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. But I know one thing, Jesus Christ is watching us. And that should be the greatest motivation for running the race of life.
They say in any major city these days, there are cameras watching you as you walk, as you drive, security cameras in front of a market or built into a nearby ATM, maybe a webcam on the top of a building or someone's video doorbell. What about our friends and loved ones in heaven? Are they watching what's going on here on earth? Pastor Greg Laurie addresses that question and several others today on A New Beginning as he presents a glimpse of life inside our eternal home. This is the day, the day when life begins.
The title is Let's Talk About Heaven Part 2. And we're in Revelation chapter 6. Let's answer some often asked questions about the afterlife. Number one, what will we do in heaven?
I think some people think heaven is going to be super boring. Well, we know we will be worshipping. And that's of course why I exist, to bring glory to God.
But Revelation 15 says, I saw a glass scene mixed with fire, and there stood all the people who had been victorious over the beast, that would be the anti-Christ and his image, and the number representing his name. And they were holding harps, so there are harps in heaven, that God had given them, and they were singing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb. So there will be singing in heaven, and I think one of the reasons for the unbridled worship in heaven is because now we know all things, all of our questions are answered, all of our pain is removed, all of our tears are dry. But here's something else you're going to do in heaven, I guarantee this, you're going to be eating amazing food in heaven. Come on, you want that, don't you? See, well where do you get that?
From the Bible, the only authoritative source in heaven. Revelation 19, 19, then the angel said, blessed are those who were invited to the wedding supper. And not only will you have that meal, but you'll be with people. The whole thing about having a nice meal is having it with someone you like to be with, right? Being with friends and family, enjoying a meal together. Well check this out, you're going to have some pretty amazing company. Matthew 8, 11 says, when that day comes, you will take your place at the feast with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.
How's that for starters? Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to have a meal with. Think about meeting people of the Bible. Asking David, what was it like to slay Goliath, you know? Noah, so how did that work being in that ark all that time? Or Moses, when you parted the Red Sea, give me some details about it. Esther, what was it like to save the entire Jewish race? Deborah, what was it like to lead all those people into battle?
Hey Mary, Mary, what was it like to carry Jesus in your womb and later have him in your heart? You know, I mean, don't you want to ask those questions? I do. Because when I'm around godly people, I want details.
I want information. I want to learn from them and you'll have access to all these great men and women of God from the Bible who've gone before us to meet the Lord. But of course it's being reunited with loved ones that we miss. How many of you have someone that was very close to you who has gone to heaven? Right now you have someone, that's pretty much everybody. So you think about those people, don't you? And you think about being with them. Because one of the hardest things about death is communication is cut off immediately. And you want to communicate with them.
And it's so hard when you can't. So that brings me to the next issue and this is a big one and that of course is do people in heaven know what's going on on earth? Now my answer is going to surprise some people. Because I've heard others give a different answer than the one I'm going to give to you.
Do people in heaven know what is going on with us on earth? My answer simplified is maybe. Ok. Maybe.
And I might even take it a step further and say quite possibly. Because some would say no. The kind of default answer of many is no they're in heaven. They're worshipping God. They don't know about you.
They don't care about you. They're preoccupied with Jesus. Well I think there are some scriptures that would suggest a different approach to that. And I'll share a few of them and then we'll close.
Number one. People in eternity are aware of the fact that their loved ones are not saved. You say well how do you know that? Because over in Luke 16 and we'll get into this more next time. As the story of Lazarus and the rich man. Not the Lazarus Jesus raised from the dead. Another Lazarus. They both died. Lazarus was a godly man. The rich man was an ungodly man. So they both entered into eternity. Lazarus went to the place of comfort with Abraham.
And the rich man. The sinful man was separated in a place of torment. But that man was conscious of those he left behind. And he says in Luke 16 28 I have five brothers and I want to warn them about this place of torment so they won't come here when they die. That indicates a knowledge in eternity of what is happening on earth.
Because sometimes people say you don't know anything. Well that guy knew. Hey I have brothers. I want to go warn my brothers. I don't want them to end up here. So there's a knowledge in eternity of what's happening on earth.
Number two. When people believe in Jesus on earth it's public knowledge in heaven. I was doing a crusade once. I think it was San Jose. And I went to bed and the next day our crusade was going to start and I heard some noise in the room next to me. A little music. Then it got louder. And then it got louder. And then it was like so loud it was insane. It was like the wall was thumping. And I thought okay I can't sleep next to this so I called down the front desk.
There's something really noisy going on in the room next to me. And so I didn't want them to rat me out that I'm the guy. But I watched my little peephole. So they sent security up. Some guy was having some kind of a bachelor party. He brought a DJ in with a sound system.
And I watched the peephole the whole time. I think there were like 30 people in this room. They were taking out giant speakers.
Lights. No wonder it was so loud. So my point is if there's a party happening in a room next door to you, you'll hear it. So if there's a party in heaven, you'll know about it. So in Luke chapter 15 Jesus talked about a shepherd who lost his sheep, a woman who lost a coin, and a father who was reunited with his son. So talking about this shepherd that lost his sheep, he left his 99, found his lost sheep, wrapped it around his neck, brought it back, happy he found that little lamb. And then Jesus says, and I tell you there is joy in heaven over one sinner who repents.
Then 99 people who don't need to repent. Then Jesus tells the story of the prodigal son and how that boy came back to his father again. And then he says, likewise I tell you there's more joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. Now we read that and think well that means the angels rejoice every time a sinner repents.
Yeah they probably do. But Jesus did not say there's joy among the angels. Rather he said that when a sinner repents there's joy in the presence of the angels of God.
So I think they're rejoicing too but maybe we're rejoicing. Maybe in heaven you're aware that someone you had prayed for for your entire life on earth just came to Christ. And you're aware of their salvation and you're giving God glory for that. So there is an awareness in heaven of what is happening on earth.
Then Revelation 6 the chapter I had you turn to like a year ago. We read in verse 9 this is a scene from heaven. When the lamb broke the fifth seal I saw unto the alt of the souls of those who had been martyred for the word of God and were being faithful for their testimony. They shouted to the Lord and said oh sovereign Lord holy and true. How long before you judge the people who belong to the world and avenge our blood for what they've done to us.
And it was said that they should rest a little while longer. So here are people who are martyred for their faith. These are not angels.
These are mere mortals like us. They've been put to death for their faith in Jesus. They're in heaven and they knew they were put to death for following Jesus demonstrating a direct continuity between our identity on earth and our identity in heaven. They were the same people.
They're not different people. They're aware of what has happened to them. They're also aware of the passing of time on earth.
They say in verse 10 how long until you judge and avenge our blood. So the idea is they know something is wrong and they want it made right. Again my point is people in heaven are aware of what's happening on earth. So when people say they don't know anything up there well actually I beg to differ. I think they may.
They may know more than we think they do. 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 continues his study now called Let's Talk About Heaven Part 2. Hebrews 12. A very familiar verse. It says since you're surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses let us lay aside the weight and the sin that so easily besets us and run with endurance a race that is set before us looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross despising the shame and now is set down on the right hand of God.
Now remember I told you recently whenever you see the word therefore find out what it's there for. Right. So whoever wrote Hebrews and we don't know who wrote it. It may have been Paul.
We don't know. But the author of Hebrews says therefore since you're surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. Ok he's drawn in what was said.
What did he just say. Hebrews 11 he told us all about the heroes of the faith. We call Hebrews 11 the heroes of the faith the hall of faith and these are great men and women of God that were used very powerfully Abraham Moses Joseph Gideon Samson David Rahab Daniel the list goes on. And now it starts therefore. So here's the thing I'm wondering is this telling us that they're watching us from heaven. Therefore since you're surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses run the race that is set before you.
Heavenly grandstands. You know when I was running track and field many years ago I always ran faster if a pretty girl was watching me. I noticed this.
It was just drudgery running. All of a sudden I saw a cute girl. I'm running faster. Come on.
You know when someone's watching you that you love like when we go to the soccer game of one of our grandchildren they they score a goal or they do something they look over to see if we're watching you know they want to be watched and so are we being watched. I don't know. It may be that they're just giving us an example. They went before us. They showed us how to do it.
So we admire that example. Are they watching us. I can't say with any certainty but I know one thing. Jesus Christ is watching us and that should be the greatest motivation for running the race of life.
He's cheering you on. You know I've heard it said we use five percent of our brain capacity. Can you imagine five percent. I don't even know if some people use all five percent.
I may be one of them. So presumably in heaven we'll get the other 95 percent of our brain given to us and probably a lot more. You know the thing about heaven when you get there it's not like I don't think you'll know everything. There are many verses that would imply you'll learn things in heaven.
Things will be revealed to you in heaven. Otherwise you'd be like one of those bobble heads. You know those bobble heads. Big giant head.
Little tiny body. So you know you're going to learn. You're going to know a lot more the moment you get there. But I think you'll learn new things about the glory of God. Learn new things about God's creation. Learn new things about the mysteries of God.
Learn new things about all kinds of things. So you're gonna be learning in heaven, you're gonna be worshiping in heaven, you're gonna be eating in heaven. The Bible says you'll be serving in heaven. You'll be serving the Lord.
The Bible says we serve the Lord day and night. So this idea of being bored in heaven, forget about it. It's gonna be nonstop action and beauty and splendor and knowledge. But best of all, it'll be nonstop Jesus. And you'll see your loved ones again. You'll be reunited with those that have gone to heaven before you.
And what a day that will be. I'm looking forward to that, especially with my son and other members of my family. So I think deep down inside, we're homesick for a place we've never been before. It's like that line of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, there's no place like home. And that home is heaven for each of us one day. Heaven is your home.
A place, a paradise, a city, a country. So how can I know that I am going to heaven? Let's go back to John 14 that I quoted and I'll close with this. Jesus said that my father's house are many mansions and if it were not so, I would have told you. And if I go, I'll come again and receive you unto myself. And where I go, you know, and the way you know. And good old Thomas said, excuse me, we don't know where you're going and we don't know the way. I'm so glad he asked that question. Because I think a lot of times Jesus would say something and all the other disciples would nod in unison. That is so good, that is so deep.
I'm tweeting that later. But I think Thomas was honest, like I have no idea what you're even talking about. What do you even mean when you say where you go, we know, and the way we know? We don't know where you're going and we don't know the way. And what did Jesus say? I am the way, the truth, and the life. And no man comes of the Father but by me. Excellent question, Thomas, giving us this signature statement of Christ. 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 believe that the location is accurate. So I'm gonna go to where I think Disneyland is and I will enter the way that I want to enter Disneyland.
Okay, whatever. So you're gonna 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 gotta 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 if you wanna get into Disneyland, you pay the price of, what is it, $2,000 for a day. And that's just the food. But whatever it is, you pay the price and they stamp your hand.
And now you can go in the park and out of the park and back in the park again and all that. You have to pay the price. Well, look, you can't afford the price to heaven but it was paid for you 2,000 years ago by Jesus on the cross. Remember, I told you, heaven is not for good people because you're not good enough to get there. But heaven is for forgiven people. So the real question is, are you forgiven? Have you said to God, I know I'm a sinner, I know I don't deserve to go to heaven, but you've offered me this wonderful promise that I can go there someday and I want to. So I want to believe in you.
And that's really what it comes down to. You have to admit your sin, believe Jesus died on the cross for your sin, turn from that sin, ask God to forgive you of that sin and begin to follow Christ. When you do that, you can know with certainty you'll go to heaven. I'm going to heaven when I die. I guarantee you, how do you know?
Because God promised that I would go there. And I'm taking him on that promise. I'm standing on that promise.
And I know many of you believe it as well. I want to make sure everybody here and everybody wherever you are, I want you to know this. And he's just a prayer away. So I'm going to give you an opportunity to ask God to forgive you of your sin so you can know that you know that you know you're going.
All right, let's pray. Father, thank you for your word to us. Thank you for your promise to us of heaven, how amazing it is. And we want to all go there one day. We want to see you, Lord. We want to see this paradise, this place, this city, this country, this place that exceeds our wildest dreams. And I pray for anybody here or anybody listening wherever they are, if they don't have the hope of heaven, help them to come to you and believe in you right now.
Right now. For we ask it in Jesus' name, amen. Amen. Pastor Greg Laurie with an important word of prayer. And if you'd like to make a change today in your relationship with the Lord, Pastor Greg would like to help you with that.
And he'll do so before today's edition of A New Beginning concludes. You know, Pastor Greg, sometimes we may discover a Christian friend of ours may have some questions on the basics of the faith. And we could all use a resource that would help answer those questions and help them build a solid foundation for their walk with the Lord. You have a resource like that available, don't you?
Yes, I do, Dave. It's called The New Believer's Guide to Effective Christian Living. This is a simple, small book. It's very understandable and basically I lay down the basics of spiritual success. If you wanna go forward spiritually, this is going to help you. By the way, these are truths and principles you never outgrow.
You need to return to them again and again and again. We talk about things like discovering God's will, how to pray effectively, how to share your faith, how to know the will of God, how to study the Bible, and much, much more. The cool thing is you could read this in one sitting. It's almost like we're just sitting down and talking together over a cup of coffee and I'm just breaking down the basics of the Christian life for you or for whoever you give this book to. So order your copy of The New Believer's Guide to Effective Christian Living. You might even wanna order a few extras. It's a great resource to have on hand.
Yeah, that's right, it's small enough to keep in a pocket or in a purse or in the glove compartment of your car. Let this help you in your own personal ministry. And we wanna send a copy of this your way to say thank you. Thank you for praying for us and for investing so these daily studies can continue. It's only possible through listener support.
So thanks for letting us hear from you today. Again, when you give, be sure to ask for The New Believer's Guide to Effective Christian Living. You can call us at 1-800-821-3300. That's a 24-hour phone number. 1-800-821-3300.
Or go online to harvest.org. Well Pastor Greg, you spoke today about having a relationship with the Lord. Someone can enter into that kind of a relationship with God right now, can't they? Yeah, they really can. That's the amazing thing. I think people are surprised that it doesn't take years to become a Christian. It doesn't take months. It doesn't take weeks. It doesn't take days.
It doesn't even take hours. You can believe on the spot. And I would like to lead you in a prayer where you can ask for His forgiveness, a prayer where you can receive Jesus Christ into your life as your Savior and Lord. So if you want Christ to come into your life, if you want Him to forgive you of your sin, if you want a second chance in life, if you wanna go to heaven when you die, stop what you're doing and pray after me these words. Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner and I'm sorry for my sin and I turn from it now and I choose to follow you from this moment forward as Savior and Lord, as God and friend. Thank you for loving me and calling me and forgiving me. In Jesus' name I pray, amen. Amen. And listen, if you have just prayed those words with Pastor Greg and meant them sincerely, the Lord has heard you and forgiven you of your sin.
The Bible says Jesus is faithful and just to forgive us of our sin and cleanses from all unrighteousness. And we'd like to send you some materials to help you begin to live this new life. We call it our New Believers Growth Packet. Just ask for it and we'll send it to you free of any charge if you prayed for the first time today with Pastor Greg. Call us at 1-800-821-3300.
We can take your call any time at 1-800-821-3300. Or just go to harvest.org and click the words, know God. Well next time, more important insights from Pastor Greg's enlightening series, The Afterlife and the Eternal. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins. A New Beginning is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. If this show has impacted your life, share your story, leave a review on your favorite podcast app and help others find hope.
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