Craig Groeschel - The Glory of Heaven
I'm really excited today that you've chosen to gather, together with other people and to worship God together and to hear His Word experiencing it in community. I'm curious how many of you were actually with us last week how many were here last week? Excellent. Last week we went to hell. I've got really, really good news for you. Today, I hope you're excited, we're going to heaven. And we are in a message series that's called, One Minute After You Die. What happens when you breathe your last breath? Your heart beats its last beat and you're no longer here on earth? We talked about the judgment, we've talked about rewards, we've talked about the horror of being separated from God eternally, in the place a scripture calls hell.
Today I wanna talk about heaven. Some people have asked, now why are we talking about this? I just wanna live today, I don't wanna think about death, I just wanna be happy here. Don't make me think about death, why are we talking about this? This is really important that we talk about eternity because our key thought for the message series is this what you believe about eternity, determines how you live today. What you believe about forever, impacts how you live in the now. In other words, if you believe that your life is an accident that you have no purpose, no reason for being here, that when you die, you go back to the ground and nothing happens after, why not live for now? Why not live however you want? There are no standards, there is no truth, you might as well just do what you like. If on the other hand, you believe that you're created by God, for the glory of God and that you will live somewhere, after life on earth, that will dramatically alter how you live today.
Today I wanna talk about heaven. And as I talk about heaven, I came to the reality that no matter how hard I try, I will never succeed at this message. I cannot do heaven justice. So, if you like to say Craig, your sermon wasn't very good and at the end of the day you wanna say, you didn't hit the mark, I will say I agree with you. I did the best I could, but it is impossible, for me to ever adequately describe the glory of heaven. In fact, Paul even proved my point and he said this, in 1 Corinthians 2:9 he said, "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him". So, although I cannot do it justice, I wanna let God's Word do a lot of the work today. I wanna read you a couple of portions of scripture and if you wouldn't mind, would just all of our churches stand to your feet, in the honor today of the reading of God's Word. I wanna start with the words of Jesus, from John's Gospel, the 14th chapter.
For those of you that feel a little bit heavy today, under the weight and concerns of this world, you feel the burden, you feel worried, you feel anxious, you feel concerned, I pray that the word of Jesus gives you faith and hope, in the middle of what may be a difficult season. This is what Jesus said, he said, "Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me. My Father's house has many rooms, if it were not so, would I have told you I'm going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you," Jesus says, "I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am". Jesus said, "You know the way to the place where I'm going," and Thomas who never quite could get it all figured out, piped up, and said, "Lord, we don't know where you're going so how can we know the way"? And Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me". Do not let your hearts be troubled. I'm going to prepare a place for you.
The words of John when he was exiled to the island of Patmos, he had a vision given to him by the Spirit of God and the spirit of God revealed this to him of that which was to come. John said, "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. And I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, Look! God's dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be their God". What will our God be doing? Scripture says. "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away". "He who is seated on the throne said, 'I am making everything new. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.'" Do not let your hearts be troubled, Jesus said. I am going to prepare a place for you.
So Father, we ask today that through the truth of your word and by the power of your Spirit, that you would help us loosen our grip and lessen our love for this world that we would anticipate the glory of what is to come and live in such a way today that would impact eternity. We pray this in the name of Jesus and all the God's people said. Amen.
Why don't you just high five somebody and say, I plan on seeing you in heaven. Go and have a seat, if you will. At every Life Church I wrestled with how do I approach this subject, knowing that I could never do it justice? And my strategy, I'll kind of let you know it today is this. In order to try to help you understand what heaven is, what I wanna do is I wanna start by showing you what heaven is not. Because I really believe a lot of people, have misconception of what heaven's gonna be like. Like we're gonna go to heaven and there are gonna be fat, bald, naked baby angels, floating on the cloud singing hymns for your whole life, verses one, two and four for 10,000 years, never verse three, I don't know what's wrong with verse three, we never sing verse three. When I was growing up, at least. And so, a lot of people don't really understand what heaven's gonna be like.
So, what I wanna do today is show you three misconceptions, about heaven and hopefully, some of the truth, about what it will be like will emerge and that will change how we live today. And I think that many of you would probably agree, one of the common misconceptions about heaven number one, is that heaven will be boring. It's gonna be boring. Why do so many people believe that heaven is boring? I think one of the reasons is because the devil is a liar. He speaks his native language. And when I think about who the devil is, he's Satan, he is the father of lies, he is also, many may not know, but he is the same creature, Lucifer that was an archangel, one of three archangels, created by God for the glory of God. There was Micheal, there was Gabriel, and there was Lucifer. Well, Lucifer was probably like a worship angel. He was a glorious creature in heaven. The problem is he became jealous of God. He wanted the glory that God had five different times, in the Book of Isiah, he essentially said I will be like God and God can have no other. So God cast him out of heaven and a 1/3 of the angels followed him, many theologians believe, those would be the demonic forces today.
And what does Lucifer, Satan, the prince of darkness do today? He lies, he tries to deceive us, he comes to steal, kill and destroy. Everything that matters to the heart of God. If I were the devil, what I would do, is try to convince the world today what most of the world believes and that is that hell is not a real place. Or at least you shouldn't worry about it. And I would try tot convince you that heaven is boring. You might as well live for today. This is all that matters. Heaven is boring, why would you want to go there? This is kinda what I believed growing up. I thought, I imagined this, I don't know what you thought of heaven. I thought when you die and you go to heaven, there's gonna be a long line of people, waiting in the clouds, waiting to get in, waiting to get to the pearly gates where St. Peter's gonna like check you name off the box and then he's gonna give you a robe but I thought I don't wanna wear a robe but I'm gonna have to wear a robe and then he's gonna give you a harp and I'm gonna have this stupid harp and I'm gonna play it for thousands of years and I'm gonna hate being in my robe on the cloud, playing the harp and then some of you are gonna say but at least you get to be reunited with your relatives and I'm thinking to myself, I don't wanna some of my relatives to be there because I know my grandma is gonna tell you, you should have played the piano, not the harp and your hair looks bad and I'm gonna be in a robe on a cloud, playing the harp with my grandmother criticizing my hair, then what am I doing in heaven?
Maybe that's like way far off from what you thought, it probably is, but that's what I thought growing up. Heaven is going to be boring. Why do so many people think heaven is boring? It's probably because a lot of people think God is boring. God's a killed joy. God robs of everything fun. What I hope you'll understand is this, heaven will be the opposite of boredom. The opposite of boredom. It is the absence of everything evil and it is the presence of God. When you think about it, everything that you enjoy on earth, is the result of a gift from God in heaven. Go to your favorite place, eat your favorite food. You know that thing that you think about and fantasize about it for three days, before you actually get there? What do you enjoy with? You enjoy with the taste buds that God gave you, when he created you when you go to some beautiful place and you see the glory of creation. Why do you enjoy it? You enjoy it with the eyes that God gave you to see, to enjoy the beauty of what he created, when you feel joy, when you laugh, when you feel love, these are emotions given to you by a good God in heaven who gives good gifts to his children on earth. When you go to heaven, you will enjoy everything that you enjoy on earth, but there will be no sin, no more pain, no more sorrow, no more death. It's the absence of everything evil. It is the presence of everything good. Heaven is the opposite of boredom. It is the presence of God.
So what I wanna do is I wanna try to show you, a few different things from scripture that we do know something about what heaven will be like. And I've given you the verses in your notes, so you can go read all the bible verses but for the sake of time, I'm gonna give you, some of the high points. What will happen in heaven? What will heaven be like? First of all, we will know one another, love and be loved. In heaven, we will recognize one another, we will know, we will love, we will be loved. You can go up to Peter and say bro, what was it like to walk on water? You can go up to David and like that when you hit Goliath, was it like skill? Was it luck? Was it all God? Was it a little bit of you? Ladies, if you had a difficult childbirth, you can go straight up to Eve and just look at her and say woman, what were you thinking? Was it worth it? 'Cause you cost all, whatever it is. You will know and you will be known and you will love and be loved. For those of you who lost loved ones who were in Christ, those of you who lost a child, the tragedy, lost a spouse, lost a relative, lost a friend, you will be reunited with those that you love. And yet, there will be no heartache. No rejection, no pain, only in heaven, perfect love.
What will heaven be like? Heaven will also be a place of unimaginable beauty. Think about this. If no eye has seen and no ear has heard, and no mind has conceived what God has prepared for them, that would imply perhaps that there might be new colors and new sensations and new beauty of the recreated world as God establishes, a new and glorified heaven. Think about the beauty of this world. Boring? Imagine going anywhere you wanted and traveling for the next 10 years and seeing all of the glory of God's creation. Now imagine that without sin. Imagine like this big old petting zoo where all the animals are like tamed, the lion will lay down with the lamb, no sin, no death, no pain. Think about the most beautiful place that you've been on planet Earth. For us perhaps it was a place, a moment on the North Shore, on an island in Hawaii, when Amy and I were traveling with pastor Bobby and his wife Melissa for a conference. We had about three hours off in the afternoon and we rented a red convertible Mustang because that glorifies God to see his creation in a red convertible Mustang. And we were driving around and Amy, she couldn't contain herself.
On one side we were driving kind of this cliff and there was just the most beautiful cliff cascading, this ocean that was majestic, glory is beautiful in every way. On the other side, there were mountains, it looked like Jurassic Park. Amy started screaming. And she just screamed and it went on and on and on and I looked over and there were tears, streaming down her face and just said, "I cannot contain, I can't handle it, God, you are so good". I videoed her doing that because I was intrigued and slightly thought it was funny. I would show you that video but I value my marriage more than I value entertaining you. And I have plans for later on today and I would hate for my momentary desire to entertain you to hurt my plans later to be entertained. Heaven will be a place of unimaginable beauty. What else will heaven be like? In heaven, you will see Jesus face to face. To see Jesus face to face. The reason nobody cheered or your mouth didn't drop down to the floor, is because most people don't understand what that means.
If you look throughout scripture, you'll recognize that you can't be in the presence of God and live. Moses said, "I wanna see your glory," and God's like, "You can't handle my glory". I'll pass you by. I'll give you a glimpse of the very end, when it goes by, but you can't handle my glory. Every year in the Old Testament, when the high priest were to enter into the Holy of Holies, it was known as the dwelling place of God, in the Old Testament, they would tie a rope to his leg because if he got too close to the presence of God, they were afraid the presence of God would kill him. Then they had to drag the old boy out with a rope 'cause I ain't going in there close to the presence of God. Because all throughout scripture you couldn't be, in the presence of God and live. And yet one day you will look Jesus in the face, eye to eye and when no one else throughout history, could look him in the face and live, when you look him in the face, you'll realize, you've never truly lived, until you see the glory of the Son of God. You will see Jesus face to face. In heaven, you will have new and perfect bodies. Somebody should say amen. Right?
Your grandpa got sick and mind faded away. When you see grandpa again, he's well and he's whole, he's perfect in every way. Your receding hairline. You got a full head of hair. My feet are 78% toes. When I get into heaven, they will be the exact proportion of toe to feet. If you have migraines, whatever it is you battle, in heaven, you'll be perfect in every way. For me, I can't wait to see the colors because I'm very colorblind and everybody is talking about the fall leaves, they're brilliant, they're red, they're orange, they're yellow. I see some version of that but I don't see close to what you see. In heaven, I will see all that you see and we'll all probably see even more. I may spend the first 5000 years looking for fall in heaven and you'll find me just looking at the trees, enjoying their colors. Your body will be perfect and new in every way.
What will heaven be like? Heaven is the absence of everything bad, painful and evil. It's the presence of everything good, holy and glorious. Based on my study of heaven, what it appears is that we'll actually have the glory of working for Jesus, in a way that we enjoy and love. It won't be a curse, but it will be a blessing as it originally was intended. In other words, whatever you're pasting about, it appears you'll get to do that, maybe in some former job serving Jesus. If you love gardening, man, you're gonna grow the tomatoes that look like they're on steroids. If you like singing, there's gonna be singing whatever it is. We're gonna our gifts and a reflection of our hearts and our passions to serve Jesus and get to do without sin in a way that's glorious, productive and we will rule and reign with the lord Jesus Christ. Whenever your stupid team wins and you'll like go crazy, For all eternity, you are ruling and reigning with the king of all kings and the lord of all lords. Is the presence of everything good, holy, right and just, the absence of everything evil and painful.
What will you not find in heaven? In heaven, there will be no more death, no more pain, no more sorrow, no more sickness, no more fear, no more stress, no more depression, no more sleepless nights, no more anxiety, no more abuse, no more heartache, no more divorce, no more racism, no more injustices, no more violence, no more going to the bathroom at 3:00 in the morning, in the middle of the night. No more bad breath. No more Mondays. No more that time of the month, for the glory of God and all good things to come and all God's people, men and women alike said, amen and amen. There will be no more pain. The presence of everything good, the absence of everything evil. Whatever you think of heaven, it will be better. No eye has ever seen, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.
The second misconception about heaven is this. So many people wrongly believe that this world, is your home. This world is what matters. This world is your home. Paul told the Philippians believers this, in chapter three, verse 19. He was talking about those that didn't know Christ, those who even were enemies of Christ and he said this, he said, their mind is set on, what? Somebody help me out. He said, "Their mind is set on earthly things". What matters now, what I have, what I look like, where I go, how I dress, what I own, what I wear, where I live. This is what matters, this is what matters. My bank account, your opinion of me. This world is what matters. "Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven". This world is not our home. "And we eagerly await a Savior from there, from heaven, the lord Jesus Christ". This world is not our home. I'll illustrate it like this, I saw a preacher do something similar, I'm gonna do my own version.
Imagine this rope is a timeline that goes as far back in history as you can imagine, never stops. God always has been, God always was, he is infinite. He is God. As far as the eye can see and it never stops. Imagine the future. Your life is over, eternity lasts forever and ever and ever and ever. Where are you? This, we could say, represents the history of mankind. Adam. God says, "You're not doing good, Adam, you need help". God creates Eve. Adam sees Eve and goes, "Whoa, man". There's woman. Fast forward, we got Jesus somewhere. Fast forward, you got the Renaissance. Fast forward, Gutenberg invents the printing press, makes the Bible available to everybody in history. Fast forward, got the Reformation. We've got the Industrial Evolution. Fast forward to our era. You got World War I, you got the Great Depression, you got World War II, you got '57 Chevy, you got the '69 Miracle Meds, oh I forgot, I was born '67. Fast forward to right here. And that's you. History of mankind. Eternity past. Eternity present. You.
That's why scripture says your life is a mist that fades away. You're here for just a moment. And then you're gone. Here's the problem. This is what matters but so many of us are living for this. I don't know about you, but I get so upset, about what happens in the red. I'm running late. Something broke. They made fun of me. So here's what I'm working on. There's three little Greek words in the Book of Philippians. "Tis Gar Plen" Somebody say "Tis Gar Plen". Paul was all like, he's worried because people are preaching Christ, actually Paul was right here. Paul is worried because people were preaching Christ, out of envy and selfless ambition. And he said "Tis Gar Plen", he said like what does it really matter, in eternity as long as Christ is being preached? why am I getting all rilled up, when this doesn't really matter? So what I'm trying to do again and again, is I'm trying to say hey, when this gets me upset, "Tis Gar Plen" in other words, what does this matter, a 100 years from now? 'Cause if it doesn't matter a hundred years from now, it's not gonna matter in the eternity.
So those things that really, really upset me, "Tis Gar Plen". If it doesn't matter here, why I'm I gonna let it upset me here? What I wanna do is I wanna live here, in a way that makes a difference here. What does matter here about the way that I live in the red? What matters is how I love. What matters is what I give. What matters is who I serve. What matters is what I say that gives life, instead of being upset and obsessed with what happens here, "Tis Gar Plen" What does it matter? If it doesn't matter here, I'm not gonna let it upset me here. But if it does matter here, then by all means, I wanna live it here. This is what Paul said is so powerful to me. Paul said in 2nd Corinthians 4. He said, "For the things that we see now". watch this, look up here, if you don't mind. "For the things that we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever". This world is not our home. We're a mist that appears for a little while. What you believe about eternity, determines how you live today.
So many misconceptions about heaven. Heaven is boring. It's not boring. It's the absence of evil and the presence of God. This world is our home, this is what matters. Nope, a mist. Gone. Therefore help me live today for what matters most. The third misconception about heaven is this. All around the world today so many people wrongly believe, most people are going to heaven anyway. Doesn't matter what I do. Doesn't matter how I live. Doesn't matter what I believe. Most people are going to heaven anyway. I mean, good people are going to heaven, right? I'm a good person, a good translated. I haven't killed anybody. Or if I did, they probably deserved it. I'm not a drug dealer. I haven't abused anybody. I'm not a bad person. Heaven is the default destination, right? No. Actually, don't forget what Jesus said. Take it very seriously. He said this. He said broad is the road and wide is the path that leads to destruction and many people are on it. But narrow is the road and small is the gate that leads to life and a few people find it. The truth is good people don't go to heaven when they die.
Who goes to heaven? Forgiven people go to heaven when they die. Forgiven people. Forgiven by the grace of Jesus. I want you to feel the power of God's word, to internalize it. I want it to impact you. I gonna give you an opportunity to worship in a moment but if you wouldn't mind standing to your feet. I wanna read God's Word over you and let it move you, stir you, shake you, create a sense of urgency in you. Here's what scripture says. Romans 3:23. I need a little help from all of our churches. How many people have sinned. Scripture says this for how many, say it aloud, for everyone has sinned. Does that include me? Does that include you? For everyone has sinned, we all fall short of God's glorious standard. We're not good people. How many of you have ever told a lie, raise your hands up high. Leave them up. Just look at whoever's hand is not in the air and call liar, liar, pants on fire. Just do it, right?
We've all told a lie. Let's get personal. Who's ever stolen something? I have, stolen something, raise your hand. Some of you don't have your hands up, you got a Life.Church pen, in your purse right now, you thief. If you ever truly understand the holiness of God, you become acutely aware of the sinfulness of mankind. We're not good. We all far short of God's standards. Verse 24 says yet God, somebody say yet God. Yet God, in his grace, notice not in our righteousness but in His grace, not in our goodness but in His grace, not in our religious efforts but in His grace, yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. How did he do this? He did this through Christ Jesus, when he freed us from the penalty of our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. How are we made right with God? People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood.
Yet God, in his grace, here's a behind the scenes glimpse of what I tried to accomplish. I asked God to help me do two things in this series. Purpose number one is to relieve fear. If you're in Christ, you don't have to fear death. You are right with God because of the grace of Jesus, it's the righteousness of Christ that you don't have to fear. My second goal, was to increase urgency. To help you recognize that this is what you have and what you do here matters here. relieve fear, increase urgency. All of our churches today, those of you who say I am a follower of Christ and yet, I want more spiritual urgency. I want my life to count. I wanna be consumed with serving and loving and showing the grace of Jesus. I want what happens over here to truly impact how I live here. Increase my spiritual urgency. Thus you lift up your hand, just lift them up all of our Church's, lift them up.
God I thank you that even right now you're working. Holy Spirit stir within us, help us to understand this world is not our home. God, help us to recognize that what we see now will not last so help us to live for what will last forever. Move us God, shake us God, give us a heart that breaks for what breaks your heart. Give us a heart, God that leaps for joy, for the things that bring you joy. God, give us eyes to see the needs of people that you've called us to meet those needs. Give us your love and urgency to do what you created us to do, created by God for God's glory to dwell with him forever. Give us that urgency.
If you guys will look up here for a moment, you can put your hands down for a second. There are some of you that you have the weight, the fear of what would happen, if this life were over. I grew up under that fear, scared to death what would happen to me. Have I been good enough? I know all my secret sins. Have I been too bad? So I go to church, I try to do good, I try to dedicate my life and I'd mess up again. Have I been good enough? And I didn't realize, the scripture said, I'd never be good enough and that's why the Gospel's good news. Is because Jesus was good enough for us. He was perfect. He is righteous. He died in our place. When he shed his blood, his blood covers our sins. He was obedient even to death on the cross, he died. Three days later, God raised him from the death. That tomb is empty, his body is not there, he is lifted, he is raised, why? So that anyone, and this includes you, doesn't matter who you are, doesn't matter what you've done, doesn't matter how dark your life has been, anyone who calls on the name that is above every name, the name Jesus, that person will be saved.
There are those of you in all of our churches, you're under that weight, that condemnation, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Today you break the lies of Satan, you find freedom in Christ. What I'm gonna ask you to do is just declare it publicly. This is what Jesus said. He said hey, if you'll like talk about me before people, I'll talk to my Father about you. If you're ashamed of me before people, I don't know how to represent you before my Father. So in front of God and everybody, those who will say boldly I recognize I've sinned, I need forgiveness, today I turn from my sins, I turn towards Jesus, when you call on him, he hears your prayers, he forgives your sins, you're about to be made new.
All of our churches today, those who say, I don't care who's looking, I need the grace of Jesus, I turn from my sin, I give my life to him, lift your hands high right now, all over the place, lift them, oh my gosh, lift them high. Somebody ought to praise God. Somebody worship, somebody shout, hands up all over the place. My gosh, welcome in the God's, call on the name of Jesus. He hears your prayers. He forgives your sins. Praise God for all of you. Search online, you click right below me, somebody worship him, somebody praise him. Church, we are praying for revival is here now. God is moving, his spirit is with us. I need all of our campuses, all campuses, if you can come back to me right now. We're gonna join our voices together, we're gonna pray aloud and we're gonna move heaven because heaven is celebrating right now, angels rejoicing and we're gonna join the party in heaven. Would you pray with those around you.
Heavenly Father. Forgive my sins. Make me new. Jesus, save me. Holy Spirit, fill me. That I could serve you. Follow you. Live for you. Help what I do now. Last forever. My life. Is not my own. I give it to you. Thank you for new life. Now you have mine in Jesus' name.