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Our Eternal Home - Part 2

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
May 13, 2024 12:00 am

Our Eternal Home - Part 2

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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May 13, 2024 12:00 am

What does it take to prepare for eternity in heaven as co-heirs with Christ?

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Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley from Monday, May 13th. What will believers be doing in heaven? And will we see our loved ones again? Let's consider these and other questions in the series on how to choose your destiny. Well, a wise person always prepares for what he or she knows is inevitable.

And the Bible says that one of these days all of us will die. And when we do, we're going to spend eternity in one of two places. Now, the question is, are you making any preparation for where you're going to spend eternity? There are only two places.

One of them is called the Lake of Fire. And so the preparation for that is to do nothing. That is, you don't have to do anything at all to end up there. But my friend, if you're planning on going to heaven, there are some steps to preparation.

You say, well, I think I'm going. Well, the question is, what have you done to prepare to spend eternity with God and all other believers in heaven? And that is the theme of this entire message. And that is preparing for heaven. And I want you, if you will, to turn to Revelation Chapter 21. And I want us to read the first six verses of this chapter. And this is the beloved John who is writing about what he saw concerning heaven. Beginning in the first verse of the twenty-first chapter of the Revelation. He says, And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And he who sits on the throne said, Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He shall dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them. And He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there shall no longer be any death. There shall no longer be any mourning or crying or pain.

The first things have passed away. And he who sits on the throne said, Behold, I am making all things new. And he said, Write, for these words are faithful and true. And he said to me, It is done. I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.

I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. Now, when John writes the Revelation, what he's writing is what he has what he is in the process of seeing. He talks about many things, one of which is he describes here in this chapter, and that is the holy city, the new city, the holy city, Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven.

He says, like a bride adorned for her husband. But what he's describing here is heaven as he sees it. Now, nobody can fully understand all that heaven has for the simple reason that our finite minds are confined to some degree to earthly understanding. I'm not going to spend time trying to describe to you what heaven's going to be like, but rather how to prepare to get there. Now, the first question I want to ask is, what are we going to do when we get there?

A lot of people have a lot of conjecture about that. But there are four very specific things the Bible says that you and I are going to do when we get to heaven. And so I want us to look at them and then I want us to look at this matter of how do we prepare? So in order to talk about how we prepare and why we should talk about that, let's ask the question, what are we going to do there? So there are four things that I want you to take note of in the book of Revelation.

Go back to chapter four for a moment. One of the things we're going to do when we get to heaven is we're going to praise God and worship him. And throughout the book of the Revelation that describes future things, there are a number of passages, not verses, but sections of verses that describe this. Look, if you will, in verse nine of the fourth chapter. And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne, to him who lives forever and ever, and the twenty-four elders will fall down before him who sits on the throne and will worship him who lives forever and ever and will cast our crowns before the throne, saying, listen, worthy art thou, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For thou didst create all things, and because of thy will they existed and were created.

Then, for example, the next chapter, notice what he says. And I looked and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders. And the number of them was myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands. Saying with a loud voice, worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing. And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea and all things in them I heard saying, to him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever. And the four living creatures kept saying, amen.

And the elders fell down in worship. Well, these are just two examples of scripture after scripture in the book of the Revelation that describe what's going on in heaven. That is praise to God and worship. Praise and worship involves personal involvement in what is going on.

It is a God directed feeling. We're thinking about him and praising him and adoring him and loving him. And if you and I go into heaven, my friend, and spend the rest of eternity praising and worshiping God, we need to learn how while we are down here and get started with getting on to worship the living holy God who has become our savior. He says we're going to be praising him in the heavens, the angels, everyone is praising the Lord Jesus Christ and magnifying him for his great work of redemption. A second thing he says we're going to do, he says we're going to shine for him.

What in the world does that mean? Go back, if you will, to Matthew chapter 13. In the 13th chapter of Matthew, the passage deals with the judgment that is the final separation of the righteous and the unrighteous. And listen to what he says beginning in the 41st verse. The son of man will send forth his angels and they will gather out of his kingdom all the stumbling blocks and those who commit lawlessness and will cast them into the furnace of fire.

In that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then, then the righteous, those who have received the Lord Jesus Christ as their savior, then the righteous will shine forth as the son in the kingdom of their father. He who has ears, let him hear.

Now, what is he referring to here? Simply this, that when you and I received the Lord Jesus Christ as our savior, the Bible says that the Lord Jesus Christ became our life. The Holy Spirit came to indwell your life and my life. God says one of the reasons he saved us is in order that you and I may glorify him, that we may reflect him, that our countenance may show forth the presence of the living God within us. He did not save us merely to keep us out of torment. He saved us to glorify himself. He saved us to magnify himself.

He saved us because he loves us, because he wants to give himself to us, live himself through us, shine forth his glory and his honor so that when you and I get to heaven for all of eternity, we are going to shine forth with all the radiance and beauty and glory and majesty of the living God forever and ever and ever unhindered. And that's why the Bible says in Ephesians chapter 2 that God is going to say to the angels, look, these are the expressions of my eternal grace like stars on a moonless night. He says we're going to shine. He says like the sun at noonday, you and I will be shining forth the radiance and the beauty and the glory of God.

Now, that's what we're going to do for all eternity. We need to get busy down here reflecting the Lord Jesus Christ both in our character, our conversation and our conduct and our lifestyle. There ought to be enough of the Lord Jesus Christ coming through us that those who meet us know they've met us.

But somebody on the inside for more important than we. Then there's the third thing he says we're going to be doing in heaven. And that is to some people's great dismay for you who think, well, I'm going to retire and finally go to heaven and rest and relax forever. I want you to turn to Revelation chapter 22. For he says, as he describes again, heaven here. Let's start with verse one of chapter 22. And he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its streets.

And on either side of the river was the tree of life bearing 12 kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall no longer be any curse. And the throne of God and that of the Lamb shall be in it. And his bondservants shall serve him.

So heaven is going to be one magnificent, wonderful, indescribable, incomparable place as far as we humanly are able to perceive of it right now. But he says we're going to be serving him. Now, I want you to think about something and I want you to think very, very seriously about this. I'm not questioning your salvation. It's not for me to do.

But I want you to think about this. You mean to tell me, my friend, that you intend to go to heaven, but you do not intend to serve God in any fashion. That is, you're saved.

You know that you're saved. And now the Bible says that when you get to heaven, you're going to serve him. So you're just going to do your thing, live your life very smugly, saved. But you're going to start serving God after you get to heaven. I want to tell you, that is as unscriptural, as ungodly, as unChristlike, as unbiblical, and as theologically erroneous as it can be. I didn't say you wouldn't get to heaven. I'm just saying that it's wrong. Because the Bible says we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus for the purpose of good works. When? After we get to heaven?

No, down here. All through the Bible we are admonished to serve the living God. That is, listen, serving the Lord is an expression of love. It is an expression of devotion.

It is an expression of adoration to him. And when I think of the absolutely, literally millions of people who go to church, listen to sermons, say prayers, give a little bit of money, go home and do nothing in the name of Jesus Christ until the next Sunday. I want to tell you, my friend, you are not preparing for heaven. You say, now, wait a minute.

Do you mean I've got to work to get in? You'll never hear me say that. But what I'm asking is this. If God has created us as his servants down here, do you mean to tell me that you don't intend to do anything until you get to heaven? I'm going to tell you that is sin in the eyes of God. It is disobedience in the eyes of God.

And you're not walking uprightly. If you have determined your heart, you're just going to float in. The fourth thing that we're going to be doing, listen to what he says. He says we're going to be reigning with him. All through the New Testament, the Bible speaks about reigning with him.

Now, think about this. Reigning means to oversee something. All the scriptures, isn't it interesting how the Lord talked about rewards and the judgment and accountability and responsibility.

You've been faithful over a few things. I'm going to make you see says ruler over many things. Now, what is going to determine our responsibility? What is going to determine our rewards when we get to heaven? It isn't what I do and how well I do when I get there. It's what you and I are doing down here.

This is a school. This is a testing time. The Lord Jesus Christ came into your life. He enabled you with the power of the Holy Spirit to serve him, to honor him, to shine for him, to praise him, to worship him. He has equipped us to do everything we need to do in preparation for what we're going to do for eternity. But what I want to ask you, my friend, is what in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the glory of God, are you doing here and now in service for the Lord in preparation to reign and serve with him forever? God's people are to be actively involved in the work of the Lord. Listen to me, if you and I are going there to spend eternity, it's time we got busy doing down here in the body of Christ what we're going to be doing for eternity.

Well, that's what we're going to be doing. So how do we make preparation? Well, I believe there are three steps according to the Bible, three steps in preparation for heaven. The first step is the preparation of a person's spirit.

And that preparation takes place by regeneration, that is conversion, salvation, being born again. The Bible says in times past, you were dead in trespasses and sins, dead to the things of God, dead to the things that are holy, dead to the things that are righteous, dead to God. When you are born again, that is, when you receive the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal savior, something happens. You become a new person. You are indwelt by a new life.

The old life is gone. The new life is here. It is the presence and the life of Christ. Now, he says, I will give unto you a new spirit.

That spirit can communicate with God. You have been born again. The Bible says, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. And again, in the same chapter, he says, verse five, except a man be born again, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. See, it is the new birth.

It is the conversion. It is your forgiveness of sin provided at the cross that makes it possible for God to give you a new spirit. Now you can fellowship and communicate with God. Do you understand that a lost person wouldn't fit in heaven? A lost person couldn't communicate with God in heaven. Can't communicate with him down here.

Couldn't communicate with anybody else up there because there our communication will be from spirit to spirit in all of its absolute perfection. So that the first step to getting to heaven, my friend, is not being good, because listen, being good does not give you a new spirit. Being good doesn't get rid of the old nature. Being good doesn't forgive you of your sins. Being good doesn't transform your inner man.

Being good doesn't bring about a new birth. It is the work of Almighty God by faith. Step number one, a new spirit by what the Bible calls regeneration or conversion or salvation, forgiveness, redemption, whatever the word may be. Step number one. Step number two. Step number two deals with the soul, the preparation of the soul. Now what is the preparation? Step number one deals with the spirit and that's regeneration. Step number two deals with the soul of man, his mind, will, emotion, his conscious, his consciousness. That's how we relate to one another.

And what is the process? The Bible calls it conformation. Listen to what he says in Romans 8 29. He says in Romans 8 29 that God predestined that you and I would be conformed to the image of his son. Listen carefully.

That doesn't mean that by your works you're going to get better and better and better. It means this. It means by the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ who is now within you and by the power of the Holy Spirit working within you. Listen, that more and more the person of Jesus Christ who is within you will begin to be able to express himself through you. The more you and I surrender, the more we yield, the more we meditate upon the Word of God, the more time we spend in prayer, the more we give ourselves away to others, the more of the Lord Jesus Christ comes forth out of our life and shines upon those about us. That is the process of conforming us to his likeness, shaping us into his likeness, pulling us away from the ways of the world, shaping us into the likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is a process. God began here and now. It is a process that's going on until you and I are called to heaven. And when we get there, it is going to be in all of its perfection, we are going to be conformed to his likeness because there will be nothing sinful there to hinder us. Well, there's one other step in getting ready for heaven. Hallelujah. There's not a thing in this world you can do about it.

Not one thing. Well, what did we say? We said, first of all, there's a preparation of the Spirit by regeneration, preparation of the soul by being conformed, conformation of the likeness of Christ, and thirdly, the preparation of the body by transformation. Look, if you will, in Philippians chapter 3. Philippians chapter 3, look at verse 20. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will do what? Transform the body, this physical body of our humble state into conformity with the body of his glory, that is, his glorious, glorified, unlimited body.

Unlimited by time, unlimited by space, unlimited by anything. By the exertion or the expression of the power that is his supernatural power that he has even to subject all things to himself. Now, go back to 1 Corinthians chapter 15 and let's look at verse 49, 50, 51, 52. Verse 49, he says now, and just as we have borne the image of the earthly, that is, just as in this life we have borne the image of earthly human beings, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly, that is, the glorified body. Now, I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. That is, something must happen to this body.

So he says, here's what's going to happen and here's when. Behold, I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep. That is, we all won't be gone when Jesus comes.

Some will be still here, be here. But we shall be changed. That is, these bodies of ours will change. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet, the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable and we shall be changed. That is, the bodies of our loved ones who are raised in the grave first.

He says raised imperishable. Not flesh and blood, but the glorified transformed bodies, he says in Philippians, likened unto the body of the Lord Jesus Christ. He says our bodies will be transformed and forever and ever and ever we shall be with the Lord in the heavens, with God, with the Father, with the Spirit, with his holy angels and with all the saints. Now, with all of that, let me just say one last thing. If you don't take step number one, you're not going.

There's no way. You'll never get into heaven until you have been born again by the grace of God. And I plead with you in Jesus' name to make that decision right now.

How do you do it? You ask him to forgive you of your sins. You acknowledge that you've been living independently of God. You tell him that you're placing your trust in the death of Jesus Christ at Calvary. They're all sufficient payment for your sins and you're surrendering your life to him today to live for him and to serve him all the days of your life doesn't mean you're going to be perfect.

But it means that you turn your life over to him. Thank you for listening to part two of our eternal home. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or in touch ministries, stop by in touch. Dot org. This podcast is a presentation of in touch ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-13 02:22:02 / 2024-05-13 02:30:39 / 9

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