I watched an interview recently that Larry King did with Martin Short several months ago. Larry King has been interested in what happens after we die for a long time because, as he freely admits, he's afraid of what comes after. I've noticed that he asks his guests about this often when they've dealt with death in their lives.
Martin Short's wife of many years died of cancer, so King asked him how he copes with it and what he thinks the afterlife is like. Short answered that he doesn't care much because he thinks that either it's nice or we cease to exist. In either case, it's not a bad alternative. Apparently, he's rejected the option of eternal punishment.
It reminded me of Ray Comfort's important message "Hell's Best Kept Secret." He points out that people will not think salvation is all that important, especially when it calls for personal sacrifice, if they don't think there's anything at risk. He gives the analogy of a plane that one passenger knows will be crashing. He pleads with the other passengers to put on the parachute pack, but they grumble and reject it because they are comfortable and the pack is bothersome. They don't feel it's worth the trouble – until they realize the plane is going down. But for many, it's too late by then because few can get their parachutes on at the moment of crisis.
Jesus isn't life enhancement. He's not just our friend. And frankly, the personal cost just isn't worth it if that's all He is. But He's the Savior, our Redeemer. We are all under the just threat of eternal punishment for our crimes against God and His Law. We justly deserve punishment.
If that is not part of our message – the Bad News before the Good News – people will be sanguine about what comes after death. Jesus is worth whatever it costs us to follow Him because of what He saves us from. People need to understand that in order to understand the Gospel.