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What on Earth Is Going On in Heaven? - Part B

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August 31, 2020 2:00 am

What on Earth Is Going On in Heaven? - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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August 31, 2020 2:00 am

Our primary activity in heaven will be worship—it's the proper response to everything God has done for us. In the message "What on Earth Is Going On in Heaven?" Skip shares how you will worship in heaven and what forms it will take.

This teaching is from the series From the Edge of Eternity.




This week's DevoMail:

Our Daily Bread Ministries
Various Hosts
Matt Slick Live!
Matt Slick
The Christian Worldview
David Wheaton
Delight in Grace
Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell
Love Worth Finding
Adrian Rogers
Running to Win
Erwin Lutzer

The worship of God throughout the Bible is musical. Whether they were moving the Ark of the Covenant during the time of David, whether they were dancing before the Lord after the Red Sea episode in Exodus 15, the great feast days and festivals of Israel, the choir that was in the temple with musical instruments and trumpets, even in battle sometimes, music was involved.

A common portrayal of heaven is people sitting around on clouds strumming harps, which, to be honest, does sound kind of boring. But today on Connect with Skip Heizuk, Skip helps you discover what actually happens in heaven and how you'll join in to experience it all. But before we begin, here's a great resource that takes you on an interesting journey and gives you insight into Middle East affairs. Here is Skip with Joel Rosenberg to talk about this month's offer, Joel's book, The Jerusalem Assassin. When Joel Rosenberg releases a new book, I can't wait to read it.

He never disappoints. Recently, I was able to talk with Joel about this book from his home in Jerusalem. It's about an American president who's about to roll out his Middle East peace plan.

Joel Rosenberg's novels are dramatic stories ripped from the reality of today's headlines. Wow. A Saudi Israeli peace plan. That would be huge. That would be historic.

Let's do it. Let's do a summit in Jerusalem. That's the setup of The Jerusalem Assassin.

What's amazing about that is this is a plausible scenario. The Jerusalem Assassin by Joel Rosenberg is our special offer this month. Your hardcover copy of The Jerusalem Assassin is our thank you gift when you give thirty five dollars or more today to help expand this Bible teaching outreach with Skip Heitzig. So call now to get your copy. 800-922-1888 or give online securely at slash offer. I hope you will order your copy of The Jerusalem Assassin by Joel Rosenberg. You'll get a behind the scenes look at global events and you will be supporting our media ministry.

That's 800-922-1888 or online securely at slash offer. OK. We're in Revelation chapters four and five today as we get into the teaching with Skip Heitzig. Now it is funny whenever you bring this up to people and say as they ask, well, what are we going to be doing in heaven? And if you say, well, we're going to be worshipping in heaven.

Typically, the response is, is that all? Because that sounds kind of boring. It sounds like one long church service. That's how we think about it. Now, this is why people resort to saying these things at funerals. I know that right now he's up in heaven playing golf.

Golf. Or I know that right now she's hiking in some mountain in heaven or some earthly activity. We always confine heaven to earth bound activities as if, well, there could be nothing better than golf or hiking or baking or whatever.

We have to come up with something they like doing here on earth. As I read through Revelation four and five, I get this idea that John isn't bored up there. It's not like he's twiddling his thumbs going, oh, great, we're just like worshipping all the time. In fact, the theme that I keep getting from Revelation four and five is there's nothing more fascinating than God himself. He is taken by this.

This is shock and awe for John. So let's just consider the kind of worship going on in heaven and see how that interfaces with us now. Because the name of this message is what on earth is going on in heaven? Answer, worship. So let's see how our worship interfaces with that of heaven.

I want you to notice, first of all, the proper response in worship that is in heaven. Look at chapter five, verse eight. Now when he, that is the lamb, when he had taken the scroll.

So there's a definite action going on. The lamb is taking the title deed to the earth, which will imply full redemption through a series of judgment and his second coming. When he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the 24 elders fell down before the lamb, each having a harp, golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

And they sang a new song saying. So it's when they saw the lamb take the scroll. Their worship was a response to what he did. And here's the principle I want to make. Worship must be intellectual.

Now hear me, follow me. Worship must be intellectual. It's what you see or know God to be or do that causes a response to God. Worship is the human response or the human reaction to a divine action.

They knew what that meant when he took the scroll and now here is the intelligent response. They worship the Lord. You see, worship involves the mind. We must think about what God has done, who God is.

It's a response. One person who wrote a lot in heaven said this. At times throughout the day, as I work in my office, I find myself on my knees thanking God for his goodness.

When I eat a meal with my wife, when I talk with a friend, or if I take my dog out for a walk, I worship God for his goodness. The world is full of praise promptors, but heaven will overflow with them. I'm going to lift out that little phrase. Praise promptors. I like that.

Learn to live your life being prompted by different things. Well, look what God is. Lord, thank you for that.

Praise you for that. And heaven, he says, will overflow with them. So the action of God prompts the reaction of the heavenly host, and that is worship. Jesus said in Mark chapter 12, verse 30, You shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart, all of your soul, all of your mind, and all of your strength. Please dismiss the idea that worship is a mindless activity, that we just kind of get pumped up into a frenzy and disengage the mind.

No, we engage the mind. And I think powerful worship is when your mind is stretched by the words of a song that give you a full understanding of God. I remember when I was first a Christian, you know, and I thought just singing, God is love from above, you know, that kind of stuff, just sort of same words. I love you. I love you. I love you, Lord.

That was just where it's at. And I never liked hymns because I grew up saying, oh, that's just old stuff. They don't know how to worship.

We do. Then I started reading the hymns. And I started listening to the depth of knowledge and theology that the hymn writers had.

And as I would sing the hymns, it would stretch my understanding of who God is. And it helped me worship even more. So worship must be intellectual.

And here in heaven, we find that it is. Second thing I want you to notice is the position that is assumed in worship. And from this, we derive the principle worship is physical. It's not just something in the heart.

It's also physical. Look back at chapter 4, verse 9. Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the 24 elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, honor, and power, for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created. And again, in chapter 5, verse 8, when they had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the 24 elders fell down before the Lamb. Now, why are they doing this?

Why are they falling down? Because, frankly, they're awestruck. They're awestruck, and they're so grateful, and their response is physical. They responded as ancient people would respond to royalty. If a king or queen walked in the room or you went into the throne room, you would always bow.

You would always get on the knees. And so worship here is physical. Ninety-seven times the word worship appears in the Old Testament. I was looking it up, and I discovered the normal word used from Hebrew, translated worship, is the word shacha, which means to bow down, translated worship. To bow down, it also is translated to fall, also translated to stoop or to do obeisance to. It's a physical affirmation of honor and authority and respect.

Psalm 95, verse 6, is one of the most famous ones. O come, let us worship and bow down, shacha. Now, it's not that you have to bow down. It's not that you're not spiritual unless you bow down now. These are other expressions, as I named them to you, that you can do to enhance the physical expression of your worship. Paul talks about all of these. Another one is the raising of the hands. First Timothy, chapter 2, verse 8, Paul says, Wherever you assemble, I want men to pray with holy hands lifted up to God.

Can I be honest with you? The first time I was in a service as a brand new Christian, I watched people doing this. I thought in my mind, what's up with this? What are they doing? It's so precious.

You know what it is? When you lift your hands, it's a sign of welcome. When a child sees mom or dad, they put their hands up. Like, pick me up.

I welcome you into my space, my life. Adults stick out their hand to shake a hand. Again, a sign of welcome. Also, the raising of hands, I believe, speaks of surrender.

Remember the old westerns? Come out with your hands up. Law enforcement officers still want hands up when they deal with the bad guys. Because when your hands are up, you're in surrender mode. You can't do anything else when your hands are up.

You can't text message your friends. You can't write other stuff. Your hands are up.

You've got to be focused. Another position the Bible speaks about is kneeling, Psalm 95, verse 6. Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord, our maker.

Like bowing, kneeling is a sign of humility. It means, I'm preoccupied. I'm preoccupied with God. He is my focus.

I'm preoccupied with Him. Another expression the Bible speaks about is dancing. I know some of you are going, oh, I thought dancing was bad. Well, it can be. Somebody once asked me, can Christians dance?

My answer, well, some can and some can't. But I'll tell you what the Bible says about it. Psalm 149, verse 3. Let them praise His name with the dance.

Now, this doesn't mean great. I'm going to go on hip hop tonight. The idea is in the context of celebration, the great feasts of Israel were accompanied by people dancing before the Lord. David danced before the Lord. In Exodus 15, Miriam and the women of Israel played the tambourine and danced before the Lord. In Ecclesiastes chapter 3, you know it well. Solomon says there is a time to weep, there's a time to laugh, there is a time to mourn, and there's a time to what? Thank you.

Dance. Right there in the Bible. Another expression is standing. Psalm 135. Praise Him, you servants of the Lord, who stand in the house of the Lord.

Here's where I'm getting at. It's funny how in the West, here in the Western culture, we have guarded ourselves so carefully against any physical expression in worship, except for one. Sitting. That's acceptable. Yeah, Lord, I just like to sit. It's comfortable for me.

See, I think the message could be perhaps, it's really all about me, as long as I'm comfortable, instead of preoccupied with Him. Another one the Bible speaks about is the lifting of the eyes. Psalm 123. Under you I lift my eyes, that is, I look up. Jesus did this when He prayed. He lifted His eyes toward heaven. Under you I lift up my eyes, O you who dwell in the heavens.

Guess what I found? As I looked through the Scripture, closing your eyes, folding your hands, not in the Bible. Doesn't make it wrong. It just didn't make God's top five, that's all. There's tremendous freedom in all of this, but these are expressions, and the physicality of worship was, and is, I believe, experienced in heaven. Third thing I'd like you to notice about their worship is the possessions employed in worship. Notice in chapter five, verse eight, they each have a harp. And you know a harp is a musical instrument. Now again, I'll be very honest with you. The first time I read this, I wasn't too excited about it, because my mind went to the picture, great, I'm going to be sitting on a cloud with a harp. Right?

All day long. Now, I don't particularly like to play harp. I don't mind hearing a harp. I love it in the right context.

I really do. I admire a great harpist or harpoonist or whatever it is. The idea for me playing a harp, it's like, I don't get it.

And so I studied this and found out that the harp is an ancient trapezoidal instrument with strings that are usually strummed with a pick. So I'm thinking, my mind goes to, huh, it sounds like a guitar. So heaven sounded a little cooler to me right now when I first found that out. And then I read this verse in the Amplified Bible.

Let me read it to you. And each one having a harp that is a lute or a guitar. So I thought, okay, heaven's sounding really cool right about now, especially if we can put a little pickup on it, kind of crank it a little bit. It's just my frame of reference.

Here's my point. The worship of God throughout the Bible is musical, whether they were moving the Ark of the Covenant during the time of David, whether they were dancing before the Lord after the Red Sea episode in Exodus 15, the great feast days and festivals of Israel, the choir that was in the temple with musical instruments and trumpets, even in battle sometimes, music was involved. Psalm 150 says, Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet. Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes. Praise Him with loud cymbals and with clashing cymbals. So worship is musical. And I think in heaven it's going to be awesome.

It's going to be awesome. Martin Luther, sometimes he could say things like nobody else could. Martin Luther said, Next to theology, I give to music the highest place and honor. Music is the art of the prophets, the only art that can calm the agitations of the soul. It is one of the most magnificent and delightful presents God has given us.

It's true, isn't it? We all love music. We play it when we work. When we're in the car, we tap to it. We move to it. It's how we're made.

It's going to be in heaven. Martin Luther also said this. Listen, this is classic. If any man despises music, as all fanatics do, for him I have no liking. For music is a gift and the grace of God, not the invention of men. Thus it drives out the devil and makes people cheerful. Then one forgets all wrath, impurity, and other devices. And the fourth and final thing I want you to notice about the worship in heaven is the kind of praise that is ascribed in worship.

As you read through this, we're going to read a few verses in just a minute. You get the idea that they put their whole being into it, their whole heart. It leads me to this statement. Worship is emotional. Yes, it's intellectual, but that's not all it is.

It's also emotional. Jesus said the Father is looking for worshipers who will worship Him in spirit and in truth. Now, let's look at this, verse 9. And they sang a new song saying, You are worthy to take the scroll and open its seals, for you were slain and have redeemed us to God by your blood, out of every tribe, tongue, people, and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God, and we shall reign on the earth. And then I looked and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, elders, 10,000 times 10,000, saying, verse 12 with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and as such as are in the sea, and all that are in them I heard saying, Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever. And the four living creatures said, Amen.

And the 24 elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever. They're into this. They're into this. Remember Jesus said, Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, strength. They poured themselves into it.

And I read the word loud here. They worshiped Him with a loud voice. You know what it seems like to me in the Bible? It seems to me that God's into volume. Now, I don't mean just cranking up the PA.

I mean your own personal, they had no PA then, just your own voice singing loud. I don't think God's into, Shout to the Lord all the earth. Shout not to the Lord.

I remember I had a camp counselor one time. I wasn't involved in the songs they were singing. And he said, Let me tell you something. If God gave you a good voice, then use it to praise Him. If God gave you a bad voice, give it back to Him. Now, you might be saying, Well, I am not a good singer.

Deal with it. Because I'll say to all you non-musical people, the voice that you have is the voice the Lord God Almighty gave you. And it is an adequate instrument to praise the Lord. The Bible says make a joyful noise. Anybody can do that. So you don't understand, when I sing, it's a noise, not a joyful noise.

Nobody around me is joyful. I'll give you this instruction. If you don't sing well, please sing loud. Because what will happen is there's somebody next to you who's not singing, but they have a great voice. They're going to hear you and go, Oh, I got to drown that person out. And there's going to be this huge anthem of worship. It's going to sound great.

And it's going to reflect heaven. They sang with a loud voice. Now, in Isaiah chapter 29, God through the prophet said, These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. In other words, they're going through the motions, but there is no emotion.

When you sing, sing like you mean it. I know people are wired differently. Some are very exuberant and emotional, and others are stoic, almost flatline in their personalities.

And so we are wired differently. I understand that, but I also hear people use this excuse. Well, I'm not the emotional type. Now, some people that tell me that, I know them. I'm not emotional.

I go, Really? Because a couple weeks on the golf course, you were really emotional. When you hit that great drive, it was like your only good shot all day. You were so stoked, you jumped up and you shouted. You're not emotional? You're emotional over some things. And those who are non-emotional when their kid scores a touchdown or gets an award, they get very emotional.

Why is it that this one area we feel we have to shut it off? I've been to some sporting events. Ever been to the pit when the Lobos score? Have you ever see somebody going like this?

Or have you ever been to a concert with a big band and watched the people? Pagans know how to get excited. So why do Christians think that enthusiasm about the most worthy thing in the universe must somehow be carefully contained? Do you think God's like into that?

Do you think God says, Way to go. Way to hold it all inside. Way to tell no one that you love me.

Good worship. Somebody once said, God isn't too excited about secret admirers. So tell him. Don't be afraid to express it. I'm not trying to make you emotional automatons. I'm just saying, however you do it, put your all into it.

Put your max into it. And when you do, you're getting close to heaven. There's a lot of praise prompters. There's a lot of things that God allows in our lives that we could look at and go, Thank you, Lord. Praise you, Lord. I worship you, Lord.

And you do that through the day, I would almost guarantee you that by the time we gather corporately, it's going to be exuberant because you've learned to make that your lifestyle. There was a farmer who lived out in the country. He was a believer, very simple man. He was visited by a relative of his who was an unbeliever. They sat down that first evening for a meal at the farmhouse, and the believing, simple farmer raised his hands and thanked God for the meal and worshiped the Lord and said, Amen. And afterwards, the unbelieving relative said, How old-fashioned.

No one believes in prayer like that anymore. And the farmer humbly acknowledged that he was right, that it is old-fashioned and that there are even some on his farm that don't pray and don't give thanks, and the unbeliever lightened up and said, Oh, and who are these wise enlightened ones? And the farmer said, My pigs.

So let's get above the level of an animal. And we have been given voices and bodies and spirits to worship and love the Lord with everything because He is worthy, and we are the redeemed ones. That concludes Skip Heitzig's message today from the series From the Edge of Eternity. Right now, here's Skip to tell you how your support helps keep these messages coming your way and connects more people to God's truths. No matter what happens in your life or where God takes you, He's always in control.

His Word assures us of this truth time and time again. Here at Connect with Skip, we want friends like you to hold fast to the encouraging truths of the Bible and then share those truths with others. One way you can do that today is by prayerfully partnering in this work to keep these teachings coming to you and others. Here's how you can give today. Visit slash donate to give your gift today. That's slash donate or call 800-922-1888.

Again, that's 800-922-1888. Coming up tomorrow, Skip Heitzig shares why it's so important to examine your motivations and ambitions in light of eternity. What was it that motivated Paul the Apostle or guys like Paul the Apostle? I mean, what would make a person decide, I'm going to travel around the world and have people say bad things to me and throw me in jail and beat me up and have rocks thrown at me and then I'll get up and I'll go to the next town and we'll just keep doing that year after? What would motivate a person to do that? Make a connection Make a connection at the foot of the crossing Cast all burdens on His word Make a connection A connection Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-21 09:19:41 / 2024-03-21 09:30:03 / 10

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