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Dr. Ed Young - Will We Know People in Heaven?

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    Dr. Ed Young - Will We Know People in Heaven?
TOPICS: Heaven, Afterlife

Perhaps you noticed in the news that 007, Roger Moore, died this past Tuesday. He was 89 years old. He made, what, seven or eight different movies, all of them very popular? He was a man with a gun. He was a man who was a spy for Great Britain but pretended to be a spy but actually conquered all the spies. He had a license to kill. Do you remember? The Ian Fleming novels that were put on the screen, 007 James Bond died. Before he died back in 2002, somebody asked Roger Moore, that's who he was, "Roger, what is your concept of life after death"? Let me paraphrase his answer. He said, "I believe we'll go into a room and there we'll have a door and the key to that door will be the fact that we have died. And we'll take the key of death and open that door and go inside to some sort of existence that we don't know a whole lot about and we can only imagine or dream of".

That's his concept of life after life. He's not far off from what you can read or hear from a lot of philosophies, a lot of religions. If you're a Hindu, you'll have the idea that you'll be reincarnated, you'll come back at something else, or something other, or something more, or something less. You'll be going up the scale or down the scale, all of those subjective evaluations that have no basis of reality or evidence. Eastern religion say primarily we go back to some kind of mist and we absorb into the holy other up there, out there, over there. So, there's all kinds of concepts of life after life.

So, I thought we'd just sit down and discover what we know about heaven. Now, first of all, let me drop back and ask you a question, when you die do you think immediately if you're a Christian that you will know everything? Some people think that. You will not, I will not. Some have equated heaven with divinity. You see, we are not omniscient now, are we? Do we know everything now? No, no, no, and we'll not be omniscient when we die. We'll not be omnipresent, everywhere when we die. We'll not be omnipotent, have all power. These are assets that the divine and the divine God has. We will not have it when we die so therefore when we die, we'll not know everything and I say thank God for that.

Man, that's beyond our pay scale. We'll not have the capacity. We don't want the responsibility. God alone has that responsibility of being omniscient all knowing. You'll not know everything when you die. Some people go to 1 Corinthians 13, we see through a glass darkly then we'll see face to face then we will know as we have been known but that doesn't mean our knowing will be omniscient. You'll not know everything when you die. There may be a revelation of this through eternity, I don't know. There's verses that point to that fact. When you die, you won't know everything but let me tell you what you will know, and we've talked about this already.

One thing when you and I die in Christ and have been resurrected with him into heaven, one thing we know that we will see God, that's the beatific vision you've heard about or maybe read about in some old theologians. And there's been a question that's been asked, very interesting question, I'll ask it to you. When you die, if you had the choice of having everything forever you've ever imagined... did you get that? You die, here's a choice, you can have everything you've ever imagined forever and forever and forever and just stack it up, enjoy it, live with it forever. You get it all when you die, that's one choice, but you never get to see God. You get it all but you never see God. You better think about that one for a while.

I thought about it many, many times. I come back to the same conclusion listen, heaven will not be heaven unless we get to see God. Hold, hold up, confectionaries, all the other things that we can imagine, and do, and accomplish won't amount to anything after the first 2 or 4 billion years. The ultimate is to see God. We've looked a little bit about what heaven is gonna be like. Remember the description there in Revelation 21 and 22? Remember how that we'd have a holy city, New Jerusalem, a new country, a new constitution, and it's a magnificent thing.

And then we talked about in the main street of heaven, that would be the river of life that would go all the way up to the throne, the lamb of God would be on that throne, and the river is a symbol of the Holy Spirit in the main. It's a clear, deep river. It's a symbol of pleasure and prosperity right in the main street of heaven and on either side of the river will be the tree of life. Remember the Garden of Eden, there was a tree of life and there was prohibited from eating of the fruit of that tree? Now, we can eat of the fruit of that tree and the leaves of that tree bring us healing.

So, this is a beautiful figure of something of the glory, and the majesty, and the health, and the presence of that river flowing right down through the main street of heaven. And then the Bible tells us about the city. Remember what the foundation was? The foundation of heaven, the foundation of the holy city, the foundation of the New Jerusalem, it is based on the apostles, the 12 apostles. The 12 gates around the city are based and named after the 12 prophets, the 12 forefathers there in the Old Testament, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, all of that crew, the family of Jacob.

And so, we see the Old Testament and New Testament is brought together on the base of the foundation and the 12 gates. And now we go in the city and there is the lamb that is on the throne and then at the bottom line you read in the 4th verse of chapter number 22 of Revelation it says, "We will see God and the name of God will be written on their foreheads". Let me deal with the name of God. It disturbs me today when we do not take the name of God and keep it sacred and keep it holy. When you say, "Oh God, well, I don't mean anything by that," is a form of profanity. When we say, "We're gonna have a come to Jesus meeting," that is irreverence, irreverence.

We have to be so careful how we use humor when we bring God in our humor. So, we lose something when we take God and make him sort of a pedestrian thing, as a product of humor, as a product of our conversation, as a product of our expletives that we say. Man people are, "Jesus Christ. I didn't mean anything but that". Oh, yes you are bringing down the wholeness, and the majesty, and the awesomeness of the Almighty. So, we need to be very, very careful with our lives, the lives of our children, and our grandchildren but it's pretty to say, "Oh God, oh God". Listen, thou shall not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. We have to be careful. In our generation, it is almost a part of our culture.

Then it says we will see God. Who can see God? We've talked about that. Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. Anybody who's pure in heart today, would you stand up? I want to recognize you. No, we're not pure in heart, are we? My heart is not pure, your heart is not pure, so how will we ever see God? We begin to see him in this life. This is where it begins. The purity of Christ must come into you and must come into me. This helps our motivation. It helps understand, helps us to see God in life, in our life, in the lives of others, in this life. How does purity come to us? It goes right back to the cross, doesn't it? Right back to the cross.

Max Lucado said the verse in the Bible that he hates and despises more than any other verse and it says when Jesus on the cross and he says, "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me"? I thought about that, that is a devastating verse, isn't it? "My God, my God, why"? Here is Jesus asking a question. That doesn't sound like Jesus, does it? "I and my Father are one. My meat is to do the will of the Father. If you know me, you know the Father. You know the Father, you know me". How he walked 24/7 with his heavenly Father in that wonderful, wonderful relationship now in the moment of great extremity, Jesus divinity wrapped up in human flesh, shamed, embarrassed, nailed, crucified. His moment of extremity, God turned his back on him and Jesus says, "My God, why have you abandoned me"? Makes no sense, does it?

When Jesus spoke, usually you put a exclamation point after it, "Come forth! Be healed! Stretch out! Come out"! You see, there's a exclamation point. Now we have this, "Why, why, why, why"? What's that all about? We like it better when John the Baptist looked at Jesus, young, beginning his ministry, walking toward the Jordan, and he said, "Behold the lamb of God". Boy, I like that. Look at the lamb of God, how magnificent. What's the rest of the verse? "Who takes away the sin of the world, takes away the sin of the world". How do you feel when you're wallowing in sin? I've been there. You've been there. What's it like? We feel alone, we feel estranged, we feel abandoned.

That's how Jesus felt when he took your sin and my sin upon himself on that cross, "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me"? When we have sin in our life, we feel abandoned but the good news, Jesus was abandoned by the Father so that you and I might be forgiven and we will not be abandoned for our sin because he has paid the price in total for your sin and for mine. Behold the lamb of God which came and takes your sin and mine upon himself. Oh, we begin to understand what that verse is all about. The heavenly Father cannot look on impurity, he can look only on purity and we become pure when we receive Christ. His righteousness is poured in us. That's how purity comes.

And then in this life when we do that, then we have to live a life of obedience and a life of discipline, not perfection, but a life of discipline. Receive Christ, purity comes, sanctification. We begin to walk in discipline and the result is a life that is full and meaningful and we begin to know something about purity, clean hands, pure heart, motives, thoughts, lifestyle, habits so that's where we start. "Blessed are the pure in heart, they shall see God". A little bit and light in this life and people and events but oh, in heaven, we'll see him face to face. That's the first thing we know, we will see God.

What's something else we know? This may not interest you but I think it's interesting to me. We know there'll be animals in heaven. I'm asked that all the time. We know there'll be animals in heaven. "Well, how you know that"? Read the Bible. There are over 120 different species of animals and birds in the Bible. Man, look what you have. Look how animals are all the way through the Bible. You start there with the birth of Jesus. Where was he born? In a stable. Who witnessed that? Perhaps Joseph and Mary, of course, but the animals. The earth was destroyed by water, by the flood. Noah took what on ark? Animals. They're the second earth, they're animals.

And then when Jesus was born, and look back to the beginning, there's Adam created by God and God says, "All that's a creation, it's good, it's good, it's good, it's good," until finally he says, "It's not good for man to be alone". Remember that verse? And then you say, "Well, God went and jerked a rib out of Adam's body and made a woman". No, read it carefully. "It is not good for man to be alone," and then God by began to bring animals into existence. Animals predate women. Check it out, animals in the beginning, animals at the birth, animals at the ark.

And so, there's gonna be animals in heaven. For example, Jonah would have drowned hadn't it been for a big fish. How in the world would Mary have gotten from Nazareth to Bethlehem without a donkey? What about Jesus going in on Palm Sunday? What about Elijah who was fed by the ravens? What about the symbol, the dove, the symbol of the Holy Spirit? You read all the way through the Bible there are animals, animals, everywhere. There are camels, there are oxen, animals all the way through. And is it logical we're gonna have flowers and beauty that in heaven we're going to have animals? You can book it.

And perhaps we get to heaven, we're hugging all of our family and friends and having a great reunion there with those who've gone before and we'll feel something rubbing on our leg and there will be the cat, or there will be your dog jumping up on you and animals are gonna be in heaven, folks. They're gonna be in heaven. And we're gonna know somehow the carnivorous animals will be transformed. They'll be a part of the miracle of that and the lion will lie down with the lamb, Isaiah tells us. So relax, your dogs will be in heaven and a few cats. There'll be animals in heaven.

Now, the question we're asked all the time and it's almost become silly but it is, "Will we know people in heaven"? You're gonna get dumber when you receive your resurrection body? Yes, we'll know people. Now, they'll have resurrection bodies, but it'll be difficult to recognize, in some sense, that their lives had been purified, and magnified, and there's the image of the resurrection Christ in them. Sure, we will know people in heaven. It will be a great time of celebration and a great time of reunion. And then we come and ask the question, "Will there be marriage in heaven? I just wouldn't want heaven to be without my wife, without my husband".

You know, there's a Scripture in the Bible when the Sadducees came to Jesus and they were trying to trap him. The Sadducees did not believe the resurrection and they said, "Master, here's a woman who's been married to seven different husbands. Who will be her husband in heaven"? Elizabeth Taylor, I guess, of the New Testament. Pretty good challenging heaven, isn't it, if you believe in heaven and the resurrection. Jesus said there won't be marriage in a human sense in heaven. He talked about some kind of angel existence and that is certainly true because Jesus said it but there will be marriage in heaven and that is the magnificent marriage when Jesus as the bridegroom will take those of us, who in faith, as his bride.

And it is that marriage and out of that marriage, who knows how the rest of the relationships will be expressed in heaven? And you can be sure you say, "Well, what about the intimacy I enjoy with my mate"? That will just be like playing a little half-acre lake and going out in the middle of the ocean. What God has prepared for those who love him, there won't be anything lacking in heaven so relax, get over it, wake up. Heaven is glory. Heaven is completeness and there won't be anybody shortchanged in any way, shape, form, or fashion. We will be complete in our resurrected life and our resurrected world. That's what the Bible teaches us. That's what it said.

Somebody, "Well, what about children who have died young, or they were aborted, or they died in their mother's womb"? We have plenty of Scriptures, I think, that covers that, that counteracts someone would say they have to come to this kind of position. We know that Jeremiah, before he was born it said the Holy Spirit was there. We know John the Baptist in the womb of his mother Elizabeth, the Holy Spirit was operative there. We know David when he lost that son clear teaching in the Old Testament it was said that he could go and be with his son in heaven but his son could not come back to be with him. David was in the land of dying, the son was in the land of living, that's true of us.

Certainly Jesus said, "Suffer the little children to come unto me. Come sit in my lap". He said, "Unless we have the faith, the simplicity, and the naivety, the little bit of a child, we'll never see the kingdom God, we'll never see heaven". There's that naiveness there with children, it is beautiful. Jesus honored children. You can be sure that child of yours will be in heaven. Heaven wouldn't be heaven without children, would it?

Now, full disclosure, about, I don't know, maybe 13, 14 years ago, a member of our church who'd gotten to know Roger Moore and his wife, 007, invited him and his wife to go and spend the night with them while they were in Houston in their home. And they called me and asked me to come over, Jo Beth and I, have dinner and to witness to 007, Roger Moore, and bear witness to who Jesus Christ could do for his life.

I had something that night that was already planned that I could not get out of so I thanked them for the invitation and they said, "Well, there'll be another time," but there wasn't. I never had a chance to witness to Roger Moore. And when I saw that he had died, it all came flooding back to me and I began to say, "Lord, did I miss something? Should I have canceled whatever I had and gone? Would it made any difference? I don't know". By you're here and I don't want to miss anybody here because we have to begin with the Holy Spirit operating in a life, convincing you, convincing me of our sin and then when we convinces us of our sin and we see the severity of it, then we are to confess that sin.

Anybody need to do that now with your eyes open, look at me, any sin? Just confess it to the Father, confess it to the Father. And then if you want to turn away from that sin, that's the option, convicted of sin, turn away from sin, and then we do something that's really important. The Bible says those who receive him to them he gives the power to become sons and daughters of God. And then we have to say, "Lord Jesus Christ, I'm convicted. I confess. I turn away from and now I invite you to come into my life".

That's it. And he'll come in your life. And what happens is one way to express it, you give him your life and Christ gives you his life, what a deal. That's a purifying process. That's a saving process. That's a salvaging process restoring to us the purpose for which we were made. And there's some here who may need to do that right now.

Without anybody moving will you bow your heads, just bow your heads where you are? I'm gonna pray a prayer that had I been given the opportunity, I would have prayed the prayer for Roger Moore years ago. I'm gonna pray for anybody who might be here to make sure that you know exactly what it means to have a new life, to have a fresh new beginning, and it begins exactly with what I said, conviction of sin is the Holy Spirit of God convicting you of trash in your life, confess it right now to him. Would you do that? Be specific. Don't say, "Forgive me of all my sin". Be specific, confess it.

Now, turn away from that sin, that's repentance. Confession, conviction, repentance and now this is where the miracle starts, you can simply pray in your own way these words, "Dear Lord Jesus Christ," that's right, pray it right now. "I invite you to come into my life to forgive me, to salvage me, to restore me to the purpose for which I was made. I give you my life, Lord, thank you for giving me your life. Lord, thank you for this purifying process that begins right now that will take me all the way to heaven".
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