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Let’s Talk About Heaven | How We'll Be Different

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
October 6, 2022 3:00 am

Let’s Talk About Heaven | How We'll Be Different

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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October 6, 2022 3:00 am

Ever fallen for that ruse at the supermarket? You see a package marked new and improved, so you buy it. Then you get home, taste it, and . . 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. It’s information we can trust, coming from the infallible truth of the Word of God.

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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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You're listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God.

Visit our website and learn more about Harvest Partners at harvest.org. 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.

It's information we can trust, coming from the infallible truth of the Word of God. 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. 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?

Alright, 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, people love these superhero movies. You know, you have the DC Universe. You have the Marvel Universe, and there are just so many of them coming out, and we all like to watch the story of someone who discovers they have superpowers like Spider-Man 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 a 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's 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, you 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's a piece of fish. Awesome.

Just, you know, jot it down. But He was in a real body. And we'll 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.

Okay? Here's what the Bible says. 1 Corinthians 15. Our bodies now disappoint us.

Can I get an amen on that? But when they are raised, they'll be full of glory. They're weak now, but when they're raised, they'll be full of power. They're natural bodies now, but when they're raised, they'll 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've 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. You know, there's nothing like hearing the Word of God and worshiping the Lord together. I want to encourage you to join us for something we call Harvest at Home. It happens every Saturday and Sunday at Harvest.org. You can join Christians literally from around the world as we worship and we study the Word of God together.

So join us for Harvest at Home at 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 it 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 on 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. Because he was a famous preacher. Peter says, yeah, I hear you're a well-known minister.

Yes, I am. Okay, well you see that little shack down there in the valley with the roof coming apart? That's your place. What do you mean that's my place? I preached 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?

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 when 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. So 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 I'll tell you what, the thing 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? 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.

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. 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 is 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. In 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. Did 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. 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. Pastor Greg will have more answers as he continues this message including some thoughts before we close today here on A New Beginning. Well Pastor Greg there are a lot of new believers who join us each day for our studies and many of us know a new believer in our circle of influence. What are the most important things a new believer needs to learn right after they come to Christ?

Yeah great question and by the way the things that I'll share with you right now are things you've probably heard before but you never outgrow these things. You never move beyond these things and in fact these are some principles we share with people who have just accepted Christ like when we do a harvest crusade and all those people come forward on the field. We've had sometimes 3,000, 5,000 people there and the counselors walk up to them and they share these things with them and let me just share them briefly with you. We tell the new believer that they need to read the Bible. We offer them what is called the new believers Bible.

It's a special edition of the scripture in the New Living Translation with thousands of notes that I wrote that will encourage them. But we tell them that you need to read the scripture each and every day. Jesus said low in the volume of the book I've come. If you want to know Jesus you need to read the Word of God. Scripture says study or exert yourself to show yourself approved unto God a workman that does not need to be ashamed rightly dividing the word of truth. So start by reading the Bible. And by the way you need to read the Bible every day.

Every day and every night too for that matter. Every day should have the Word of God as an important part of it. Number two we tell new believers to pray. Prayer is just talking to God. It's communing with God. It's spending time in the presence of God. The Bible tells us pray about everything and don't worry about anything. And the peace of God that passes all human understanding will guard and protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. The Bible also says we should pray without ceasing.

And so we encourage people start praying. Just be honest to God. Be truthful with God.

Open your heart to God. Number three we encourage new believers to become a member of a church. To join a church. To attend that church on a regular basis because we need each other as Christians. We can't do this alone.

You're not meant to do life alone. And this is why the Bible says in the book of Hebrews don't forsake the assembling of yourselves together as the manner of some is. But encourage and exhort one another daily and so much more as we see the day of the Lord approaching. I know it's fun to watch services online and we have an online service every weekend called Harvest at Home but nothing takes the place of being a part of a local church. And finally we encourage new believers to share their faith. Tell others about Jesus.

Now at first it's going to be a bit awkward and challenging but the more you do it the better you'll get at it. But it's just sharing the good news. You know like if we find a good restaurant and we see a movie we like we might make a recommendation to a friend. Hey I found a killer burger. Oh you gotta check this out.

This movie's amazing. Or whatever. We're so quick to recommend movies and burgers but we never talk about Jesus and yet he's changed our lives and he's saved our soul. So Jesus said go into all the world and preach the gospel.

And we cringe at that. Oh I'm not a preacher. Well you can share it conversationally.

You can share it on social media. You can share the gospel in so many ways. But I deal with all of these topics and more in a book I've written called The New Believer's Guide to Effective Christian Living. I would like to send you a copy of this book at no charge.

Now let me explain. We'll give it to you for your gift of any size. So whatever you can share with us we'll take that money and put it to good use in reaching other people with the message of the gospel and the teaching of the word of God. So why don't you order your own copy of The New Believer's Guide to Effective Christian Living and we'll rush it to you. And whatever you can do to support this ministry is greatly appreciated.

Yeah that's right. And here's how to reach us. You can call 1-800-821-3300. That's a 24 hour phone number 1-800-821-3300.

Or just go online to harvest.org. And again the book is called The New Believer's Guide to Effective Christian Living. 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 on 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 a toy and it breaks, a doll, the head comes off. And they're freaking out because a headless doll is alarming in many ways, even to me. 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. Papa the doll, they're so unhappy. I'll take it. 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 and 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 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. This is the day, the day when life begins.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-25 22:31:23 / 2022-12-25 22:41:26 / 10

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