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Let’s Talk About Heaven | What We Need to Know

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

Let’s Talk About Heaven | What We Need to Know

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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October 3, 2022 3:00 am

Each year, more than 30 million people in this country move . . . relocate. That may explain why there are 7,000 moving companies across the fruited plain. When we move, we try to find out some details about our new home. Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie provides some details about our eternal home. The Bible gives us more detail than you may be aware. And none of us knows our moving date, so it’s a good idea to get that information now and to be prepared.

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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. Heaven is a hope of a Christian.

It's a supernatural certainty. Each year, more than 30 million people in this country move, relocate. That may explain why there are 7,000 moving companies across the fruited plain. When we move, we try to find out some details about our new home. Well, today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie provides some details about our eternal home. The Bible gives us more detail than you may be aware.

And none of us knows our moving date, so it's a good idea to get that information now and to be prepared. We're going to do a series about heaven, because that is a subject I love to talk about. That's a topic the Bible addresses many, many, many times. And heaven is a place that we all need to know about, because if we're a Christian, that's where we're going to end up one day. And you want to be ready for where you're going. You know, if you take a trip, you want to know a little bit about where you're going. You know, what clothes do I take? What's a good place to eat? Where should I stay?

What sites should I go see? You know, we prepare ourselves for a trip that we take. Well, we want to be prepared for heaven, because heaven is a prepared place for prepared people. So let's talk about heaven. And we're going to turn to Colossians chapter 3 tonight.

Turn over there with me if you would. Colossians chapter 3. Heard about an 85-year-old couple who had been married for almost 60 years who incredibly died on the same day. They had been in good health actually for the last 10 years, mainly as a result of the wife's interest in health food and exercise. So they reach the pearly gates and they're met of course by Saint Peter. And he takes them to their brand new mansion waiting for them in heaven.

It's equipped with a beautiful kitchen, a master bath suite, and a sauna and jacuzzi. As they're oohing and aahing, the old man says to Peter, how much is this going to cost? Peter says, it's not going to cost anything man. This is heaven.

And then they looked out in their backyard and it's a championship golf course that changes every day resembling one of the great golf courses on planet earth. And the old man says, what are the green fees? Peter says, there's no green fees. It's heaven.

Everything is free. Then they take the couple to this massive buffet lunch and it had all the food that the old man wanted to eat but couldn't eat. Mexican food, Italian food, nachos with lots of cheese, pizza, hamburgers, all that good stuff.

That's the stuff I like too by the way. And the old guy's looking at all of this food and he says, well where's the low fat and low cholesterol tables? Peter says, that's the great thing. We don't have low fat tables. We don't have low cholesterol.

Eat whatever you want and you never get fat and you never get sick. With that the old man takes his hat off, throws it on the ground and starts stomping on it. And Peter and the man's wife are looking at him like, what is wrong with you? They said, what is happening? He looks at the wife and he says, this is your fault.

He says, if you hadn't been feeding me those blasted bran muffins for the last 10 years I would have been here sooner. This is a true story. It's also a bad joke. But heaven of course is no joke. It's a real place as I said for real people to do real things. Now how many of you believe in heaven? Raise your hand if you believe in heaven.

Right. Ok. Well most Americans actually do believe in a place called heaven. 81 percent.

The stats are a little lower for hell. 69 percent believe in a place called hell. But I think deep down inside we long for a place we have never been to before. Have you ever traveled for a while especially overseas and found yourself really homesick? Wanting to get home again especially those that serve in the armed forces or those that do business overseas. They can't wait to get back home again. I think deep down inside God has pre-wired us to be homesick for a place we have never been to before. And that place is heaven.

We long for it. In fact the Bible even tells us over in Ecclesiastes 3-11 that God has said eternity in our hearts. It was Augustine who said quote, you formed us for yourself and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you.

The great writer C.S. Lewis speaking of heaven said it was the secret signature of each soul. Lewis continues, there have been times when I think we do not desire heaven but more often I find myself wondering whether in our heart of hearts if we have ever desired anything else. It is the secret signature of each soul. The incommunicable and unappeasable want. End quote.

I love that. It is this longing deep inside of us. Like the story of the little boy who was flying this kite and it went up higher and higher and soon you couldn't see it.

It was obscured by the cloud. And someone said, boy how do you know that kite is still up there? The little guy said, I can still feel its tug. And I think deep down inside we feel the tug of heaven. And it goes back to our childhood. I think even our excitement about Christmas in a way is a longing for heaven. There is something about Christmas apart from all the commercialism of it and also apart from the fact that it starts in August now. That there really is a glimpse of heaven.

Is it not? All the beautiful lights. The angels. The beautiful songs. Like I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus.

No not those ones. The beautiful Christmas songs that we sing. And it is just like a little glimpse of heaven. It is sort of like a promise.

Of course Christmas cannot deliver on the promise. But Christ can and heaven can. And the Bible teaches that when a Christian dies they go straight to heaven. Now I came across an atheist website a while ago. I don't usually read that many atheist websites.

But from time to time I will check in on what other people are saying. And it turns out that they were quoting something I said on their atheist website. And here is what it said. They quoted me rightly with these words. They said that I said quote, when a Christian dies it is a direct flight to heaven.

There are no stopovers. The moment we take our last breath on earth we take our first breath in heaven we go into the presence of God. That is exactly what I said. And they were outraged by this.

And here was their response. Going to heaven after death is assumed. Not only does he start with this unsubstantiated and onerous assumption but he goes on in more detail about the precise state of affairs that take place in heaven once you arrive. And what evidence does Greg Laurie have to bolster these claims?

Nothing at all. Just a bunch of Bible quotes. That's right. Just a bunch of Bible quotes. By the way I love that. I stand by that.

That's right. Just a bunch of Bible quotes. I am building everything I believe on just a bunch of Bible quotes. I am building my hope on Jesus Christ and what He tells me in His Word. Now listen I don't expect atheists to understand the hope of a Christian. It is hard for them to wrap their mind around the fact that we have such a strong hope. But this is something that God gives to us.

Isn't it? It is a quiet confidence. It is a supernatural certainty. And where do we find this hope? We find it from Scripture. Or as the atheist website said a bunch of Bible quotes. That is why it is a good thing to memorize the Bible and to fill your mind with what the Bible says. And the Bible actually has a lot to say about heaven. In fact Psalm 119 says, You are my refuge, my shield.

Your word is my only source of hope. That is one of the reasons the Scripture was given to us to begin with. To give us hope. Romans 15 4 says, Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. They give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God's promises. And by the way the word that is used there for hope is a word that can be translated a strong and confident expectation.

And we all have that. And I have the hope that one day I will go to heaven. 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. Pastor Greg, I wanted to relate an extraordinary experience my Bible study group shared recently. We are studying your Tell Someone online class material and had come to the fifth week called What is the Gospel? Our usual study leader was ill and asked me to lead the group of 15 or 20 which by the way includes two very experienced pastors. I was hesitant and felt very insecure but agreed to fill in. Just as we were getting started a young lady walked into the meeting room and sat down to join us. I'd not seen her at church for several years and to my delight she participated in the discussions and soaked in the message of the Gospel as you presented it. Afterward while we were enjoying refreshments I noticed that our pastor and the young lady were talking off to the side and within a few minutes he announced to the group that she had accepted Christ right then and there. We were able to love her, congratulate her and welcome her. And then we found just the right resources that she might need and began to get her connected with other believers. Pastor Greg, I'm so thankful that you included that chapter as it was exactly what this young lady needed to hear. Thank you and your team at Harvest for all that you do. Well you've joined us for Pastor Greg's message called Let's Talk About Heaven Part One.

I want to do everything to help you come into a relationship with God and find that beautiful and meaningful relationship He has for you on this earth. But when it's all said and done the statistics on death are quite impressive. One out of every one person will die. And then there's the afterlife. And the afterlife lasts a lot longer than this life on earth. Maybe we should call our time on earth the before life. We put so much focus on the afterlife.

No. The before life is short. The afterlife is forever.

Yes it's true. I admit it. I want to take as many people to heaven with me as I possibly can. And so we need to know about heaven. I've always studied heaven. Always been fascinated by it. I wouldn't say I'm an expert on it at all.

But I would say I'm a student of it. And I probably became a greater student of it no doubt in 2008 when my son went to heaven. He beat me to heaven. My son Christopher was 33 at the time. Now Christopher and I used to race each other on the beach. And he was a runner. He was out in track and field.

He was very good. But I was okay as a runner in high school. And so I was a bit younger.

And so we'd be on the beach. And I'd race him all the time. I'd say let's race to that mark down there. And you know and I was better at short distance and he was better at long distance.

So I always picked a distance that favored me right. Because I would run out of steam quicker than he would. Let's run to that mark. And so ready go. And I would run and I'd get ahead of him. And I beat you again. You didn't beat me yet.

And one day we're walking along the beach. I said okay. I picked a spot. Let's go. And your market said go. And off we went. And he beat me. Oh it finally happened.

Well that happened in life too. You know I expected that I would go way before him to heaven. In fact written on his tombstone are the words I fought the good fight. I kept the faith. I finished the course.

And that is what we're all going to do. And we don't know how long that course will be. Some of us may run that course for 85, 95 years. Some of us may run that course for 45 years. Some of us may run the course for 18 years.

Some may run it for 33 years like my son. We don't know. None of us know.

That's why we want to run as well as we can and as hard as we can while we can. Because one day will be our last day. And then we're in eternity. And then we're standing before the Lord.

So what is heaven like? Let's talk about that a little bit here in Colossians chapter 3. I'm going to read two verses.

Since then you've been raised with Christ. Set your hearts on things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above. Not on earthly things.

We'll stop there. So we are to set our hearts and we are to set our minds on things above. This phrase set your mind can be translated think or more thoroughly have this inner disposition.

Let me put it another way. The verse is actually saying simply think heaven. Think heaven.

That's something we're all supposed to do as Christians. And by the way the verb that's used in this verse is in the present tense. So it can be translated keep thinking heaven or keep thinking about heaven or keep seeking heaven.

Put it all together. It's saying constantly be seeking and thinking about heaven. You see our feet must be on earth but our minds and our hearts can be in heaven. But if we're honest many of us have gone an entire day without a single thought about heaven.

And that's not a good thing. We should always be thinking about it. Warren Wiersbe a great Bible commentator said quote for the Christian heaven isn't simply a destination it's a motivation. You say okay well that's fine but you know how do I think about a place I've never been to before?

How do I wrap my mind around a place I know so little about? Well you need to learn about heaven and see what the Bible says about Scripture. Because when you're thinking about heaven and you're seeking heaven you will be a heavenly minded person in the best sense of that phrase.

I know it's used to critique people oh they're so heavenly minded they're no earthly good. And I know a lot of people who are so earthly minded they're no heavenly good. And I think if you're heavenly minded in the right way you'll be of the greatest earthly good. Fact of the matter is those that think the most of the next life do the most in this one. Because if I believe there's an afterlife and I believe there's a reward waiting for me for my faithfulness won't that make me want to serve the Lord? And if I believe in an afterlife and I believe there's a potential judgment for me won't that make me want to fear God and avoid sin? So you see how my belief in the afterlife affects me in this life? But if on the other hand I don't believe there's a reward waiting why do anything for anyone but me? And if I don't think there's a future judgment out there why can't I do whatever the heck I want to do to whoever I want to do it to? Because there'll be no eternal repercussion. So as you can see your thinking about the afterlife has a dramatic effect on you in this life. So let's just start with what is heaven?

What is it? Well it's the dwelling place of God. All right where is heaven?

Well we know it's up. We know that there's a third heaven. The Bible talks about three heavens and the first heaven would just be basically walk outside to look up you see the sky.

The second heaven would be the solar system and the third heaven is that supernatural realm. But it may be closer than we think. I think we think it's so far away you know and maybe it's just right next to us in a way. It's really another dimension. You see right now we live in the physical dimension.

But at the same time we coexist with an eternal dimension. It's a dimension of God and the devil. Of angels and demons.

Of the supernatural world. A great illustration of this is found in the book of Kings with the prophet Elisha and his servant Gehazi. They were surrounded by their enemies. They were closing in with chariots and armed soldiers and Gehazi started to freak out and panicked. He said what are we going to do master?

He actually woke Elisha up and said oh whatever okay. The Lord just opened his eyes and his eyes were open and he saw the supernatural forces of God all around him and he discovered that they had more on their side than the enemy had on their side. And right now we're surrounded by the supernatural world. The Bible says that the angel of the Lord encamps around those that fear him. And we may even have guardian angels.

I'm not sure of this but I think you can make a fairly good case for it. At least maybe children have them because Jesus talks about how our little children have their angels. So it may be that we have personal angels and it may be we just have angels that just do God's bidding but they're working around us every single day.

God's at work. So this supernatural realm. This place called heaven. We don't know where it is but it is where God is and that is the most important thing of all. Because really the greatest thing about heaven is going to be seeing God. Pastor Greg Laurie is offering compelling insights on what's waiting for us in heaven.

Good encouragement today here on A New Beginning. You know, Pastor Greg, I really enjoy those fixer-upper kind of programs on TV. They'll take an old home and renovate it.

Maybe it's because I'm a frustrated non-carpenter myself and I'd love to be involved in a project like that. But it's always a big deal when they have a problem with the foundation. When there's a foundation problem, everything stops until they get it corrected. And you know, with our spiritual lives, when there's a problem with the foundation of our faith, it can bring our spiritual growth to a stop. But we have a special resource that can help with that.

Yes, we do. It's called The New Believer's Guide to Effective Christian Living. You know, Dave, I'm just like you. I love the idea of doing home repair but I'm not very good at it. If my wife sees me walking through the house, with the hammer, she's alarmed, where are you going? What are you trying to fix? Because I will inevitably make whatever I'm trying to fix worse.

Though I love to go to the hardware store and look at all the cool stuff. Hey, maybe I'll try this. Not very good in that area. But I'll tell you what. One area that I think I can help you in is in rebuilding your spiritual foundation. And you've got to keep that strong. Because if you don't have your electrical and plumbing and actual foundation right, all the rest is really of no consequence. And that's true spiritually too.

Sometimes we forget the basics. Basics like regular Bible study, having a prayer life, being an active part of the church, sharing our faith. Basics like how to know God's will, how to resist temptation, how to share your faith. I deal with all of this and more in this resource that's simply called The New Believer's Guide to Effective Christian Living. It's a very understandable, readable book.

You can keep it in your back pocket. You might even have a few extras on hand to give out to someone that could use some encouragement. But I think that you will be encouraged by this book as well. This is for the person that's new in their faith. And it's also for the person that might find themselves stuck spiritually. Again, it's called The New Believer's Guide to Effective to Effective Christian Living. And we have a copy with your name on it.

Yeah, that's right. And we hope you'll get in touch today so we can get it on its way to you. We're sending this helpful resource to thank you for partnering with us so these studies can continue to come your way. We're so thankful for listener support.

Candidly, it's the only way we can cover the costs of making these studies available. So thank you so much for your generosity. And when you contact us today with your donation, be sure to ask for The New Believer's Guide to Effective Christian Living. You can call 1-800-821-3300. That's a 24-7 phone number, 1-800-821-3300. Or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514.

Or go online to harvest.org. Ever start your day off wrong? You know, things started badly and just kept going downhill. A lot of it has to do with your focus, where your mind is centered as the day starts. Why not plug into Pastor Greg's daily devotions? They're free of charge. It's good encouragement to keep your eyes fixed on Christ. You can read each day's devotion or listen to the audio version.

Your choice. Sign up today free of charge at harvest.org. Is heaven just some ethereal, metaphysical idea or ideal? Next time, Pastor Greg points out heaven is a real place, and it's really paradise. 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 / 2022-12-28 08:00:38 / 2022-12-28 08:09:46 / 9

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