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The Real Heaven - Why Heaven Matters, Part 2

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
March 16, 2022 6:00 am

The Real Heaven - Why Heaven Matters, Part 2

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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March 16, 2022 6:00 am

Is heaven very different from our life here on earth? Or will we spend all of eternity playing harps, sitting on clouds, and just hanging out? Chip shares how your view of heaven matters. And when you see heaven for what it really is, it will change how you live each day on earth.

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Does it really get any better than this when we get to Heaven? Or will we spend all eternity playing harps, sitting on clouds, and sipping iced tea? I mean, your view of Heaven matters. And when you see Heaven for what it really is, it will change how you live each day on Earth.

Believe me, Heaven is not what you think it is. Thanks for joining us for this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. I'm Dave Druey, and Chip's our Bible teacher for this international discipleship ministry focused on helping Christians live like Christians. On this program, Chip picks up where he left off last time in his series, The Real Heaven, by explaining why our view of Heaven impacts how we live our day-to-day lives. But before he continues, let me encourage you to use Chip's message notes while you listen. They include his brief outline and all the supporting scripture he references. To download these message notes, just go to the broadcasts tab at livingontheedge.org.

App listeners, tap fill in notes. But with that, here's Chip with the second half of his talk, Why Heaven Matters. Will you open your Bible to Genesis? The past is Eden. Genesis 1 and 2, God visits the Earth with man. The present, this intermediate Heaven.

The moment you die, you go to be with Jesus, but you don't have a resurrected body. So in this arena, God becomes man to rescue man from a fallen Earth. There's going to be a window of time where God is going to set up and fulfill all of his promises on this Earth. And then finally, there's Heaven comes down to Earth.

And there's a new Heaven on a new Earth in an absolutely perfect environment. Follow along, Genesis chapter 1, you got it? Look at verse 26, just to highlight. Then God said, Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness, and let him rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over the Earth and every creeping thing that's on the Earth. And God created man in his own image and the image of God. He created them male and female. And then notice to be fruitful and to multiply and to fill the Earth and subdue it and rule it.

And it talks about the specifics of how that looks. And then notice the giving and the heart and the blessing. God says, Behold, I've given you every plant of yielding seed that is on the surface of the Earth and every tree of fruit yielding for your food. And then he talks about the beasts and have created food for all of them. And God saw everything that he'd made there at the end of chapter 1, and it was very good. And thus, the heavens and the Earth were completed. Chapter 2, verse 1. Verse 4, it says, This is the account of Heaven and Earth when they were created in the day that the Lord God made the heavens and the Earth. And so chapter 1 of Genesis is just this wide angle lens, the big picture of seven days, all that God did, man in his image.

But here's what I want you to get. There's this creator God that spoke all the world into existence. And on this planet, he created it special. And then he made us and then he put us in it. And then he created an environment to have deep, intimate fellowship with us and one another. And then he gave us purpose, rule, multiply, work, write, sing, create culture, literature, live with me intimately. Now, chapter 2, the author says, OK, there's the wide angle lens.

Let me zoom in and tell you a little bit about how it actually happened. Pick it up at verse 7. Then the Lord God formed the man out of the dust of the earth and breathed life into his naturals, the breath of life, and the man became a living being. And the Lord planted a garden toward the east in Eden, and he placed the man there that he formed. Do you see this fatherly?

I want to create this wonderful environment. And out of the ground, the Lord calls to grow every tree that's pleasing to the site and good for food. The tree of life also in the midst of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Look at verse 10. Now, a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden. Now, I want you to get this, the trees, the pleasing, the tree of life, a river, because what I'm going to show you, we're going to go all the way to the very end of the Bible. We're going to skip everything that happens from about Genesis chapter 3 all the way through all the time in chronology of the Bible when God's going to make everything right. And you're going to find that there's some trees and that there's a river and then everything he started here that gets destroyed, he's going to bring back on a new heaven and a new earth.

Notice it goes on, the Lord took the man and he put him into the garden of Eden. And notice there's a job to cultivate it and keep it. On this new earth, you'll have jobs.

The kind of jobs that you'll have is directly proportional to our faithfulness on our time on this earth. And then notice the compassion and relationships. It said the Lord said it's not good for man to be alone.

I'll make a helper suitable for him. And then we get the story and then I love this. And the Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which he had taken from the man and sometimes and he brought her to the man. This is a benevolent loving father creator who's creating an environment and a world for the greatest joy of his creation in the relationships with one another, in the environment that they live in.

He's given them jobs and work and cultivation and purpose, meaningful relationships. And then in this first world notice and they were naked and unashamed. There's no sin, there's no self-consciousness, there's no mixed motives, there's no using of people.

And then we pick up the story and that was the perfect plan. Flip the page to chapter 3 verse 6 and we find that sin enters in. And verse 6 says, when the woman saw that the tree was good for food and it was a delight to the eyes and the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.

She gave it to her husband and he ate also. And the eyes of both of them were opened and they knew that they were naked and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. And they heard the sound of the Lord walking in the garden in the cool of the day and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of God among the trees of the garden. And the Lord called to the man and said, where are you?

And he said, I heard the sound of you in the garden, I was afraid because I was naked so I hid. And so we have now instead of a perfect environment, sin enters in. We have separation from God. We're going to find in the story separation from man. He blames her.

She blames the serpent. And God then says, there's a judgment. There's a judgment that happens for the woman in childbirth. There's a judgment for the man that we struggle futility in our work. There's a judgment on the servant.

But then there's this great mercy toward the end. Verse 21, and the Lord made garments of skin for Adam and Eve his wife and clothed them. Then the Lord said, behold, the man has become like us, speaking of the triunity of God here, knowing good from evil lest he stretch out his hand and also take from the tree of life. See, he eats from the tree of life in this fallen state.

You stay separated forever. And so as you read on, he puts a cherubim, which is this big powerful angel with a flaming sword to guard it. And so that's the story. And the whole rest, what we have, the whole rest of the Bible is the story of God's grace and prophets and Old Testament and offerings and revelation of God and the promise of a messiah. And the messiah comes and he lives a perfect life and he declares who God really is, the father and his love for people full of truth and grace. And then he's crucified and he rises again and he pays for the sins of all people of all time. And the church is born and the church takes the message. And then Jesus comes back and he takes his church from the earth and God brings about final judgment and justice.

And he fulfills all those promises that he made in this thousand year reign where Jesus is judge and king. And then there's a final, final judgment. And then there's a new heaven and a new earth. Now, I don't know about you, but all my life growing up, I never heard about a new heaven on a new earth. And now some of you, you understand that on this old earth, there's times where you've seen a sunset that just moved your heart.

I had an experience with one of my grandsons this week and they stayed overnight with us and I dropped him off at school and I left and he ran down the hall and grabbed my leg and he pulled me down and he hugged me really tight and he looked me eyeball to eyeball and he said, I love you, Papa. And I thought, wow. I mean, he just, he can't get anything out of this. This is just like innocent, real. And then he went a few more steps and I started to walk away and he called my name again and he went like this.

And then I almost got to the end and he got to the very end, Papa. And he, that's a taste of the new earth. Some of you've held a brand new baby in your arms and with tears streaming down your face and there's a sense of awe.

That's a taste of what the real new earth is going to be like. Some of you've had some of the deepest friendships and great relationships and people have known things about you that you didn't want to share and they expressed acceptance and love and commitment and there's been a bond where you've been in relationships that you would literally die for one another. That's a taste of heaven. Some of you have built companies or dreamed dreams for your kids and worked and worked and worked and you've seen the fruit of it. And there's these little moments where they maybe walk across the stage or accomplish something and there's something that swells up inside of you that says it can't get any better than this.

There's some of us that have been married for many, many years and find ourselves after all the ups and downs and potentially counseling and struggles and kids and you feel like I love this person more than I thought I could ever love anyone and you hold them close to you in your bed and you think, oh God, I can't imagine what heaven's like but I can't imagine life without this person. That's the old car. The new car is that on spiritual infinite steroids and that's what heaven's like. Turn in the back. I want you to see this.

Turn all the way back. Revelation chapter 21. I saw a new heaven. Chapter 21 verse 1. Revelation.

It's the last book. I saw a new heaven and new earth for the first heaven and the first earth passed away and there's no longer any sea. And I saw a holy city, new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven. Made as a bride adorned for her husband and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 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 or in their midst. And he shall wipe away every tear from their eyes and there will no longer be any death, no longer 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.

Circle that word. And he said, right, for these words are faithful and true. You know, we talk a lot when a person puts their faith in Christ. We said, if any man or any woman is in Christ, the old things pass away. Behold, all things become new.

Same Greek word. And the new is a different kind, a different kind, a better and different kind. It's not new as in completely different, but it's a new person. He's going to make a new earth. And for the first time, heaven comes down and what you see there dwells on earth.

And that's not just the only city. And there's nations and there's life and there's community and there's art and there's books to be written and songs to be written and jobs to accomplish. And a world like the best that you've ever, ever, ever tasted on the old earth, in this new earth. And he doesn't visit and he doesn't come and just save us, but he's with us forever and ever and ever. On the next page, I tried to picture this for you because I know it's a bit odd, but I wanted you to see it first in scripture. We have a faulty skewed unbiblical view of heaven and therefore we're not motivated accurately because it's false. I mean, to be honest, most of us down in our gut and some of you are different and we thank God for you. But most people, if I said you could go to heaven right now, this instant or 10 years from now after A, B, C, D and E, these goals you accomplish.

Most of us, if we're honest, I want to go, but like 10 years later, I want to see this because we don't get it. A lady emailed me, good friend, she's in Columbus and her mom passed away yesterday and she said, Chip, my mom just passed into the presence of the heart and dealing with the loss and hurting. And I had a very quick email, Kitty, heaven is for all caps real. It's real.

And there's great comfort. It is real. And you will see her again. Understanding heaven requires a macroscopic view of scripture and a microscopic view of God's purposes for his people. This is kind of what I want you to get.

Okay. I've kind of given you this picture of the past. There's Eden and how God works. And there's this time now between, you know, Genesis three and when the Lord finally comes back and sets up a new kingdom.

And the moment you die, you go to this intermediate heaven like you see in Revelation four and five. And what I want you to see is to get this, to really grasp this, you need a macroscopic view of scripture. You need to see the whole thing, but you need to see a microscopic view of God's purposes. So what is God doing? What is the role of Jesus, our savior in the midst of all this? And so I've put three different charts here.

I just kind of made these up, but they all tell kind of the same story, but I want you to see it. So the macroscopic view of scripture is this. You'll notice Genesis one and two on the left side. And why don't you put a little line in there around, you know, like in between two and three and just write the fall or sin because everything changes. And then underneath that, you know, you could just put OT for, you know, anything on the left side of the cross.

And then on the right side, put NT. That's all the history of the Old and New Testament. And then what we know is Jesus promised that he's going, the word rapture just means to be caught up or catch.

People can debate a lot of things, but he's going to come back for his church. There's a judgment for believers, not for your sin, but for rewards. And then there's this thousand year reign where Jesus will fulfill all those promises he made to David about the throne and Abraham about the land.

And there's this environment that occurs and people that go into that. And then at the end of that time, there's a final final judgment of Satan after he's released. And there's what's called the great white throne and the sheep and the goats. And there are people who say, look, God's mercy, God's love, this intent, you love me, you care for me, you want to be in control, you want me with you forever and ever and ever, but I need to recognize Jesus as the Lord and Lord and King of Kings after all you've done.

Some people say, you know what? My will be done, not yours. And so God has created a place for those people that want nothing to do with him. They can be separated from him forever. It's called hell. And all those who put their faith in him who say, I can't imagine a creator that would create a world like this and then come and die, rise from the dead, prove it's true, demonstrated over 2,000 years, offer eternal life. And the basis of their relationship to the gospel of Jesus Christ, he says, enter in to eternal dwellings with me.

There's a final judgment. And then there's this new heaven and new earth that we read about. Notice on your notes right below it is so that in Genesis 1 and 2, it's God with man in a perfect earth. Jesus is a theophany. He visits the earth.

He walks with man. In Genesis 3 through Revelation 20, you've got God separated from man on a cursed earth, and Jesus is the incarnate Savior and Redeemer. And then in chapter 20, you have God with man on a temporary earth, the millennial kingdom. He's the King of Kings, and it ends as his being the judge. Jesus said, I'm going to judge.

The Father has entrusted to me judgment. And then finally, you have God with man in a perfect earth forever. And Jesus is the Immanuel.

He's with us forever. A simple overview of all of those. I just tried to say, OK, the original and the ending. So God's original intent for mankind on earth.

And you might jot some of these words down under this. I put life, rule, growth, beauty, fellowship, a planet made for us to enjoy, explore and to live with God. That's the old earth.

Joy, beauty, explore, adventure, grow. And then you had this interim period where sin, death and a cursed earth. And you have Christ by his grace brings redemption, the promise of resurrection to make all things new. And then we will be resurrected. In fact, all people will be resurrected, the wicked and the righteous at the final judgment. And then at that final judgment, the righteous, it's God's new heaven comes down on a new earth. And kind of like just the better version of a old car, the new earth will be like the old one in purpose. Life, rule, growth, beauty, fellowship, a place made for us to enjoy, explore, live with God forever, better than the best old earth and infinitely better than the best you've ever hinted at in every accomplishment and every relationship in any sense of peace.

But it's a real place with real people, with nations and relationships and jobs and culture and music. It's the old earth as God intended. But you know the difference? We will have remembered what it cost. We will understand grace like angels don't ever understand grace. We will see the mercy and the grace and the power of God and we will be in a place where sin never happens again. That's the promise of scripture. The summary is very, very simple and maybe you've never received it kind of from your head to your heart. Here's the summary. You look at all those charts, they all say one thing. God wants to be with His people.

Is this amazing? He creates us, He wants to be with us, He walks with us. He wants to be with us so He comes and dies for us. He wants to be with us so He creates a new heaven, a new earth. He wants to be with us but He's fair so there's judgment and there's justice. And no matter what we experience during this interim time, God's going to make everything right.

Nobody gets a raw deal. And this does three very important things and it's why I think heaven matters. Back page. An accurate view of heaven provides three powerful things. Number one, perspective in times of trouble.

Perspective. The apostle Paul had been left for dead. He'd been beaten up a number of times. He went through a world and a life almost unimaginable and his perspective is this. By the way, he got to go to that third heaven and get a little snapshot and God brought him back. And he says this, therefore we don't lose heart though our outer man is decaying yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison. While we look not at the things which are seen but the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal but the things which are not seen are eternal. Heaven by Randy Alcorn says it will change your life when you get a clear specific picture of things that aren't seen in the future.

It gives you perspective. And he says your life is a little dot. In fact inside that tiny little pencil dot it would take a powerful microscope. That dot is all of time and inside that maybe there's 70, maybe there's 80 years, a shade more for some and a lot less for others.

And he says what you do inside that tiny little dot impacts all of eternity. Many, many, many, many people unconsciously live for the dot instead of the line. It gives you perspective. What matters? People on their last days, they regret working too much. They regret not investing in relationships. They regret not developing the spiritual relationship with God earlier. They regret misplaced priorities.

Tell you what, when you get clear on heaven you get smart. Second thing is perseverance in times of temptation and I mean that in the biblical world. Temptation not only to sin but trials. Temptation to give up. Temptation to give up in your marriage. Temptation to give up on one of your kids.

Temptation to give up because you're so overwhelmed by financial pressures. Notice what the scripture says in John 14. He says don't let your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me.

I want you to know there's a specific place you can endure. Some people will go through all of this life and never receive what God wants. End of Hebrews. He says the world wasn't worthy of them.

God's fair but he doesn't bring all the fairness in this life. I will tell you, you talk about endurance. When I learned my wife had cancer, I can tell you where I was, where we sat on the couch, where we cried. Praise God we're done with it. It's good. She's okay. But I remember thinking I don't know if I'm going to have her or not. And then I remember thinking how am I going to deal with this? And then I realized okay my theology tells me and I know in my heart God is good and she is his. He has every right to have her go to heaven before I go to heaven. And I remember sitting there through my tears and deciding okay how do I respond to this?

And I responded by one clear statement. Heaven is real no matter what happens and God is good. And honey that's how we're going to go through this. It will sustain you in your temptations and your trials. But if it's floating around in a long church boring service trying to get some wings and playing a harp and floating around on clouds sipping iced tea it will not sustain you. The final thing the scripture says is that it gives us our priorities when under pressure especially.

You want this now and there's time orientations. Jesus said for our benefit do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy. In other words it's a bad ROI. You'll lose it.

But notice the motivation. Store up for yourselves treasure in heaven. You mean you actually have an account? There's actually a real place on a new earth that you might want some resources and that what we do here actually impacts that? Yes. That's not spiritual biblical gobbledygook. That's how we think of it. This is what people say when they try to get your money. Giving generously of your time and your treasure and your talent is about helping people now with a view to say God I'm gonna do this for an audience of one and I want my reward not to be what people think of me.

I realize I'm gonna be on a new earth and I like to have an account that's well funded when I get there to do things that I would long and dream to do. God is not a socialist and he's not a communist and heaven will be wonderful for everyone but it will not be equal. What I do and what you do with your time, your talent, your treasure will determine the quality of part of your new earth experience. It's just what the Bible teaches.

He gave five talents to one, two talents to one, one talent to another and they used it in different ways and they rewarded in different ways. Isn't it amazing to think that heaven's a real place with a real opportunity to use your gifts, to have amazing relationships, to live in what we've tasted here better forever. Chip will be right back with his application for this message, Why Heaven Matters from his series, The Real Heaven, What the Bible Actually Says. Have you ever sat down and thought about heaven? I mean what it'll really be like to have a new body to reunite with loved ones and be in the very presence of God. The fact is many Christians aren't excited enough about heaven which just shows how little we understand what awaits us. Through this three part series Chip uncovers what God wants us to know about heaven, the indescribable beauty, the fulfilling relationships and what we're actually going to do there. He'll also dispel the myths about heaven and encourage us to actually look forward to eternity.

To listen to this entire series, The Real Heaven, the Chip Ingram app is a great way to get plugged in. Now before we go any further, here's Chip to talk a little more about the helpful resources we have for this series. Just recently we surveyed our audience and what we learned was that about 50% of those who participated actually had someone close to them that died. You know the death of a friend or a family member, it naturally turns our hearts and our minds toward heaven.

In fact, I have a very, very close friend that lost his wife. The first thing I did, I said, you know, I've got a book here on heaven that I think might help. He said, wow, thanks, it's so devastating, it's so hard. Then as he read that book and then began to share it with his kids, he said, you know, it's still really, really hard but I actually didn't know anything about heaven and that it's so clear and it's really a place and he began to tell me about what he learned. You know, most of us don't have a clear idea of what happens right after we die and what's heaven going to be like. So let me encourage you to get the book, The Real Heaven or even better, get the small group DVD, study guide, you can stream it, whatever's the best way. But now's the time to get really clear on what happens after we die.

There is hope and we really need it. Thanks Chip. Well, if you've been searching for some solid biblical answers about heaven, let me encourage you to get plugged in with our resources for this series. Whether it's Chip's book, The Real Heaven or the small group study, you're going to walk away with a more accurate and exciting view of the place God's preparing for us. For complete ordering details go to LivingOnTheEdge.org or call us at 888-333-6003. That's 888-333-6003 or visit LivingOnTheEdge.org.

App listeners, tap special offers. As we wrap up today's message, I want to make one fundamental point that I think actually a great majority of Christians don't really get. Heaven is a real, listen carefully, physical place. It gets a little confusing because the moment we die, we are in the presence of Jesus and there is a, if you will, a temporary heaven right now. But God's ultimate plan is to bring down a new heaven on a new earth. And if you can picture in your mind the earth before there was sin and no injustice and no evil and no disease and no conflict and no racism and nothing bad in the presence of the living God where we can learn and grow infinitely to know who God is and who we are and use talents and gifts and experience God as He originally intended, that is what heaven is really like. It's like the earth that you now see with everything bad taken away and then like infinitely on steroids better with joys and intimacy and connection and any tiny taste of anything you and I have ever experienced relationally or in a sunset or in our creativity. If you could multiply that literally by a million times, that would begin, just begin to tell you what heaven's really like.

That's why it's our hope. As we wrap up, I want to thank those of you who make this program possible through your generous financial support. Your gifts help us create programs, purchase airtime and develop additional resources to help Christians live like Christians. If you've been blessed by the Ministry of Living on the Edge, would you consider sending a gift today? Call us at 888-333-6003 or go to livingontheedge.org. App listeners, tap donate. Well, I hope you'll join us next time as Chip continues his series, The Real Heaven with The Bible Actually Says. Until then, this is Dave Druey saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-21 21:02:36 / 2023-05-21 21:14:36 / 12

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