Joyce Meyer - What Happens When We Die?
Well, I'm so glad that you've joined us today and I believe the Word of God is going to enrich your lives. I have a subject today that might seem a little bit unique when I first get started, but God put it on my heart and I think it's gonna really help a lot of people. I wanna talk to you today about what's gonna happen to us when we die. You know, a lot of people live like there's no tomorrow, but tomorrow always comes. And death is something that we absolutely, not one of us, can avoid. There's a lot of things that we can avoid in life, but we're all going to someday die.
So, it is a valid subject that we need to spend a little bit of time with because we wanna make sure that when we die that we end up in the right place after that. And death really is just death here. It's not, like, you don't just stop being. Your body here just turns to ashes and dust, and your soul and your spirit go somewhere else. And so, we only have two choices. And to put it very bluntly, we're either gonna go to heaven or we're gonna go to hell. And I think any sane person, without even having very much of a description, would choose heaven and not hell. The Bible says that in hell it's gonna be miserable, weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Now, obviously, people that are not believers in Christ, many times don't think about this at all. Or maybe you've even come up with some kind of a doctrine where you think you're gonna get to be reincarnated and come back as something else. I guess, that's comforting, but it's not biblical. The Bible says that, in Hebrews 9:27, and I love this: "For it is appointed for all men once to die", not over and over and coming back as somethin' else, but once to die, "And after that the judgment". And so, we're all gonna face God. I love Romans 14:12 that says that "Every man", every man, "Will give an account of himself to God".
So, let's just think for a minute, the day is gonna come we're all, whether you're born again or not born again, we're all gonna stand before God and give an account of our lives. And death is not anything that we need to be afraid of. One of the benefits of being a believer in Jesus Christ is that you don't have to be afraid of death. Matter of fact, the older you get, sometimes you're kinda like, "Okay, Lord, I'm ready to get outta here. I've been here long enough".
Now, you know, I enjoy my life. I've got a great life, but you know, living in the world is, it can get, to say the least, a little bit annoying sometimes, you know, you gotta put up with a lot of people that aren't very pleasant to put up with. And you know, the bottom line is, is this is not our home, we were never intended to be here for eternity and so, the longer you've been here, the more you're thinking, you know, "I'm looking forward to seeing the Lord face to face". The Bible teaches us that through the Holy Spirit, we've been delivered from the fear of death.
And so, I have to wonder how many people are watching today that the very thoughts of death or even the subject I'm talkin' about today, just really frightens you. And you don't have to be afraid of no longer being here in the earth and being somewhere else if you know you're gonna be goin' to the right place. But sadly, there are even believers in Christ who still aren't sure where they're gonna end up. And it really makes me sad when I say to somebody, "Well, do you believe you're gonna go to heaven when you die"? And they say, "I hope so". No Christian has to hope so. If we really believe the Word of God, then we know that we know that we know that we're gonna live forever in his presence.
Revelation 22:12: "Behold, I'm coming soon". Let me say that again. "Behold", Jesus said, "I am coming soon". Now, you know, my soon and God's soon, I've found out, are sometimes not the same thing. But in this instance, I don't want to assume that it's something he's gonna put off. "And I shall bring my wages and my rewards with me, to repay and render to each one just what his own actions and his own work merit".
Now, this is something we have to talk about a little bit because, as a believer in Jesus Christ, we are not gonna be judged on our salvation as far as I can't work my way into heaven. That's a gift of God that's received only by faith, Ephesians 2:8 and 9, beautiful scriptures. For those of you who have not received Christ as your Savior, this should bring you great comfort today, and it should help you make a decision today that you're not gonna put it off any longer. "For it is by free grace (God's unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made a partaker of Christ's salvation) and it's through your faith".
So, God is just asking us to believe. Believe that Jesus died for you, believe that he paid for your sins, believe that he rose from the dead, that he is now seated at the right hand of the father, that he loves you, he cares about you, and that by simple faith in him, your sins can be forgiven and your name can be written in the Lamb's Book of Life. I don't know about you but I think we should take a break right here and give a big shout-out to God, amen? What good news is that. "And it is not of yourselves it's not of your own doing, it came not through your own striving, but it is the gift of God".
In other words, we can't earn it, we can't deserve it. There's no amount of good works on my part or your part that could ever make me good enough for God to say, "Okay, now you're good enough, I'll receive you". It's always through Christ. He came and did for us what we could never do for ourself. He came and he lived a perfect, sinless life in a human body and he took our sins to the cross with him. "Not because of any works or any fulfillment of the law, lest any man should boast". In other words, God doesn't want us to say, "Well, I deserve that", or "I've earned that".
You know, no matter how good any one of us might be, we still can't say that we deserve to have a relationship with God because his holiness and greatness is so far removed from any amount of goodness that we could ever do. And so, even people that are watching today and you just think, "Well, I'm a good person", you know what? You might be, but that's still not gonna get you into heaven. Because no matter how good we are, the Bible says if we live according to the law, if we do one thing wrong, then we're guilty of doing everything wrong. That's why we need Jesus. We need to prepare for eternity, whether you're born again or you're not born again, every single one of us, we need to prepare for eternity.
You see, it's very plain that a believer is not gonna be judged on whether they're saved or not. When you stand before God, if he were to say, "Why should I let you in", you simply say, "Because I believe in Jesus", and that's the end of it. You're not gonna be judged as to whether or not you're gonna be saved, but, and this is something that I think a lot of believers really don't ponder enough, we will be judged for and receive or lose rewards for the works that we have or have not done while we're here. Let me say it again. We will be judged for the works that we've done here. And the Bible actually says that any work that we've done that is not done with a pure motive will be burned up and we will lose the reward of it, even though we ourselves will be saved.
So I can do all kinds of good works that's why, see, you might think you're a really good person. Well, you know what? If you're not in Christ, if you're not a believer in Christ, none of that goodness is gonna count for anything when you stand before God. But it's comforting for me to know that I may put out a lot of effort here and maybe I love my enemies and I'm good to people that really aren't very easy to be good to and, you know, I give financially into the kingdom and, you know, I believe we see rewards here. But if we don't see here what we think we should see, the good news is, is we are going to see it when we get to heaven.
And I believe that we all have a certain amount of wonderful reward stored up for us and, to be honest, I don't wanna get to heaven and find out that I had all this stuff that could have been a benefit to me but I just lost out because I wasted my time or I'm a believer in Christ but I spent my whole life being angry at somebody that did something wrong to me when I was a child. So, for a believer, it's really important that we understand the power of obedience and how each one of us needs to work with the Holy Spirit to strive to do everything that God wants us to do and to live according to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
I read a statement recently and I really, really, really like this. It said, "Nobody needs to be afraid of failure, what we need to be more afraid of is that we might succeed at doing something useless". Is that not good? Matter of fact, I think that bears repeating. We don't need to be afraid of failure. What we need to fear is spending our lives doing something, succeeding at doing something useless. Boy, I love that. Don't get too comfortable here on the earth. Psalm 119:19: "I am a stranger and a temporary resident on the earth: hide not your commandments from me".
You know, this is not our home. If you're not real comfortable here, it stands to reason that you wouldn't be. Matter of fact, I think if you're too comfortable here, that indicates that there might be a little bit of a problem. We're merely passing through. This is not our home. We're passing through. We have a job to do while we're here and that's to represent Christ in the earth, so people might see him through us. I always tell people, "If God didn't have anything for us to do after we're born again, he would just say, 'well, come on home now,' and we wouldn't have to deal with all this stuff here". But he leaves us here because we have a job to do for him. We're partners with God and we're partnering with him in the earth, doing his will, letting people see Jesus through us.
And so I believe, this is something I've been saying for the last year, we need to spend most of our here time getting ready for there. But you know, even as believers, I think if we're honest about it, how much time do we even spend thinking about eternity? How much time do we really even spend thinking about, "I'm gonna meet the Lord face to face some day, and he's gonna ask for an accounting of my life"? And none of us are gonna give a perfect accounting, but it doesn't need to frighten us because if we've just done the best we could for the glory of God, then that's gonna count for everything.
I don't know about you but I had to deal with something in myself and I really got an answer only about 2 years ago. And that is, is that it seems like I find this low-level discontent in me sometimes. No matter what I have, no matter what I'm doin', no matter how good life is, there's still, kind of like, this "There's something else that I want and I don't even really know what it is". And you know, Paul said, "I've learned to be content in all things", and so I got a little bit frustrated with myself because I thought, "Now, I shouldn't feel like that. I've got a great life, great family, people that love me, nice home. Why would I feel like this"? Well, the answer is in the Bible.
In Ecclesiastes 3:11, "He has made everything beautiful in its time. And he has planted eternity in men's hearts and minds", now listen to this, "A divinely implanted sense of a purpose working through the ages which nothing under the sun but God alone can satisfy". Is that not beautiful? So, in other words, to be very honest, getting a new car shouldn't totally satisfy us. Getting the job of our dreams should not totally satisfy us. Marrying the best-looking man on the planet should not totally satisfy us. Because there's something deep in our hearts that we know we still can never have here, and that's seeing Jesus face to face and living in his presence, amen?
So, I would be more concerned about you if you said, "Man, I am totally satisfied here. Love it, love it, love the earth, love the world, love my stuff". I'd be more concerned about you if you said that to me than if you said, "You know, Joyce, I've got a great life. I mean, God has been so good to me, but there's still just a little something there that I feel like I'm missing". Do any of you ever feel that way? Do you just wonder why is it that no matter what I get, it can't satisfy me for very long? And see, the thing that the enemy holds up in front of people and it happens to believers, but it really happens to unbelievers, is if they're unhappy, they think, "Just this one more thing". If they can get this one more thing, then they're gonna be happy.
But I want you to hear me loud and clear today. Things, success, fame, fortune, they do not and never will have an ability to keep you happy long-term. Because they don't do anything for our spirit. They may get my flesh excited. I mean, I can see something new, a new outfit. It's, like, whoo! I can get goosebumps and get all excited, like any other woman, but you know what? It's gonna wear out. And actually, the truth is, now listen to this, everything that we buy and bring home, it's already in the process of decay when you bring it in your house. And it has no real life in it. It doesn't have life in it. Life comes from God and God alone. He is life and, in him, is the life that we need. And if you don't think that things wear out, just go to a nice junkyard.
See, I've done this. Go sit, park your car, look at a junkyard and just say, "That was somebody's dream at one time. Somebody may have lost their family over that. Somebody may have lost their salvation over that". Things are not nearly what the enemy wants us to think that they are. And then there's another scripture in Philippians 3:20: "We are citizens of the state (and the commonwealth and the homeland) which is heaven, and from it also we earnestly and patiently await the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ who is our Savior". We're created for God, for God alone, and nothing in all of this world could ever satisfy us totally except him.
Now, well, what should our attitude be toward material things? You know, things, right now, I know that I'm talking to a lot of people if you've left the TV on long enough to hear all this message, I'm talking to a lot of people that you're letting things keep you away from God. And to be honest, there's even believers listening, people who have accepted Christ as your Savior, you're born again, but you're too busy chasing after things or promotion at work or more of this or more of that, too busy to give God the time that he really deserves, because the Bible says that he is to be first in all things.
And I was just looking at 1 John 5:21 yesterday where it says we are to "Keep ourselves from idols". We keep ourselves from letting anything else get in front of God. And it's something that we all have to remind ourselves or maybe even work at a little bit. You know, people ask me quite frequently, "How do you keep your priorities in your life straight, with all you have to do"? And you know what I finally, I finally just got the great answer from God, "I don't keep 'em straight, I'm always straightening them out". In other words, we have to pretty constantly make adjustments so if I find myself unhappy and there doesn't seem to be really any reason for me to be unhappy, usually it's because I've gotten my priorities out of line. If I find myself exhausted all the time, and if I hear myself complaining all the time.
You know, when we hear ourselves complaining all the time as believers in Jesus Christ, we need to say, "Now, what is the root of this problem"? And a lot of times, the root of the problem is not that we need more of something else, it's maybe that we've let the something else become more important to us than what it should be. Matthew 6:33: "Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all of these things will be added unto us".
Now, God's not against us having things. He created beauty. He wants us to have beautiful things. He wants his children to be blessed. But one of the things we can trust God to do is not give us more at any season in our life than what we're able to handle and keep him first. So if you're believing God for something and it's not come your way yet, trust God that his timing is perfect in your life and believe that he not only watches over us in our lives, but he knows what we can handle and what we can't handle and thank God he's not gonna give us more than we can handle. And I've learned to pray a little bit differently. I don't pray, "God, give me this, give me that, give me something else". I always say, "God, this is what I'd like to have, but please don't give me any more than I could handle and keep you first in my life".
See, I love that because I don't want anything to come before God. You know why I don't? Because this is not my final home. I'm gonna face God some day and I don't wanna have to be ashamed because I let everything here be more important to me than he was, amen? I don't think God cares how much we have as long as we can keep him first. I mean that. I think anybody that can keep God first in their life, you might be amazed, God will just probably, as we say, bless your socks off. Luke 12:15: "And he said to them, guard yourselves", see, here we're getting a job again. "Guard yourselves and keep free from all covetousness (the immoderate desire for wealth, and the greedy longings to have more): for a man's life does not consist in and it is not derived from possessing overflowing abundance or that which is over and above his needs".
Now, that scripture's not saying it's wrong to have it. Don't misinterpret it, but he says, "Your life is not in that. You can do without that". See, we have to learn that there are some things that we can do without but the one thing we cannot do without is having a rich, wonderful, satisfying relationship with God in our lives. You can do without that new house that you want that you seem to be unhappy right now because you don't have, but you can't do without God. So we are to keep him first. A scripture that is often misunderstood is 1 Timothy 6:10: "For the love of money is the root of all evil". It does not say that money is the root of all evil. Money is not evil. We need money to live in this earth. We need money to pay our bills. And to be honest, we cannot even be a blessing to the poor or other people if we don't have money to do it with.
So, God wants us to have our needs met, and he wants us to have an abundance besides that as long as we can handle it faithfully. And that means that we need to realize that we are owners of nothing and stewards of everything, amen? We don't own anything. It's not my this, my that, my something else. I would have absolutely zero, nothing, except that God graciously gave me something. But he's giving it to us as a steward to watch over until he calls us home. The Bible tells us very plainly, "Don't love or cherish the world, nor the things that are in the world. For all that is in the world, the cravings of the flesh, lustful longings", it all belongs to the earth. "These things do not come from the father but they come from the world itself".
You know, Jesus is coming soon and I wanna leave you with that thought today. But I don't wanna leave you the way I found you if you're not in a right relationship with God. Jesus is coming soon, and there will be a time when you will give an accounting for your life. I already read you a scripture that said we're saved by grace, not by works. There is no pit so deep that God can't reach down in it and lift you out today. He loves you, he's longing for a relationship with you, and if you're tired, you're weary, you're worn out, you feel hopeless, today can be a complete turnaround day for you. Today, actually, is the beginning of the rest of your life and you can live it in a brand new way and live it for God. If you're already a believer in Christ, but you just kind of have God in a little Sunday Morning Box and you go to church once a week and you pray when there's a crisis, there's something so much better for you than that.
Why not make a decision today that you're gonna live like you really believe you're gonna stand before God someday and give an accounting for your life? If you need to make adjustments, today is the day to do it. If you're not born again, if you've not received Jesus as your Savior, first of all I'm gonna pray with you but there is a number on your screen. We'd like you to call it. We have a book that we'd like to give you called "A New Way of Living". It'll help you get your relationship with God started right, and it'll keep you on track and it's free. We're just gonna give it to you today. Today's program is about you and making sure that you are gonna be in heaven and not in hell when your time here is up. So if you wanna receive Christ as your Savior, if you're serious and you mean it, pray this simple little prayer with me. I'll pray a line, you pray out after me.
Father, I love you. Jesus, I believe that you're the Son of God. You are God yourself. You died for me, you paid for my sin. You rose from the dead, and you're alive right now. I give myself to you. Take me just the way I am and make me what you want me to be. I want to be a Christian, and today is the first day of the rest of my life, amen.
Now, you know, you may have questions. That's why that number's on your screen (800-727-9673). You can call and our people are standing by to answer any questions that you have. If you need more prayer, we'd be more than happy to pray with you about anything in your life. And I just want you to remember that God loves you so much, so much that he sent his only son to die for you. And it's about time that we give him the attention that he deserves. Make sure when Jesus comes that you're gonna be in the right place for the rest of eternity. Thank you so much for being with us and God bless you.