Hey, everybody. You're listening to A New Beginning, which is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners. If this program has impacted you, I'd love to hear from you. So just send an email to me at gregg.harvest.org. Again, it's gregg.harvest.org.
You can learn more about becoming a Harvest Partner by going to harvest.org. If you say for me to live is money, then for you one day to die is to leave it all behind. If you say for me to live is fame, then one day for you to die is going to be that you'll be forgotten. If you say to me to live is power, then I'm telling you one day to die will be for you to lose it all. But if you say to live is Christ, then you can also say to die is gain. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound.
Again, you hear all the angels are singing. This is the day, the day where life begins. Collectively, Americans are more than $15 trillion in debt. That's trillion with a T. And what is credit exactly?
It's borrowing tomorrow's money to pay for today. That's a stark picture of how our culture wants to live in the moment. But today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out that mindset can get us into a world of trouble on the spiritual level. We'll take a few moments to consider what we're living for and we'll see where that leads us when it comes to eternity. We're looking at the book of Philippians. And the theme that keeps bubbling up to this great epistle is happiness and joy. In fact, this is probably the most buoyant, happy letter that Paul ever wrote. Not that there is not happiness and joy in other epistles he wrote, but it just seems like there's a lot in this one in particular.
At least 19 times in these four chapters of Philippians, Paul mentions joy, rejoicing, or gladness. But yet, circumstantially, he really had nothing to rejoice about. I mean, if we read that Paul wrote this book kicking back in the Mediterranean, enjoying life, we'd say, well, yeah, I get it. But he actually wrote this under house arrest. This wasn't as bad as some of his imprisonment where he might have been like in a dungeon. But this is where he was chained to a Roman guard and he was under the control at this point of Caesar Nero. And his case was waiting to go to court. And Paul had no idea what was about to happen. He might be acquitted.
He might be beheaded. But all he knew was he was a prisoner. He could not walk about freely as he wanted to. And if that wasn't bad enough, some of the believers in the church were against them. Some were even spreading lies about this great apostle. But he knew God was in control.
And here's what he wrote. Philippians 1.21, For me to live is Christ and to die is gain. Oh, I love that. For me to live is Christ and to die is gain. But I live on in the flesh, that will mean fruit for my labor.
Yet what I shall choose I cannot tell, for I am hard pressed between the two. Having the desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better, nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. And being confident of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith.
That your rejoicing for me may be more abundant in Jesus Christ by my coming to you again. Like again in verse 21, For me to live is Christ. Now when we hear someone say for me to live is Christ we wonder, you know, are these people in touch with reality really? To live is Christ?
I mean what does it even mean? Some will say, well you know some are so heavenly minded they're no earthly good. And my counterpoint to that is some are so earthly minded they're no heavenly good. And I think when you're really heavenly minded, when you're really living for Christ you will be of the greatest earthly good. You see real spirituality is practical.
You'll have your feet on the ground but your heart and your thoughts will be in heaven. And I think Paul is an example of this in so many ways. I mean there's no greater example of this than Jesus himself. You know Jesus was a practical man. He was God in human form walking among us. But Jesus lived a real life on planet earth.
He was a real living human being. But he was God walking among us. So Paul is saying to live is Christ. And that was pretty much not just Paul's motto but I think the motto of pretty much everyone in the early church. This is the church that changed the world.
And I pray that we could be the church that changes our world as well. Paul lived for Christ. And he cared about the church. Look at verse 23. I'm hard pressed between the two having the desire to depart and be with Christ which is far better. But it's important for me to remain in the flesh for you.
Yeah he wanted to help them. But notice what he says. He says having the desire to depart with Christ which is far better.
Listen to this. Death for a Christian is something that's going to happen as it will happen for every person. But Paul understood that when death came and it did come for him it was a conscious existence not an unconscious oblivion.
It was to be with Christ. For me to live is Christ to die is gain. In other words he was not going to just go into a grave. It was the continuation of life not the conclusion of life.
And that life ahead was a greater and better life. Death for the believer is a promotion. Death for the believer is a graduation. Death for the believer is a coronation. When you live for Christ you're not afraid to die.
Again only the person who has said to live is Christ can then say to die is gain. It's interesting the word that Paul uses here for departing when he says I have a desire to depart and be with Christ it's translated multiple ways. One way it's translated is to strike the tent. It was a term used to describe what soldiers did. You know they'd set up camp. And then when it was time to leave they would strike the tent. Sort of like when you go camping. Of course camping is a lot more sophisticated now than it used to be. Some might use tents but you know some have motor homes and a motor home is you know some of these motor homes are incredible.
They have big flat screen TVs on the outside you know. They have everything that you have in a regular home and they just go park it and kind of do that thing and they say they're camping. I don't know if it's really camping. But maybe you'll set up a fire you know and then it's time to leave and you'll extinguish the fire and you move on to your next campsite. But you know for me I'm not a huge camper. I've never loved camping that much. It's sort of like camping to me is very similar to going to the beach. My favorite part of camping is getting there and then the next favorite part is leaving you know.
It's really exciting. Oh we're camping and then it gets cold and I want to go home. I want a hot shower.
I want clean clothes you know. Or going to the beach. The best part of going to the beach is when you arrive. Oh it's the beach and the sun is out and the waves are looking good and it's fantastic and nobody's here.
I just love the beach. And then an hour later you're sweating. Somebody comes and puts their towel right next to you. When there's like miles around. They're right next to you. And they crank up their radio. Really obnoxious music.
Seagulls start invading. Taking things. Taking your lunch. Flying off with your children.
You know it's just. You say I want to go. So Paul says you know what I'm going to break camp. I'm going to strike the tent.
That's the word he uses here for departing. It's interesting because the Bible does compare the human body to a tent. See your soul will live forever. And your body will one day be resurrected into a perfected state. But when a believer dies their body. The body we live in now goes into the ground.
But then it's ultimately resurrected. But the soul goes immediately into the presence of God. But it's interesting that the Bible does call our body a tent. In fact 2 Corinthians 5 one says, we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down. That is when we die and leave these bodies we'll have a home in heaven.
An eternal body made for us by God Himself. Now look you can do all that you want with this tent you live in. You can stretch it and you can paint it and you can do other things to try to make it look younger. But it is what it is. OK. And it's not meant to be a permanent dwelling place.
It's temporary. So that is the very picture used in scripture. Another way the word departure is translated is being released from shackles. And when Paul wrote this he was in shackles. He was chained to a Roman guard. So it's like being released from those shackles.
Number three. The word is also used to describe untying a boat from its moorings. You know when a loved one leaves us especially if it's unexpectedly there's great sadness. And sometimes we feel sorry for them. We may have a fun experience a great meal a family reunion whatever it is. We'll say oh I I just wish my loved one was with me right now seeing this right now I wish they could be here they'd love it so much. Do you ever wonder and think of your loved one is in heaven thinking man I wish they could be up here with me right now seeing what I'm seeing. I guarantee no one who has gone to heaven would ever want to come back to earth again if given the choice.
Because heaven is so much better and I'll touch on that in just a moment but untying a boat from its moorings. So Paul is saying hey I'm ready to set sail. In just a moment Pastor Greg gives us a strong glimpse inside heaven from our text today in Philippians.
Be sure to stay tuned. So many listeners have commented on the help they receive from these daily messages. God's word ministers to them and it often gets them through some of their darkest hours. Ten years ago I lost my son to murder. I struggled with anger and hate and just so many mixed emotions of what and why. I listen to you daily and you give me so much confidence to know that one day I'll stand with him.
My life is completely changed since then. I've gone on two mission trips and I know that only through the grace of God and through listening to your powerful message that you put out each and every day. There is hope and there is God and he is with us 24-7.
God bless you each and every one. It's encouraging to know that these studies in God's word have impacted this woman's life. Has Pastor Greg heard from you? Why not drop him an email and tell him your story? Send it to Greg at Harvest dot org.
Do it today while you're thinking about it. Again, that's Greg at Harvest dot org. Well, we're getting a more eternal view of life from Pastor Greg today by way of his message called What Do You Live For? from Philippians chapter 1.
Let's continue. When you live for Christ, one day you'll be with him in heaven. Look at verse 23.
I want to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. And by the way, that's a strong superlative form that Paul uses, which means far, far, far better. Much, much better. Or to put it in sort of local speak in Hawai'i, mobera bra.
It's mobera bra. It's way, way better than what you have here. We want to go to heaven. We just don't want to die to get there, right? I heard about an old man who was asked what he wanted said at his funeral.
He thought about it for a moment and said, I wish they would say, look, he's moving. You know, as in you're still alive, right? What do you want said at your funeral? Well, why is heaven better than earth? It's better because I'm moving from a tent to a mansion.
I'm moving from a tent to a mansion. How many of you remember the TV show The Beverly Hillbillies? You're all very old. Many of you don't. How many of you remember it? Raise your hand again. Okay, a lot more of you. How many of you have no idea who I mean when I say The Beverly Hillbillies?
Raise your hand. Okay, well, this was a show on a long time ago. It's a story of Jed Clampett and his family, and they discover oil, and so they move to Beverly Hills, that is. Swimming pools, movie stars.
Those are the lyrics. I like that. You know, you loaded up the truck and they moved to Beverly.
That's what we'll do. We'll leave our broken down shack for a mansion far better than even Beverly Hills. Heaven's better because it's immediate. Heaven's better because it's immediate.
Verse 23, I'll depart and be with Christ. That's very important because often people ask us, what happens when we die? You go straight to heaven.
Simple answer. The moment you take your last breath on earth, you take your first breath in heaven. You don't go to a holding tank. You do not say, I'll depart and just kind of hang out for, you know, a few hundred years. Or I'll depart and go to purgatory. Or I'll depart and go to a soul sleep. No, I'll depart and be with Christ. You go right into the presence of Jesus Christ. Many verses affirm this.
2 Corinthians 5.8 says, We're confident and I say, We're rather willing to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. Thirdly, heaven is better than earth because all my questions will be answered. All my questions will be answered. We all have questions in life. I heard about a mother who had some questions. She invited a bunch of people over to our house for dinner.
Far too many. It was a lot more work than she thought it would be. But everyone was seated at the table. So she asked her little six-year-old daughter if she would say the blessing. A little girl said, Well, Mommy, I don't know what to say. And she said, Well, just say what you hear Mommy say. So the little girl bowed her head and said, Lord, why on earth did I invite all these people here to dinner?
She heard Mommy say that. I'm sure we have more profound questions than that for God. God, where were you in this day? God, why did you let this happen? God, why didn't you let that happen?
I have questions for God. We all do. I really wonder if when I get to heaven I'll have my list. Lord, it's good to be here, but I have this list. I kind of think once I see him I'll just say, Never mind.
It's all good. Very good. But we'll know all things in that day. 1 Corinthians 13, 12 says, Right now we see him perfectly as in a poor mirror, but then we'll see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely just as God knows me now. And I believe that when I get to heaven I'll spend all eternity learning and learning. I don't think it's like God dumps all this knowledge into my brain. I'd be like some weird bobblehead, you know, just huge head, little body walking around.
No. I think you're learning and learning and growing and discovering all through heaven and then ultimately when heaven comes down to earth again. This is the hope of the Christian and only the Christian. And lastly, heaven is better because I'll be with Christ.
Be with Christ. I'll be with him. Yes, you'll be reunited with loved ones that have preceded you.
Yes, all of your questions will be answered. Yes, you'll trade in your tent for a mansion. Yes, it'll be so much better on every level, but yes, you will be with Christ and that's what makes heaven heaven. So wrapping this up, what do you live for? If you say for me to live is money, then for you one day to die is to leave it all behind. If you say for me to live is fame, then one day for you to die is going to be that you'll be forgotten. If you say to me to live is power, then I'm telling you one day to die will be for you to lose it all.
But if you say to live is Christ, then you can also say to die is gain. What do you live for? You live for something. You live for something.
It gets you up in the morning, it fires you up. But that something or that someone that you live for, will they be able to save you on the final day? See, when you live for Christ, it's win-win. It's win-win.
Why? Because you have heaven, guaranteed absolute heaven. But this life on earth is life lived to its fullest. The Christian life is the best life. Jesus said, I have come that you might have life in them more abundantly. So He wants to give you a happy, fulfilled, joyful, purposeful, meaningful life on planet earth. And then the absolute assurance that there's an afterlife for you in His presence in heaven. But if you've not believed in Jesus, this is not promised to you. Heaven is not the default destination of every human being. The only way you can know you're going to heaven is to get your reservation. You know, if I wanted to go fly to Tahiti, I can't just go down to LAX and board a plane going to Tahiti and take some seat and expect to get there.
I can expect to be arrested. Because I have to buy a ticket. And then I have to wait to board.
And then I have to take my seat and all that. And so in the same way, if you want to go to heaven, you need to get a ticket. But you don't buy it with your own money. And you don't buy it with your good works. God bought you the ticket already 2,000 years ago when Jesus died for your sin.
And He'll give you the ticket, but you have to ask for it. It's a gift. The Bible says, for as many as received Him, He gave them the power to become sons of God. It's just like if I were to offer someone here this Bible, here, I want you to have this. If you want this Bible, you have to reach out and take it and hopefully say, thank you.
God is saying, look, I want to give you eternal life. It's here. I paid for it. You can't earn it. But I'll give it to you. So you reach out and say, I'd like that, Lord.
Thank you very much. And Jesus will forgive you of all of your sin and give you the hope and the assurance that you'll go to heaven when you die if you'll believe in Him. You say, well, how do you do that? Through prayer. And I'm going to extend an invitation to any of you that have joined us who may not have this relationship with Jesus yet. You've been living for other things, and it's been a dead-end street, hasn't it?
Living for that pleasure, living for that possession, living for that accomplishment. It hasn't delivered, has it? Newsflash, it never will. But God will do everything He promised for you. But you must believe in Him. So we're going to pray, and if you've never asked Jesus Christ to come into your life, why don't you do it right now?
Let's all bow our heads. Father, thank you for loving us so much that you sent Jesus to die on the cross in our place. Lord Jesus, thank you for dying on the cross and taking the judgment of your Father upon yourself that should have come on us for our sins. He rose again from the dead three days later, and now you stand at the door of every human heart and you knock, and you say to us if we'll hear your voice and open the door, you'll come in. I pray for any that are here, any that are listening that do not yet know you.
Help them to come to you and believe now. We pray. Amen. Pastor Greg Laurie with an important invitation today. And if you'd like to make a change in your relationship with the Lord, Pastor Greg will help you do that in just a moment. And if you would, be in prayer right now for those who are making this kind of decision.
And then can we just say thank you? Thank you to those who not only listen on a regular basis, but also pray for us. And not only listen and pray, but also invest. They recognize the power of the gospel to change lives, and they invest so these studies can continue. And Pastor Greg, you know that support makes a big difference in the lives of the people who listen to us. Yes, I do, and I would encourage some of you to be generous, because when you are generous with your finances, we will put that money to work in expanding this ministry to reach more people with the teaching of the word of God and the message of the gospel. So we hope you'll contact us today and let us know you want to partner with us.
We have a special way to say thank you. Get those details at harvest.org. And you can make that investment while you're there. Or write us at A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514. Or call anytime 24 hours a day at 1-800-821-3300.
That's 1-800-821-3300. Pastor Greg, a few moments ago you spoke of the need to get our hearts right with God. Could you help someone who wants to do that very thing right now?
Yes, I'd be delighted to. Listen, as you've listened to this program today, maybe something's been happening inside of your heart where you're sensing, I need to do this personally, but how do I do it and what do I do? Let me help you. It's very simple.
In fact, it's so simple you may be shocked. God, this relationship with Him is just a prayer away. The Bible says if you will call upon the name of the Lord, you'll be saved. So I'd like to lead you in a prayer where you do just that. You call on the name of the Lord.
This can be the moment where you change your eternal address literally from hell to heaven. Just pray these words. Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner, but I know that you're the Savior who died on the cross for me and rose again from the dead. Jesus, I choose to follow you from this moment forward. In your name I pray, amen.
I know. It's such a simple, short prayer, but you just called on the name of the Lord, and you know what? He heard that prayer, and if you meant that prayer in your heart, He answered that prayer. Now let me help you to get started on the right foot in your new life in Jesus Christ. The greatest adventure awaits you, the life of walking with God. I want to send you what we call a New Believers' Growth Pack that includes the New Believers' Bible and a whole lot more, and let me be the first to say to you congratulations and welcome to the family of God. Yeah, and to get that free New Believers' Growth Pack, just ask for it if you've prayed along with Pastor Greg to receive Christ today. We'll be glad to send one your way. Call us at 1-800-821-3300. We can take your call anytime.
That's 1-800-821-3300. Write us at A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514. Or go online to harvest.org and click the words Know God. Well, next time Pastor Greg points out that the way to find happiness is not by looking out for number one. We'll see selflessness, not selfishness, is the way to find real happiness. Join us here on A New Beginning with Pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie.
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