A
pAEXPLORING CHRISTIANITY - LIFE AFTER DEATH

THE BIBLE
Can we trust a book written 2000 years ago?

EYEWITNESS
Did the writers of the New Testament get their picture of Jesus right?

GOD - MAN
Is Jesus really God?

RESURRECTION
Did Jesus really rise from the dead?

RELIGIONS
With so many religions, why Christianity?

SUFFERING
If there is a God, why is there so much suffering?

TRINITY
Understanding the Trinity.

SCIENCE
The complementary nature of Science & Christianity.

FORGIVENESS
What it is and why it matters?

GUIDANCE
How does God guide?

REPENTANCE
What it is and why you can't get to heaven without it.

BORN AGAIN
What does it mean to be converted and born again?

SAVING FAITH
The kind of faith that will get you to heaven

ASSURANCE
Can I know for sure that I am going to heaven?

TRUTH
What is truth and does it matter?

MORALITY
Does it matter how we live? A Christian view of morality.

THE CHURCH
God's vision for his family, the Church. A call to the churches of the new millennium.

PURPOSE
How can I find a great purpose for living?

IDENTITY
Who am I; Finding my true identity as a human being and as a child of God.

SELF-ESTEEM
How can I feel good about my self? The Christian basis for proper sel-esteem.

LIFE AFTER DEATHChristianity's Hope & Challenge.

THE CROSS
Why did Jesus Die? What the Bible says about the Cross.

Grace
The importance of grace in the New Testament.

 

Appendices

Included here are several poems and articles that have caught my attention over the years. The two poems, Looking for the Sunrise and Treasure Up in Heaven, and the article A Traveller’s Guide to Heaven, I have had in my collection for many years and do not know where they first appeared in print. They are worth passing on to the next generation, but I hope I am not infringing any copyright in doing so. The poem Looking for the Sunrise I have often used at funerals in my role as an Anglican pastor, and sometimes get asked for copies.

The King and the Fool appeared over sixty years ago in a small booklet titled The Traveller’s Guide from Death to Life which contained illustrations of the gospel compiled by Mrs Stephen Menzies and published by the British Gospel Book Association.

Looking for the Sunrise

I’m not looking for the sunset,
As the swift years come and go;
I am looking for the sunrise,
And the golden morning glow,
Where the light of heaven’s glory
Will break forth upon my sight,
In the land that knows no sunset,
Nor the darkness of the night.

 I’m not going down the pathway
Toward the setting of the sun,
Where the shadows ever deepen
 When the day at last is done;
I  am walking up the hillside
Where the sunshine lights the way,
To the glory of the sunrise
Of God’s never-ending day.

 I’m not going down, but upward,
And the path is never dim,
For the day grows ever brighter
As I journey on with Him.
So my eyes are on the hilltops,
Waiting for the sun to rise,
Waiting for His invitation
To the home beyond the skies.

 Albert Simpson Reitz, June 1953

 

 Treasure Up in Heaven

You tell me I am getting old, but that’s not really so.
The house I live in may be worn, and that of course I know.
It’s been in use for quite a while, weathered by wind and hail.
I’m therefore not surprised to find it’s getting somewhat frail!

 You tell me I am getting old, you mix the house with me.
You're looking at the outside, that’s all that you can see.
The dweller in this shaky house is young and bright and free;
Just starting on a life that lasts for all eternity.

 The colour’s changing on the roof, the window’s looking dim,
The wall’s a bit transparent and is getting rather thin.
The foundation’s not as steady, as once it used to be;
But that is all that you observe, and really that’s not me!

 I patch the old house up a bit, to make it last the night,
But soon I shall be leaving for my home of endless light:
I’m going to live forever there, for life goes on—it’s grand!
How can you say I’m getting old? You do not understand!

 These few short years can’t make me old. I feel I’m in my youth:
Eternal life is mine right now, and thats the solid truth!
I will not fret to see this house grow shabby day by day,
But look ahead to my New Home which never will decay.

 I want to be found worthy for my Father’s house above;
Cleansed in the precious Blood of Christ and growing still in love.
The beauty of that glorious home no words can ever say.
‘Tis hidden from these mortal eyes, but kept for me some day.

 My house is getting ready in a place beyond the sky.
Its Architect and Builder is my Saviour now on high:
But He’s told me that He’s leaving all the furnishing to me,
So it’s ‘treasure up in heaven’ that I’m storing—don’t you see?

 Mr L. A. T. Van Dooran

 

A Traveller’s Guide to Heaven

Accommodation: Arrangements for first-class accommodation have been made in advance.

In my Father’s house are many rooms…I am going there to prepare a place for you (John 14:2).

 Passports: Persons seeking entry will not be permitted past the gates without having proper credentials and having their names registered with the ruling Authority.

Nothing impure will ever enter it…but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life (Revelation 21:27).

 Departure Times: The exact date of departure has not been announced. Travellers are advised to be prepared to leave at short notice.

It is not for you to know the times or the dates, which the Father has set by his own authority (Acts 1:7).

 Tickets: Your ticket is a written pledge that guarantees your journey. It should be claimed and its promises kept firmly in hand.

Everyone who hears my message and has faith in the one who sent me has eternal life and will never be condemned. They have already gone from death to life (John 5:24).

 Customs: Only one declaration is required while going through customs.

I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4).

 Immigration: All passengers are classified as immigrants, since they are taking up permanent residence in a new country. The quota is unlimited.

They were longing for a better country—a heavenly one…for he has prepared a city for them (Hebrews 11:16).

 Luggage: No luggage whatsoever can be taken.

We brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it (1 Timothy 6:7).

 Air passage: Travellers going directly by air are advised to watch daily for indication of imminent departure.

We who are still alive and are left will be caught up, with them, in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever (1 Thessalonians 4:17).

 Vaccination and inoculation: Injections are not needed, as diseases are unknown at the destination.

He will wipe all tears from their eyes, and there will be no more death, suffering, crying, or pain. These things of the past are gone forever (Revelation 21:4).

 Currency: Supplies of currency may be forwarded ahead to await the passenger’s arrival. Deposits should be as large as possible.

Store up your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy them, and thieves cannot break in and steal them (Matthew 6:20).

 Clothing: A complete and appropriate new wardrobe is provided for each traveller.

He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness (Isaiah 61:10).

 Time changes: Resetting of watches will not be necessary. Nor will the watches.

The city did not need the sun or the moon. The glory of God was shining on it, and the Lamb was its light…and night never comes (Revelation 21:23, 25).

 Reservations: Booking is now open. Apply at once.

The time has come. This is the day for you to be saved (2 Corinthians 6:2).

 Coronation ceremony: The highlight of the journey is the welcoming reception and the coronation which will await each new arrival.

There is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and…also to all who have longed for his appearing (2 Timothy 4:8).

 Marcelle Price 

 

Heaven

 The following letter was printed in a local paper some twenty years ago. It was sent to them by a parishioner of an Anglican church in Christchurch, New Zealand whose name I do not have.

 “Sometime ago our Minister announced that he would be speaking the following Sunday on ‘Heaven’. During the week a beautiful letter was received from an old man who was very ill, and the following is part of his letter. ‘Next Sunday you are to talk about heaven. I am very interested in that land, because I have held a clear title to a bit of property there for over 53 years. I did not buy it. It was given me without money and without price. But the Donor purchased it for me at tremendous sacrifice. I am not holding it for speculation since the title is not transferable. It is not a vacant lot. For more than half a century I have been sending materials out of which the greatest architect and builder of the Universe has been building a home for me, which will never need to be remodelled, nor repaired, because it will suit me perfectly, individually, and will never grow old. Dry rot or borer can never undermine its foundations for they rest on the ‘Rock of Ages’. Fire cannot destroy it. Floods cannot wash it away. No lock or bolts will ever be placed on its doors for no evil person can ever enter that land where my dwelling stands, now almost completed, and almost ready for me to enter in and abide in peace eternally, without fear of being ejected. There is a valley of deep shadow between the place where I live in Opawa and that to which I shall journey in a very short time. I cannot reach my home in the heavenly city without passing through this dark valley of shadows. But I am not afraid because the best Friend I ever had went through the same valley long, long ago and drove away all its gloom. This Friend has stuck by me through thick and thin, since we first became acquainted 53 years ago, and I hold his promise, in printed form, never to forsake me or leave me alone. He will be with me as I walk through the valley of shadows, and I shall not lose my way when He is with me. Yes, Heaven is the centre of the Christian’s universe and he is bound to it by 8 golden links. 1) Our Father is there (Matthew 6:9). 2) Our Saviour is there (Hebrews 9:24). 3) Our home is there (John 14:2-4). 4) Our name is there (Luke 10:20). 5) Our life is there (Colossians 3:1-3). 6) Our heart is there (Matthew 6:19-21). 7) Our inheritance is there (1 Peter 1:3-5). 8) Our citizenship is there (Philippians 3:20). Yes, this old man is ready to travel there, are you? A man may go to heaven without wealth, without health, without fame, without a great name, without learning, without money, without culture, without beauty, without friends, without 10,000 other things. But he can never go to heaven without having accepted Jesus Christ as his Saviour and Lord in this life.’”

 

Hamish

This poem is my own hesitant effort at writing poetry. I composed it on the occasion of the memorial service for our little grandson who died in his mother’s womb at seven and a half months.

In sorrow and with heavy hearts
We gather on this day,
To cast to earth a little lad,
To share, to grieve, to pray.
For little Hamish, ere he knew
To either laugh or cry,
Was taken from us suddenly,
And now we wonder why.
That hand that never held a spade,
That eye that never saw,
Those feet that never trod the soil,
Now seem to be no more.

 But this is only part the tale,
For we have hope above—
A God with power beyond this world
Whose character is Love;
A God who knows the depths of pain,
In Person of his Son
Took human nature, flesh and blood—
For us the victory won.
He lived through hunger, thirst and trial,
He knew both joy and gloom,
He prayed through many sleepless hours,
He wept at Lazarus’ tomb.
Through death he plumbed the depths of hell,
In power he rose to reign,
And demonstrated once for all
A final end to pain.

 And so, in faith we journey on,
We trust, if cannot see,
In hope of glory yet to come,
Touched by eternity.
And when at last the trumpet sounds,
And this grey sleeping dust
Is transformed by God’s mighty power,
Then he will rise with us.
In instant recognition then
No stranger will we meet—
A loving son, a friend in Christ—
A family complete.
Then we shall see what traits, what gifts,
Within your genes were sealed,
What personality is yours,
In manhood full revealed.

 So, Hamish, though we still do grieve,
We follow where we’re led;
And till that glorious break of Day
We send our love ahead.

Dick Tripp
15 October, 1998

 

The King and the Fool

A certain lord kept a fool, or jester, in his house, as great men did in olden times for their amusement. His lord gave a staff to his fool, and charged him to keep it until he met with a greater fool than himself, and if he met with such a one, to deliver it over to him. Not many years after, the lord fell sick. His fool came to see him, and was told of his master’s illness. “And where will you go?” asked the fool. “On a long journey,” said the lord. “And when will you come again? Within a month?” “No,” said his master. “Within a year?” “No.” “What then—never?” “Never.” “And what provision have you made for where you are going?” “None at all.” “Are you going away for ever,” said the fool, “and have made no provision before your departure? Here, take my staff, for I am not guilty of any such folly as that.”

 Will you meet me at the fountain?

There is an old Sankey hymn, “Will you meet me at the fountain?” It was written at the time of a great Industrial Exhibition in Chicago and “The fountain” was the place where everybody arranged to meet their friends. It expresses my wish for you, the reader of this booklet:

Will you meet me at the Fountain
When I reach the glory land
Will you meet me at the Fountain
Shall I clasp your friendly hand?
Other friends will give me welcome,
Other loving voices cheer,
There’ll be music at the Fountain,
Will you meet me there?

 Will you meet me at the Fountain?
I shall long to have you near
When I meet my loving Saviour,
When His welcome words I hear.
He will meet me at the Fountain,
His embraces I shall share.
There’ll be glory at the Fountain,
Will you, will you meet me there?

 

Foreward

Preface

Part 1: Exploring the territory

Why it matters what we believe

The avoidance of death in our modern world

The reasonableness of life after death

Part 2: The Christian view of life after death

The nature of Christian conversion

Resurrection, not reincarnation

Between death and resurrection

The nature of Heaven

Stories of faith

What about Judgement

The future of unbelievers

A Choice to be made

Appendices

 



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