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Heaven on Earth: Face to Face

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
October 26, 2021 3:00 am

Heaven on Earth: Face to Face

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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October 26, 2021 3:00 am

Ever let your mind wander about how things will be heaven? The Apostle Paul said, after the Rapture, we’ll be with the Lord forever, and he encouraged us to “comfort one another with these words.” Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie brings some good comfort. We’ll look past the stresses and crises of the day, to the glory of life eternal that’s just around the corner. We’re nearing the end of an exciting series of studies in the book of Revelation. You’ll be glad you tuned in today.

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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We're glad you're joining us for A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast supported by Harvest Partners. Get more encouraging audio content when you subscribe to Pastor Greg's Daily Devos.

Learn more and sign up at harvest.org. God keeps your tears in a bottle so we can wipe them away one day. Coming up on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us gaze into the future when we're in the presence of the Lord and enjoying the richness of life eternal. One day all pain will be gone, all sorrow will end, everything will be changed, but you don't have to wait until heaven for some things to change.

That can happen right here, right now. You see, change happens when you put your faith in Jesus Christ. Ever let your mind wander about how things will be in heaven? Well, the apostle Paul said, after the rapture, we'll be with the Lord forever. And he encouraged us to comfort one another with those words. Well, today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie brings some good comfort. We look past the stresses and crises of the day to the glory of life eternal that's just around the corner.

We're nearing the end of an exciting series of studies in the book of Revelation. You'll be glad you tuned in today. You know, ever since I was a little boy, I was really into all things Disney. I loved Disney movies. I loved watching those shows on television like the Mickey Mouse Club. And of course the TV show The Wonderful World of Disney later changed to The Wonderful World of Color because color television was coming into its own.

Yes, I am old enough to remember only black and white TV. So one day Walt himself announced that he was opening up a new place for everyone to visit called Disneyland. And he kept his promise in a 1955 Disneyland open. And I remember the excitement I had when I went there for the first time. I was so into Disney.

I saw every film they put out, especially the animated films. I decided at an early age that I wanted to be an artist, maybe an animator, maybe a cartoonist or a graphic designer of some kind. Now one of the reasons that I was so excited about Disneyland is it was to me as a little kid almost like heaven on earth. It was an escape from the kind of awful life I was living in my childhood.

You know my mother was married and divorced seven times and she was a raging alcoholic. So Disneyland was this fun place that I would go to and enjoy so much. One day my mother brought home an actual Disney animator. And I didn't believe him and I made him prove it. So he took out a pencil and he drew a flawless Mickey Mouse on a piece of paper. And then this man said to me, you take this pencil and put it under your pillow and go to bed now.

And when you wake up in the morning you'll be able to draw like me. I believed him. Sad thing is I was 18.

No not really. I was much younger. I went to bed, put the pencil under my pillow, fell asleep, woke up the next morning, grabbed the pencil, went to a piece of paper. No I could not draw a Mickey Mouse.

I just think this guy wanted to spend time with my mom. But you know Disney himself, Walt Disney, had a vision. And when he was a little boy he used to love to go to a place called Electric Park.

And there was a carousel there. And he began to plot out in his mind an amusement park that he would build one day. He was trying to I think in his own mind bring a little heaven on earth.

I read a book a while ago on the life of Disney. And the author Pat Williams said this and I quote, I know that Walt felt a longing for heaven. He had that longing when he was a boy in Kansas City peering to the fence at Electric Park.

Wanting what he could not have because he didn't have a dime in his pocket. I believe it was that longing for heaven that drove Walt to build a perfect place where children could ride merry-go-rounds and always catch the brass ring. A place where yesterday and tomorrow are always within walking distance. A place where anyone can be perfectly happy if only for a day. And Walt's mind writes Pat Williams, heaven is a beautiful park all shiny and clean filled with wonderful things to see and do with a castle rising over it all and a train that goes around it end quote.

Beautifully written. I think Walt Disney like all of us had eternity in his heart. The Bible tells us that God puts us inside of each of us where we long for something more. Long for a place we've never been to before. And I believe that longing is actually for heaven itself.

We're homesick for heaven. And things happen in life that seems so wrong and so unfair. Tragedy may strike and life on earth often disappoints. But I think you begin to realize that when you put your faith in Christ is you were made for another world. And that's exactly what we're looking at here in Revelation 21.

We're looking at another world that is our future and it's even better than Disneyland. Revelation 21. I'm reading from the new King James Version. John writes, now I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away and there was no more scene. Then I John saw the holy city new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying behold the tabernacle of God is with men and he will dwell with them and they shall be his people and God himself will be with them and be their God. I love this verse. Verse four of Revelation 21. And God will wipe away every tear from their eye and there'll be no more death nor sorrow nor crying and no more pain for the former things have passed away.

You know we may think that when we become a Christian we'll then live a trouble free life. We'll never suffer. We'll never get sick. Loved ones that are close to us will never die.

Oh no these things may happen to us. Being a Christian does not mean you will never weep. It may mean you weep more because your heart is tender.

In Ezekiel God says I'll remove a heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. I mentioned earlier my mom being married and divorced seven times so I developed these defense mechanisms where I was walled off. I was always moving so I never could establish long lasting relationships and friendships with people. I was always the new kid in class according to the whims of where my mom wanted to go next. And in my home love was not expressed.

I can't remember a single time in my life where my mom simply said I love you or I'm proud of you. So being a walled off person it was hard for me to give love and it was hard for me to accept love. And but that's all going to change for all of us. You know sometimes we bottle things up deep inside. But here's what we need to do. Instead of bottling things up we need to open our heart to God and let Him put these troubles in His bottle.

I don't know what you're talking about. Well Psalm 56 8 says you keep track of all my sorrows. You've collected all my tears in your bottle if you recorded each one in your book. I have a little bottle in my office. It's blue.

I bought it in the old city of Jerusalem some years ago in an antiquities shop. And I asked the proprietor, the owner of the shop, well what is this little blue bottle. And he said well that's a Roman tear bottle. I asked well what is that. He said well back at this time the Romans believed when they lost a loved one that they should collect their tears in these little bottles.

And that's what they were for. Well God keeps your keeps your tears in a bottle so He can wipe them away one day. Because one day all pain will be gone. All sorrow will end. Everything will be changed. But you don't have to wait until heaven for some things to change.

That can happen right here right now. Because 2 Corinthians 5 17 says if anyone be in Christ He is a new creation. Old things have passed away. All things become new. I love the Phillips translation of that same verse which says if a man is in Christ he becomes a new person altogether. The past is finished and gone and everything has become fresh and new.

Think about that. Do you need a fresh start? Do you need to begin again? Have you done things you wish you had not done? Said things you wish you had not said? And you say well now I guess I just have to face the consequences of all my bad decisions. Well there may be some truth to you having to face up to what you've done. But I want you to also know that there is a God in heaven who loves you and will forgive you of all of your sin. And not only will He forgive you of your sin He will forget your sin.

Psalm 103 verse 12 says God speaking as far as the east is from the west is as far as I will put your transgressions from me. You see change happens when you put your faith in Jesus Christ. If you're a real Christian your focus and your values will change.

Old values old ideas plans and desires will be replaced by new things. A new desire to know God and love Him. A new desire to study the Bible. A new desire to engage with God's people and worship. A new desire to bring glory to your God and yes a new desire to see God Himself. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. Hey everybody Greg Laurie here encouraging you to join us this weekend for what we call Harvest at Home. It's worship it's a message of the word of God.

You can watch it with your family in your front room or you can watch it on the go on your tablet on your phone or your computer. Take it with you take the word of God with you and join us for Harvest at Home at Harvest.org. Well we're studying the book of Revelation. Have you requested Pastor Greg's new commentary on Revelation? We'll tell you more about it a little later in the program or get the details now at Harvest.org.

So let me wrap this up. How should all of this affect us? What should we be doing in the light of the fact that we have this great hope of heaven and one day a new earth? Here's how it helps us. Number one it helps us to keep perspective during times of trial.

It helps us keep perspective during times of trial. Bottom line life on earth is full of trial, hardship, sadness, disappointment, and pain. But according to this and other passages God is going to make up for the losses of earth. No pain is wasted by God. Paul says in Romans 8 18 I consider the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory that will be revealed in us.

See here's God's big plan for you. He wants to make you like Jesus. Romans 8 28 the verse we all know in quote we know that all things work together for good to those that love God and of the called according to his purpose.

Right? Love that verse. But then the next verse verse 29 says for whom God did for know he also did predestined to be conformed into the image of his own dear son. See we sometimes take Romans 8 28 and think it means whatever bad thing happens God's going to turn it into a good thing. That is not what the verse promises. Again it says all things work together for good to those who love God and other called according to his purpose for whom let's keep the verse going God did for know he predestined to be conformed into the image of his own dear son. See God's plan for you is to make you more like Jesus.

To make you a chip off the old rock if you will. And that means hardship. That means difficulty as well as joys and happy things happening to you. 2 Corinthians 4 17 Paul says our present troubles are quite small and won't last forever yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever. So don't look at the troubles you see right now. Rather look forward to what you have not seen yet for the troubles we see will soon be over but the joys to come will last forever.

So no matter what you're going through right now get the big picture. God's in control. The word oops is not in his vocabulary. Would that freak you out if God said oops. What? You dropped a planet.

What? God doesn't say oops. He knows what he's doing. He's making you like Jesus. He's getting you ready for heaven. Number two. Believing that we'll go to heaven and heaven will come to earth one day will should cause us to want to live godly lives.

As I've said before if in our studies of the book of Revelation it has prompted you or motivated you to want to be more like Jesus and walk more closely with Him then I think we've missed the point right. I heard a story about two farmers and they went out hunting ducks and one of the farmers had his dog with them who would retrieve the ducks. So they saw a duck fly by. The farmer shot. The duck fell from the sky into the lake and his dog ran out to retrieve the duck and ran across the top of the water got the duck ran back over again on top of the water came back to the farmer and dropped the duck at the farmer's feet. The other farmer looked at him and said I don't think your dog knows how to swim. Hey talk about missing the point.

The dog walked on the water. Not a true story but we often miss the point. Yeah this should motivate us to live a godly life because again scripture says he that has this hope purifies himself even as he is pure. And then Paul tells us in Colossians 3 since you've been raised with Christ set your mind on things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above not on earthly things. This phrase set your minds means think heaven. So I know I'm going to heaven.

Think heavenly thoughts. Our feet must be on earth but our minds and our hearts should be in heaven. And third and lastly if I really believe this and I wonder do you really believe what we've read in this message and others? Do you really believe the Bible is true? Do you really believe that there is both a heaven and a hell? Do you really believe that we're going to enter into the afterlife? If you do and I'm sure almost all of you do.

Some of you don't probably. But if you believe this shouldn't that motivate you to want to take some people with you to heaven? You've probably noticed that at the end of a message that I give here at Harvest at Home or in our church services or in our radio program or our tv program I always invite people to Christ. You might say why do you do that?

Why do I do that? Because I want to take as many people to heaven with me as I possibly can. I want you to go to heaven. I want you to know Jesus Christ. I want to help you understand what you need to do to believe in Jesus Christ. So let me close with this appeal to you.

Someone who is not sure of Jesus is living inside of them. Here's what you need to do. Everything can change for you right now and God can make all things new.

You say oh Greg it's too late for me. I can't change. I've tried to change myself and it hasn't worked. You can't change anything.

It's just the way it is. No God can make all things new. God can change your story.

I don't know how old you are. I don't know where you are in your life but whatever it is God can change it especially the ending. But you must come to him and say God I know I'm a sinner. I know I've broken your commandments. I know I fall short of your glory but I also know that you sent Jesus Christ your son to die on the cross for my sin and pay the price for every wrong I've ever done and then he rose again from the dead and I want Jesus to come into my life.

I love it. Revelation 21 says he said to me it is done. I'm the alpha and omega the beginning and the end. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.

Deep down inside you're thirsty spiritually. There was a woman who would go to a well every day at around 12 noon and draw water. She didn't have many friends.

She had been married and divorced five times. She was living with some dude at present and who was waiting for her at the well that she frequented? It was Jesus himself.

She braced herself for a confrontation ready for an argument. She was even somewhat flippant and sarcastic when she began to speak to him and I love what Jesus said. He said if you drink of this water you'll thirst again but if you drink of the water I give you will never thirst again. He was using the well that she drew water from as a metaphor for life. You could write it over so many things in life. If you drink of this water you'll thirst again. The well of materialism if you will.

If that's where you're going for answers you're always going to want more. You could write it over relationships even. If you drink of this water you'll thirst again.

You could write it over accomplishments or success or fame. If you drink of this water you'll thirst again. You could even write it over the well of religion if you will. Religion and rituals and other things.

If you drink of this water you'll thirst again but if you come to Jesus and believe in him he'll satisfy your deepest spiritual thirst. Let me go back to what I said in the beginning. We all long for a place we've never been to before. I talked about going to Disneyland as a child and how excited I was to be in the Magic Kingdom. The happiest place on earth. Well this is something that is deep down inside of all of us and an amusement park is not going to satisfy that. Especially when you look at the price you pay to get in. I think when you're a kid the happiest moment of going to Disneyland is when you walk in. But when you're an adult the happiest moment is when you're leaving right. And then having to figure out how you're going to pay for all of that.

But that's just an idea to start with. We're longing for something more. We're longing for heaven and we're longing for God. Nothing this world offers will satisfy you apart from a relationship with God.

You can ask him to come and live inside of you and forgive you of all of your sin right here right now. In a moment I'm going to pray a simple prayer that I would love to lead you in where you are simply saying to the Lord come into my life. Satisfy my spiritual thirst.

Make all things new for me. I want to go to heaven one day. I want to be ready for your return. If you would like to do that why don't you just pray this simple prayer after me. You could pray it out loud if you like.

Just say Lord Jesus I know I am a sinner but I know you are the Savior who died on the cross for my sin and rose again from the dead. I turn from that sin now and I choose to follow you from this moment forward. In Jesus name I pray.

Amen. An important prayer from Pastor Greg Laurie. It's perhaps the most important prayer anyone can pray making a decision for Jesus Christ. And if you've prayed that prayer today we want to welcome you into the family of God and we want to help you grow and develop as a new believer. So we want to send you our New Believers Growth Packet. It's designed to get you started off right and answer many of the questions you might have. It'll help you build a strong foundation for your walk with God.

Just ask for it when you're right a new beginning Box 4000 Riverside California 92514 or call us anytime 24 7 at 1-800-821-3300 that's 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest.org. You know Pastor Greg the world is in such a mess. There's turmoil everywhere you look and believers know what's coming. You know we know God's plan for the end times. How does your new revelation commentary help us prepare?

Great question. Let me respond with the words of Jesus in John 14. He said let not your hearts be troubled neither let them be afraid and my father's house are many mansions if it were not so I would have told you I go to prepare a place for you and if I go and prepare a place for you I will come again and receive you unto myself that where I am you may be also. You know it's interesting this phrase troubled let not your heart be troubled means agitated or filled with fear and there are things happening in our world right now that can be scary and it can cause your heart to be filled with fear and it can cause you to feel as like everything is out of control but if there's one thing that revelation clearly shows it's that God is in control. God has a plan and things are going according to plan his plan and so it's all laid out for us because you know the Bible is the one book that dares to predict the future not once not twice but hundreds of times with 100 percent accuracy so the Lord knows what's coming but the great thing is as you even start the book of revelation you have the words of Jesus to the seven churches so before we get into all that prophetic stuff if you will like the tribulation period the 144,000 the anti-christ the second coming the millennium Jesus has some special words for his own people very personal powerful words to each of us and so this is all found in this commentary that I've just written I use the word commentary loosely because that sounds as though it's going to be dull and theological actually it does come in on scripture but but it's very understandable it's very down to earth and we're calling this brand new book here from harvest revelation a book of promises and I would love to send you a copy it's hot off the press it's brand new we've never released this book before and so I hope you'll get your own copy and by the way this is a pretty good size book it'll be a great addition to your library it's something you can stand on when you need to reach a higher shelf it'll hold a heavy door open as well and so there's a lot of uses but the best use of course would be to open it up and read it and get a better understanding of the important book of revelation yeah that's right and we hope you'll contact us today to ask for revelation a book of promises and by the way pastor Greg is including a custom designed bookmark that shows the timeline of God's end times events graphically it helps you see the order of events very clearly it's all available for your gift of any size keep in mind that your support is the only way we can keep bringing you pastor Greg's daily studies so thank you for your generosity and we hope you'll contact us soon we'll only be able to mention this a short time longer you can write us at a new beginning box 4 000 riverside california 92514 or call 1-800-821-3300 that's a 24 7 phone number 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest.org well next time pastor Greg begins the final message in our in-depth study series in revelation join us here on a new beginning with pastor and bible teacher Greg Lord hey everybody thanks for listening to a new beginning this is a podcast made possible by harvest partners so for more content that can help you know God and equip you to make him known to others or to learn more about how you can become a harvest partner just go to harvest.org
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-31 03:36:05 / 2023-07-31 03:45:52 / 10

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