See that you do not look down on one of these little ones.  For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven" (Matthew 18:10).


                                    "Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?" (Hebrews 1:14)


            IF WE ARE NOT CHRISTIANS, we die alone.


                        "The rich man also died and was buried" (Luke 16:22b).


2.         We pass through the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23:4).


            IF WE ARE CHRISTIANS, there is light in that valley.


                        "Seek him that makes the seven stars and Orion, and turns the shadow of death into the morning" (Amos 5:8, KJV).


                        "The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned" (Matthew 4:16).


                        "When Jesus spoke again to the people he said, 'I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (John 8:12).


            IF WE ARE NOT CHRISTIANS, the valley stays dark, for Jesus is not there.


3.         We are judged (remember, there is no time - Revelation 10:6).


                        "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?'  Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you.  Away from me, you evildoers'" (Matthew 6:21-23).



                        "And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened.  another book was opened, which is the book of life.  The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books....If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire" (Revelation 20:12 & 15).




                        "Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city" (Revelation 22:14). 


                        (See also Acts 22:16 - "And now what are you waiting for?  Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.")


                        (See also Romans 6:4 - "We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too many live a new life.")




                        "Outside are...everyone who loves and practices falsehood" (Revelation 22:15).


                        "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death" (Revelation 21:8).


3.         We enter our eternal residence.


            IF WE ARE CHRISTIANS, we are welcomed at the gate by an angel.


                        "It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates" (Revelation 21:12).


            IF WE ARE NOT CHRISTIANS, we just show up.


4.         We retain our same identity.


            IF WE ARE CHRISTIANS, we meet great people from Bible and other times.


                        "The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side" (Luke 16:22).


            IF WE ARE NOT CHRISTIANS, we remain alone.


5.         We retain our memory of those we loved on earth (Luke 16:27).


            IF WE ARE CHRISTIANS, we remember only those who will be saved.


                        "He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning" (Revelation 21:4a).


            IF WE ARE NOT CHRISTIANS, we remember those who will be lost.


                        "I beg you, send Lazarus to my father's house, for I have five brothers.  Let him warn them" (Luke 16:28).


6.         We have new bodies.


                        "So will it be with the resurrection of the dead.  The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable....it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body" (1 Corinthians 15:42 & 44).


            IF WE ARE CHRISTIANS, we will have wonderful, exciting new bodies.


                        "But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him [Jesus], for we shall see him as he is" (1 John 3:2).


                        "It [our body] is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power" (1 Corinthians 15:43).


                        "When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. 

                        But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body" (1 Corinthians 15:37-38).


                        "There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away" (Revelation 21:4).


            IF WE ARE NOT CHRISTIANS, we will have more pain than ever.


                        "Have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire" (Luke 16:24).











                           WHAT ARE HEAVEN AND HELL LIKE?


                                           HELL IS THE ABSENCE OF HEAVEN


1.         Heaven has no pain.


                        "There will be no more death or...pain" (Revelation 21:4).


            Therefore, hell has pain.


                        "I am in agony" (Luke 16:24).


                        "And throw that worthless servant outside...where there will be...gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 25:30).


2.         Heaven has no crying.


                        "He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more...mourning or crying...." (Revelation 21:4).


            Therefore, hell has crying.


                        "There will be weeping there....you yourselves thrown out"  (Luke 13:28)


3.         Heaven has water.


                        "Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city" (Revelation 22:1-2).


            Therefore, hell has no water.


                        "Have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue" (Luke 16:24).


4.         Heaven has food.


                        "Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst" (Revelation 7:16).


            Therefore, hell has no food.


5.         Heaven has light.


                        "The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp" (Revelation 21:23).


            Therefore, hell has darkness.


                        "And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness" (Matthew 25:30).

6.         Heaven has warmth.


                        "On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month" [It's always spring time!] (Revelation 22:2).


            Therefore, hell has cold.


                        "Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold" (Matthew 24:12).


                        "But the subject of the kingdom will be thrown outside into the darkness" (Matthew 8:12).


7.         Heaven has the scents of incense.


                        "Another angels, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar.  He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne.  The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel's hand" (Revelation 8:3-4).


            Therefore, hell has a terrible smell.


                        "Their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur.  This is the second death" (Revelation 21:8).


8.         Heaven has foundations so we are on solid footing.


                        "He carried me away in the Spirit...and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God....The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb" (Revelation 21:10 & 14).


            Therefore, hell is bottomless so we are always falling.


                        "And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up" (Revelation 20:3).


                        "They are...wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness [Message Translation:  "black hole"] has been reserved forever" (Jude 13).





9.         Heaven has a street on which we can walk right up to God's throne.


                        "The great street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass" (Revelation 21:21).


            Therefore, hell has no streets and go nowhere.


                        "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost" (Luke 19:10).


10.       Heaven has singing and joy.


                        "Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand.  They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders.  In a loud voice they sang, 'Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain" (Revelation 5:11-2).


            Therefore, hell has no singing or joy.


                        "He will...assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 24:51).


11.       Heaven has many people there to do things with.


                        "After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb.  They were wearing white robes....And they cried out in a loud voice:  "Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb" (Revelation 7:9-10).


            Therefore, hell is lonely.


                        "Then the king told the attendants, 'Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside" (Matthew 22:13).


12.       Heaven is where God remembers our sins no more.


                        "Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more" (Hebrews 10:17).


            Therefore, hell is where Satan constantly reminds us of our sins.


                        "For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them...day and night, has been hurled down" (Revelation 12:10).






                          GOD, HAVE MERCY ON ME, A SINNER!




Paul, the great apostle, had trouble every day with his sins:


"We know that the law is spiritual, but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.  I do not understand what I do.  For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.  And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.  As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.  I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.  For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.  For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do - this I keep on doing. 


"Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.  So I find this law at work:  When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.  For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.


"What a wretched man I am!  Who will rescue me from this body of death?"  (Romans 7:14-24) 


Paul, had found a solution though:


"Thanks be to God - through Jesus Christ our Lord!  Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are IN CHRIST JESUS, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.


"For what the law [Old Testament] was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering."  (Romans 7:25 and 8:1-3).



How did he get "in Christ Jesus"?


"Don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too many live a new life.  If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.


"For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin - because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.  Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him."  (Romans 6:2-8).






"What, then, shall we say in response to this?  If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all - how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?


"Who will bring any charge [accusations from Satan that we are sinners] against those whom God has chosen?  It is God who justifies.  Who is he that condemns?  Christ Jesus, who died - more than that, who was raised to life - is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.


"WHO SHALL SEPARATE US FROM THE LOVE OF CHRIST?  Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?  ....No, in all these things we are MORE THAN CONQUERORS through him who loved us.


"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!"  (Romans 8:31-39)