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Are There Different Levels in Heaven?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
November 15, 2022 5:22 pm

Are There Different Levels in Heaven?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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November 15, 2022 5:22 pm

Episode 1098 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

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CoreChristianity.com

 

Questions in this Episode

 

1. What did Jesus mean, let your “yes be yes and your no be no”?

2. What comfort does the gospel provide when a loved one is dying?

3. What does it mean that God’s wrath is being stored up?

4. When should I rebuke someone publicly?

5. Are there different levels of rewards in heaven?

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Are there different levels in heaven? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. You can also post your question on one of our social media sites, and of course you always can email us at questions at core christianity dot com. Adriel, first up today we have an email from one of our listeners named Jim. He says, I am a struggling Christian at best.

It sounds bad, but the closer I try to get, the more I read and the more sermons I listen to, the more doubts will pop up. I do always try to tune into your show. I love the manner in which you address tough questions. I love your honesty. I enjoy that sometimes you even use humor. A few months ago I was actually brave enough to record a question and send it into your program.

You answered it the next day, and I really appreciated it. I'm going through some pretty dark days right now, but I want to take the time and thank you for what you've done for me and for thousands of others. Jim, don't throw in the towel. Continue to hold fast to your faith in Jesus Christ. I know that we can have doubts throughout the Christian life, and even as we continue to study and read, sometimes those doubts don't go away. And that's not a weird thing.

There's nothing wrong with you. They're, I think, continuing to dig in, to cultivate a life of prayer, to be with the people of God. Don't remove yourself from Christian fellowship. I think a lot of times when we're having doubts, we can sort of drift away and spend less time with the people of God, stop going to church.

I would just say don't do that. Continue to be under the ministry of the word and to cry out to the Lord. I'm thankful that you're encouraging us. I just want to take a moment right now to pray for you, Jim, and invite all of our listeners to pray for you as well. Father, we come before you right now, and we want to lift Jim up to you, who is going through a dark season, a difficult season where he's questioning things, and he has doubts. I pray, Lord God, that you would fill him with your Holy Spirit, that you would give him an understanding of your gospel, of your grace, of the love that you have for him, and how that love was so clearly exhibited in the sending of your son for the forgiveness of his sins. Lord, that he would sink his teeth into that message every day, and that that would sustain him and strengthen him, and that you would bless him and be with him, Lord, protecting him from the evil one and helping him, Lord, in the midst of the trial he's going through. We pray for Jim. In Jesus' name, amen. Thanks for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Our phone lines are open right now. If you have a question about the Bible, the Christian life, doctrine, theology, maybe you're going through a discouraging time like Jim, or maybe you've got a praise.

Maybe something really exciting has happened in your life, and God has really blessed you in some way. We're open to hearing from you as well. Here's the phone number. It's 833-843-2673.

That's 833, the Core. Let's go to one of our listeners named Joanne. Great. Yeah, that does come from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, and it wasn't something that was just for them at that time. I think it's a really important word for us today as well.

We don't take our words seriously. Jesus said, by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. Every single word that we speak carelessly, we're going to have to give an account for on the day of judgment.

It's actually kind of a sobering reality, really a sobering reality. This is right in line with what Jesus is getting at there when he talks about letting your yes be yes and your no be no. The context is Matthew 5, the Sermon on the Mount, verse 33. Again, you have heard that it was said to those of old, you shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn. But I say to you, do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great king. And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black.

Let what you say be simply yes or no. Anything more than this comes from evil, or the evil one. The point here is, look, be a person of your word. Again, we don't take this as seriously as we should, I believe, today, swearing just sort of without really thinking, making promises, without really thinking about what we're saying, but God holds us accountable.

And so Jesus is addressing a great problem there, but also a great problem today. Another passage I think that you could look at is in the Psalms, Psalm chapter 15, beginning in verse one, it says, O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent, and who shall dwell on your holy hill? He who walks blamelessly, and does what is right, and speaks truth in his heart, who does not slander with his tongue, and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up reproach against his friend, in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the Lord. Now get this, who swears to his own hurt, and does not change.

I love that. It's this picture of making a promise, and because you've given someone your word, you're going to stick to it, even if it's to your own hurt. We need to take our words seriously, because God takes our words seriously, and that's precisely what our Lord is saying there in the Sermon on the Mount, and you see it elsewhere in scripture. And so, Joanne, thank you for that question, and appreciate you reaching out to us. You know, let me just weigh in as a Christian therapist. I think this also addresses passive-aggressive behavior, because a passive-aggressive person doesn't really say what they mean, and Jesus is saying, be clear about your yes and your no, right?

Yeah, no, that's a great, I think, addition and application. So yeah, for all of you passive-aggressive people out there, give heed to Jesus' word. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Hey, we'd love to hear from you.

We have a YouTube channel, by the way, and you can watch Adriel live on YouTube every day at 1130 a.m. Pacific time. You can see what's going on in the studio, and Tyler is watching on YouTube, and he has a question for you, and it's a tough one, Adriel. He says, What comfort can the Gospel give when someone we love, a believer, is dying? Well, Tyler, I'm sorry. I don't know what situation you're going through right now, and so my heart goes out to you, brother. But the Gospel and what Christ has done is the only ultimate comfort that we can give to someone who is on the doorsteps of death, walking through the valley of the shadow of death. Psalm 23.

You think of that psalm, even. This is one of the reasons why that psalm is so often used for funeral services, because you have here the Lord saying that he walks with his people through the valley of the shadow of death. So that is, as the children of God, suffering and nearing death, knowing that God has not abandoned us, even in our suffering, I think that that is so important, that Christ walks with us through the valley of the shadow of death by the presence of his Holy Spirit.

But really and truly, he entered the valley of the shadow of death for us to beatify the tomb, the grave, if you will, to transform it by rising again from the dead. And so what comfort does the Gospel give when someone we love is dying? It gives us the hope of the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. This is a real hope, rooted in something that God has actually done in history, sending his Son into the world to suffer, die, and rise again from the dead, conquering death for all time. So that we, in Christ, who suffer and struggle and approach death, might have that hope that we too, with Christ, will rise.

And so, I mean, it is the ultimate hope, and the Gospel is the revelation of God's war against death, if you will. Death is not just a normal, natural part of life. We've really tried to, I think, change the biblical depiction of death in our culture. People today just see it as, you know, well, you know, it's just the beginning of life, the end of life, they're both normal and beautiful and natural, and we just accept them. No, death is a great enemy to be destroyed, and Jesus came to conquer death for his people. And so, Tyler, setting your eyes on Christ and what he has done for us, for your loved ones in him, that's the ultimate hope we have. And as Paul says to the Thessalonians, you know, we do mourn and we have sorrow when a loved one dies, but we don't mourn as those who have no hope because we have the hope of the resurrection. May the Lord be with you.

Amen. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Our phone lines are open if you have a question about the Bible, the Christian life, maybe how your Christian walk intersects with what's happening in today's culture.

Maybe at some point you've really dealt with some true persecution, some kind of oppression in your life. We'd love to hear from you as well. Here's the number. It's 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. Last Friday was Veterans Day. We honored our service people, servicemen and women, and Adriel actually has a lot of Navy personnel that attend his church in San Diego. We have a wonderful resource we'd like to offer for those in the military or their family members as well. Yeah, I mentioned yesterday on the broadcast what a blessing it is to have them at the church with us and to get to minister to them as well. And whether you're in the military or have a friend or a loved one in the armed forces, we have a new booklet for you called Called to War, the Christian and the Military, written by a friend of our organization, Stephen Roberts, who is an experienced chaplain and has helped countless soldiers.

He wrote this booklet for those who are considering signing up to be a service member, for those who have been in the military for a long time and maybe are disillusioned or struggling, and for those unsure about how to relate to friends and family members who are veterans. And so get ahold of this resource over at corechristianity.com for a donation of any amount. Again, it's called Called to War, the Christian and the Military. We really do appreciate Chaplain Roberts and this book that he put together. It's called Called to War, the Christian and the Military, and you can find it by going to corechristianity.com forward slash offers.

Again, corechristianity.com forward slash offers. Well, let's go to a voicemail that came in from one of our listeners. By the way, you can leave us a voicemail 24 hours a day at 833-843-2673.

833-THE-CORE. Here's one that came in from one of our listeners named John. My question is, at the return of Jesus and the dead in Christ will rise first, does that include just the New Testament believers in Christ that have passed, or does that include Old Testament saints as well? Thank you.

Yeah, that's great. So the text you're referring to is in 1 Thessalonians 4, verses 16-17, and that does include everyone. When it talks about the dead in Christ rising first, I do believe that that is a reference not just to those New Testament believers who have died, all our loved ones in Christ who have gone to be in the presence of the Lord, but also everyone throughout redemptive history. We believe in what is sometimes called the intermediate state. As a believer, when we die, our souls are made perfect in holiness, we pass into the presence of the Lord immediately to worship God, waiting for the day of the resurrection, which happens at the same time as the second coming.

Those are contemporaneous events, they happen at the same time. That's when all those who have died in Christ, the martyrs, the saints throughout history, are going to be resurrected and given glorified bodies. Again, that text is such a wonderful text and central to that hope that we were just talking about that we have for our loved ones who are really wrestling and struggling.

I appreciate you bringing that up again. It's 1 Thessalonians 4, verse 16. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with the cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then, that is, he's speaking now of the believers who are on earth, when Jesus returns, they've not yet died, they're on the earth, then we who are alive and who are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore, encourage one another with these words.

Good stuff. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Let's go to John, who's calling in from St. Louis, Missouri, with a question. John, what's your question for Pastor Adriel?

Yes, I'll speak a little slow there. I was wondering, when it says in Revelation that the bowls of wrath of God are being stored in the end times, is that referring to the people who have deliberately reject God's word? Or is that for the people who are following the Antichrist? And one more thing, if people have had unnatural relations, like homosexual or lesbian, can they be saved through if they turn towards God, or are they just totally rejected among one of the sins where there's no return?

Thanks. Okay, two questions there, John. First, gay and lesbian relationships are not the unpardonable sin. Paul writing to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 6 says to those in Corinth, some of you were practicing homosexuals, but you were washed. You were sanctified. You were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus.

A person who identifies as gay or lesbian can recognize that that's a sin, confess that to the Lord, and receive his grace, mercy, and forgiveness, the filling of the Holy Spirit. So again, that's not the unpardonable sin. Now, with regard to your question about the bowls of wrath in Revelation, those bowls specifically are focusing on the final judgment coming upon the world. You have, throughout the book of Revelation, the repetition of these seals and trumpets and bowls. And they depict, I believe, the judgments that come against the world, the ungodly throughout history, this sort of repetition of history and God's judgment being poured out against those who persecute his church, but then culminating in those bowls of wrath that are poured out in the book of Revelation. That is specifically for those who reject the gospel and reject Christ. Earlier in Revelation 9, as John has a vision of the trumpets that are being blown and these judgments that come upon the world, these sort of limited judgments that come upon the world in Revelation 8 and 9, at the very end, he says in verse 20 of Revelation 9, the rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their sexual immoralities, their sorceries, and their thefts. And so you have here the picture of God's long suffering, but also the hardness of the human heart, that God can bring these judgments, and people still, like Pharaoh, want to cling to their sin. And so we pray that the Lord would soften hearts and use circumstances, even difficult circumstances, that people face to draw them to Jesus and to faith in Christ. Thanks for giving us a call.

Thanks so much. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Peter is on the line from Oklahoma. Peter, what's your question for Adriel? Yes, sir. I'm calling concerning a scripture. I believe that the psalm David wrote, I was almost in all sin in the midst of the assembly.

Okay. Peter, so I think that what you're referring to is Proverbs 5, verse 14, where we read, I am at the brink of utter ruin in the assembled congregation. Is that, I mean, you might just be using a different translation, but is that what you're referring to?

I guess I'm not sure. I thought that was, I did not know the psalm that wrote that. Okay.

And the reason I'm asking you is this. You probably already know that at least twice, like the Apostle Paul, withstood Peter to his face. And at another time, it mentions reproving something almost publicly, or rather in the midst of the congregation, reproving somebody such as a pastor. Yep. That's right.

But doing it, but not doing it maybe privately in an office, but in the midst of people. Okay. Maybe that what you read is Proverbs 5. I read a different version, but the exact quote was, I was almost in all sin in the midst of the congregation. I thought maybe he was referring to in, I think it's in 2 Samuel, maybe chapter 9, when David was, I guess, to a number of Israelites.

Okay. So Peter, first, the context of Proverbs chapter 5 is a warning against adultery. And so what you have here is an individual who is rejected reproof in the word of the Lord.

And what's being highlighted here is just the foolishness of sin and in particular sexual sin and adultery. It sounds to me like what you were getting out of that verse, it's not that it's wrong, maybe just you're looking at or thinking about something that is biblical and true, but it's just not really from that verse in Proverbs chapter 5, verse 14, the idea of rebuking someone publicly in the congregation. And this is what the apostle Paul says with regard to elders who persist in sin in 1 Timothy chapter 5, verse 20, as for those who persist in sin, persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all so that the rest may stand in fear. So there are times where this happens and should happen in the church. This is what we refer to as church discipline. Let me just say both of those passages, one of the things that binds them together is the fact that the Bible takes sin very seriously and God calls his people to take sin very seriously. In Proverbs 5, you have the warning against adultery. In 1 Timothy 5, you have the warning against continuing in persistent sin as a spiritual leader, as a pastor or an elder.

And all of us in our own lives, we need to be vigilant and watchful and take sin seriously, confess our sins and repent of them, going to the Lord and receiving the grace and the mercy that Christ has for us. And so, Peter, I appreciate you giving us a call and pray that the Lord blesses you, brother, and thanks for listening to the broadcast. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.

Here's an email we received from one of our listeners named John. He says, Someone in my small group believes there are two different levels in heaven. They say some just get in the door and some get the bride of Christ. This lady says people who are merely saved don't really get the kingdom, but they do get into heaven. I run a ministry helping people with addictions, and this was set at a group and it created a lot of debate in front of baby Christians, which made me uncomfortable.

I'm not only introducing these people to a 12-step program, but I'm also introducing them to Jesus. Okay, one, what was said was just not true. It's not that some people are saved and they barely make it in the door, but they don't really get to be a part of the bride of Christ or the kingdom of God.

That's just false. That's not what the Bible teaches. We have been made a kingdom of priests through the blood of Jesus Christ. Think of what the book of Revelation begins with. Revelation chapter 1 verse 5, To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom priest to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever.

Amen. And so who's been made a kingdom? Who's a part of the kingdom? Well, it's those who have been washed in the blood of the Lamb. Now, if you don't have that, then you're out.

You're not in. But if you're a Christian who struggles, you can still be forgiven, and you are forgiven, and you're a part of the kingdom, even though maybe you're not living as perfectly as you ought to be living. That's what we call sanctification, growing in grace, and that's a process. And there are some people that we meet and we just think, man, that person is so close to the Lord.

It seems like they're so sanctified. Of course, each and every one of us struggles with sin and will continue to struggle with sin until the day that we die, but that doesn't mean that we're not a part of the kingdom or we're not a part of the bride of Christ. And so I think it's really important, John, to be able to bring clarification, especially in a small group like this with newer believers who probably have really sensitive consciences, wondering, am I going to make it, to say, well, some of you maybe are barely going to make it, but you're not really going to be a part of the bride of Christ. I think it's important to be able to step in and say, no, Christ is the one who is victorious, who forgave us, washed us by his blood, and has made us a kingdom.

And so we have that hope. And with that reality, knowing that we are the children of God, a part of the bride of Christ, let's live lives that honor the Lord in purity and holiness and in righteousness, pursuing him, not so that we can be saved, but because we are saved. Thanks for listening to CORE Christianity. To request your copy of today's special offer, visit us at corechristianity.com and click on offers in the menu bar or call us at 1-833-843-2673. That's 833, the CORE. When you contact us, please let us know how you've been encouraged by this program and be sure to join us next time as we explore the truth of God's word together.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-16 11:32:09 / 2022-11-16 11:41:42 / 10

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