Pastor, author, and Bible teacher, Alan Wright.
God takes heaven and earth, unites them mystically, reforming and recreating the earth into the glory He always intended for it to be, and you, Christian, in your self-same body, but glorified, living on that new earth with Jesus in great delight, continuing culture, continuing life, continuing learning, continuing growing, continuing relationships forever and forever. That's Pastor Alan Wright. Welcome to another message of good news that will help you see your life in a whole new light. I'm Daniel Britt, excited for you to hear the teaching today in our series called Story Wars, as presented at Reynolda Church in North Carolina. Now, if you're not able to stay with us throughout the entire program, I want to make sure you know how to get our special resource today. It can be yours for your donation this month to Alan Wright Ministries. So as you listen to today's teaching, go deeper as we send you today's special offer. Contact us at PastorAlan.org. That's PastorAlan.org. Or call 877-544-4860.
That's 877-544-4860. More on this later in the program. But now let's get started with today's teaching. Here is Alan Wright. Are you ready for some good news?
Yes, sir. If you're in Christ, you don't only live once, you live forever in a new heaven, in a new earth, and it's really you and your self-same resurrected body, and it's really the earth, but glorified. We're talking about story wars. We're talking about the clash, the invisible clash of stories and narratives. That's the real competition in the spiritual battle. And we say, may the best story win. May the truth win.
It always does in the end. And today we're going to talk about this idea that you see a hashtag YOLO. You only live once versus the Christian idea, and that is that you live forever. And I want to turn us to Revelation chapter 21 for part of the vision that John had on the Isle of Patmos. Revelation 21 verse one. I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them and they'll be his people and God himself will be with them as their God. He'll wipe away every tear from their eyes and death shall be no more.
Neither shall there be mourning or crying or pain anymore for the former things have passed away. And he was sitting on the throne said, behold, I'm making all things new. And he said, write this down for these words are trustworthy and true.
I saw a new heaven and a new earth. So there was a man who died and went to the pearly gates and he was greeted by Peter. And Peter said, come on in a man said, well, wait a minute. I need to go back and get some of my stuff. And, uh, Peter said, if you never heard the saying, you can't take it with you.
You can't bring your stuff in here. And I mean, I said, oh, please, I mean, at least bring some of it and begged him so long that Peter finally said, okay, you can go get one bag full of stuff and bring it. So the man went back, sold his assets and got, uh, as many solid gold bricks that he could get just big bars of gold, stuffed them into a bag, show back up at the pearly gates. And Peter said, all right, come on in. And as man's walking in, Peter said, Hey, would you mind if I take a peek to see what you brought? A man said, sure. And Peter looked in the bag and was confused. He looked at him, said, you brought pavement.
You brought pavement? Oh, our values are going to shift, uh, in heaven. And, um, the things that we might think we would want to take with us, we might not care one bit about, but I want to, in some ways challenge this, this thought that we've got where you can't take anything with you because you do take yourself and you take the relationships you take. There's, there's going to be more of a connection between, uh, your life as you know it now and, and heaven, according to the biblical picture than most of us think. And I want to talk to you today about why this brings such profound hope, why it's so important, um, in this cultural narrative that we have now that has produced so much hopelessness. I want to show you in a sense that, you know, the YOLO idea, you only live once it, which, which is a phrase that is often used, like, you know, to, to, uh, rationalize doing something really risky or dumb, you know, Hey, I just decided to jump off the balcony at my hotel into the swimming pool, broke my leg, but YOLO, you know, it's kinda like that, but it's this pervasive idea that, you know, if this is all there is, then maybe you take undue risk or maybe you just eat, drink and be merry, or maybe, you know, you just don't care at all. And that's why this is so important. Um, YOLO, this idea you only live once it really produces equal and opposite harms. Uh, on the one hand, there is the kind of eat, drink and be merry. This is all there is.
So why does it matter at all? But there's another dark side to it that probably more likely affects some of us. Certainly I think would be, would, would be me is that if I ever start feeling like, Hey, this is all there is. I just have this anxiety about running out of time to do all the things that I feel like I'm supposed to do. You know, I'm, that's just my nature. I'm not, I'm, my nature is not to be like, Hey, this is all there is.
So just eat, drink and be merry and just have a good time. My temptation would be, and maybe some of yours, the other direction would be like, I've got important things to do. I want to get, I want to get more done.
I'm afraid I'm running out of time. And so what that does is it make, it can make you very anxious, can make you driven. What you end up doing in that spirit is then you neglect rest or neglect relationships or just neglect Sabbath or just a glint, you know? So on the one thing, if you live only once, then you know, live it up, take risks, eat, drink, be merry, accumulate what you can, have all the place you can.
Or on the other hand, you only have once you better cram it all in there and be frantic in your life, trying to do and do and do to the sacrifice of the things that really do matter. Yolo really, the idea that you only live once, it really produces at least these terrible effects on the soul fear, because I really can't imagine what it's like because I've just known the Lord for so long. It really can't imagine what it's like to feel like you come to the end of this brief life and you don't have eternity or just to not know at all. I just don't even know.
I just don't even have a category for that. John Piper said, you know, when you look at people and two people and they may be, you know, expressing themselves in this world, maybe even look like they've got joy in the world or whatever. He said, but it's really like the two different kinds of people, like two people that have gone skydiving, jumped out of an airplane the same time and you can see them. They look very free going through the air, but imagine only one of them has a parachute. One of them doesn't have a parachute and they look like they're really free, but they are every single moment actually just thinking about the disastrous end to their free fall. How could you do anything else? How could you do anything else?
How could you jump out of a plane without a parachute without spending the entire time not enjoying the wind in your face and whatever because you're thinking about everything is to come. Regret is the other thing that I think the idea of you live only once produces because if you get to the end of your life and you think that's all there is, how can you not be loaded down with the regrets of what you didn't do in the way you wish you had, the mistakes that you made, wrong decisions, opportunities missed, relationships bungled, things you wish you'd never said, all of that. That's what produces so much despair is when you wish you'd done it differently and this is all you've got.
That's hard, that's sad. That's why a lot of people die sad. The other thing, and this is the most important, that this idea of you only live once produces is hopelessness and I'm going to say a lot about that today. There is, especially for people under age 50, according to studies, more hopelessness and anxiety than we have seen in our lifetime. Some would call it epidemic and hopelessness means no assurance of a blessed future and therefore what energy is there to focus or to move forward.
That's Alan Wright and we'll have more teaching in a moment from today's important series. With so much worry about yesterday's failures and so much hurry getting ready for tomorrow's tasks, sometimes it's hard to focus on the moment that matters most right now. In a hurried, worried season, God invites you into the present.
Modern day life coaches call it mindfulness, but it isn't a new psychological program and it isn't rooted in Eastern religion. Mindfulness, living in the present is God's idea and the Bible unveils the way. Pastor Alan Wright invites you to savor life each day. When you make your gift today, we'll send you Pastor Alan's eight messages in an attractive CD album or through digital download as our way of saying thanks for your partnership. Make your gift today and learn how to savor the textures and flavors of God's grace each moment in the moment every day of your life. The gospel is shared when you give to Alan Wright Ministries. This broadcast is only possible because of listener financial support. When you give today, we will send you today's special offer. We are happy to send this to you as our thanks from Alan Wright Ministries. Call us at 877-544-4860. That's 877-544-4860 or come to our website, PastorAlan.org.
Today's teaching now continues. Here once again is Alan Wright. A lot of this is a result of not just a no belief in heaven, but the incorrect belief of heaven. That's important for us as Christians that we get the biblical picture of this. Mark Twain's famous rambunctious character Huck Finn was not at all attracted to Ms. Watson's instructions about heaven. Huck said, she went on and told me all about the good place. She said, all a body would have to do there was go around all day with a harp and sing forever and ever. So I didn't think much of it. I asked her if she reckoned Tom Sawyer would go there and she said, not by a considerable sight.
I was glad about that because I wanted him and me to be together. There's not a middle school boy in the history of the world that wants to go to a place where you float around on clouds and play harps. If that's what heaven is, a whole lot of people say, no, thank you. Heaven gets depicted in movies kind of like that. You know, I was thinking back to some old movies. It's a Wonderful Life.
Maybe this is the best way to do it. They just put a picture of some stars up there and had voices talking. I'm going to try to show you what heaven looks like. There was an old movie with Warren Beatty, who was like a football player who kind of a reincarnation movie in there.
He has to go to heaven and come back in a different body. And, uh, and, and he's, you see the clouds and some kind of escalator going up. That's kind of the picture of heaven. Or I was trying to think back to Bruce Almighty. Remember that movie, Jim Carrey movie. And he meets, he meets God who's Morgan Freeman. And it's, it's in a building of some kind, but it's still, even then it's still white and kind of sterile.
You know what? You never see a image of heaven and portrayed in the movies. What you never see is people having a sumptuous banquet or people playing football or people that are enjoying, uh, some rich culture or great artists at work or magnificent concerts. What you don't see in all the images of heaven is anything that looks like anything of this earth. And yet John had a vision in which he saw a new heaven and a new earth. He didn't see the earth being annihilated. He saw the earth being glorified.
We're not going to live forever in an ethereal, vaporous, cloudy heaven where we're floating around with no bodies. And that's not the biblical picture. The biblical picture is Jesus comes back. God takes heaven and earth, unites them mystically, reforming and recreating the earth into the glory. He always intended for it to be. And you Christian in yourself, same body, but glorified living on that new earth with Jesus in great delight, continuing culture, continuing life, continuing learning, continuing growing, continuing relationships forever and forever.
Somebody ought to be excited about that. If you want to understand what the new earth would be like, start with understanding a little bit more about the resurrection of the body. Paul said in first Corinthians 15, someone asked, how are the dead race?
What kind of body they come? Paul said, what you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body of this to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or some other grain.
God gives it a body as he's chosen, each kind of seed, its own body, their heavenly bodies and earthly bodies. But the glory of the heavenly is of one kind. The glory of the earthly is of another. So it is with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable and what is raised is imperishable. It's sown in weakness.
It's raised in power. It's sown a natural body. It has raised a spiritual body for if there's a natural body, there's also a spiritual body. If there's a natural body, this body, you can be assured there's a spiritual body. There's a plan for the glorification of your body. And a lot of us can think of a lot of ways we'd like our body to be more glorified than it is right now. But I tell you a mystery. Your body is the marvel of all creation.
On your worst day, your body is the greatest marvel in this entire world, what it's doing. So oftentimes at the cemetery, at the graveside, especially if they're children or grandchildren, they're going to be there during the committal service. I like to stop, bend over somewhere and pick up an acorn, maybe got a picture of one and a little acorn. And I'll say, okay, this acorn doesn't look like much, but when it goes into the ground and then it sprouts as a little sprig, then eventually it'll grow.
And sometimes I'll be able to point to a huge oak tree that might be right there in the cemetery. And this acorn is that oak tree. They are the same thing. It's the same thing. It's just the oak tree is much more glorified.
That's what Paul's talking about. I wish I could, I wish if I was in California, I'd probably get hauled of the seeds of the giant sequoia. What's coming out of that little pine cone looking thing, those tiny little seeds that become the giant sequoias and the giant redwoods. Oh my goodness. And the acorn or the seed is the tree. There is not a difference in the substance.
It is a difference in the glory. Could you just stretch your mind and think that the body that we have that turns to dust or ashes, like going into the ground, Paul said, as an image is just like the seed of that which it will be, but it will be you. It will be you. It will be you.
Absolutely you. So here's what we learn in God's word everywhere is that God continues the good work that he begins. Do you think God is going to sit on his throne and let his good work be aborted or truncated or defeated? He who began a good work in you is going to bring it to his completion. He's a finisher.
He doesn't stop because things got hard. He's God. He continues things and he glorifies things. He glorifies it. He doesn't throw it away.
He doesn't scrap it and say, well, that didn't work. He takes what has been marred or impeded by sin, redeems it, and puts it on a journey, a process of being glorified. That's what's going to happen to you in Christ. Behold, I tell you a mystery. The time will come when Jesus returns and there's a new heaven and a new earth and all the dead in Christ will be raised.
You know, there's a mystery that I can't fully explain or understand. I know for sure when you die, you immediately go into the presence of the Lord because if for nothing else, we know Jesus turned to a thief, a sinner on a cross and said, today you'll be with me in paradise today. But could you just accept this, that in heaven, if it's heaven at all, you don't have to wait on good things in this sense. I think it's because when you're in eternity, I think that's different than being in time. So what we wait for while we're in time is not something that probably people wait for in the same way in eternity. I think people go, well, I'm bothered by the fact that I'm just going to be going to Jesus, but I'm not in a resurrected body yet.
I don't worry about that. God's got a way for all that. But from the earthly side of it, Jesus comes back. Everything is, is, is restored. Everything is glorified.
And that includes you and your body. You can get a picture of this from Jesus himself, who the Bible says was the first fruits of many. He died. He really died.
He didn't swoon. He didn't seem like he died. He came as both God and human. And as a human being, he died on the cross.
So he's experienced that. And he went into the grave and he was there three days because that was what was understood. Like there was no chance you were just like sort of being resuscitated from the, he actually died. He was resurrected. And when he emerged, it was, it was like at first, some people couldn't totally recognize him.
And then they did. And he could just appear in places and like he had a resurrected body. And so that's what you're going to have. It's going to be fantastic. Alan Wright, our good news message today.
Yolo versus you live forever. It's from our series story wars and a stick with his pastor. Alan is back in just a moment sharing a parting good news thought for the day. Unlock the power of blessing your life. Discover God's grace filled vision for your life by signing up for Alan Wright's free daily blessing. If you want to fill your heart with grace and encouragement, get Alan Wright's daily blessing. It's free and just a click away at pastor Alan.org with so much worry about yesterday's failures and so much hurry getting ready for tomorrow's tasks.
Sometimes it's hard to focus on the moment that matters most right now in a hurried worried season. God invites you into the present modern day life coaches call it mindfulness, but it isn't a new psychological program and it isn't rooted in Eastern religion. Mindfulness living in the present is God's idea and the Bible unveils the way Pastor Alan Wright invites you to savor life each day. When you make your gift today, we'll send you Pastor Alan's eight messages in an attractive CD album or through digital download as our way of saying thanks for your partnership. Make your gift today and learn how to savor the textures and flavors of God's grace each moment in the moment every day of your life. The gospel is shared when you give to Alan Wright Ministries. This broadcast is only possible because of listener financial support. When you give today, we will send you today's special offer. We are happy to send this to you as our thanks from Alan Wright Ministries. Call us at 877-544-4860.
That's 877-544-4860 or come to our website pastor Alan.org. Like you're now with Pastor Alan and Yolo, you only live once versus you live forever. I'll take the second. Well, it sounds kind of harmless to say Yolo, you know, you only live once, but I think the way people use that popular acronym is like, you're getting ready to do something foolish. Okay, Yolo, go ahead. You know, don't even think about it. But the problem is that if you think that you live only once, then it can feel like I've got to get it all done here. I can never rest and we become perfectionists or we can adopt a mentality that says it doesn't really matter because this is all there is.
So just eat, drink and be merry. And the effects on the human soul are awful, our fears and regrets and hopelessness. And so a view of eternity and a new heaven and a new earth and not just that, but a true biblical view of that. So I think that's part of the problem is we think of heaven as we're floating around on clouds with harps, but the image of a new heaven and a new earth and where we are our self-same people, our self-same bodies, interacting and civilization and culture forever reigning with Christ. When you start thinking like that, it changes everything and doesn't make you just want to escape this world. It makes you want to invest here. So there's a huge amount at stake between this story war of you only live once versus you live forever. Today's good news message is a listener supported production of Allen Wright Ministries.
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