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Afterlife: Heavens Itinerary

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
September 14, 2021 3:00 am

Afterlife: Heavens Itinerary

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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September 14, 2021 3:00 am

It’s interesting that some people find Revelation a challenge to understand. The symbolism is so rich and unusual. But at the same time, some wonder if it’s going to be a boring existence. Well, if it’s such a spectacle that it’s a challenge to explain, how could it be boring? Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie takes us to the final book in the New Testament, and one of the most descriptive discussions of what we’ll see and what we’ll do when we enter eternity.

 

 

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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. Get the record straight on heaven from Revelation. We're going to be doing a lot of things we're going to be doing. We're going to be worshipping. We're going to be learning. We're going to be serving the Lord. It's interesting that some people find Revelation a challenge to understand. The symbolism is so rich and unusual. But at the same time, some wonder if it's going to be a boring existence.

Well, if it's such a spectacle that it's a challenge to explain, how could it be boring? Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie takes us to the final book in the New Testament and one of the most descriptive discussions of what we'll see and what we'll do when we enter eternity. We're back here now in the book of Revelation chapter 4 again to review. Chapter 1 is a revelation of the glorified Christ. Chapters 2 to 3 is a flyover of church history. Chapters 4 and 5 were taken up into heaven in the rapture. Chapters 6 to 19 we have the great tribulation period that will last for seven years. Chapter 20 we have the millennium. Chapters 21 to 22 we have the new heavens and the new earth. So let's talk about the next event on the prophetic calendar.

I already mentioned it. It's called the rapture. Look at what John writes in verse 1. The first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me saying, Come up here and I'll show you things that must take place after this. After this? After what? After the things of the church on earth. So now the church or all believers in Jesus are caught up to meet the Lord. First Thessalonians 4 says the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout and the voice of the archangel and the trumpet of God and the dead in Christ shall rise first and we which are alive and remaining shall be caught up together with them in the air. So what is the rapture?

Listen very carefully. The rapture is a future event when Christ will descend from heaven and resurrect the bodies of believers who have died. Their spirits have gone to heaven but their bodies are still here in the earth in the grave. At the same time we who are alive, if it happens in our lifetime, we will be caught up together with them.

With who? With those others who are having their resurrection bodies given to them. We'll be caught up together with them in heaven.

It will be a great reunion. The word rapture comes from the Greek word harpazo. This word harpazo is used 13 times in the New Testament. It means to take forcibly to snatch or to catch up. Some will say you don't find the word rapture in the Bible.

Well it depends. If you have a Latin Bible you have it because the Latin translation of harpazo is rapturus where we get our English word rapture. It doesn't matter what you call it. The rapture. The harpazo.

The great escape. Whatever you prefer but it means to take forcibly to snatch or to catch up. That's what the rapture is. Is it spoken of elsewhere in scripture? Answer.

Yes. Jesus spoke of it in John chapter 14. He said in 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.

Jesus also mentioned this event in what we sometimes call the Olivet Discourse found in Matthew 24. He says there in verse 40 two men will be in a field. One will be taken and the other left. Two women will be at a hand mill. One will be taken and the other left. So be watching.

You don't know what day your Lord will come. So some are in a field. Some are working.

Some are sleeping. So it's a global event that will happen in a moment that you can't even really measure in time. Now here's the big question.

The one that's asked more than any other. When is the rapture? Answer.

Anytime. It could happen today. It could happen tonight. It could happen tomorrow.

We don't know. The Bible says no man knows the day or the hour when the Son of Man will return. So what's going to happen first? Well when the rapture happens the dead will rise first. You might be asking Greg are you saying people are going to burst out of their graves and be given new bodies? Actually that's exactly what I'm saying because that's what the Bible says. The Bible teaches that there is a bodily resurrection.

So this is something we can look forward to. In fact there's even a prototype for this event found in the Gospel of Matthew. After Jesus died on the cross a lot of amazing phenomena took place. We read in Matthew 27 51. After Christ died at that moment the curtain in the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook.

Listen. And the tombs opened and bodies of many godly men and women who died were raised from the dead after Jesus' resurrection. They left the cemetery and walked into the holy city of Jerusalem and appeared to many people. This is only in one gospel.

It's amazing. Now here's the big question. What are we going to be doing in heaven? This is important because sometimes people think heaven is going to be boring. It's going to be a drag. We're going to just sit around in fluffy clouds and pluck harps and just sleep.

Now actually some people might find that very appealing like a long nap. But we're going to be doing a lot of things in heaven starting with worship. We'll be worshipping the Lord in heaven. Look at verse 10 here in Revelation 4. The 24 elders fell down before Him who sits on the throne and they worship Him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before Him.

Listen to what they say. You are worthy O Lord to receive glory and honor and power. You created all things for by Your will they exist and were created. So they are giving honor to God and we will be worshipping the Lord.

So get into practice now. Be a worshiper of the Lord because this is something we'll be doing a lot of in heaven. But we're not going to just sit around and have one long church service. I think that's how some people envision it. Oh it's like church on Sunday when it goes too long.

I don't know. There'll be worship and you'll see the Lord in His glory and you'll want to worship. But listen you'll be doing things as well. You'll be busy serving the Lord. Revelation 22 3 says His servants will serve Him. Will serve Him. So there'll be tasks for us to accomplish. Imagine the Lord saying would you go do something for me right now. Yes Lord.

What can I do. Anything you want. We're told in Revelation 7 15 that we're going to be serving Him day and night in His temple. I mean I'm looking forward to rest but I can only rest for so long. I like to get out and do things and I even like to accomplish things. You wonder will we be able to accomplish some things in the afterlife we were not able to complete in this life. You know we all have dreams and aspirations. Things we wished we could have done or maybe our dreams were shattered. And I think sometimes people act as though everything that can be done must be done in this life and if it's not done in this life then that's it.

There's no other chances. Now I think it is important to do what we can with our life on earth. We certainly don't want to waste our life. It was Corrie ten Boom who wrote a life is not measured by its duration but by its donation.

We all want to make a donation with our life. But what if a life was cut short through disease or a disability. Or that life was shorter than we hoped it would be because they died as a young man or a young woman. They had no control over those circumstances. That doesn't seem fair.

So do they just lose and that's it. Too bad you died younger and that's the way it goes for you. And then you see other people living long lives sometimes honestly long wicked lives long wasteful lives. And then you see someone that had so much promise and so much potential.

I think of my own son age 33 just such a wonderful young man so full of talent and vision and plans for his future. And he was taken to be with the Lord at 33. But why do we think everything that can be accomplished can only be accomplished on earth. There are things that we will do in the afterlife as well.

And don't forget and we'll get into this later. Heaven is going to come to earth. We read about that at the end of Revelation. There's also the millennial reign of Christ. That's a thousand years.

In fact we read in Isaiah 65 21 we'll build our own house and eat the fruit of our own vineyard. Wait what. I thought we were going to just sit around on clouds and pluck carbs.

Oh no. We have a lot of things we're going to be doing. We're going to be worshipping. We're going to be learning.

We're going to be serving. We're even going to be building houses in the millennium. So you might get that dream home after all.

Let me restate that. You will get that dream home after all. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. We hear from so many people who find Christ through Pastor Greg's teachings. Pastor Greg I was saved at your harvest crusade at Anaheim Stadium about 20 years ago. Before that I could hardly stand to look in the mirror because I was lost in a world of drugs and violence.

In fact I had many friends and family who died when I was young and I always figured I wouldn't be far behind. The day I went to your harvest crusade I was kind of embarrassed to be there and didn't understand what this was all about. Then you came on stage and began to grab my attention. God was speaking through your mouth to my heart. I started crying and didn't know why but I knew I wanted everything you were talking about.

The love, the forgiveness, eternal life. You did an altar call for anyone who wanted to accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. I popped up and jumped through the rows to get to the field so that I could commit my life to Jesus Christ.

I just felt the need to share this with you. I pray that God continues to use you to help save the lost. Thank you Jesus and thank you Pastor Greg for sharing God's love with so many. What a great story of how God used the Harvest Crusade to bring this man to Christ. And tell a friend about Pastor Greg's next event, SoCal Harvest, October 3rd at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California. Get information and get involved by going to harvest.org. That's harvest.org. Well you're listening to a message called Afterlife from Pastor Greg's series in the book of Revelation.

And if you missed any part of today's presentation or the earlier installments, just go online for a replay at harvest.org. And now as we close this message, the elders give us an insight as to why we exist. Because this is a question that is often asked, why am I here on earth?

What is the meaning of life? Why was I placed here? These elders in heaven tell us why we are here on earth.

Let's go back to Revelation 4 verse 11. They say you're worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, honor, and power. You created everything and it's for your pleasure that they exist and were created. Why do I exist? Why do you exist? Why was I put here?

Here's the answer. I exist and I was created to bring glory and pleasure to God. I was not created to bring glory and pleasure to myself. But there are people that dedicate their entire life to the pursuit of pleasure. The Bible even tells us in the last days people would be lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. At 1 Timothy 5, 6 we're told she that lives for pleasure is dead while she lives. Listen to this. Living for pleasure is one of the most unpleasurable things that you can do.

Let me say that again. Living for pleasure is one of the most unpleasurable things you can do. It's been said the best cure for hedonism is an attempt to practice it. Just go for it. You're saying, so Greg are you saying that we can experience pleasure as Christians?

No. I'm saying don't live for it. Don't make that the pursuit of your life.

Because if you do you'll never find it. However the Bible says, in his presence there is fullness of joy and on his right hand there are pleasures forevermore. Jesus said in John 10, 10, I have come that you might have life and that more abundantly. So oh yes you can experience pleasure but you experience it not by living for pleasure but by living for God. My friend Randy Alcorn put it this way and I quote, If we come to see the purpose of the universe as God's long term glory rather than our short term happiness, then we will undergo a critical paradigm shift in tackling the problem of suffering. End quote. Well said. If I understand that the ultimate goal of my life is bringing glory to God, it changes everything.

Here's the bottom line. When you seek to fulfill the purpose you were created for, which is to know, glorify, and worship God, you will find the happiness you've been seeking in life. You won't find the happiness you want in life by seeking it. You'll find the happiness you want in life by seeking him.

Because the Bible says happy are the people whose God is the Lord. Yes, God created you for his own glory. Isaiah 43, 7, the Lord says everyone that I've created, I've created for my glory. Then 1 Corinthians 10, 31, Paul says whatever you do, do it for the glory of God.

Here's what it means. Whatever you're doing in life, whatever your career path, or if you're a student, or a husband, or a wife, or a parent, or whoever you are, whatever you're doing, do it for the glory of God. And if you can't do it for the glory of God, maybe you shouldn't be doing it anymore. Jesus taught us in the Lord's prayer to pray, Hallowed be thy name. If you can't write hallowed be his name, or honored be his name over what you're doing, then don't do it. Do what you can ask God's blessing on and do it for his glory.

Why? Because life is preparation for eternity. We were made by God. We were made for God. And God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity. So let me close with this. Are you ready for the afterlife? You cannot escape it.

It is there. You're going to get there if you're a Christian by death or by rapture. But non-believers are going to enter the afterlife too. They of course would not go via rapture. But they will go via death.

And life here will end for some sooner than later. And we all have an appointment with the afterlife. I decide in this life where I will spend the afterlife.

Let me say that again. I decide in this life where I will spend the afterlife. You have two choices. Heaven or hell.

Smoking and non-smoking. You decide where you will go. Sometimes people will say, How can a God of love send people to hell?

Why do you say that? You're immediately questioning the love of God. Has God not shown his love by sending his son, Jesus Christ, to suffer and die in our place?

Listen. God doesn't send people to hell. We send ourselves to hell.

As C.S. Lewis wrote, The gates of hell are locked from the inside. Listen, friend. If you end up in hell one day, and we'll talk about this later in Revelation, but if you end up there, it's on you. It's not God's fault. Hell was not created for people. According to Jesus, hell was created for the devil and his angels or his demons. God doesn't want people made in his image to spend eternity separated from him.

That's why he sent Jesus to die on the cross in your place, and he took his anger and wrath and judgment and poured it upon Christ when it should have come upon you and me. And Jesus rose again from the dead, and as we pointed out, he stands at the door of our life and he knocks, and if we'll hear his voice and open the door, he'll come in. As I said earlier, if we'll open the door of our heart to Christ on earth, he'll open the door of heaven to us later.

So it's your choice. Where do you want to spend eternity? Do you want to go to heaven when you die? Do you want to know that you're ready to meet God? Then you need Jesus to come into your life. Jesus is standing at the door of your life, knocking, ready to come in.

Only you can open that door and invite him in and receive his forgiveness. And I'm going to pray that you will make this decision to follow Christ. So let's all pray. Father, I thank you for your word to us. Thank you for your promises to us. And I pray for everybody listening wherever they are right now.

Speak to their heart. Show them their need for Jesus and help them to come to you and believe so they can change their eternal address from hell to heaven, from hopelessness to hope, from death to life. In Jesus' name we pray.

Amen. Do you want Jesus Christ to come into your life? Do you want him to forgive you of your sin?

Do you want to go to heaven when you die? I'm going to lead you in a simple prayer. And I want you to pray this prayer out loud after me if you like. You can pray it quietly if you prefer. But I want you to pray this prayer and mean it.

The Bible says whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. And in this prayer you're doing just that. If you want to go to heaven when you die, if you want to be forgiven of all of your sins, if you want to find the meaning and purpose of life, if you want hope instead of hopelessness, if you're ready to say yes to Jesus, pray this prayer with me right here right now. Pray these words. Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, but I know that you are the Savior who died on the cross for me and rose again from the dead. Now come into my life and forgive me. I choose to follow you from this moment forward. In Jesus' name I pray.

Amen. And we want to help you get started living the Christian life. We'd like to send you our New Believers Growth Packet. Just ask for it, and we'll send it free of charge. Request it when you write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514, or when you call 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300.

Or go online to harvest.org. And when you're in touch, let us know how you're enjoying this new series in Revelation. And then we want to mention Pastor Greg's new book that springs from this series. It's called Revelation, a Book of Promises. You know, Pastor Greg, some people have a rather cloudy understanding of prophecy.

You know, they're not sure of the terms. Right. And some prophecy is just so rich in symbolism that they wonder where they can get a decoder ring. You remember a decoder ring? I do. Do you ever have a decoder ring? I don't know if I ever got one, but I was very aware of them, and I wanted one.

Do you have an extra? Well, for your gift of any size. Okay. So is your book sort of a literary decoder ring, as it were, for all of us to understand what Revelation means and how we're supposed to employ that insight today?

Yeah. You know, I think that's a good description. You know, my objective as a pastor, as a Bible teacher, as an evangelist, is make things understandable to people. I don't see any value in speaking over someone's head and using theological terminology that people don't understand.

The Bible says of Jesus, the common people heard him gladly, which simply means regular rank-and-file people understood what Jesus was talking about. So the book of Revelation. This is a book many people are fascinated by, but it's also a book many people are mystified by. And there is a decoder ring, or as I describe it early in the book, a password. A password or an encryption key that will help you understand the book of Revelation, and it's found right in the first chapter. I think you're gonna be surprised by how understandable this great book of the Bible is.

I write in a way, well, it says, oh, we're just sitting down over a cup of coffee, and we're just reading the verses together, and we're talking about them together, and I'm trying to explain to you, with simple analogies and other scriptures, commentating on scripture, and showing you how these great truths apply to you. So it's in a brand new book that just came out, and I'm very excited about it, and I want our listeners to have a copy. Again, it's called Revelation, a Book of Promises, and we'll send it to you for your gift of any size. Now, some can only give a little, we'll send one to you.

Some can give more, of course, we'll send one to you. But whatever your gift is, large or small, we will use it to continue to teach the word of God and proclaim the gospel. So get your copy of Revelation, a Book of Promises, and we'll rush it to you.

Yeah, that's right, it's brand new. Be one of the first to own a copy of this new hardcover commentary from Pastor Greg. Hey, Dave, let me jump in really quick. Not only are we offering this new book, Revelation, a Book of Promises, but we have this really cool graphic bookmark that we have put together that gives you a timeline of end times events, so you probably wondered, okay, I know I've heard about the rapture and the tribulation period and the anti-Christ and the second coming, what happens when?

Well, this very beautiful little visual bookmark sort of lays it out for you. That's included in the book you're talking about right now. Yeah, that's right. So we hope you'll get in touch today and ask for Revelation, a Book of Promises. We'll send it to say thank you for your donation. Just address a letter to A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, California, 92514. Or call us anytime 24 hours a day at 1-800-821-3300.

That's 1-800-821-3300. Or go online to harvest.org. And this is your invitation to be a part of our large upcoming evangelistic event, October 3rd, called SoCal Harvest. It takes place live at Angel Stadium in Southern California. Pastor Greg welcomes Phil Wickham and for King & Country and will bring an important gospel message. Obviously, if you're in the Southern California area, be sure to attend and bring someone who needs to meet the Lord. But no matter where you live, you can invite a friend to watch online along with you at harvest.org slash SoCal. That's also where you'll find full details on SoCal Harvest, again, October 3rd. Well, next time, Pastor Greg has the next message in our Revelation series, one with a dramatic title, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

Get the details on this revealing drama next time. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie. In the day, the day when life begins. Thanks for listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. Sign up for daily devotions and learn how to become a Harvest Partner at harvest.org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-23 04:12:22 / 2023-08-23 04:22:49 / 10

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