Share This Episode
The Christian Worldview David Wheaton Logo

How To Be Sure of Eternity in Heaven

The Christian Worldview / David Wheaton
The Truth Network Radio
February 18, 2023 12:00 am

How To Be Sure of Eternity in Heaven

The Christian Worldview / David Wheaton

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 449 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.


February 18, 2023 12:00 am

“Hope” in Scripture can be defined as the believer’s assurance that the blessings God promises for the future will occur. It’s joyful expectation of an unrealized future reality. The greatest, most joy-producing promise that God has made is that His Son Jesus Christ is going to return to earth to bring His followers to heaven for eternity.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 says, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.”

Whether you believe this describes the rapture of church-age believers or simply the second coming of Christ to resurrect believers to rule and reign with him, the result is the same—Christ will raise the earthly bodies of believers (whether dead or alive), transform the perishable bodies into imperishable bodies, reuniting the soul and spirit with the imperishable body to spend eternity in heaven.

Why is this the greatest hope? Because eternity in the presence of God is the greatest blessing, especially in light of the alternative—unending torment in the lake of fire. Listen to how Jesus describes the eternity of hell: “If your eye causes you to stumble, throw it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than, having two eyes, to be cast into hell, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.” (Mark 9:47-48).

There is no more poignant, rubber-meets-the-road test of what you believe, what your hope is, than when a loved one dies or when you are facing death yourself.

How can one have assurance of going to heaven rather than doubt or dread of hell? How can one have faith in a realm that we can’t see or touch? Join us this weekend on The Christian Worldview as we discuss the trustworthy God who will keep His greatest promise.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

How to Be Assured of Eternity in Heaven and One. First Thessalonians Whether you believe that passage describes the rapture of church age believers, or simply the second coming of Christ to resurrect believers to rule and reign with Him, the result is the same. Christ will raise the earthly bodies of believers, whether they're dead believers or still living believers, transform the perishable bodies into imperishable bodies, reuniting the soul and spirit with the new imperishable body to spend eternity in heaven.

That's the promise. So why is this the greatest hope? Well, because eternity in the presence of God is the greatest blessing, especially in light of the alternative, an unending torment in the lake of fire. Just listen to how Jesus describes the eternality of hell. He says in Mark 9, If your eye causes you to stumble, throw it out.

It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than having two eyes to be cast into hell, where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched. There is no more poignant, rubber-meets-the-road test of what you believe, what your expectant hope is for the future, than when a loved one dies or when you are facing death yourself. Where are you going after you die? How can one have assurance of going to heaven rather than doubt or having dread of going to hell?

How can one have faith in a realm that we can't see or touch? So I thank you for joining us today in the Christian worldview as we discuss the trustworthy God who will keep his greatest promise of heaven. Now, as many of you know, our wonderful father, my mother's beloved husband, died unexpectedly earlier this month, and I put a post on Facebook. And I'm not going to read all of it, but just a portion of it where I said this, there has been much grieving over losing our beloved patriarch, but the grief has been outweighed by our full assurance that dad is now in heaven with the Lord he so faithfully served.

In fact, we rejoice for dad. God promises over and over in his word that the believer in Jesus Christ is given eternal life in heaven. For the Christian, when the perishable body dies, the imperishable soul and spirit goes directly to heaven, awaiting Christ's return to resurrect the perishable body and transform it into an imperishable body.

Here are just a few passages from scripture that provide the basis for this. First, from John chapter 11, when Jesus said to Martha, I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.

And then he says, Do you believe this? And Martha replies, Yes, Lord, I have believed that you are the Christ, the Son of God, even he who comes into the world. That's from John chapter 11. Or how about the well-known verse in John chapter 3 verse 16, For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life. Or John 3 36, He who believes in the Son has eternal life, but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him. Or how about 1 Thessalonians chapter 4, but we do not want you to be uninformed, Paul writes to the Thessalonian believers, about those who are asleep, those who have died, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope about what happens after death. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, which my dad did, even so God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep or died in Jesus. The repeated promise is this, God gifts eternal life in heaven to all who believe in his Son Jesus Christ. Just one more paragraph I'll read, my dad believed in the sinless life, the substitutionary death, and the supernatural resurrection of Jesus Christ as the one and only way for him to be forgiven of his sin and reconciled to God. And this is why we are certain that dad is in the presence of the Christ he believed in and followed to the end. Now there's more to the post and you can read it at our website thechristianrealview.org or you can go to the Christian Real View Facebook page or my personal Facebook page as well.

So the question is how can we be certain that the believer is in the presence of Christ when he or she dies? Now before we answer that let's consider another question. Have you ever thought about what is the worst thing that could possibly happen to you? Some people might answer well it would be getting a cancer diagnosis and going through the process of chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, and having that carry on for years on end.

Just a horrible diagnosis and prognosis. Or maybe getting in an accident and becoming disabled and a quadriplegic. Or someone else might answer the worst thing that could happen would be to be divorced after being married for 25 or 30 years and having my life completely unraveled because our family was broken up. Another person might answer that the worst thing that could happen would be estrangement from one of my children.

The child that I loved and raised and did everything for and then have that child not even want to be with me or speak to me. Another person might say going bankrupt, losing all my money, having nothing, and I'm 50 or 60 years old and have no idea what's going to happen to me in the future and no one to take care of me and I'm now I'm destitute. Another person might say the worst thing that could happen would be that I'd be imprisoned. I would be taken away from my family or those I loved and lose my freedom. And finally one might say well the worst thing that can happen is that you die or a loved one dies or my beloved child dies.

That would be absolutely the worst thing that could possibly happen in life. Now you'll notice that all of those potential answers involve one thing, loss. Cancer or disability involves the loss of a person's health or mobility. Divorce involves the loss of a marriage. Astrangement from a child involves the loss of a relationship, family relationship. Going bankrupt involves the loss of money and security in this life.

Imprisonment or kidnapping involves the loss of your personal freedom to move around, to do what you like to do. And death itself, the death of a loved one or that of a child, that involves the loss of a life and a relationship and that's probably the most painful of all. But I would posit that there's something much worse than all of those things and that is the loss of one's soul to hell.

That is the worst possible thing that could happen to someone. Listen to how Jesus describes this in Mark chapter 8. Jesus says, Jesus says, for what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit or lose his soul? For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

Just think about that for a second. In other words, Jesus is saying if you gained everything in the world, all the money and relationships and health and success and popularity and everything a person could possibly want in this world, and no one's ever gained that by the way, no one's ever gained the whole world, it still wouldn't be worth losing your soul or going to hell. That's a pretty amazing statement. That's how valuable your soul is.

It's much more valuable than gaining the entire world if you could even do so. Now the reason Jesus said that is because losing your soul to hell in final judgment by God is abhorrent, terrifying to even consider. As a matter of fact, the Bible ends toward the latter part of the book of Revelation talking about the judgment of God on unbelievers and those who have rejected his offer of reconciliation through Christ. Listen to Revelation chapter 20, starting in verse 11.

The Apostle John writes, Then I saw a great white throne in him, God, who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened, and another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them, and they were judged, each one of them according to their deeds. In other words, their sins were all recorded in the books.

The fact that they had rejected God's offer of Christ to forgive them and reconcile them and save them was all recorded in the books. And that says this in verse 14, Revelation 20. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death. The first death is your physical death. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, the book that God holds that has the names of those who have believed in him, he was thrown into the lake of fire. This is not a metaphor. This is not hyperbolic, not an exaggeration.

It's not just scare tactics. This is what the Bible teaches over and over and over again throughout the pages of Scripture. You have to reject God's Word, to reject the literal place of hell, because it's all over Scripture. Matthew 10, verse 28. Jesus says, Do not fear those who kill the body, the physical body, but are unable to kill the soul.

But rather, fear Him, God, who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Another passage on this that is just most vivid is Jesus' account of the rich man in Lazarus. I hope you stay tuned because we will read that passage and what it teaches after this break on the Christian Real View.

I'm David Wheaton. What is the Christian Real View radio program really about? Fundamentally, it's about impacting people, families, churches with the life and eternity-changing truth of God's Word. We know the gospel of Jesus Christ is the only message that saves us from God's wrath, by God's grace, for God's glory.

And we know the Bible is the inspired Word of God, providing the only way to think and live to the glory of God. We are a non-profit listener-supported ministry. If you would like to help us impact listeners with the biblical worldview and the gospel, consider becoming a Christian worldview partner who regularly give a specified amount to the ministry. As a thank you, Christian worldview partners automatically receive many of the resources featured on the program throughout the year.

To become a Christian Real View partner, call us toll-free 1-888-646-2233 or visit thechristianrealview.org. Scripture commands that children are to be brought up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Offering biblically sound resources for children is one of our top ministry priorities. At our store at thechristianrealview.org, you will find carefully selected children's Bibles and books along with video and audio resources. Check out the Bible infographics for kids' books, Little Pilgrim's Progress, and the popular Adam Raccoon set. Theo is a 15-episode video series addressing key doctrines of the faith that is a must-see for children and adults. Satan and the world are bent on capturing the heart and mind of your child.

Instead, get sound resources that will train them up in the way they should go. Browse an order at thechristianrealview.org or give us a call for recommendations at 1-888-646-2233. That's 1-888-646-2233 or thechristianrealview.org. Welcome back to the Christian Real View.

I'm David Wheaton. Be sure to visit our website, thechristianrealview.org, where you can subscribe to our free weekly email and annual print letter, order resources for adults and children, and support the ministry. Our topic today is how to be sure of eternity in heaven. And before the break, we were just about to read the passage in Luke chapter 16 about the rich man in Lazarus, which teaches so much on the reality of heaven and hell in a most vivid way. Now, some people say this is a parable, some people say it's an actual story.

Either way, you can't miss the message here. Jesus tells this in Luke chapter 16. He says, Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living in splendor every day. And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores, and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man's table.

Besides, even the dogs were coming and licking the poor man's sores. Verse 22, Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham's bosom, and the rich man also died and was buried. Now, Abraham's bosom is another word for heaven. Verse 23, In Hades, this is the place of the unbelieving dead before final judgment in the lake of fire.

In Hades, the rich man lifted up his eyes, being in torment. And he saw Abraham—again, that represents heaven, because Abraham, again, believed God and was reckoned unto him for righteousness. Abraham is representative of the father of all who would believe. And he saw Abraham far away.

So there's a long distance between the rich man and Abraham. And he saw Lazarus in his bosom, saw Lazarus, the poor man, with Abraham in heaven. And the rich man cried out and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame. Verse 25, But Abraham said, Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things. But now Lazarus is being comforted here in heaven, and you are in agony in Hades. Besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there where you are to us. And then the rich man said, Then I beg you, Father Abraham, that you send him Lazarus to my father's house. For I have five brothers, in order that Lazarus may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.

So just get the picture here. There's a chasm. You can't cross from one side to the other.

It's fixed for eternity. Where the rich man is, it's hot. He's in torment. He just wants just a drop of water on his tongue, for he says, I am in agony in this flame. But Abraham says, No, you can't cross over now.

It's too late. So finally the rich man just begs him, said, Well, if I'm here and I can't get out of here, please just go tell my brothers. He wants to tell his brothers so they don't come to the same place and have to go into torment. Apparently this isn't a place where there's a party, as a lot of people think, where we can get together and socialize.

The rich man realizes that. There's no point in having his brothers come there and to join him in his misery. He wants to go warn them.

Don't come to this place. But Abraham says, in verse 29, they have, your brothers have, Moses, the law and the prophets. Let them, your brothers, hear them. But the rich man said, No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent. In other words, the law, the Old Testament and the prophets, which of course predict Christ coming, talk about the holiness of God, that's not enough for them, the rich man says. But if someone goes to them from the dead, if Lazarus comes back and enters the world, they will repent.

They'll turn from their sin if they see this miracle. But then Abraham says, in the last verse here, verse 31, if they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead, if Lazarus comes back to life and tells them. And that really shows the hardened unbelief of the human heart that won't believe in the truth of Scripture in the Old Testament with the law and the prophets, and that not even someone rising from the dead would be enough to soften the heart of the unrepentant. And so here you have two men, a rich man and the poor man. You have two completely different lives, and apparently two different beliefs about God, and then two polar opposite destinations. And the implication here is that a belief or a decision made during their earthly life—the rich man lived in luxury, he did not believe in God, he rebelled against God, and he ended up in hell, whereas Lazarus apparently had a terrible life on earth, but he did believe in God, that God could save him from his sin. So their destination was not a result of, oh, the rich man was wealthy and the poor man had nothing, and so therefore that's the criteria for going to heaven or hell. The rich man is like the person we just read about that gained the whole world but lost his soul. The poor man had nothing, and he gained his soul. He gained priceless riches in heaven. The rich man lived for himself and didn't repent of his sin and trust in what God said about his son.

The poor man apparently believed God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness, and that's why he ended up with Abraham, who had done the same thing. So the bottom line of the bottom line of life is, more than anything else, it's where are you going to spend your eternity after you die? Because there is life after death, and the Bible says it is appointed unto man once to die. We all die once physically. There have only been two people in history who haven't died physically and gone to heaven.

That was Elijah and Enoch in the Old Testament. Even Jesus died once physically before he was resurrected and ascended into heaven. Your soul inside of you is eternal.

Your body is temporal. So once your soul is created in the womb by God, your soul will live forever and be reunited with an imperishable body someday, a body that God will prepare either for heaven or for hell. So the key most important question is, what must one do to go to heaven rather than hell? Well, to answer that question, Scripture is not unclear about that question.

It answers that question over and over. It is the most important question in life. How can I, as a sinful man, be forgiven by God and be welcomed into heaven rather than being judged and thrown into hell? That is the question that each of us needs to consider and answer the correct way, the biblical way. Well, we already read a few passages that give the answer.

Notice the common word in these passages. When Jesus said to Martha, I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.

Do you believe this, Martha? And she said to him, Yes, Lord, I have believed that you are the Christ, the Son of God, even he who comes into the world. That's from John 11. Or how about John 3 16?

We already read this. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son Jesus, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. You read John 3 36. He who believes in the Son has eternal life, but he who does not obey or believe the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.

This is so clear. Romans 10 9 and 10. If you confess with your mouth, Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. So to answer the question, the Bible's so clear in this, we can be saved from hell and be welcomed into heaven, according to Jesus and all of Scripture, by believing God. By believing what God said specifically about his Son Jesus Christ, that his sinless life, his sacrificial substitutionary death on the cross for our sin, and his supernatural resurrection from the grave, that that atoned for or satisfied God's wrath and justice—deserved wrath and justice—over our sin.

So by trusting in Jesus' work on our behalf, not trusting in our own works because they cannot contribute to our salvation, they cannot atone for our sin, that's how you can be saved from God's wrath and be welcomed into heaven when you physically die. Now 1 Corinthians 15 is one of the most important chapters in the Bible because it addresses the greatest, most joy-producing promise of God and how you can receive it. Now Corinth, the town of Corinth, is in modern-day Greece, somewhat close to Athens. It was the Las Vegas of its day. It was known as Sin City. The Apostle Paul wasn't scared off by Sin City, though, and he actually established a church there on his second missionary journey. He obviously believed the power of God and the message of the gospel, that some could be rescued out of this very dark, sinful place. But not surprisingly, with the most ungodly of cultures surrounding this little church in Corinth, serious problems arose in the church in a fairly short amount of time. Instead of pursuing holiness, the people in the church of Corinth had become marked by worldliness and ungodliness. People in the church were tolerating openly sinful behavior that even the world around them wouldn't tolerate. There was a man in this church who was incestuously involved with his stepmother, and the Corinthian church wasn't doing anything about it. There were also divisions and factions in the church.

Some of the members claimed to be followers of various teachers like Apollos or Paul or Peter or Christ. This church was a mess, and Paul wrote his 16-chapter letter to correct them and ground them in sound doctrine so things could be set back in order. So for the first 14 chapters, Paul reproves them and instructs them how to correct their way.

Then in chapter 15 and 16, but mainly here in chapter 15, he concludes his letter to them by reminding them of the most important thing, the gospel. Above all else, the gospel must be correctly understood and believed, for it is the foundation of one's salvation, and also the foundation of the most blessed promise of Christ's resurrection and thus the believer's resurrection to live for eternity in heaven. And in this chapter, there are just two things that Paul calls the Corinthians to trust in, to believe in, that provides this hope—again, a hope that's not just a hopey-hope, but an expectant assurance of what God has promised.

And the first point is this. The first thing to trust in is to trust what God has revealed about his Son and thus be saved. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15, starts out the chapter, Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. Now on to verse 3, he's going to explain what that gospel is, the gospel that you are saved by, if you believe it.

If you truthfully believe it and don't just believe in vain. Verse 3, For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received. So Paul had received this truth from God, and he's now sharing it with the Corinthians, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas or Peter, then to the twelve, and after that he appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep or died. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all as to one untimely born, Christ appeared to me also. So what Paul is saying here is that, here's the gospel, that Christ died, he was buried, and he was raised on the third day according to what Scripture said. And not only that, there's evidence to this.

He appeared to all these different people, in fact, five hundred brethren at one time. He doesn't just tell them what to believe, he said, here's the evidence for why you should believe this. Now to believe is a test of faith. Faith is God's test for us. Will we believe God at his word?

Will we believe that Christ lived and died, was buried and rose again and ascended into heaven? That's what we're called to believe. And when we believe that, God reckons it to us as righteousness. Faith is simply believing God at his word. You've probably heard the opening verses to Hebrews chapter 11, the quote, hall of faith chapter. Starts out like this, now faith is the assurance, there's that word, of things hoped for, expected, promised, assured by God, the conviction of things not seen, for by it the men of old gained approval, skipping to verse 6, for without faith it is impossible to please God. For he who comes to God must believe that he is God, and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him. So we believe in Christ to be saved by faith, what God has revealed. This is a trustworthy God with a trustworthy word, trustworthy witnesses, and that's how you are saved if you believe God at his word and what he's revealed about his son Jesus Christ.

That's the first point here. When you trust what God has revealed about his son and are saved, that is the gateway, that is the the door opening for you to have eternal life in heaven. That is the all-important first step. Then after that, point two, it's about trusting what God has revealed about Christ's resurrection as guaranteeing that you, the believer, will be resurrected as well. We need to take a brief break for some ministry announcements. When we return, we'll get into the second point about how to be sure of eternity in heaven. I'm David Wheaton and you are listening to The Christian Willview.

David Wheaton here. For a limited time we are offering my boy Ben for a donation of any amount to The Christian Willview. The book is the true story of a yellow lab that I had back when I was competing on the professional tennis tour.

It's about relationships with Ben, my parents, with a childhood friend I would eventually marry, but ultimately with God who causes all things, even the hard things, to work together for good. You can order a signed and personalized copy for yourself or for your friend who enjoys a good story, loves dogs, sports, or the outdoors, and most of all needs to hear about God's grace and the gospel. My boy Ben is owned by The Christian Willview.

It's 264 pages, hardcover, and retails for $24.95. To order, go to thechristianwillview.org or call 1-888-646-2233 or write to box 401 Excelsior, Minnesota 55331. Here's a unique resource and product for you from The Christian Willview. We put the top 15 programs of 2022 on a great looking bamboo USB flash drive adorned with The Christian Willview logo. Programs like, What is the Christian's duty to God versus government? 12 mega clues that Jesus return is nearer than ever. How America's new woke religion is not good news. Transhumanism and the quest to be like God.

And what really happens when you're born again? Simply plug the flash drive into the USB port on your Windows or Mac device and you will have the top programs at your fingertips. Plus, with the large four gigabyte capacity, you'll have plenty of extra space to load your own files.

The flash drive is $25 and you can order by calling 1-888-646-2233, going to thechristianwillview.org or writing to box 401 Excelsior, Minnesota 55331. Thanks for joining us today on The Christian Willview. I'm David Wheaton, the host. Just a reminder that today's program and past programs are archived at our website, thechristianwillview.org.

Transcripts and short takes are also available. Our topic today is how to be sure of spending eternity in heaven. And once you believe by faith that Jesus Christ is who He claimed to be and He's your Savior and Lord, you're saved, you have the Holy Spirit, now the next step is you trust what God has revealed about His Son's resurrection.

Because His resurrection is going to guarantee that you will be resurrected as well after you die. So let's move on in 1 Corinthians 15. To be sure of your eternity in heaven, let's move on in 1 Corinthians 15 to verse 12. Now that we know what the gospel is, the gospel must be believed. Here's what we should believe once we believe the gospel. Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, which He has, how do some among you say there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.

Paul is actually setting up a self-defeating argument. In other words, if there is no resurrection, then Christ hasn't been resurrected, then you won't be resurrected, and we're fools. Listen to what he says, Moreover, we are even found to be false witnesses or liars of God, because we testified or have been testifying against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless, you are still in your sins. Then those who have fallen asleep in Christ, those who have died in Christ as believers, well they've perished too.

If we have hoped in Christ, in this life only we are of all men most to be pitied. That's right, Paul stakes all of Christianity on the fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. If Christ did not rise from the dead, we are most to be pitied, we are believing a lie, you might as well just go home now. The believer's eternal place in heaven, that promise, is based on the fact of Christ's resurrection. To say that the believer does not go to heaven, is not resurrected to go to heaven, is to call Christ a fraud and a liar, and that he didn't rise from the dead.

And I am certainly not prepared to do that. He goes on to verse 20, he keeps building on this argument, he says this, but now Christ has been raised from the dead as the first fruits of those who are asleep or dead. In other words, Christ was the first one, he's like the first one of all believers who will rise from the dead. For since by a man Adam came death, by a man Christ also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ, all will be made alive. But each one in his own order, Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at his coming, then comes the end when he hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when he has abolished all rule and all authority and power.

For he, Christ, must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death. What this means is that all of us are going to die, it's just a matter of when.

Adam's sin and our sin has brought death to us all. But here's the good news, since God raised Christ from the dead, God will also raise all believers from the dead and bring them to heaven. The fact of Christ's resurrection guarantees the fact of believers' resurrection to heaven.

So then Paul goes on to explain the specifics of how that actually is going to happen. This is what is incredible about Scripture, it doesn't just give you a couple things to kind of hopey-hope in, it gives you the specifics of how this will actually take place. Verse 35 of 1 Corinthians 15, but someone will say, well, how are the dead raised? It is sown a perishable body that we all have, it is raised an imperishable body. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory.

It is sown in weakness, your perishable body is, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body, just like the one that Christ had after his resurrection. If there is a natural body, which we all have, there is also a spiritual body. So also it is written, the first man, Adam, became a living soul, the last Adam, or Christ, became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual that Christ gives is not first, but the natural, then the spiritual.

The first man is from the earth, earthy, the second man is from heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, as we all do in our earthy bodies, we will also bear the image of the heavenly when we are resurrected. So in other words, the physical body lives and then it dies. Believers, when Christ returns, receive a spiritual body, just like the body of Christ after he was raised, that will be imperishable, rejoined with the soul and spirit, and be ready for eternity. Be ready for eternity, both in heaven now and when heaven is destroyed, and when there's a creation of the new heavens and new earth, a body that can be fit for that for eternity.

And then he concludes this incredible chapter, and I encourage you to read it on your own. 1 Corinthians 15, now in verse 50, Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, Nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. In other words, you can't go to heaven with the body you have now.

Verse 51, Behold, I tell you a mystery. We will not all sleep, we won't all die, but we, believers, will all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet, for the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised imperishable. 2 Dead believers will be raised to an imperishable eternal body, and we will be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory?

O death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. And so the point here is that death seems like it wins over all of us. It seems like you die and your body gets put into the ground and returns to dust. But Paul is saying, no, there is certainty of victory over death for all believers. So to summarize here, the physical body dies of the believer, the soul and spirit of that believer goes directly into heaven, into the presence of God, and someday Christ will return and resurrect that perishable body in the ground and transform it into an imperishable body, fit for eternity, reuniting that person's soul and spirit with their new imperishable body. So instead of seeing a, quote, final resting place in a cemetery, it's actually a temporary holding place for the believer's body awaiting Christ's return, when he'll raise the perishable body and transform it into an imperishable body. So instead of wondering where the believer is after death or doubting, we know that the believer is in the presence of God because he believed in Christ as Savior and Lord. And so while grieving the loss of a saved loved one is normal and good, it's good to grieve, it needs to be balanced or tempered and eventually outweighed by believing what God has said in his word about where that loved one in Christ is now.

This is why Paul wrote to the Thessalonians a similar thing. He wanted to encourage them because they were doubting where their saved loved ones were when they died. They were expecting the return of Christ but they were dying in the meantime and what happens to them? And so Paul writes, but we do not want you to be uninformed brethren about those who are asleep, again died, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.

There's that word again, hope. Expectant assurance of something God has promised in the future. For if we believe, here's how you get there, if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, that's how you become a believer and can have this blessed hope of a resurrection, even so God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep or died in Jesus. For we say this to you by the word of the Lord, this is what God has said, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will not precede those who have fallen asleep. So if you're alive at the Lord's return you're going to be taken up. If you've already died in the Lord you will be taken up as well first before those who are living. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them, those who are dead, in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord, always be with the Lord. Therefore, he concludes, comfort one another with these words. And what better comfort can there be when we as a believer are facing death or when a loved one that we know as a believer has died? That their soul and spirit goes immediately into the presence of God, their body is temporarily in the ground just awaiting the return of Christ to resurrect them and reunite their soul and spirit with a new imperishable body.

Comfort one another with these words. The original question at the top of the program today, how to be sure of eternity in heaven, number one, trust what God has revealed about his son and be saved. In other words, you must be born again, as Jesus said, to have this confident assurance of future resurrection.

And this should compel us to pray for and take opportunities to proclaim the gospel to our unsaved loved ones. Because without salvation, wow, death is the hugest enemy and the hugest sorrow when it takes place. So trust what God has revealed about his son and be saved. Number two, trust what God has revealed about Christ's resurrection as guaranteeing the believer's future resurrection.

So when we read and believe what God has promised about the future resurrection to heaven, it's based on the fact that Christ did rise from the dead. But I want to add one more point, point three, trust what God has said about his attributes, his character in nature. For instance, his goodness, his faithfulness, his sovereignty.

Because when you anchor your mind to the solid rock of scripture, which reveals who this God is, that is what will hold you through the greatest storms of life. So for example, Psalm 100 verse 5 says, for the Lord is good. His loving kindness is everlasting and his faithfulness to all generations. During a hard trial, it's easy to have your mind go and maybe think the Lord isn't good, maybe think he's distant. But the Bible affirms that the Lord is good. His loving kindness is everlasting and his faithfulness to all generations. And not only that the Lord is good and faithful, but that he is in control.

He is in sovereign control. He rules over this universe. Listen to Psalm 139, my frame was not hidden from you when I was made in secret and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth. Your eyes have seen my unformed substance and in your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them. And so we often read that passage in Psalm 139 and think about the pro-life basis that God formed us in our mother's wombs.

But it also describes that God has ordained exactly our birth date, but also our death date. It's not random or chance. God causes or allows everything that happens to happen. We can trust him because he is good and sovereign over all the affairs of life. Nothing happens beyond his control.

Listen to what it says in Romans 8, verse 28, and we know that God causes all things, that means the good things and the hard things, to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose. We could go on forever about trusting God's perfect character, his attributes. 1 Peter 5, verses 10 and 11, after you have suffered for a little while, Peter writes to these believers who are being persecuted, the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be dominion forever and ever.

Amen. What an incredibly powerful verse about how God allows suffering in our life, and it is for a little while and it's it is for a little while and it's painful, but the God of all grace, the God who gives priceless, powerful gifts to us to be able to endure, will do good things for our good and his glory through our trials. If you think about the Apostle Paul, he trusted God in these three points we've talked about today. That's why he could say when he's literally imprisoned and eventually going to be martyred, he could say in Philippians chapter 1, yes and I will rejoice, for I know that this, this imprisonment, will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the spirit of Jesus Christ. And then he makes this incredible statement, verse 21, Philippians 1, for to me, Paul says, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me, and I do not know which to choose. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better, yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake. Paul's not tricking himself here. He's not, quote, keeping it positive.

He's not hoping for good vibes, as you so often hear today. But he is anchoring, he is trusting in the God who is fully trustworthy. And there is nothing more sure to trust in than God. Thank you for joining us today on the Christian worldview radio program. In just a moment, there will be all kinds of information on this nonprofit radio ministry.

Next weekend, we'll be doing a program on revival, which will be good timing in light of what has been in the news about what is taking place at Asbury College. Let's be encouraged. We live in a challenging world that is full of sin and death, but we can trust Jesus Christ because he and his word are the truth and are the same yesterday and today and forever. So until next time, think biblically, live accordingly and stand firm. The mission of the Christian worldview is to sharpen the biblical worldview of Christians and to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. We hope today's broadcast encouraged you toward that end. To hear a replay of today's program, order a transcript or find out what must I do to be saved, go to theChristianworldview.org or call toll free 1-888-646-2233. The Christian worldview is a listener supported nonprofit radio ministry furnished by the Overcomer Foundation. To make a donation, become a Christian worldview partner, order resources, subscribe to our free newsletter or contact us, visit theChristianworldview.org, call 1-888-646-2233 or write to Box 401, Excelsior, Minnesota, 55331. That's Box 401, Excelsior, Minnesota, 55331. Thanks for listening to the Christian worldview.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-20 21:42:13 / 2023-02-20 22:00:04 / 18

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime