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Let’s Talk About Heaven: New and Improved

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
January 11, 2022 3:00 am

Let’s Talk About Heaven: New and Improved

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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January 11, 2022 3:00 am

Ever fallen for that ruse at the supermarket? You see a package marked new & improved and so you buy it. Then you get it home and taste it and . . and . . (Sfx) It isn’t new or improved! Well, as believers, there’ll come a time when we’re new and improved. For real. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out just how we’ll change personally when we get to heaven. This message is one of those our listeners requested the most this past year.

View and subscribe to Pastor Greg’s weekly notes.

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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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Today's episode of A New Beginning is brought to you by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God.

Learn more at harvest.org. And while you're there, browse our library of free ebooks designed to help you grow in your faith. We all like to watch the story of someone who discovers they have superpowers, like Superman or Wonder Woman or whoever the character might be. Well, really, you're going to have superpowers. Pastor Greg Laurie says when we get to heaven, we'll be the same person we are today, only better, much better. You will be given a new body, but it will still be you. It'll just be the radically upgraded version of you.

Ever fallen for that ruse at the supermarket? You see a package marked New and Improved, and so you buy it. You get it home and taste it, and it isn't new or improved. Well, as believers, there'll come a time when we're new and improved, for real. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out just how we'll change personally when we get to heaven.

This message is one of those our listeners requested the most this past year. A while back Newsweek did a cover story with the title Visions of Heaven. It revealed that 76% of Americans believe in heaven, and 71% of them believe it's an actual place, but after that, the agreement began to break down. 19% thought heaven looked like a garden. 13% thought it was like a city.

17% did not know, and those that did not believe in it sneakingly wished there was one. Now another poll done by the Pew Research Center had people talk about heaven and hell and define it. Their definition was heaven is a place where people who have led good lives are eternally rewarded, and hell was a place where people who had led bad lives and died would be eternally punished. So right out of the gate, people have it wrong. That is not what heaven is, and that is not what hell is.

Now here's the problem. People say they believe in heaven, and that idea of heaven comes uniquely from the Bible. So if you're going to say you believe in heaven, you need to read the rest of what the Bible says, right? Because the Bible tells us there is a heaven. We would not believe in heaven if we were not for the teaching of scripture.

To say you believe in heaven but then not read what the Bible has to say about it would be like saying, well, I believe in Disneyland, but I do not agree with the price for getting in, and I would be with you on that, and I do not believe that the location is accurate. So I'm going to go to where I think Disneyland is, and I will enter the way that I want to enter Disneyland. Okay. Whatever. So you're going to end up in some lame putt-putt golf course with one broken ride.

I don't know. But if you happen to make it to the Magic Kingdom, you've got to go in the Disney way or you don't go in at all. If you try to just walk in, of course, you'll be stopped, arrested by the Disney police. You'll be put in Disney jail, and I don't know what happens after that. But the idea is that you have to do it the right way. You have to pay the admission price. Well, in the same way, you say, well, I'm going to go to heaven, and I'll do it my way. Well, no, you won't. You do it God's way.

All right. Well, what's the admission price? Trust me when I tell you you can't afford it. That's the bad news. You can't afford the price to get into heaven.

Here's the good news. The price has been paid. Admission is free through Jesus Christ. That's how you get into heaven.

Because of His death for us on the cross. So as to good people going to heaven and bad people going to hell, listen to this. There will be people in hell who would be defined by some as good people. And in the same way, there will be people in heaven who lived bad lives. Let me say that again. There will be people in hell who would be identified by some as good people, and there will be people in heaven who lived bad lives, but they repented of their sin.

How does this work? Being good doesn't get you to heaven. Heaven.

There's only one way to get to heaven. Being forgiven. Heaven is not for good people. It's for forgiven people. But then again, you can be a good person relatively speaking, but you're not good enough. And you could think you would get to heaven on your own good works. And of course you won't.

And that's how you might end up in hell. Okay. So now let's answer some often asked questions about the afterlife. Number one.

What will our new bodies be like in heaven? Number two. Will we know each other in heaven? Number three. Will we be married in heaven?

Number four. What will we do in heaven? And fifth and lastly, and this is often asked, do people in heaven know what's going on with us on earth? All right.

So let's go question by question. And by the way, in our last message, let's talk about heaven. We discovered of course heaven is an actual place.

Not a state of mind. It's a real place. Jesus said in John 14, I've gone to prepare a place for you. Jesus tells us and the rest of the Bible tells us heaven is a city. Heaven is a country. Heaven is a paradise. It doesn't say it's like a city. There is city in heaven.

It doesn't say it's like country. It is a country. It doesn't say it's like a paradise. It is a paradise. In fact, it's better than any city you've been to on earth.

It's better than any country you have ever visited. And it is better than any paradise that you can imagine. Whatever you've experienced on this earth, the best of the best of the best doesn't even come close to the glory of heaven.

Why? Because earth at its best is a pale imitation of the real thing, which is heaven. Heaven is not a watered down version of earth. It's kind of the other way around. And so whatever you are thinking, it's going to be far better than you ever imagined. All right. So what about these new bodies the Bible talks about?

What will they be like? Short answer. Amazing. You know that people love these superhero movies. You know you have the DC universe. You have the Marvel universe.

And there's just so many of them coming out. And we all like to watch the story of someone who discovers they have superpowers like Spiderman or Superman or Wonder Woman or whoever the character might be. Because they can fly. They have superhuman strength.

They can do all kinds of amazing things. Well really you're going to have superpowers if you will one day in this new body that God is going to give you. Why? Because your resurrection body is going to be like the resurrection body of Jesus Christ. So let's think about that for a moment. Jesus was crucified on a cross.

Right? He rose again from the dead three days later. Did He rise in a physical body? Yes or no?

The answer is yes. And so in a physical body was He a different person or was He still Jesus? Well He was still Jesus. In fact He even said to His disciples, it is I not another. To the point He still bore in His hands and in His feet the marks of the crucifixion. Remember when He appeared to the disciples in the upper room He extended His hands to Thomas who was a bit doubtful and said go ahead and put your hands in the wounds in my hands.

And of course Thomas didn't need any more proof. So He was still Jesus but He did things in this resurrected body that He did not do before. It is not that He couldn't have done them before but He didn't. And so afterwards He did some unusual things like appearing in a room without using the door.

That is pretty cool. How about flying? Well Jesus never flew.

Yeah He flew. What do you think the ascension is? He just went right up to heaven.

So why do I bring this up? Because the Bible tells us over in 1 John 3 2 where the children of God it hasn't been revealed what we will be but we know when He is revealed. Listen, we shall be like Him for we will see Him as He is. By the way Jesus ate in His resurrection body.

And I don't think it was like translucent. You know He could see it go down His throat or something. But to prove He was in a real body He said here give me something to eat. Here here is a piece of fish. Awesome.

Just you know jot it down. But He was in a real body. And we will get to this a little bit more. But you will be given a new body but it will still be you. It will just be the radically upgraded version of you.

Ok. Here is what the Bible says. 1 Corinthians 15. Our bodies now disappoint us. Can I get an amen on that?

Amen. But when they are raised they will be full of glory. They are weak now but when they are raised they will be full of power. They are natural bodies now but when they are raised they will be spiritual bodies.

So listen to this. Our new bodies that God will give to us later will be both different and at the same time the same as our body here. By that I mean you are still you as I have already said but again a radically upgraded version of you. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. Emails, letters and phone calls from listeners are so encouraging to us and they let us know the effectiveness of these studies. Greg you have changed my life.

I had graduated from college last year. I came back home, got a full time job and I was kind of putting my faith on the back burner as I was transitioning from being a student into full time work. And now in my mornings I listen to your podcast and I have never felt closer with the Lord. I have been praying more and I have been going to church regularly and your podcast has had an impact with my faith. So thank you for the work that you do in California.

I am here in Tennessee and I get to listen to you usually in the car on the way to the gym where I work out. And I love your message. I love the simplicity and I love the truth that you bring each and every single day. So thank you for sharing the word of the Lord and all that you do there with Harvest Ministries. What a great story of how Pastor Greg's teachings from God's Word have made an impact on this man's life. And if you'd like to listen to Pastor Greg's podcasts, you can do that through Google, Apple or Spotify or just go to Harvest.org.

That's Harvest.org. Well Pastor Greg is addressing a number of questions people have about heaven. The first one, what will our bodies be like in eternity? Let's continue with the biblical insight. Okay so Jesus says in John 14 in my Father's house are many mansions or dwelling places if or were not so I would have told you if I go I will come again and receive you unto myself that where I am you may be also. In my Father's house are many mansions. So sometimes people say I can't wait to get to my mansion in heaven.

Will we actually go to mansions? It reminds me of a story of a minister and a New York cab driver that both died and went to heaven on the same day. So Peter meets them both and the cab driver is first in line and Peter says welcome to heaven. I'm in charge of housing. So I hear you're a cab driver in New York.

I says yes sir. He says all right well I've got your house picked out for you. You see that mansion over there in the hill?

That's yours. Oh the cab driver was so excited. He ran off to his mansion. The minister standing behind him stood a little taller. Oh because he was a famous preacher. Peter says yeah I hear you're a well-known minister.

Yes I am. Okay will you see that little shack down there in the valley with a roof coming apart? That's your place. What do you mean that's my place? I preach the gospel the minister said. I taught the Word of God.

I was a holy man of God. Yeah whatever. That's your place. It doesn't make sense.

I should be given a better place. Bottom line when that cab driver drove people prayed but when you preached people slept. He gets a mansion. That's a true story by the way.

No it isn't. So what is this mansion referring to in John 14? A couple of options. One it may be our new body that God will give to us. 2 Corinthians 5 1 in the New Living Translation says when this earthly tent we live in is taken down when we die and leave these bodies we have a home in heaven an eternal body made for us by God himself.

We'll put on the new body like new clothes. Okay so it could be a description of our new body but it could be a house. I mean literally a house in heaven.

Why not? Is not heaven a city? Is not heaven a country? Is not heaven a place? So we could have a house and by the way we're told over in Isaiah 65 21 in the millennium that's in Christ is ruling on the earth that we will all build our own houses. Okay so it might be an actual house. And I love how Jesus says my father's house. So that suggests spaciousness.

Big place. But then he says in my father's house are many rooms. That sort of suggests coziness right.

I mean even if you're in a palatial estate you can't live in 300 rooms at once. You're going to find a nice little spot and sit down in front of a fire and have a cup of coffee or a cup of tea or whatever you know. So you know the idea is that it's a real place waiting for you.

What it is exactly I don't know. But it's going to be amazing. We know that. And you know I'll tell you what the thing is is with life as you get older it seems like it goes more quickly. You know this is true. Billy Graham was once asked the question what has been your greatest surprise of life.

And he said in response the brevity of it. And there's a reason that it seems like time goes faster as you get older. I read that they did a study on it and what it revealed was the reason it seems like time goes faster when you're older is because you get into routines right.

Older people like to go to the same restaurant sit in the same spot and order the same thing over and over again. But when you're young you like adventure. You like things happening. You like to try new things when you're older.

Not so much right. And so there are telltale signs you're getting old. You know you're getting old when you go to pull up the wrinkled socks you're wearing and you realize you're not wearing socks. That's not a good sign. You know you're getting old when your pacemaker opens the garage door accidentally. But hey blessed are the pacemakers right. Okay so you know you're getting old when you bend down to tie your shoe and you wonder what else you can do while you're down there right.

Is that not true. I'm down here already. Is there anything else I can do because I don't want to come down here again right. So but to the point here life goes by so quickly but here's the good news.

Though your body is wearing out like a tent which is not meant to last forever. God's going to resurrect it and your soul will live forever and your body will be resurrected. So now when we're in heaven will we know each other in heaven. Do you think you're going to be more stupid in heaven than you are on earth.

Maybe I should ask the question well do you know each other on earth. Well then you're going to of course know each other in heaven in the same way. You know on the Mount of Transfiguration remember Jesus was transfigured.

He shined like the sun. On one side was Moses and on the other side was Elijah. Now how do we know it was Moses and Elijah.

Were they wearing little name tags. Hi I'm Moses. Dear Moses was he holding the tablets.

Here. That's Moses. Elijah calling fire down. No I don't think so. Somehow they were recognizable as they made this guest appearance if you will on each side of Christ. So I think when you get to heaven yes we'll see each other. Yes we'll know one another. We're told in 1 Corinthians 13 we will know as we are known. We'll know everything we know on earth except more.

We'll know everything we know on earth but with divine perspective now. Sometimes people have this mistaken notion that when you get to heaven you have some kind of a brain wipe. Like remember that movie Men in Black. They would do that little thing and they forgot everything they saw. I think people think when they're in heaven they're just like it's almost like heaven's a giant lobotomy or something.

No I want to know. There's memories of earth in heaven. Oh that can't be true Greg because we would be sorrowful. Well you have perspective. See I understand things now. How can I be rewarded for something I did on earth if there's not a memory of what I did on earth. So you're going to remember earthly things but now with that supernatural perspective. There's no break in my love for my loved ones. Death breaks ties on earth but renews them in heaven.

We're the same people we were here. Pastor Greg Laurie with great insights on what's to come when we reach our heavenly home. Maybe these are questions you've wondered about and Pastor Greg will have more answers as he continues this best of message including some thoughts before we close today here on A New Beginning.

Hey everybody Pastor Greg here. You know I know a lot of you listen to A New Beginning in your car when you're on the go taking your kids to school, picking them up from school or other times where little ones are in the car. I know because you write me letters and the kids even write me letters and tell me how they love the program and I'm so thankful. So kids if you're listening thanks so much and I'm glad you like to listen to our radio show but I have a friend with me right now his name is Levi Lusko.

He once was nine years old now he's a lot older he's almost 40 but when he was just a little kid his parents used to have him listen to something called a cassette tape. Now we don't have those around anymore but basically it was a little recording you put into a little tape deck thing and played it and you would hear a bible study and so Levi tell us about what tape you used to listen to and even as a nine-year-old how you understood how the word of God mattered. Well Pastor Greg it's such an honor to talk to you. You know when I was a little kid I used to listen to you preach every day. My dad would always have you on in the car you would have you on and you know he would actually purchase your tape cassettes because he loved to listen to you preach and I used to sit in his little study and I would just kind of sneak in there and sit there and sometimes he would even help have me help him do his bible studies looking up verses he would give me a bible and say okay look up this verse and I'll look it up for him and and and I used to love love love listening when he would have you on out of anybody else he would listen to he would listen to other people like Pastor Chuck Smith and Pastor John Corson but you were always my favorite because I thought you were the funniest you told stories you made things come alive and I remember sitting specifically one day listening to you tell this bible story about David and I said dad when I was going to bed later that night can I listen to that bible study by Pastor Greg again and he said sure and he gave me the tape cassette and I put it on the little boom box in my room and I listened to it that night before bed and my dad told me that for years and years and years I wouldn't go to bed without listening to that tape you would be my good night bible story every night before sleep and it was called David His Calling Part Two and so I just this day as a pastor I stand on that and I you just I applaud every parent who turns this on on the way to you know take your kids to school in the carpool or you put this on you know in the room you just have never you have no idea how much more your kids are absorbing than you think they are and there might be some future pastors and missionaries and worship leaders and business christian business leaders who are listening absorbing these teachings week in and week out and let me tell you like the bible says there is a famine not for food as much and water as much there's a famine for the word of God and in this COVID season I have it on my heart one of the reasons this book was so important to me was we could blink and lose a generation you know maybe you know you you justify not going to church or whatever I would just say prioritize in your family the word of God because that's what we need more than anything and I think that that is what a new beginning stands for thank you Levi and you know sounds like your dad chip did a great job raising you Levi and you're doing a great job raising your children and now you've given us a resource a tool to use for us as parents and grandparents to teach the word of God to our kids and it's a brand new book that you've written called roar like a lion 90 devotions to a courageous faith some of the things you deal with in this book is having the courage to try something new even when others are watching facing fears about school and friendships handling new challenges and past disappointments and so much more this is a book you need folks to read to your kids and to your grandkids and we want to send you roar like a lion by Levi Lusko to help you get your kids into the word of God and we'll send this gift to you for your gift of any size to help us continue on teaching the word of God so we can reach not just adults but kids too because a lot of people need to hear truth yeah yeah that's right and that's our mission to know God and to make him known and this study reaches around the world with that objective in mind and we have huge plans for 2022 including a large crusade outreach and a film documenting the Jesus movement we're praying God sends another revival like the Jesus movement so your donation couldn't come at a better time and with your investment be sure to ask for roar like a lion by pastor Levi Lusko you can donate online at harvest.org or write us at a new beginning box 4000 riverside california 92514 or call 1-800-821-3300 we can take your call any time again 1-800-821-3300 well we've been talking about heaven today and what things will be the same and what things will be different when we get there pastor Greg closes with some thoughts about what we'll know in our eternal home I've used this illustration before but I only have five illustrations so I return to it but one of my grandkids might be playing with the toy and it breaks a doll the head comes off and they're freaking out because you know a headless doll is alarming in many ways even to me um papa the doll's head came off I'll fix it and then I'm trying to screw the which is not a I'll go away when I'm doing it because it's not a good thing to watch I can't get the head to screw back in so I'll say well don't worry about it they're so unhappy I'll take don't worry about it it'll be okay but it'll be okay why because I know in a cupboard I have five more of those dolls because I'm smart I plan ahead so the reason I can say it's okay is because I know it's going to work out better for them and so in the same way we're here in this life and we say god what are you doing god why aren't you paying attention lord where are you the lord says it's okay well yeah it's okay you say it's okay you're in heaven yeah I'm in heaven and I know it's going to be okay and you'll see it one day so in heaven I have memory of things on earth but with perspective hey everybody thanks for listening to this podcast to learn more about harvest ministries follow this show and consider supporting it just go to harvest.org and to find out how to know god personally go to harvest.org and click on know god
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-29 13:53:19 / 2023-06-29 14:03:33 / 10

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