Monday, June 15, 2020

You’re Gonna Die and Then Go Straight to…

Kopp Disclosure

(John 3:19-21)


You’re Gonna Die and Then Go Straight to…

You’re gonna die and then go straight to…

It’s true.

Someday everybody is going to return from the graveside service at the cemetery but you.

Deal with it.

You’re gonna die and then go straight to…

You’re gonna die.

That’s for certain.

No getting around that for anybody; including you and me.

You’re gonna die and then straight to…

There’s that uncertain part.

You’ve got a big decision to make sooner than later and definitely before that last breath; for the first nano-second after that last breath, you and me and everybody else are going straight to…

Deal with it.


Where do you want to spend forever après your earthly sojourn?

You’ve got a choice – a decision to make.

It can’t wait because you don’t know when your earthly sojourn will expire.

Isaiah pleaded on behalf of God because God wants everybody to be saved for eternity in heaven: “Seek the Lord while He may be found” (Isaiah 55:6).

Don’t put off what may not be available tomorrow because you may not be available anymore after today to take Him up on His offer in the living years.

You’re gonna die and then go straight to…

Heaven or…

Well, that was rather intense.

Remember Martha Young?

I got into a lot of trouble for ordaining Martha Young as the first African-American elder of the First Presbyterian Church of WSNC.

Though you won’t find any in the really authentic-true-to-Jesus-by-the-book Church, there are a lotta racists in the world; and they come in all colors from all classes and cultures.

Well, when I shared some of the hate mail that I received for ordaining her, she said, “You love ‘em, let God judge ‘em and love ‘em enough to tell ‘em that God’s coming back to judge ‘em.”

“Hear ye, hear ye…The court’s in session…Now here comes the judge!  Here comes the judge!”

We used to laugh with Sammy Davis, Jr. back in the late 60s when he’d shout that out on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In.

It won’t be funny in the end.

It will be dead serious.

The only Judge who matters in the end is coming back and His verdict will be an eternal life sentence to heaven or…

Paul warned unbelievers as he reassured the faithful, “God has set a day when He is going to judge the world” (Acts 17:31).

God in the risen Christ with the Holy Spirit said, “I am coming soon, and My reward is with Me to repay each person according to his work…Blessed are those who wash their robes…[i.e., invite Jesus into their lives as Lord and Savior]…so that they may have the right to the tree of life and may enter the heavenly city by the gates” (see Revelation 22).

Please read Matthew 25:31-46 and Revelation 20:11-15.

While I’m just scratching the surface of my relationship with Jesus by the book as enlightened by the Holy Spirit who never contradicts Jesus by the book, Matthew 25:31-46 and Revelation 20:11-15 are the most explicit Biblical texts on God’s judgment of all souls and the choice that every person must make before that judgment that will determine ultimate destiny.

The key verse in Matthew 25 is 46: “The goats…[unbelievers]…will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous…[believers]…into eternal life.”

I like Eugene Peterson’s translation/paraphrase: “Those ‘goats’ will be herded to their eternal doom, but the ‘sheep’ to their eternal reward.”

Several quick points.

Everybody will be judged by God: “When the Son of Man comes back in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.  All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.”

Jesus is coming back to settle affairs: “I am coming soon, and My reward is with Me to repay each person according to his work.”

Sheep-believers behave like they belong to Jesus.

Sheep-believers love Jesus by loving like Jesus with grace, mercy and forgiveness.

Sheep-believers feed the hungry, hydrate the thirsty, house the homeless, welcome strangers, care for the sick, visit the imprisoned and love, love, love with that agape that prays and labors for the best material and spiritual needs of all people regardless of who, what, where, when or why without the need or expectation for response, regard or reward.

Jesus said sheep-believers are really loving Him when loving like Him: 
“As you did it for anyone, you did it for Me.”

Again, I like how Peterson put it: “When you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was Me.  You did it to Me!”

Sheep-believers behave like they’re sheep-believers.

Jesus promised the biggest prize of all to sheep-believers: “Come, you who are blessed by My Father.  Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”

Sheep-believers are going to heaven for sure after the last breath in time.

As far as the goats-unbelievers who don’t do any of the things that Jesus said identify a saving relationship with Him, Jesus judged, “Depart from Me. You are cursed.  You’re going into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and its angels!”

Again, Peterson: “Get out, worthless goats!  You’re good for nothing but the fires of hell.”

Sheep-believers walk the talk.

Goats-unbelievers may talk the talk but they don’t walk the walk.

True belief, according to Jesus in Matthew 25, is confirmed by Godly behaviors as patterned by Jesus in the book.

We’re not talking about being pure and perfect in every way.

We’re talking about being “more better” than “more worse” with no apologies to the grammar police.

Revelation 20:11-15 is known as the Great White Throne Judgment: “I saw a Great White Throne and the One Enthroned.  Nothing could stand before or against the Presence, nothing in Heaven, nothing on earth.  And then I saw all the dead, great and small, standing there before the Throne!  And books were opened.  Then another book was opened: the Book of Life.  The dead were judged by what was written in the books, by the way they had lived…Each man and woman was judged by the way he or she had lived…Anyone whose name was not found inscribed in the Book of Life was hurled into Lake Fire.”

Choices have consequences.

The biggest choice is God or not.

The most soul-consequential decision in life is to be passionately for or against and not lukewarm and double-minded about Jesus.

Everyone dies and lives forever.

The choice of God or not determines the destiny or where we’re going to live forever.

Judgment will be eternally blessed or eternally awful.

While God has provided opportunity after opportunity after opportunity to be on the right side of judgment by grace through faith in Jesus, opportunities end with the last breath.

The good news is God wants everybody to be saved.

That’s why He keeps giving us so many opportunities to receive Jesus into our heads, hearts and guts as Lord and Savior.

Carole King was wrong.

It’s never too late for God’s babies while we’re still breathing.

It is too late when we stop breathing.

The choice for God by grace through faith in Jesus must be made in the living years to have that assurance of eternal life in heaven/paradise the first nano-second after the last breath.

Jimmy Page and Robert Plant were right about the stairway to heaven: “Yes, there are two paths you can go by…but in the long…There’s still time to change the road you’re on…”

Nobody has to go to hell in the end.

Everybody can choose to go to heaven.

Jesus stands at the doors of our heads, hearts and guts and saves us if we open the doors and let Him in as Lord and Savior.

God wants everybody to be saved.

Unlike our fallen world that makes up its own rules apart from God, God only cares about confession and conduct emanating from confession – Christian behavior confirming Christian belief – and doesn’t disqualify anybody by color, class or culture.

I’ll never forget when I was called as pastor of Toledo’s Grace Presbyterian Church.

It was about 60% black and 40% white when I left.

When I arrived, it was 100% black.

During the interview/interrogation for becoming pastor, a nice middle-aged woman asked, “So Dr. Kopp, how will you feel about being the pastor of a black church?”

I replied, “God doesn’t like black churches…or white churches…or yellow, red, brown or any other color churches…Our God inspired Paul to write, ‘There is no Jew or Greek, male or female, slave or free in Jesus.  If you are one with Jesus, you are one with all of God’s children.  If you ain’t, you ain’t!’ Our God inspired our nation’s Declaration of Independence to announce to a fallen world so it could get back up, ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’…Just like all true believers, I am with Martin Luther King, Jr. in saying, ‘I have a dream – I have a passionate commitment – that all God’s children will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.’”

Let us be clear about this with enthusiasm and without equivocation.

All lives matter to God.

Black lives, White lives, yellow lives, red lives, brown lives and any other color of lives that may exist.

All lives matter to God and all lives matter to people who love God.

No ifs, buts or exceptions.

If you don’t believe that, you can go to hell because you sure as hell haven’t decided to go to heaven by grace through faith in Jesus.

If we are one with Jesus, we are one with all of God’s children.

If not, not.

When we pray with Jesus for it to be “on earth as it is in heaven,” we are saying we want it to be “on earth as it is heaven” and the saved in heaven believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior and act like it.

Confession of Jesus as Lord and Savior and conduct confirming that confession mean a heaven of a lot more to God than color, class or culture.

It’s all about Jesus.

So I ask you, right now, are you ready for the last breath?

Do you know where you’re going to spend eternity?

If you knew you had a minute left in your earthly sojourn, do you know the final destination of your soul?

You’re gonna die and then go straight to…

Your choice.

Martha Young taught me how to really love you: “You love ‘em, let God judge ‘em and love ‘em enough to tell ‘em that God’s coming back to judge ‘em.”

Are you ready for judgment?

If you have already received Jesus into your head, heart and gut as Lord and Savior, you know you’re saved.  You know you’re ready for His return.  You’re doing your best to make the bride (Church) ready for the groom (Jesus).

You know you’re not pure and perfect in every way and know you need Jesus to bridge that gap between His perfection and your imperfections.

You know you’re really trying to be “more better” to express your belief and gratitude for being saved by grace through faith in Jesus and not trifling with God.  

If you have already received Jesus into your life as Lord and Savior, you have nothing to worry about and pray like a trusting child, “Now I lay me down to sleep.  I pray the Lord my soul to keep.  If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.  I know He will because I believe in Him!”

If you don’t feel like that, you are not saved.

Being saved means you feel forgiven for your past jerkiness, pretty calm as you try harder to honor God in the present and totally confident in what’s going to happen to you the first nano-second after your last breath.

If you haven’t received Jesus into your life as Lord and Savior, you are going to be like one of those awfully sad and terrified and hopeless souls that I see in the hospitals and nursing homes so close to death and so far away from Jesus.

Life without Jesus is anything but heavenly.
Instead of shaking your fists at God in defiance with its ultimate defeat, open your hands to God.  Let Him in.  For your sake and the sake of your family that never wants to lose you and certainly not for eternity, receive Jesus in your life right now as Lord and Savior.  
You can’t have peace on earth or assurance about eternity if you’re still at war with God.

If you’re still resisting God with clenched fists, there’s nothing anyone can do for you.

If you open your hands to God, He will fill you, assure you, save you and give you the blessed assurance of knowing you will be with His family of faith forever and ever and ever with every wound healed and every broken relationship restored in the pure and perfect place of personal peace where there is no more crying or pain or tears anymore.

If you receive Jesus into your life as Lord and Savior right now, your chains to the past will be broken and you will live through the present with irrepressible strength, calm and serene sanity and face the future unafraid.

You can be saved.

It’s your choice by grace through faith in Jesus.

If you’ve never prayed to receive Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you can do it right now.

If you have already received Him into your life as Lord and Savior, I don’t know any true believer who doesn’t want to renew vows.

Let’s pray.

Father, I know I need You.  I am miserable without You.  I cause misery without You.  Rejecting Your will for my life with so many sins, I have separated myself from You and so many others.  I have made so many bad choices in my  life.  Now I’m ready to make the most important decision of my life.  I choose You.  I choose You by grace through faith in Jesus.  I choose Jesus as my Lord and Savior.  I invite You to take charge of my life and fill me with Your way, truth and life in all things at all times in all places with all people.  I know You have forgiven me and broken the chains to a lingering and destructive past.  Because You have forgiven me, I can forgive myself and live presently positively.  I face the future unafraid.  While I will now experience the beauty and splendor and pleasures of this life with more joy and happiness than ever before, I look forward to being with You and Yours forever in paradise.  You are now my Lord and Savior, Jesus, and I will live from now on as I pray in Your name.  Amen.

Blessings and Love!





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