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RECOGNITION IN THE AFTERLIFE

Victor M. Eskew

 

INTRODUCTION

 

A.   One of the sobering facts of life is that “Men Die!”

 

B.   Because men die, men often ask questions about death.

1.    What happens at death?

2.    Is there really a heaven or hell?

3.    When the Lord comes again, what kind of body will we have?

4.    What does heaven look like?

5.    Will we know each other in heaven?

 

C.   The last question is the one that we want to address in this lesson.  The title of our lesson is:  “Recognition in the Afterlife.”

 

D.   We will examine three points:

1.    Proofs that recognition in the afterlife is true.

2.    An objection that is often raised

3.    The blessings of recognition in the hereafter

 

I.             PROOFS OF RECOGNITION

 

A.   We do not lose our identity in death.

1.    God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Exo. 3:6).

 

Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob…

 

a.    Notice the words:  “I am.”  This is a present tense verb.  At the time God was speaking, He was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

b.    These men had been dead many years, but they had not lost their identities.

2.    Resurrection:  The same person who went into the grave shall come up out of the grave (John 5:28-29).

 

Marvel not at this:  for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth…

 

B.   We do not lose our memory at death.

1.    In the account of the rich man and Lazarus, Abraham told the rich man to “remember” (Luke 16:25).

 

But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things.

 

2.    In the same account, the rich man remembered things about his home.

a.    He had a father who had a house (Luke 16:27).

b.    He remembered that he had five brothers (Luke 16:28).

 

C.   Examples of recognition:

1.    In the account of the rich man and Lazarus, the rich man recognized both Abraham and Lazarus (Luke 16:23).

 

And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

 

2.    On the Mount of Transfiguration, Moses and Elijah appeared to Jesus (Matt. 17:3-4).

 

And behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.  Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord it is good for us to be here:  if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles:  one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.

 

3.    Jesus’ words to the penitent thief (Luke 23:43).

 

And Jesus said unto him, Verily, I say unto thee, To day thou shalt be with me in paradise.

 

4.    David’s words concerning his son who died (II Sam. 12:23).

 

But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast?  Can I bring him back again?  I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.

 

D.   Additional verses:

1.    Matthew 8:11

 

And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.

 

2.    In Ephesians 3:15, Paul writes about the family God.  Note that at this time it is split between heaven and earth.

 

Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.

 

a.    There will come a time when the whole family of God will be in heaven.

b.    If there is no recognition, we will just be a big family of strangers to each other.

3.    Paul told the Thessalonians that they would be his hope, joy, and crown of rejoicing when Jesus comes again (I Thess. 2:19-20).

 

For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing?  Are not even ye in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?  For ye are our glory and joy.

 

a.    When Jesus comes back, the Thessalonians will stand with Jesus.  Paul will see them and rejoice.

b.    If they are strangers to Paul, and he does not recognize them, how could they bring him joy?

 

II.           OBJECTION TO RECOGNITION

 

A.   Stated:  If we are able to recognize each other, then we will realize that some of our loved ones, or brethren did not make it.  How will we have joy knowing they are lost?

 

B.   Answer

1.    Two things we know for sure.

a.    There will be recognition in the hereafter.

b.    There will be joy and no sorrow in heaven (Rev. 21:4).

 

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain:  for the former things are passed away.

 

2.    The explanations of our joy have been many.

a.    We will gain superior knowledge in heaven that will cause us not to be sorrowful.

b.    As the faithful, we will accept the righteous judgment of God as right.

c.    We will do like we do on earth.  We know that many have died in a lost condition, but that does not dispose of our joy here.

 

III.         THE BLESSINGS OF HEAVENLY RECOGNITION

 

A.   The anticipation of recognition

1.    All of us have lost people who were close to us.

2.    We lost them, but we anticipate seeing them again.

3.    This thought helps us to bear the loss.

4.    One person recently wrote:  “It is not good-bye, but only farewell for a time.”

5.    This was the topic of Paul discussion with the Thessalonians (I Thess. 4:13-14).

 

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.   For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

 

a.    Those who are asleep are the dead.

b.    If we are living when Jesus returns, He will be bringing the dead saints back with Him.

c.    We live in anticipation of this event.

 

B.   The joy of heavenly recognition

1.    When a husband or wife who has lost their mate in death finally passes on, we often talk about their finally getting to see one another again.

2.    What a joy it will be to meet Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Caleb, Deborah, Esther, Mary, Dorcas, and many other Bible greats.

3.    David is now reunited with his son.

4.    Jesus died before the thief, but they met again in Paradise that day.

 

C.   The eternal bliss of never having to leave our loved ones again.

1.    Matthew 25:46b

 

…but the righteous into life eternal.

 

2.    Romans 2:7

 

To them who be patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life.

 

3.    Romans 6:23b

 

…but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

4.    I John 2:25

 

And this is the promise that he promised us, even eternal life.

CONCLUSION

 

A.   Heaven will NOT be a place that is filled with those who are strangers to us.

 

B.   We will recognize one another and find joy in one another’s presence.

 

C.   I hope the things that we have studied will make us sing some of our hymns with a little more enthusiasm.

1.    “When We All Get to Heaven” – what a day of rejoicing that will be.

2.    In the Morning of Joy

 

O the bliss of that morn,
When our loved ones we meet!
With the songs of the ransomed
We each other shall greet,
Singing praise to the Lamb,
Thro’ eternity’s years,
With the past all forgotten
With its sorrows and tears.