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Learn more and sign up at harvest.org. There are so many opinions about what lies beyond the grave. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie says God's Word is clear on the matter. Here is the biblical worldview on the afterlife in a nutshell. When you die, if you are a Christian, you will go straight to heaven.
If you're not a Christian, you will go to hell. But if that is the case, why are we not doing more to warn people about the reality of hell? Our culture has some very sophisticated warning systems. We have warning systems in our cars, on our computers, on TV.
We get weather alerts, amber alerts, medical alerts. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie issues a spiritual alert. We'll see that those who live their lives apart from a relationship with Jesus Christ are facing the most serious kind of danger there is.
They're not only risking life in the here and now, they're risking their life in the hereafter. You know I had a vision yesterday where I was taken to heaven and greeted at the pearly gates by Simon Peter of course. And so he took me to a large room. And in this large room, the biggest room I've ever been in, there were thousands and thousands and thousands of what looked like clocks on the wall. I went, what are these clocks? I said, Peter what are all these clocks? And he said, come here let me show you something. So he stepped a little closer and I realized he only had one hand.
One hand. And I said, what are these? He said, Greg those are synometers.
This is a true story by the way. Those are synometers. They said, what is a synometer Peter? He said, every time that person sins on earth the hand of that clock goes around one time on that meter.
Like that. So I went, whoa I am going to find out how spiritual people really are now. So I started looking some of you up. I am going to be honest.
For some I was pretty impressed and for some I was a little disappointed. I looked up Pastor Brad who is sitting here in the front. And you know there was movement Brad. There was movement on your synometer more than I expected to be honest. And like okay wow. And then it stopped for a second and again. Then I looked at Pastor John Collins and his was a little less than Brad. But still movement.
I went and looked up my wife Kathy. You know and there were cobwebs on it. It just had to move. So I am just watching all these synometers. Some are going faster. Some are going slower.
But everyone is moving. Every time that person sins one time around the dial. So I said well I have looked up everyone. I haven't looked up myself. And so I said Peter where is my synometer. He said oh yours.
We use that one for a fan in the kitchen. That was depressing. Okay so silly story to kind of make a point. There is a lot of strange and aberrant and incorrect views of the afterlife. So many. And sometimes even believers will adopt some of these views. So what we need is a biblical view. A biblical world view of the afterlife. There are people today that say they have had these near death experiences and they always see a great light right and feel this great peace and they write books about it.
They make movies about them and you know and we have these views and some people will say well that must be what it is like. I read an interesting article the other day it said that many Americans are skeptical about God but more believe in heaven. So belief in the existence of God is down a bit but belief in heaven is up a bit.
How does that work? God is the one that gave us heaven and the first time we read of heaven is actually in the Bible. So this is a strange thing to me. You know heaven is not going to exist because more people believe it exists. That would be like saying more people today believe that the state of Arizona exists than the state of California.
It doesn't matter what you think. They both exist and heaven exists and of course so does hell. And this is something we need to think about because as we get older the afterlife is getting closer. We start losing friends and even family.
And we know one day our day will come. In fact as you get quite a bit older you might realize one day you have more friends in heaven than you have on earth. By the way if that is the case you need to get some new friends.
Ok. And next time get some younger ones. But you know this is a reality we are facing and life is just passing by so quickly. It seemed when I was a kid like you know the third grade lasted ten years and now decades go by. It is a serious XM radio. And they have these channels you can go to 60s on 6, 50s on 5, 70s on 7, 80s on 8. And so sometimes I will be on 60s on 6.
I don't like it. I flip over to the 70s. I go to the 80s. And then it dawned on me I have lived through all of these decades from the 50s to 60s to 70s to 80s.
They even have 90s on 9. That means you know you are getting old when 90s songs are called oldies. But life marches on. Eternity gets closer and we wonder what happens when we die.
Alright I am going to give you a very quick answer. Here is the biblical world view on the afterlife in a nutshell. When you die if you are a Christian you will go straight to heaven.
That is true. Worth clapping for. You probably won't clap for this next statement. When you die if you are not a Christian you will go to hell. Well wait.
Hold on. I am just telling you what the Bible says. Do you want a biblical world view? Now I don't say that with any delight.
I say it with sadness. And I say it because the Bible is very clear in this topic. In fact Jesus Himself said, brought us the way that leads to destruction and many there are that go that way and narrow is the way that leads to life and few there are that find it. According to Jesus and the rest of the scripture more people are going to hell than those that are going to heaven. That is not what God wants but God has given to us a free will.
So if we really believe what the Bible teaches about the afterlife. Let me backtrack for a second. How many of you believe what I just said is true?
Raise your hand up. This is true. What you are really saying is I believe the Bible because I didn't come up with this. I think you know that. So we believe what the Bible says about the afterlife right? If that is the case why are we not doing more to warn people about the reality of hell?
I don't know the answer. I would just hope that knowing hell is real would motivate non-believers to come to Christ but I also hope it would motivate believers to share their faith with even more urgency. I don't want us to look at this topic today intellectually. I want us to look at it with our heart as well. This is not mere data.
This is life and death stuff. You know General William Booth is the founder of the Salvation Army. And at its inception the Salvation Army was a very evangelistic organization. And it was a big deal to General Booth to get out and encourage people to share their faith. So he actually said that if he had had his way he would like to as part of his training of people to share their faith taken those who were training to evangelize and dangle them over hell so they would recognize that this is the future of some people that don't know the Lord and that is the last thing we should ever want. The Apostle Paul was so concerned about this that he said that if given the choice he would go to hell if he could be assured that others specifically in his case his fellow Jews would go to heaven.
Well the good news is we don't have to do that because the price has already been paid for everyone to go to heaven through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We just need to share that message. In a moment Pastor Greg gives us a glimpse of the great family reunion waiting for us in eternity.
Good encouragement is coming up in just a moment. So many listeners have commented on the help they receive from these daily messages. God's word ministers to them and it often gets them through some of their darkest hours. Pastor Greg prior to last year my physical body was a mess after many different medical procedures they transferred me to an assisted living facility there I shared a room with a very crabby woman who would yell at me for having my radio too loud or my light on. She claimed that she was a Christian but was a very bitter person because of a tragic event that had happened to her son. Well Greg I was determined that I was going to hear your radio program a new beginning even if I had to lay on top of my radio and surprisingly one morning my roommate asked me to actually turn my radio up.
She said to me I like that minister and what he's saying. I not only was able to show her that Jesus did exist but I gave her one of your new believers Bibles. Yes God still works miracles.
As for me I'm home now and independent. My health is improving and I'm much stronger. God is my hope and it's a joy to be alive. Thank you so much Pastor Greg for letting me share my story. We're so grateful to hear of the changed lives through harvest ministries and if you have a story to tell of how these studies have touched your life or that of a family member I hope you'll contact us today, drop Pastor Greg an email, gregatharvest.org. Again that's gregatharvest.org. Well we're looking beyond the grave today as Pastor Greg brings us a message called the biblical worldview of the afterlife.
You can get a copy of this study at harvest.org. All right so let's now look at what the Bible says about the afterlife. What happens to a Christian when they die?
Very simple answer. When a Christian dies they go to heaven. If you have a loved one that believed in Jesus and they've died they're in heaven right now. The Bible is very clear about this. In fact it tells us over in 2 Corinthians 5.8 we're confident and I would say we're away from the body and at home with the Lord so we make it our goal to please Him whether we are at home in the body or away from it. So we're absent from the body. We're present with the Lord. This doesn't take months or years.
It's instantaneous. The moment you take your last breath on earth you take your first breath in heaven. Paul even said in Philippians 1.23, I have a desire to depart and be with Christ which is far better. In other words Paul is saying I would like to be in heaven right now. Notice he didn't say I have a desire to depart and just live in sort of a soul sleep for decades now. Or I have a desire to depart with Christ and hang out in purgatory for a while and atone for my sins. Now he says I have a desire to depart and be with Christ which is far better and interesting the phrase he uses and the Greek can be translated far far better.
Or the Hawaiian version is mobetta bra. You know. That's what heaven is. Now there are questions that pop up in our minds about the afterlife. Okay, will we still have our bodies in heaven?
Well let me ask you. Do you want the body you are in in heaven? Maybe you would like a radically improved version. Actually the answer to that question is yes and no. You are given new bodies but they are not completely disconnected from the body you are in now.
It is just a radically upgraded version of you. We are told over in 1 Corinthians 15 our earthly bodies will die and decay. But they will be different when they are resurrected then they will never die. Our bodies now disappoint us. Amen to that. 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. So what does this mean? It means if you were disabled on earth you will not be disabled in heaven. It means if you were facing the ravages of age on earth you will not face those in heaven. If you had cancer on earth you won't have cancer in heaven. If you were bald on earth you won't be bald in heaven. I don't think. The Bible doesn't address that. Wouldn't it be a mind blower if we got to heaven and realized that the glorified state is everyone's bald? What if we found out that hair was a part of the curse? Probably not true.
But I thought I would throw it out there anyway. So this is the great thing. So we talk about the differences but there are similarities.
You see heaven is the earthly life of the believer glorified and perfected. When we pass to the other side our minds, our memories are clearer than they have ever been before. And that is great to know because we forget things.
We forget names all the time. I will meet someone. Greg how are you? Nice to meet you. And I am talking about my wife in the morning.
Who are you? No. Not really. But the point is we have lapses in memory and we don't have our memory isn't as sharp as it once was perhaps. But all of that is going to change. And we are going to know things that we don't know now.
And we are going to see things with a perspective we don't see now. The question is often asked, will we recognize one another in heaven? The simple answer is do you think you will be more stupid in heaven than you are on earth? Maybe I should ask the question, do you recognize one another on earth?
Well generally. Well you will in heaven but even more so because all of the clouding and damaging effects of sin are removed and the Bible says we will know as we are known. I don't think that means that God takes everything that He knows and puts it into our brain the moment we enter eternity.
Otherwise we would all be like little bobble heads walking around with these massive heads and tiny little bodies. But what the scripture seems to be saying is over time in eternity the Lord will unveil to us more and more great truths and our knowledge will expand as we spend time in His presence worshiping Him and we will be reunited with those that have gone before us who trusted in Jesus. So how many of you have loved ones that believed in Jesus that have died? Raise your hand. You have people. That is pretty much everyone isn't it?
Of course. And if you didn't raise your hand you are probably very young still and it will happen. Here is the good news. You will see them again. Heaven is going to be a family reunion without the weirdness. Without the weirdness. Because family reunions are not always fun are they? Because how many of you have weird families? I would think all of us do.
Who here has a completely normal family? No weirdness. Really? Wow. You may be the weirdest of all.
I don't know. We have to talk about weird later. But we all have strange members of our family and in reality we ourselves are one of the strange members of our family. But all that sin will be gone. All the selfishness will be gone. It will be a great family reunion.
It is going to be amazing. Think of the purest joy you have ever experienced on earth. Multiply it a thousand times and you have a fleeting glimpse of the euphoria of heaven. The Bible says, in His presence there is fullness of joy and on His right hand pleasures forevermore. Ok. That is what happens to a believer. Now what happens to a non-believer?
Let's look at Revelation 20 pretty bleak. Verse 11. I saw a great white throne in him that sat on it from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead small and great standing before God. And books were opened and another book was opened which is the book of life. And the dead were judged according to their works by the things were written in the books.
Notice plural. The books. He gave up the dead that were in it. Death and Hades, or hell, delivered up the dead that were in them and they were judged each one according to his works. And death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. Anyone not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
We'll stop there. Tenominous scene. This is the most serious sobering and tragic passage perhaps in the entire Bible.
Abandon hope. All you who enter here are the famous words above the gates of hell in Dante's poem Inferno. John the Apostle, the author of this, sees a great white throne. The throne is white because of its awesome power. It's a place of judgment.
It's a place of purity. The verdicts that will proceed from it now are righteous verdicts. There will be no debate at the great white throne over guilt or innocence. There will be a prosecutor but no defender. An accuser but no advocate. An indictment but no defense mounted by the accused. The convicting evidence will be presented.
There will be no rebuttal or cross examination. There will be no jury but a judge and his holy judgment is binding for all eternity. So what happens to the nonbeliever when they die now? They go to Hades.
I use this word intentionally. It is an interchangeable word with hell but let me explain because sometimes there is confusion. There is a difference between the lake of fire and Hades. The lake of fire that we just read about is the final destination of nonbelievers and the devil and his angels. The lake of fire is the destination nonbelievers are sent to after the great white throne judgment. The great white throne judgment has not happened yet.
It is still in the future. So what happens when a nonbeliever dies? They go to Hades.
Well what is that? Hades has spoken of among other places over in Luke 16 and that is an amazing story that Jesus told about two men that died on the same day. One was rich. One was poor. One was powerful.
One was weak. One was a believer. The other was a nonbeliever. The believer was named Lazarus. Not the same Lazarus that Jesus raised from the dead in John 11.
A different one. But he died and he was carried by the angels into the presence of God. But then we read that the nonbeliever, the wealthy man, and by the way his sin was not in his wealth. His sin was in his rejection of God. But he dies and he goes to a place of torment. So at this time historically Hades effectively had for lack of a better way to put it two sections. Sort of a comfort section and a torment section.
Or smoking and nonsmoking if you will. So when the believer died before the death and resurrection of Christ, the Old Testament believer, they went into the comfort of Abraham. Abraham the patriarch. And so the believer in our story Lazarus is there in what is described in King James as Abraham's bosom.
He is in a place of comfort. Meanwhile the nonbeliever dies and he is separated from this place of comfort and the place of torment. And so when we read death in Hades, deliver the death that were in them to the great white throne judgment. It is sort of like you are arrested and you are in a jail.
Now you are being transferred from a jail to the judge who is going to give you your final sentence which will send you to prison. So the nonbeliever now is waiting. Now what happens to the believer? Coming back that comfort section is no longer there for us to go to because when Christ died and rose He went down to Hades. He preached to those who were waiting in faith. Those who had died waiting for the coming Messiah. And they are in heaven. And that is where we go now. So this is no longer a destination for a believer. But the judgment or I should say the torment section of Hades is the destination for the nonbeliever. We don't want people to go to hell.
So you say all right I agree. What do I do? What do you do? You warn people. Pastor Greg Lorry with clear warnings today about what lies beyond the grave for those who haven't entered into a relationship with Christ. And Pastor Greg will have more insight as this eye opening message continues here on the New Beginning. But if you have questions about where you stand with the Lord we invite you to go to harvest.org and click the words No God. Pastor Greg has some important information for you there online.
Again go to harvest.org and click No God. You know Pastor Greg I'll admit that I've watched a lot of how-to videos on YouTube. I learned how to poach an egg.
I learned how to solve some software problems. And I learned that there's a lot more to learn. But when it comes to the Christian life we need to be careful where we're getting our instruction don't we?
Yeah we really do. We need a reliable source, an authoritative source. And for the Christian clearly that is the Bible, the Word of God. The Bible is God's autobiography. Everything you need to know about God is found in the Bible. Everything you effectively need to know for life is also found in the pages of Scripture including how to live the Christian life. The Bible tells us how to grow spiritually, how to pray, how to resist temptation, how to know the will of God and so much more. And to kind of help you get started I've written a book called The New Believer's Guide to Effective Christian Living.
Here's just some of the topics we deal with in this book. How to know God through Bible study, how to know God through prayer, how to know God through fellowship with other believers. I also talk about how to overcome temptation, how to deal with your problems, how to share your faith and much more. I'd like to send you this little book that you could read in one sitting called The New Believer's Guide to Effective Christian Living. I think it will be just as good as a YouTube video. Why don't you order a copy right now?
Dave will tell you more. Yeah, why not let us put a copy of this in your hands. We're making it available to say thank you for your partnership in helping to keep these daily studies available and in helping us reach out with the gospel as we'll be doing very soon at SoCal Harvest in Southern California.
Again, it's called The New Believer's Guide to Effective Christian Living and we'll only be able to mention this resource a short time longer. Contact us today. You can call us at 1-800-821-3300. Reach us anytime.
Again, 1-800-821-3300 or just go online to harvest.org. Well, next time, more insight about eternity from Pastor Greg's message, The Biblical World View of the Afterlife. Join us here on The New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie.
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.
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