Greg Laurie — Let's Talk about Heaven
We're gonna do a two-part series tonight and next Thursday about Heaven. Because how does this subject I love to talk about, that's a topic the Bible addresses many many many times and Heaven is a place that we all need to know about because if we're a Christian, that's where we're gonna end up one day, and you wanna be ready for where you're goin'. You know if you take a trip, you wanna know a little bit about where you're going. You know, what clothes do I take, what's a good place to eat, where should I stay, what sites should I go see. You know, we prepare ourselves for a trip we take. Well, we wanna be prepared for Heaven because Heaven is a prepared place for prepared people.
So let's talk about Heaven and we're gonna turn to Colossians chapter three tonight. Turn over there with me if you would. Colossians chapter three. Heard about an 85-year-old couple who had been married for almost 60 years who incredibly died on the same day. They had been in good health actually for the last 10 years, mainly as a result of the wife's interest in health food and exercise. So they reached the pearly gates, and there are no grates, gates, they come to the pearly gates and they're met of course by St. Peter and he takes them to their brand-new mansion waiting for them in Heaven. It's equipped with a beautiful kitchen, a master bath suite, and a sauna and jacuzzi. As they're ooing and awwing, the old man says to Peter how much is this gonna cost? Peter says it's not gonna cost anything man. This is Heaven.
And then they looked out in their backyard and it's a championship golf course that changes every day resembling one of the great golf courses on planet Earth. And the old man says what are the green fees? Peter says there's no green fees, it's Heaven. Everything is free. Then they take the couple to this massive buffet lunch and it had all the food that the old man wanted to eat but couldn't eat. Mexican food, Italian food, nachos with lots of cheese, pizza, hamburgers, all that good stuff. That's the stuff I like too by the way. And the old guy's lookin' at all of this food and he says well where's the low fat and low cholesterol tables? Peter says that's the great thing, we don't have low fat tables, we don't have low cholesterol. Eat what ever you want and you never get fat and you never get sick. With that the old man takes his hat off throws it on the ground and starts stomping on it.
And Peter and the man's wife are looking at him like what is wrong with you? They said, what is happening? He looks at the wife and he says this is your fault. He says if you wouldn't have been feeding me those blasted bran muffins for the last 10 years I would have been here sooner. This is a true story. It's also a bad joke. But Heaven of course is no joke. It's a real place as I said for real people to do real things.
Now, how many of you believe in Heaven, raise your hand if you believe in Heaven right. Okay, well, most Americans actually do believe in a place called Heaven, 81 percent. The stats were a little lower for hell, 69 percent believe in a place called hell. But I think deep down inside, we long for a place we've never been to before. Have you ever traveled for a while especially overseas and found yourself really homesick? Wanting to get home again especially those that serve in the Armed Forces, or those that do business overseas, they can't wait to get back home again. I think deep down inside God has pre wired us to be homesick for a place we've never been to before. And that place is Heaven, we long for it. In fact, the Bible even tells us over in Ecclesiastes 3:11, that God has said eternity in our hearts.
It was Augustine who said quote you formed us for yourself and our hearts are restless 'till they find their rest in you. The great writer CS Lewis speaking of Heaven said it was the secret signature of each soul. Lewis continues there have been times when I think we do not desire Heaven but more often I find myself wondering whether in our heart of hearts if we have ever desired anything else. It's a secret signature of each soul, the incommunicable and unappeasable want end quote. I love that, it's this longing deep inside of us like the story of the little boy who was flying this kite and it went up higher and higher and soon you couldn't see it, it was obscured by the cloud. And someone said boy how do you know that kite's still up there? The little guy said I can still feel its tug. And I think deep down inside, we feel the tug of Heaven. And it goes back to our childhood. I think even our excitement about Christmas in a way is a longing for Heaven.
There's something about Christmas apart from all the commercialism of it, and also a part from the fact that it starts in August now, that there really is a glimpse of Heaven is it not? All the beautiful lights, the Angels, the beautiful songs like I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, no not those ones, the beautiful Christmas songs that we sing and it's just like a little glimpse of Heaven. It's sort of like a promise. Of course Christmas cannot deliver on the promise but Christ can and Heaven can. A member is a little boy, to me Disneyland was like Heaven on earth. I don't feel that way anymore, but I did a long time ago. And I think it was due in part to my you know horrible upbringing, and I would watch this show on television called The Wonderful World of Disney.
And then when color TV came out, yes I'm that old, they changed it to the Wonderful World of Color, and we were just amazed to watch this one our screen. These programs that Disney would do, but then Walt Disney told us about this park he was building and it was gonna be the happiest place on earth, and so when I would visit Disneyland, it was like Heaven to me. Because I mean I felt it was just such an incredible place and I was so sad to leave. In fact, you know you're a kid when you go to Disneyland and your favorite part is when you arrive and you know you're an adult when you go to Disneyland because your favorite time is when you leave, right? Is that true?
So, that's how I used to feel about Disneyland and I think it's just sort of a glimpse of something much greater that is coming. We long for Heaven. And the Bible teaches that when a Christian dies they go immediately to Heaven. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. So if you have loved ones who have died in faith, they are in Heaven right now. Do they see us down here? Are they watching us up there? Do they know what we're going through down here? We'll talk about that in our next message 'cause those are very important questions. And some of my answers may surprise you a little bit actually. But yes it is true, the Bible teaches we will go straight to Heaven.
Now I came across an atheist website a while ago, I don't usually read that many atheist websites but from time to time I'll check in on what other people are saying. And it turns out that they were quoting something I said on their atheist website. And here's what it said. They quoted me rightly with these words. They said that I said quote when a Christian dies it's a direct flight to Heaven. There are no stopovers. The moment we take our last breath on earth, we take our first breath in Heaven. We go into the presence of God. That's exactly what I said. And they were outraged by this. And here was their response. Going to Heaven after a death is assumed. Not only does he start with this unsubstantiated and onerous assumption but he goes on in more detail about the precise state of affairs that take place in Heaven once you arrive. And what evidence does Greg Laurie have to bolster these claims? Nothing at all, just a bunch of Bible quotes.
That's right. Just a bunch of Bible quotes. By the way I love that. I stand by that. That's right, just a bunch of Bible quotes. I'm building everything I believe on just a bunch of Bible quotes. I'm building my hope on Jesus Christ and what he tells me in his word. Now listen, I don't expect atheists to understand the hope of a Christian. It's hard for them to wrap their mind around the fact that we have such a strong hope. But this is something that God gives to us isn't it? It's a quiet competence. It's a supernatural certainty. And where do we find this hope? We find it from Scripture, or as the atheists website said a bunch of Bible quotes. That's why it's a good thing to memorize the Bible and to fill your mind with what the Bible says. And the Bible actually has a lot to say about Heaven.
In fact Psalm 119 says "You are my refuge, "my shield, your word is my only source of hope". That's one of the reasons the Scripture was given to us to begin with, to give us hope. Romans 15:4 says "Such things were written "in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. "They give us hope and encouragement "as we wait patiently for God's promises". And by the way the word that is used there for hope is a word that can be translated a strong and competent expectation. And we all have that. And I have the hope that one day I will go to Heaven. And it's something I actually like to talk about. I was asked in a TV interview a while ago by the interviewer why do you talk about Heaven all the time, he said, I've noticed in your sermon's I'll see you on TV or hear you on the radio, you're always talking about Heaven.
And I thought really, well good, that's a good thing to always be talking about. I wasn't aware of that, but I'm not embarrassed by that or ashamed of that. Because really when it's said and done what's more important than that? Then where we spend our eternal destiny? I mean I wanna do everything to help you come into a relationship with God and find that beautiful and meaningful relationship he has for you on this earth. But when it's all said and done, the statistics on death are quite impressive. One out of every one persons will die. And then there's the afterlife and the afterlife last a lot longer than this life on earth. Maybe we should call our time on earth the before life. We put so much focus on the afterlife. No, the before life is short, the afterlife is forever.
Yes, it's true, I admit it. I wanna take as many people to Heaven with me as I possibly can . And so we need to know about Heaven. I've always studied Heaven, I've always been fascinated by it. I wouldn't say I'm an expert on it at all, but I would say I am a student of it. And I probably became a greater student of it no doubt in 2008 when my son went to Heaven. He beat me to Heaven. My son Christopher was 33 at the time. Now Christopher and I used to race each other on the beach. And he was a runner he was out in track and field he was very good, but I was okay as a runner in high school. And so I was a bit younger. And so we'd be on the beach, and I'd race him all the time. And I'd say let's race to that mark down there and you know and I was better at short distance and he was better at long distance. So I always picked a distance that favored me right? 'Cause I would run out of steam quicker than he would.
Let's run to that mark and so, ready, go. And I'd you know would run and I'd get ahead of him, and I beat ya again, you didn't beat me yet. In one day we're walkin' along the beach I said okay, I picked a spot. Let's go on your mark get set go. And off we went, he be made. Ahh, it finally happened. Well that happened in life too. You know I expected that I would go way before him to Heaven. In fact written on his tombstone are the words I fought the good fight, I kept the faith, I finished the course. And that is what we are all going to do and we don't know how long the course will be. Some of us may run that course for 85, 95 years. Some of us may run that course for 45 years. Some of us may run the course for 18 years. Some of us may run it for 64 years. Some may run it for 33 years like my son. We don't know, none of us know. That's why wanna run as well as we can and as hard as we can while we can. Because one day will be our last day and then we're in eternity, and then we're standing before the Lord.
So, what is Heaven like? Let's talk about that a little bit here. In Colossians chapter 3, I'm gonna read two verses. "Since then you've been raised with Christ, "set your hearts on things above. "Where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. "Set your minds on things above, "not on earthly things". We'll stop there, so we are to set our hearts, and we are to set our minds on things above. This phrase set your mind can be translated think. Or more thoroughly have this inner disposition. Lemme put it another way. The verse is actually saying simply think Heaven, think Heaven. That's something we're all supposed to do as Christians. And by the way the verb that's used in this verse is in the present tense so it can be translated keep thinking Heaven, or keep thinking about Heaven, or keep seeking Heaven. Put it all together it's a constantly be seeking and thinking about Heaven.
You see, our feet must be on earth but our minds and our hearts can be in Heaven. But if we're honest, many of us have gone an entire day without a single thought about Heaven. And that's not a good thing, we should always be thinking about it. Warren Wiersbe, a great Bible commentator said quote for the Christian Heaven isn't simply a destination, it's a motivation. You say okay well that's fine, but you know how do I think about a place I've never been to before? How do I wrap my mind around a place I know so little about? Well you need to learn about Heaven and see what the Bible says about Scripture, because when you're thinking about Heaven and you're seeking Heaven you will be a heavenly-minded person in the best sense of that phrase. I know it's used to critique people, oh they're so heavenly-minded, they're no earthly good.
Yeah I know a lot of people who are so earthly minded they're no heavenly good. And I think if you're heavenly minded in the right way you'll be of the greatest earthly good. The fact of the matter is those that think the most of the next life do the most in this one. Because if I believe there is an afterlife and I believe there's a reward waiting for me from my faithfulness, won't that make me want to serve the Lord? And if I believe in an afterlife and I believe there's a potential judgment for me won't that make me wanna fear God and avoid sin? So you see how my belief in the afterlife affects me in this life? But if on the hand I don't believe there's a reward waiting why do anything for anyone but me? And if I don't think there is a future judgment out there, why can't I do whatever the heck I wanna do to whoever I wanna do it to because there'll be no eternal repercussions.
So as you can see your thinking about the afterlife has a dramatic effect on you in this life. So let's just start with what is Heaven? What is it? Well it's the dwelling place of God. All right, where is Heaven? Well, we know it's up. We know that there's a third Heaven. The Bible talks about three heavens. And the first Heaven would just be basically you walk outside you look up you see the sky. The second Heaven would be the solar system. And the third Heaven is that supernatural realm. But it may be closer than we think. I think we think it's so far away you know. And maybe it's just right next to us in a way. It's really another dimension. You see right now we live in the physical dimension. But at the same time we coexist with an eternal dimension. It's a dimension of God and the devil of angels and demons of the supernatural world.
The great illustration of this is found in the book of Kings with the prophet Elisha and the servant Gehazi. They were surrounded by their enemies, they were closing and which chariots and arm soldiers and Gehazi started to freak out and panic he said what are we gonna do master? He actually woke Elisha up and Elisha said oh whatever okay. Lord just open his eyes, and his eyes were open and he saw the supernatural forces of God all around him. And he discovered that they had more on their side then the enemy had on their side. And right now we're surrounded by the supernatural world. The Bible says that the angel of the Lord encamps around those that fear him. And we may even have guardian angels, I'm not sure of this, but I think you could make a fairly good case for it, at least maybe children have them, because Jesus talks about how our little children have their angels.
So it may be that we have personal angels. And it may be we just have angels that just do God's bidding, but they're working around us every single day God's at work. So this supernatural realm, this place called Heaven we don't know where it is but it is where God is and that is the most important thing of all. Because really the greatest thing about Heaven is gonna be seeing God. That's it, it's seeing God, that's more important than anything else. My friend Randy Alcorn has written the definitive book on Heaven and I often quote from it when I teach on this topic. I was just texting with Randy this morning, but Randy writes in his book Kevin quote we may imagine we want a thousand different things but God is the one we really long for. His presence brings satisfaction. His absence brings thirst and longing. Our longing for Heaven is the longing for God. Being with God is the hard and soul of Heaven. Every other heavenly pleasure will derive from it and be secondary to his presence which is God's greatest gift to us himself. And that's just a great thing to remember, that that's why Heaven is so appealing.
Now let's answer some questions about Heaven. What is Heaven like? What is Heaven like? 'Cause we try to understand it and compare it to something. Well, short answer, Heaven is amazing. Heaven is awesome, heaven will exceed your wildest dreams. Let me begin by simply saying Heaven is a real place. Jesus said in John 14 I have gone to prepare a place for you. Now I think the problem is we form our view of Heaven from the well, movies, TV shows, songs, images we have seen an art, and usually those are not biblically accurate images. It really does kind of look like a boring place. Big billowy clouds, people just laying around plucking harps, little fat babies with wings hovering over us. I guess they're little baby angels, I'm not sure what they are. And it's sort of almost presented as a long nap, which for some people may sound very appealing, I don't know. But I don't know about you, but I like to be active.
I like to do things. I like to go out and see things, and experience life and trust me when I tell you, and we'll get into this next time more but, there's gonna be so much that we will do in Heaven. But it's a real place. It's not a boring place. A science fiction writer Isaac Asimov once wrote quote I don't believe in an afterlife. So I don't have to spend my whole life fearing hell or fearing Heaven even more. For whatever the tortures of hell, I think the boredom of Heaven would be even worse end quote. Wow, well, I know that he is now on the other side and I guarantee he knows there's an afterlife.
Stephen Hawking, the great scientist, died a while ago and they've just released his final book that he had been writing when he died and one of the great revelations in the book that was a headline that a lot of news sites today that Stephen Hawking says there is no God. No one rules the universe. Really, well I think he's changed opinion quite frankly. I don't need Stephen Hawking or anybody else to tell me if there's a God or not. I know there is a God. And he's made that so clear and so obvious and you know it as well. But yes Heaven is amazing, and it's certainly not boring. Again a real place for real people to do real things. Again to quote from Randy Alcorn's book Kevin, I love this picture that he gives. And Alcorn what's so great about him is, he's a theologian but he writes creatively, he writes novels, so he has a great way of painting a picture but with theological accuracy, in other words it's accurate to what the Scripture says.
And so here's something Randy writes in his book. Think of friends or family members who love Jesus and are with him right now. Picture them with you walking together in this place. All of you have powerful bodies stronger than those of an Olympic decathlete. You're laughing, playing, talking and reminiscing, you reach up to a tree to pick you an apple or an orange and take a bite, it's so sweet, it's startling. You've never tasted anything so good. Now you'll see someone coming toward you. It's Jesus with a big smile on his face. You fall to your knees and worship and he pulls you up and embraces you end quote.
Isn't that beautiful? Now that's accurate, that's accurate. Because that fits the biblical descriptions of Heaven. A real place, real things, real people, recognizing one another, not floating around in clouds with fat babies with wings. We're active, we're doing things, we're experiencing things, we're even learning new things in Heaven. So Heaven is a place, also Heaven is described in the Bible as a paradise, a paradise. Remember when Jesus hung on the cross next to the thief who came to his senses? He said Lord remember me when you come into your kingdom. And what did Jesus say? Truly truly I say to you today you will be with me where? In Paradise. He was describing Heaven. And it's funny because after Paul died for a time he went to Heaven and he called it Paradise.
A lot of people don't know that the apostle Paul died. And we don't know when exactly it happened. But it may have been on one of his preaching adventures when he was stoned and thought dead. And that may have been the moment when he went to the third Heaven and broached briefly about it in 2 Corinthians that I'll read to you in just a moment. And he came back again, and I just wonder what happened on the other side so here's Paul, he's stoned, not that kind of stoned, and he's in Heaven, and it's amazing. And there's Jesus and he's so excited to be there. And the Lord might have said so Paul, I have some good news and some bad news. Well good news and bad news what? Yeah well first the good news, this is Heaven. And you will be coming back here again. Ah, that's the bad news. Down on earth there's some believers praying for you to be resurrected.
Lord, Paul might have said, don't listen to their prayers. They are sinners. I don't wanna go back. Trust me when I tell you no one who is in Heaven would ever wanna come back to earth even if given the choice. So, you're saying where is this in the Bible? It is and I making this all up. I'm just saying maybe it happened. Meanwhile back on earth, the Lord raised Paul up. Oh Lord bring Paul back to us. Oh Lord we need Paul, suddenly the color returns to his face, his hand begins to move, he clinches his fist, bam, I would've hit someone. Whose idea was it to pray for me to be raised from the dead? Listen, however it happened, or whenever it happened we know this much, Paul died, he went to Heaven and he came back, and he didn't write a book about it.
So what about all those books about Heaven? Can we trust them? I don't know. Should I? There's only one book I trust, and that's the Bible. Now I'll look as some of these books and I find them interesting, riding on unicorns over rainbows and all these things they say they see. And I'm not gonna say they're making it up, though I think some of them are. I'm not gonna say that none of this happened, may be something happened to them I'm not really sure. But I'll say this much I would never base my belief about Heaven on the basis of someone who wrote a book about it. But I do believe what the Bible says. And it's interesting because one man who actually did go to heaven and returned to the earth had actually very little to say about it.
Here's what Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 12. And I'm reading from a modern translation, just listen. He says "I knew a man 14 years ago was seized by Christ "and he was swept into ecstasy "to the heights of Heaven", I don't know if this took place in the body or out of it, only God knows. I also know that this man was hijacked in the Paradise, there's that word paradise, again whether he is in the body or out of the body I don't know, God knows. And that he says there he heard the unspeakable spoken but he was forbidden to tell what he heard. And interesting. He says I'll tell you this much it was paradise.
In the word that he uses for paradise is a word that speaks of a royal garden. And I don't know if there's anything we can think of that compares to what Paul is referring to. He's referring to the kind of a garden you would see in a royal estate, you know. What is the closest thing we could point to, what, Roger's Gardens, who knows? But it's just something amazing, something awe inspiring, something that makes your jaw drop. Wow the beauty of it he says, it was like paradise. That's the word he uses, so heaven's a paradise. Number two, heaven's a city. Heaven's a city, Hebrews 13:14 says "Here we do not have "an enduring city, but we're looking for a city "that is to come". Hebrews 11:10 says of Heaven that the city has an architect and a builder.
Now cities are real places. You go to different cities in the world and they all have unique features. I've had the opportunity to visit a lot of amazing cities. Jerusalem, Rome, Paris, Alisa Viejo. So there might be I don't know why I picked on Alisa Viejo, I had said to pick some local city. But you know you go to some cities and you remember a certain thing about it right? Paris is called the city of lights. Jerusalem is called the city of gold. You know so, cities are real places. There's neighborhoods, there's streets, there's activities, there's places to get food. There is places to get good coffee, there's beautiful parks to walk in, so think of the best city you've ever been to but without all the bad stuff. No crime, no urban decay, nothing that would be threatening to you in any way shape or form. Not cars trying to run you down, like New York City. But the best you've ever experienced in a city.
Your saying Gregory are you actually telling me that when we're in Heaven we might go sit down and have a meal? Why not? The Bible talks about eating in Heaven. Are you actually saying that we could be in Heaven and we would go to a concert? Why not? There's gonna be some pretty awesome singers up there. Are you telling me like when we're in Heaven we might just go out and do fun stuff? Of course! Do you do fun stuff on earth? No, well that's your fault. But you can do it in Heaven. Heaven is better than earth. Heaven is, earth is just sort of a glimpse of greater things to come. I think we think oh this is it, this is it. And I just go to the clouds and float with the fat babies. No no, this is just a glimpse of greater things to come.
Earth is the imitation, Heaven is the real thing. Not the other way around. Heaven is a paradise, Heaven is a city. And it appears from Revelation 21 and 22, that there's a translucent quality to Heaven. It says here the foundations of city walls were garnished with every precious gem imaginable, the main street of the city was pure gold, translucent as glass. There was no sign of a temple for the Lord God and his Lamb are the temple, the city doesn't need sun, or moon, or light. Heaven is also described as a country, a country. Hebrews 11:6 says "Now they desire a better that "is a heavenly country, God is not ashamed to be "called their God, for he has prepared a city for them". So there is, Heaven, a country, a city, a garden, a paradise, a real place that we will go to.
Now listen, earth is great, enjoy the beauties of earth. It's created for us by God, even in it's diminished state and even with the entrance of sin and the curse and all that, there's still many beautiful things to see here on planet earth that we can enjoy that have been given to us by the Lord. Even Jesus took time to admire a simple flower didn't he? He picked up a flower and he said well look at these flowers, how they grow, they don't work or make their own clothing, yet Solomon in all of his glory was not dressed as beautifully as one of these. So I think we should enjoy the creation God has given us but understand there are greater things coming, alright? So we'll talk more about Heaven next Thursday night, but let's come back to Colossians chapter three because we're talking about Heaven. How should that affect us in the way that we live on earth? So first we read set your mind and your heart on things above, think about Heaven, seek Heaven.
Now, back in Colossians 3, Paul starts with the word therefore put to death the sinful earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don't be greedy for a greedy person is in idolater, worshiping the things of this work, because of these sins the anger of God is coming. You used to do these things when you're life was still part of this world. Now is the time to get rid of rage, malicious behavior, slander and dirty language. Don't lie to each other for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all of its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature and be renewed as you learn to know your creator and become like him. Now look, whenever you read the word therefore in the Bible, find out what it's there for. In other words when a phrase starts with the word therefore, he's drawing on what has been previously said.
So again what was previously said? Hey, set your mind on Heaven, set your heart on Heaven, think a lot about Heaven. So with that in mind therefore, and now he tells us about three categories of sin that can, will keep us earthbound. Instead of being heavenly minded we're earthbound. Number one, if you're taking notes. Sexual sin can keep you earthbound. Sexual sin, verse five Paul mentions sexual immorality and impurity. The word that he uses is the Greek word "Pornea". Guess what English word we got from that? How we have normalized the word porn, right? We've normalized the word. Oh she's a porn star. Oh yeah looking at porn, we make a joke out of it. You watch sitcoms mainstream sitcoms on television and they joke openly and consistently about looking at porn. We've so normalized it and made it sort of acceptable and the Bible warns us against it. "Pornea" is a root word that just speaks of all kinds of immorality, it's premarital sex, in case you don't know what that is. That's having sex with someone you're not married to. Extramarital sex, that's also having sex with someone you're not married to. All kinds of sex outside of God's natural order.
And so when the word "Pornea" is used, it's talking about a person that fills their mind with sexual imagery and talks about it constantly and ultimately acts on it. So the Bible is warning you to not do that. Don't fill your mind with those things. Because if you do it's like you have a fire and you're pouring fuel on your fire. It's dangerous and it's one day gonna get out of control and what will happen is a person can only take that stuff in for so long and then they wanna start acting on those impulses and get into all kinds of trouble. Do I need to actually say it's a really bad idea to sext someone? Send a sexual image of your self via text or Snapchat or something else? These are things that are destructive in your life and are not God's plan for your life and things that can ultimately destroy your life. And that's why the Bible warns you about these things.
Listen, God invented sex, sex is amazing, sex can be blessed but in one place and that's when you're married to a person in a monogamous relationship, the end, period. Process it. There's no exceptions, 'cause all the people come up to me and say well the Lord spoke to us and said it's cool. No, he didn't say that, you dreamt that up after you ate too much pizza. God will never contradict his word. And he says that for your own good, he says that for your protection. So don't let that dominate your life. Idolatry can keep us earthbound. You won't be heavenly minded if you're worshiping an idol. And he mentions that as well here in Colossians. Don't let idolatry which is greed. An idle is any one or anything that takes the place of God in your life. And specifically it says to be a greedy person is idolatry. And by the way, there's two root words here to have and more. So what does it mean to be a greedy person? It's someone that wants to have more. It's a sin of always wanting more more more more more. It's never enough.
The Bible says hell and destruction is never full and so is a heart of a man never satisfied. And it's not just that I want more but I want what I have now I want what you have. I want yours, I don't just want mine, I want yours too. That's coveting by the way, and that's when the Bible says don't covet your neighbor's wife or their possessions. That's coveting something that does not belong to you. And so this is what this is saying. That's idolatry and it can preoccupy your mind. And then thirdly, rage, slander and dirty language keep us earthbound. Verse eight, rage, malicious behavior, slander and dirty language.
By the way the word rage here speaks of a subtle and habitual anger with a thought of revenge. This is a person who has the bumper sticker on their car I don't get mad I get even. Don't cut that person off. Just give them wide berth right on the road, 'cause that, and they have gun racks in the back of their car and Smith and Wesson bumper stickers and you know, you know you don't wanna mess with that person because there are people out there that are just waiting to get angry about something. Malicious behavior speaks of a boiling agitation of your feelings, a sudden and violent anger. Don't be that person.
Slander speaks of speaking ill of others. Man people slander so much, especially online, 'cause you can do it anonymously, right? You don't have to face the person, you can take on a different name and say complete lies about a person and destroy a person's reputation. Spread gossip about a person. Even the word gossip hisses like a snake, have you ever noticed that? It's gossssssssip. And there's something very appealing about it. I just heard something and I don't know if it's true but I just wanted to share it with you so you can pray um hmm. So you can pray. Wait, you just heard something, you don't know if it's true and you're gonna share it about someone? And I know it's gonna be critical or demeaning fr degrading, so why would I share something about someone that I don't know is true that could hurt that person? And what if that person is standing over there right now?
Here is a thought, walk over to them and say I heard the craziest thing. I know it's not true and they can tell you the truth. But see we'll embrace these things and internalize these things and even worse spread these things. Don't let that happen to you. These are not the things a Christian should be doing, especially a heavenly minded one. Listen, if you've put your faith and Christ, you're a child of God, you are a citizen of Heaven and it's time to start living like one. A child of God. And we're not known for slander, we're known for love. We're not known for condemnation, we're known for forgiveness and restoration. That's who you wanna be. You wanna be that guy, that girl that people go to and say you know you're always fair minded about these things, you're always compassionate, you're always caring. Don't be known as that mean-spirited judgemental harsh person, I'll talk more about that on Sunday. But be a heavenly minded person because one day this life that we love so much will pass and we'll enter into the afterlife.
I think when it's all said and done, here is what we really need. We need something greater to move us through this life. They're the things that distract us so often. An old minister put it this way, I love this phrase he used, the expulsive power of a new affection. That's good. The expulsive power of a new affection. So the idea is I have something that I am so committed to and so enthralled with and so filled with that I don't even wanna look at these other things. It's the expulsive power, it drives out those other things. It's a new affection, and what is the new affection? It's Jesus, and when I love Jesus with all of my heart and with all of my soul and with all of my mind, it's gonna change the way I look at everything in life. So here is what this is really saying. Put the Lord first in every part of your life. And the thoughts you think, and the friend you choose and the way you use your time and it will transform you.
Make every year every month every week every day and every hour count. May God give to each of us the expulsive power of a new affection. And may we begin like never before to think about and seek Heaven. 'Cause you know what the great thing is, is when you're focused on Heaven you'll live the most fulfilling life on earth. To quote CS Lewis one last time, he said aim at Heaven and you get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you will get neither, end quote. That's true, aim at Heaven and you get earth thrown in. So the idea is I'm so focused on Heaven that I'm living the fullest life on earth. But some people I don't wanna think about the afterlife, I wanna just get the most out of this life, and you end up not living a full life in this earth and then you end up not being prepared for the afterlife.
So how can you know for sure that you'll get to Heaven? Some people would say well live a good life. Okay that's not true, but let's just say it is true for the sake of a point. Live a good life, how good? Well as good as I choose to live. Oh I see, so you're making the rules? Well of course I am. Well that's not the way it works. Because even if you were to live a good life, and granted some people live better lives than others I'll admit. It's still not good enough to get you to Heaven, because one sin's enough to keep you out. The Bible says if you offend one part of the law, you're guilty of all of it. So if you've ever sinned at any time in your life, that's enough sin to keep you out of Heaven. You go well that's pretty harsh. Yeah, that is, that's why there's only one way to get to Heaven and it's through Jesus who died on the cross for our sin and paid the price for our sin and rose again and now he offers us this gift of eternal life.
Coming back to Disneyland one last time. Years ago I was given I think I can't remember three or four tickets to Disneyland and so we went into the park, it was very nice 'cause it's very expensive, what is it, like, $5,000 a ticket? No I'm not sure it's really a lot. And that's just one park, not both sides right? And so I had these tickets, we got in, we're startin' to have a good time and a felt guilty, 'cause one of the people didn't show up And I had a free ticket to Disneyland and I thought I can't walk around with a free ticket to Disneyland. What if there's somebody outside that would love to come in and they can't afford it and I can give them this ticket, and I said to my wife I'll be back in like literally four minutes. How long is it gonna take me to get rid of a free ticket to Disneyland? I came back like 30 minutes later. She said what happened to you? I said I couldn't get anyone to take it. Because I walked up to strangers hi would you like a free ticket to Disneyland? And they start like backing away.
What is this, is this a cult? No it's free ticket, do you want it? No, I don't want it. Okay, hey would you like a free ticket to Disneyland? What's the catch? There's no catch, here I wanna give it to you, I just have an extra, the pertinent, no one would take it. I finally had to assault a person. No, I didn't, but I finally found someone that said oh thanks, well you're welcome. And I just lost a half an hour of my time in Disneyland. And that's how it is when we offer this gift. You can go to Heaven by believing in Jesus. No it's good works, no it's not good works. It's his work on the cross. Now you just accept it, yeah what's the catch? Well I don't know what the catch is, I'm just telling you it's a gift, you can never afford it, so why don't you just take it? The gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. And then you can know you go to Heaven.
So look, do you know right now that if you died you would go to Heaven? If you don't don't you want to get that resolved? Why would you wanna go on for another minute without being sure you're prepared for the afterlife? So we're gonna pray in a moment, and I'm gonna extend an invitation in closing for you to ask Christ to come into your life and forgive you of all of your sins so you can know you'll go to Heaven when you die. If you don't know this for sure, respond to this invitation because 2,000 years ago God sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross in our place and to pay the price for all the wrongs we've done, all the sin's we've committed. And three days later he rose again from the dead. And here he is now alive with us in this place standing at the door of your life and knocking and he says if you'll hear my voice and open the door I will come in. If you've never asked him to come into your life, do it now as we pray. Let's all bow our heads.
Father thank you now for your word to us. Thank you for sending Jesus. Lord Jesus thank you for coming and laying your life down for us, now we pray for any here that do not yet know you help them to come to you, help them to believe in you, help them to receive the hope of Heaven tonight we would ask.
Now when our heads are bowed and our eyes are closed and we're praying together, how many of you would say this evening Greg I need Jesus in my life. I want him to forgive me of my sin. I wanna know with certainty that I'll go to Heaven when I die, I want this free gift he's offering to me. Pray for me. If that's your desire, if you want Jesus to come into your life and you want him to forgive you of your sin, if you wanna go to Heaven when you die, would you raise your hand up right now wherever you are, and I'll pray for you. God bless you, lift your hand up high where I can see it please, God bless you, God bless you, God bless you, God bless you. Raise it up high where I can see it please. You're saying I need Jesus tonight, pray for me. I wanna go to Heaven, pray for me. Raise your hand up high where I can see it please. God bless you anybody else? There might be a few more, God bless you too. God bless you.
Anybody else, you haven't raised your hand yet but you wanna be right with God, you wanna know you'll go to heaven when you die, let me pray for you, raise your hand up wherever you are, God bless you. I will wait one more moment, anybody else? If you haven't raised your hand yet, lift it now. Anybody else, raise your hand now. All right, now all of you that have raised your hand if you would please, I want you to stand to your feet, and I'm gonna lead you in a prayer. Stand to your feet, and I'm gonna lead you in a prayer right now, if you raised your hand, even if you did not but you want Jesus Christ to come into your life, you want him to forgive you of your sin, you wanna go to Heaven when you die, just stand to your feet and we'll pray together. Stand up, you heard me right. God bless you that are standing.
There is a few more of you that need to stand I think. Why don't you stand now, and I'll lead you in this prayer of asking Christ to come into your life. Anybody else, stand now. Let me pray with you, you will not regret this. God bless you that are standing. I'll wait one more moment, God bless you. Anybody else? Stand up and we'll pray together. All right, all of you that are standing, I'm gonna pray a prayer out loud and I'm gonna ask you to pray it out loud after me. This is where you're asking Jesus to forgive you of your sin, and come into your life. And give you the hope of Heaven. So as I pray, pray this out loud right where you stand. Just pray these words if you would.
Lord Jesus, I know I'm a sinner, but I know you're the Savior who died on the cross for my sin. And rose again from the dead. I turn from my sin now Jesus, and I chose to follow you from this moment forward, as my Savior and Lord, as my God and friend, In Jesus' name I pray, amen.
The title is Let's Talk about Heaven: Part Two, and we're in Revelation chapter six. So grab your Bible, turn there to Revelation chapter six. A while back, Newsweek did a cover story, with a title, Visions of Heaven. It revealed that 76% of Americans believe in heaven, and 71% of them believe it's an actual place but after that, the agreement began to break down. 19% thought that heaven looked like a garden. 13% thought it was like a city. 17% did not know, and those of us who didn't believe in it, or those that did not believe in it sneakingly wished there was one. Now another poll done by the Pew Research Center, had people talk about heaven and hell and define it. Their definition was heaven is a place where people who have led good lives are eternally rewarded, and hell was a place where people who had led bad lives and died would be eternally punished. So right outta the gate, people have it wrong. That is not what heaven is, and that is not what hell is.
Now here's the problem. People say they believe in heaven, and that idea of heaven comes uniquely from the Bible. So if you're gonna say you believe in heaven, you need to read the rest of what the Bible says, right? 'Cause the Bible tells us there is a heaven. We would not believe in heaven if it were not for the teaching of Scripture. To say you believe in heaven, but then not read what the Bible has to say about it would be like saying, well, I believe in Disneyland, but I do not agree with the price for getting in, and I would be with you on that. And I do not believe that the location is accurate. So I'm gonna go to where I think Disneyland is, and I will enter the way that I want to enter Disneyland. Okay, whatever. So you're gonna end up in some lame putt-putt golf course with one broken ride, I don't know. But if you happen to make it to the Magic Kingdom, you gotta go in the Disney way, or you don't go in at all. If you try to just walk in, of course, you'll be stopped, arrested by the Disney police. You'll be put in Disney jail, and I don't know what happens after that, but the idea is that you have to do it the right way. You have to pay the admission price.
Well, in the same way, you say, well, I'm gonna go to heaven, and I'll do it my way. Well, no you won't. You do it God's way. All right, well, what's the admission price? Trust me when I tell you, you can't afford it. Even if you were the person who just won that insane lottery, you could not afford it. That's the bad news. You can't afford the price to get into heaven. Here's the good news. The price has been paid. Admission is free through Jesus Christ. That's how you get into heaven. Because of His death for us on the cross, so as to good people going to heaven, and bad people going to hell, listen to this. There will be people in hell who would be defined by some as good people, and in the same way, there will be people in heaven who lived bad lives. Let me say that again. There will be people in hell who would be identified as some as good people, and there will be people in heaven who lived bad lives, but they repented of their sin. How does this work? Being good doesn't get you to heaven. There's only one way to get to heaven: being forgiven. Heaven is not for good people, it's for forgiven people, but then again, you can be a good person, relatively speaking, but you're not good enough and you could think you would get to heaven on your own good works, and of course, you won't, and that's how you might end up in hell.
Okay, so now let's answer some often asked questions about the afterlife. Number one, what will we do in heaven? Number two, will we know each other in heaven? Number three, what will our new bodies be like in heaven? Number four, will we be married in heaven? And fifth and lastly, and this is often asked, do people in heaven know what's going on with us on earth? All right? So let's go question by question and by the way, in our last message, Let's Talk about Heaven, we discovered, of course, heaven is an actual place, not a state of mind, it's a real place. Jesus said in John 14, "I've gone to prepare a place for you," Jesus tells us, and the rest of the Bible tells us heaven is a city, heaven is a country, heaven is a paradise. It doesn't say it's like a city. There is city in heaven. It doesn't say it's like country. It is a country. It doesn't say it's like a paradise. It is a paradise. In fact, it's better than any city you've been to on earth. It's better than any country you have ever visited, and it is better than any paradise that you can imagine. Whatever you've experienced on this earth, the best of the best of the best doesn't even come close to the glory of heaven. Why? Because earth, at its best, is a pale imitation of the real thing which is heaven. Heaven is not a watered down version of earth. It's kind of the other way around, and so whatever you are thinking, it's gonna be far better than you ever imagined.
All right, so what about these new bodies the Bible talks about? What will they be like? Short answer, amazing. You know, people love these superhero movies. You know, you have the DC Universe, you have the Marvel Universe and there's just so many of them coming out, and we all like to watch the story of someone who discovers they have superpowers, like Spider-Man, or Superman or Wonder Woman or whoever the character might be, because they can fly, they have super human strength, they can do all kinds of amazing things. Well, really, you're gonna have superpowers, if you will, one day, in this new body that God is going to give you. Why? Because your resurrection body is going to be like the resurrection body of Jesus Christ. So let's think about that for a moment. Jesus was crucified on a cross, right? He rose again from the dead three days later. Did He rise in a physical body? Yes or no? The answer's yes. And so in a physical body, was He a different person or was He still Jesus? Well, He was still Jesus. In fact, He even said to His disciples, "It is I, not another," to the point He still bore in His hands and in His feet the marks of the crucifixion.
Remember, when he appeared to the disciples in the Upper Room, He extended His hands to Thomas, who was a bit doubtful, and said, go ahead and put your hands in the wounds in my hands, and of course, Thomas didn't need any more proof, so He was still Jesus, but He did things in this resurrected body that He did not do before. It's not that He couldn't have done them before, but He didn't, and so, afterwards, He did some unusual things, like appearing in a room without using a door. That's pretty cool. How 'bout flying? Well, Jesus never flew. Yeah, He flew. What do you think the ascension is? He just went up to heaven. So why do I bring this up? Because the Bible tells us over in I John 3:2, where the children of God, it hasn't been revealed what we will be, but we know when He's revealed, listen, we shall be like Him, for we will see Him as He is. By the way, Jesus ate in His resurrection body. And I don't think it was like translucent, where you could see it go down His throat or something. But to prove He was in a real body, He said, here, give me something to eat.
Here, here's a piece of fish, awesome. Just, you know, chowed it down. But He was in a real body, and we'll get to this a little bit more but you will be given a new body, but it will still be you. It'll just be the radically upgraded version of you, okay? Here's what the Bible says. I Corinthians 15. Our bodies now disappoint us. Can I get an amen on that? But now, but when they are raised, they'll be full of glory. They're weak now, but when they are raised, they'll be full of power. They're natural bodies now, but when they're raised, they'll be spiritual bodies. So listen to this. Our new bodies, that God will give to us later, will be both different and at the same time, the same as our body here. By that, I mean, you are still you, as I've already said, but again, a radically upgraded version of you, okay, Jesus says, in John 14, In my Father's house are many mansions, are dwelling places. If it were not so, I would have told you. If I go, I will come again, and receive you unto myself, that where I am, you may be also. In my Father's house are many mansions.
So sometimes people say, "I can't wait to get to my mansion in heaven". Will we actually go to mansions? It reminds me of a story of a minister and a New York cab driver, that both died and went to heaven on the same day. How many of you have heard this story? How many of you have not heard this story? Okay, how many of you want to hear this story? Okay, good, 'cause you were gonna hear it anyway. So a minister and a New York cab driver died and went to heaven on the same day. Just stop for a point of reference. How many of you have ever been in a cab in New York City? Okay, you know they drive crazy, right? Okay, so you need to know that. Right, so they both die and go to heaven. So Peter meets them both, and the cab driver's first in line and Peter says, well, welcome to heaven. I'm in charge of housing, so I hear you're a cab driver in New York, and he says, yes, sir. He says, all right, well, I've got your house picked out for you. You see that mansion over there in the hill? That's yours.
Oh, the cab driver was so excited. He ran off to his mansion. The minister, standing behind him, stood a little taller. 'Cause he was a famous preacher, and he said, here I am. Peter says, yeah, I heard you're a well-known minister. Yes, I am. Okay, well, you see that little shack down there in the valley with the roof coming apart? That's your place. What do you mean that's my place? I preached the gospel, the minister said. I taught the Word of God. I was a holy man of God. Yeah, whatever. That's your place. It doesn't make sense. I should be given a better place. Bottom line, when that cab driver drove, people prayed, but when you preached, people slept. He gets a mansion. Okay, so there it is. That's a true story, by the way. No, it isn't. So what is this mansion referring to that Jesus refers to in John 14? A couple of options. One, it may be our new body that God will give to us.
II Corinthians 5:1, in the New Living Translation says, when this earthly tent we live in is taken down, when we die and leave these bodies, we have a home in heaven, an eternal body, made for us by God Himself. We'll put on the new body like new clothes. Okay, so it could be a description of our new body. But it could be a house. I mean, literally, a house in heaven. Why not? Is not heaven a city? Is not heave a country? Is not heaven a place? So we could have a house, and by the way, we're told over in Isaiah 65:21, in the Millennium, that's in Christ's ruling on the earth, that we will all build our own houses. Okay, so it might be an actual house, and I love how Jesus says, my Father's house, so that suggests spaciousness, big place, but then He says, "In my Father's house are many rooms". That sort of suggests coziness, right? I mean, even if you're in a palatial estate, you can't live in 300 rooms at once. You're gonna find a nice little spot and sit down in front of a fire and have a cup of coffee or a cup of tea or whatever, you know, so the idea is that it's a real place waiting for you.
What it is exactly, I don't know. But it's gonna be amazing. We know that. And you know, I'll tell you what. The thing is that with life, as you get older, it seems like it goes more quickly, you know? This is true. Billy Graham was once asked the question, what has been your greatest surprise of life? And he said, in response, "The brevity of it". Honestly, to me, it seems like we just celebrated Christmas. Seriously, and I've, Christmas decorations are out, you've probably noticed. You know, they used to actually wait til after Thanksgiving? Now they don't wait for Halloween. They don't even wait for the summer to end. They just put them out there. And there's a reason that it seems like time goes faster as you get older. I read that they did a study on it, and what it revealed was the reason it seems like time goes faster when you're older is because you get into routines, right?
Older people like to go to the same restaurant, sit in the same spot, and order the same thing over and over again, but when you're young, you like adventure, you like things happening, you like to try new things. When you're older, not so much, right? And so there are telltale signs you're getting old. You know you're getting old when you go to pull up the wrinkled socks you're wearing, and realize you're not wearing socks. That's not a good sign. you know you're getting old when you're pacemaker opens the garage door accidentally. But hey, blessed are the pacemakers, right? Okay, so, you know you're getting old when you bend down to tie your shoe and you wonder what else you can do while you're down there, right? Is that not true? I'm down here already. Is there anything else I can do, 'cause I don't wanna come down here again. Right, so, but to the point here, life goes by so quickly, but here's the good news. Though your body is wearing out like a tent, which is not meant to last forever, God's gonna resurrect it, and your soul will live forever, and your body will be resurrected.
So now when we're in heaven, will we know each other in heaven? Hmm. Do you think you're gonna be more stupid in heaven than you are on earth? Maybe I should ask the question, well, do you know each other on earth? Well, then you're gonna, of course, know each other in heaven, in the same way. You know, on the Mount of Transfiguration, remember Jesus was transfigured, He shined like the sun. On one side of Him was Moses, and on the other side was Elijah. Now how do we know it was Moses and Elijah? Were they wearing little name tags? Hi, I'm Moses. Moses, was he holding the tablets? Here. That's Moses. Elijah calling fire down? No, I don't think so. Somehow, they were recognizable, as they made this guest appearance, if you will, on each side of Christ, so I think when you get to heaven, yes, we'll see each other, yes, we'll know one another, we're told in I Corinthians, we will know as we are known. We'll know everything we know on earth, except more. We'll know everything we know on earth, but with divine perspective now.
Sometimes, people have this mistaken notion that when you get to heaven, you have some kind of a brain wipe. Remember that movie, Men in Black, they would do that little thing, and they forgot everything they saw. I think people think when they're in heaven, they're just like, it's almost like heaven's a giant lobotomy or something. No, I wanna know. There's memories of earth in heaven. Oh, well, that can't be true, Greg, because we would be sorrowful. Well, you have perspective. See, I understand things now. How can I be rewarded for something I did on earth, if there's not a memory of what I did on earth? So you're going to remember earthly things, but now, with that supernatural perspective. I've used this illustration before, but I only have five illustrations, so I return to it. But one of my grandkids might be playing with a toy, and it breaks, a doll, the head comes off. And they're freaking out, 'cause a headless doll is alarming in many ways, even to me. Papa, the doll's head came off. I'll fix it, and then I'm trying to screw the, which is not a, I'll go away when I'm doing it, 'cause it's not a good thing to watch. I can't get the head to screw back in, so I'll say, well, don't worry about it. Oh, Papa, the doll, and they're so unhappy. I'll take you, don't worry about it. It'll be okay. But Papa! It'll be okay. Why? 'Cause I know, in a cupboard, I have five more of those dolls. 'Cause I'm smart and I plan ahead.
So the reason I can say it's okay is because I know it's gonna work out better for them, and so in the same way, we're here in this life, and we say, God, what are you doing? God, why aren't you paying attention? Lord, where are you? The Lord says, it's okay. Well, yeah, you say it's okay, you're in heaven. Yeah, I'm in heaven, and I know it's gonna be okay, and you'll see it one day, so in heaven, I have memory of things on earth, but with perspective. There's no break in my love for my loved ones. Death breaks ties on earth, but renews them in heaven. We're that same people we were here. I hear someone sometimes ask, will we be married in heaven? Interesting question. All right, first of all, let's take a quick poll. How many of you are married? Raise your hand up. Okay. How many of you want to be married in heaven? You want to continue to be married in heaven? How many of you would rather not be married in heaven? Ah, there's a few hands going up. And some of you were not totally committed in that other question. Kind of like, well, my wife's next to me. I do. Liars, no. Okay, you will be married in heaven.
Now let me return to that, and I'll explain it in a moment. You will be married in heaven. Okay, so one day, a group of people called the Sadducees came to Jesus. Now the Sadducees were different than the Pharisees. The Sadducees did not believe in life beyond the grave. The Sadducees did not believe in a resurrection of the body. The Sadducees had a pretty bleak outlook. In fact, their name said it all: Sad, you see? Right? 'Cause that's a sad way to see life. So they thought they were gonna trap Jesus with a question. Okay, Jesus, we have a question for you. There's guy, he was married, or rather, this woman who was married, and her husband died, and then she married the guy's brother and he died, then she married another one of the guy's brothers, and he died. And she married another brother, and he died, and it went on seven times. In the resurrection, whose wife is she? I would've asked, what is this woman cooking and feeding these men? What's going on? We need Agatha Christie here now. We need Poirot, right?
Okay, so the point of that is, they thought, oh, if you're gonna be together in the afterlife, who's gonna be married to this person, and now Jesus sets the record straight, and he says, in Matthew 22, you're mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God. And the resurrection, they neither marry nor are given in marriage. You're like the angels of God in heaven. So they neither marry or are given in marriage. Okay, so let's say you have a really close marriage. And you can't bear the thought of not being married to your spouse anymore. Well, in heaven, you will not have the same kind of relationship but it will better. It'll be stronger. You will be closer, but you will not marry or be given in marriage in heaven, but you'll have the fully realized version of everything that marriage points to.
So you say, well, you're contradicting yourself. You just told me we won't be married in heaven, but earlier, you said we will be married in heaven. You will be married in heaven, not to each other. You're the bride married to Jesus Christ, who's the bridegroom. So you are married in heaven. Marriage, Mawage. Of all the things, the obscure cultural references, you may not get them all. That was from The Princess Bride. Forget it. Okay, so mawage, of all the things God could've chosen to show His love for the church and the church's love for Him, God chose marriage. And of all the witnesses God could've chosen to a lost world, He chose marriage, effectively saying, hey, nonbelievers, check this out. See how this Christian husband loves his wife? That's how I love my church. Hey, check this out. You see how this wife loves her husband? That's how my church loves me, so marriage is a beautiful symbol that will be fully realized in heaven. It'll be different than it is now, but trust me. It will be better.
Number four, what will we do in heaven? I think some people think heaven's gonna be super boring. Well, we know we will be worshiping, and that's, of course, why I exist, to bring glory to God, but Revelation 15 says, I saw a glass sea mixed with fire, and there stood all the people who had been victorious over the Beast, that would be the Antichrist, and his image, and the number representing his name. They were holding harps, so there are harps in heaven that God had given them, and they were singing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb. So there will be singing in heaven, and I think, one of the reasons for the unbridled worship in heaven is because now we know all things. All of our questions are answered. All of our pain is removed, all of our tears are dried. Don't misunderstand. This doesn't mean heaven is gonna be a long worship service. 'Cause, oh, it's gonna be like a church service forever? No, you're gonna do other stuff, okay? But you're gonna be doing a lot of worshiping, okay, and it's gonna be amazing, but here's something else you're gonna do in heaven, I guarantee this. You're gonna be eating amazing food in heaven. Come on, you want that, don't you?
Say, well, where do you get that? From the Bible, the only authoritative source on heaven. Revelation 19:19. Then the angels said, "Blessed are those who are invited "to the wedding supper," that's a reminder, we're the bride of Christ, "the wedding supper of the Lamb. "These are the true words of God". I like the word supper. In the South, they call dinner supper, and I was raised by my grandparents for many years of my life, Stella and Charles McDaniel. I called my grandmother Mama Stella, and I called my grandfather Daddy Charles. And when my mom was running around with all of her guys and getting divorced and getting drunk and all that crazy stuff, she sent me to live with my grandparents, and so there, with them, it was a very stable home. It was almost like being raised from someone from another century, actually. My grandfather was quite a strict disciplinarian, I have to say, but my grandmother was an amazing cook. She made everything from scratch. She never served leftovers one time in her life, and we had all that good Southern cooking, and if you know the Southern cooking, you know, fried chicken, that was just incredible, black-eyed peas, okra, collard greens. You ever try those before?
Now these are the things my grandmother would make, but her crowning achievement was her biscuit. I've never had a biscuit anywhere like at this, like if a biscuit could be literally anointed by God, this is what I'm talking about. It was like so insane. It was a buttermilk biscuit, and when my grandmother was getting older, I said to my wife, Cathy, watch Mama Stella make the biscuit. Learn the secret of the biscuit. Grasshopper, you must learn it. And you know, she did a pretty good job reproducing it, but no one could quite produce the biscuit that my grandmother, Mama Stella made, and I just think, you know, when we get to heaven, I'm hoping to get some of those biscuits again. I'm gonna find Mama Stella. But some of you don't connect to Southern cooking. You're into Mexican food, okay. So you're thinking enchiladas and tacos and all those things and then others are kinda, no, no, no, it's Italian food. Italian food. No, it's, you know, pasta, and that pizza. I had pizza today.
Here's my problem. I love all those foods. Everything I love is fattening. I don't love anything that's not fattening. I don't love kale salad. I don't even know what the point of eating salad is. To me, eating salad is like practice. It's just like, okay, I can chew, and swallow. Good. You know, someone says, I had a nice salad for lunch. I'm like, what? It's just nothing. It's just lettuce and stuff, you know? But whatever it is that rings your bell, good chance it'll be in heaven, and if it isn't there, there'll be something better there. I'm into sushi. Okay, sushi then. Whatever you like, it's gonna be better than what you could ever dream of, and not only will you have that meal, but you'll be with people. The whole thing about having a nice meal is having it with someone you like to be with, right? Being with friends and family, enjoying a meal together, well, check this out. You're gonna have some pretty amazing company.
Matthew 8:11 says, When that day comes, you will take your place at the feast, with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. How's that for starters? Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to have a meal with. You can sit down at a table with Moses. Moses, could you pass the manna? Elijah, my meat's a little undercooked. Could you give it a little more fire? Lot, could you pass the salt? Oh, Lot, you're so sensitive. Get over it. You made it to heaven. Come on, man. You have to know the Bible to get these jokes, okay? These are insider Bible jokes. But one of the things that I've enjoyed over the years is getting to meet a lot of wonderful men and women of God, and whenever I'm around older people who've known the Lord for many years, I pick their brains. I drive them insane. You know, I've gotten to know people like Chuck Swindoll, David Jeremiah, Dr. Dobson, Alan Redpath, and of course, Billy Graham.
I think I drove Billy Graham insane with all of my questions 'cause whenever I was with him, I wanted to know everything about everyone and because he was like, Mr. History, you know, he knew all these people I've read about. He knew Golda Meir, the prime minister of Israel, he knew Mohammed Ali, came over to his for lunch. He knew every president going back to Truman. Bono from U2 came and visited him and read poetry to his wife, Ruth, and his wife Ruth was as amazing as Billy was. She was just a wealth of Bible knowledge and it was so wonderful to be with them, and he knew C.S. Lewis. I mean, I quote C.S. Lewis. He met C.S. Lewis, for Pete's sake! It's just amazing the people he knew. So I mean, thinking of that, think about meeting people of the Bible, asking David, what was it like to slay Goliath? Noah, so how did that work, being in that ark all that time? Or Moses, when you parted the Red Sea, give some details about it. Esther, what was it like to save the entire Jewish race? Deborah, what was it like to lead all those people into battle?
Hey, Mary, Mary, what was it like to carry Jesus in your womb and later, have Him in your heart? You know? I mean, don't you wanna ask those questions? I do. 'Cause when I'm around godly people, I want details, I want information, I wanna learn from them and you'll have access to all these great men and women of God from the Bible who've gone before us to meet the Lord. But, of course, it's being reunited with loved ones that we miss. How many of you have someone that was very close to you who has gone to heaven? Right now, you have someone, that's pretty much everybody, and so you think about those people, don't you? And you think about being with them, 'cause one of the hardest things about death is communication is cut off immediately, and you want to communicate with them. And it's so hard when you can't, and sometimes, people want to try to talk to their loved ones, and they'll go to mediums who will tell them, I'm getting messages from your loved one right now and just understand that it's never real, it's either not real, or it's demonic, but you don't wanna go there.
You don't wanna ever try to communicate with your loved ones in heaven, and I'll hear people say, well, I sense my loved one who died is with me, and they spoke to me the other day. Can I be blunt with you? No, they didn't. They didn't speak to you. They're not guiding you, and they're not involved in your life right now. They aren't, okay, I'm sorry. I wish I could tell you they were. I wish I could tell you that they're helping you right now. No, they aren't. They're in the other side. As David said of his son, who died, he cannot come to me, but I will go to him. So they're not talking to you, they're not coming to you, but one day, you will go to them. You will be reunited with them, if they died in faith. So that brings me to the next issue, and this is a big one, and that, of course, is do people in heaven know what's going on on earth? Now my answer is gonna surprise some people, because I've heard others give a different answer than the one I'm going to give to you. Do people in heaven know what is going on with us on earth? My answer, simplified is, maybe. Okay? Maybe. And I might even take it a step further and say, quite possibly, 'cause some would say no. The kind of default answer of many is, no, they're in heaven, they're worshiping God, they don't know about you, they don't care about you, they're preoccupied with Jesus.
Well, I think there are some Scriptures that would suggest a different approach to that, and I'll share a few of them, and then we'll close. Number one, people in eternity are aware of the fact that their loved ones are not saved. You say, well how do you know that? Because over in Luke 16, and we'll get into this more next time, as the story of Lazarus and the rich man, not the Lazarus Jesus raised from the dead, another Lazarus. They both died, Lazarus was a godly man, the rich was an ungodly man, so they both entered into eternity. Lazarus went to the place of comfort with Abraham, and the rich man, the sinful man, was separated in a place of torment, but that man was conscious of those he left behind, and he says in Luke 16:28, I have five brothers, and I want to warn them about this place of torment, so they won't come here when they die. That indicates a knowledge in eternity of what is happening on earth. 'Cause sometimes, people say, you don't know anything. Well, that guy knew. Hey, I have brothers. I wanna go warn my brothers. I don't want them to end up here, so there's a knowledge in eternity of what's happening on earth.
Number two, when people believe in Jesus on earth, it's public knowledge in heaven. I was doing a crusade once, I think it was San Jose, and I went to bed, and the next day, our crusade was gonna start, and I heard some noise in the room next to me, a little music, and it got louder, and then it got louder, and then it was so loud it was insane. It was like the wall was thumping, and I thought, okay, this, I can't sleep next to this, so I called down to the front desk, there's something really noisy going on in the room next to me, and so they, I didn't want them to rat me out that I'm the guy, but I watched on my little peephole. So they sent security up. Some guy was having some kind of a bachelor party. He brought a DJ in with a sound system, and I watched the peephole the whole time. I think there were like 30 people in this room. They're taking out giant speakers, lights and all, and I'm thinking, no wonder it was so loud.
So my point is, if there's a party happening in a room next door to you, you'll hear it. So if there's a party in heaven, you'll know about it. So in Luke chapter 15, Jesus talked about a shepherd who lost his sheep, a woman who lost a coin, and a father who was reunited with his son. So talking about this shepherd that lost his sheep, he left his 99, found his lost sheep, wrapped it around his neck, brought it back, happy he found that little lamb, and then Jesus says, "And I tell you, there is joy in heaven "over one sinner who repents "than 99 people who don't need to repent". Then Jesus tells the story of the prodigal son, and how that boy came back to his father again, and then he says, "Likewise, I tell you, "there's more joy in the presence of the angels of God "over one sinner who repents". Now, we read that and think, well, that means the angels rejoice every time a sinner repents. Yeah, they probably do, but Jesus did not say, there is joy among the angels, rather, He said that when a sinner repents, there's joy in the presence of the angels of God.
So I think they're rejoicing, too, but maybe we're rejoicing. Maybe in heaven, you're aware that someone you had prayed for for your entire life on earth, just came to Christ, and you're aware of their salvation, and you're giving God glory for that. So there is an awareness in heaven of what is happening on earth. Then Revelation six, the chapter I had you turn to like a year ago. My final, or my second to last illustration in this, we read in verse nine, this is a scene from heaven. When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw all to the souls of those who had been martyred for the Word of God for being faithful to the testimony. They shouted to the Lord, and said, "O Sovereign Lord, holy and true. "How long before you judge the people who belong "to the world and avenge our blood "for what they've done to us"? And it was said that they should rest a little while longer. So here are people who are martyred for their faith. These are not angels. These are mere mortals like us. They've been put to death for their faith in Jesus. They're in heaven, and they knew they were put to death for following Jesus, demonstrating a direct continuity between our identity on earth and our identity in heaven. They were the same people. They're not different people. They're aware of what has happened to them. They're all aware of the passing of time on earth.
They say, in verse 10, "How long until you judge and avenge our blood"? And then Jesus says, or it's said to them, they should rest a little while longer. So the idea is they know something that's wrong, and they want it made right. Again, my point is people in heaven are aware of what's happening on earth. So when people say, they don't know anything up there. Well, actually, I beg to differ. I think they may. They may know more than we think they know. And finally, Hebrews 12, a very familiar verse. It says, Since you're surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside the weight and this sin that so easily besets us, and run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and the finisher of our faith, who, for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and now is set down on the right hand of God. Now remember I told you recently, whenever you see the word therefore, find out what it's there for, right? So whoever wrote Hebrews, and we don't know who wrote it. It may have been Paul, we don't know. But the author of Hebrews says, Therefore, since we're surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.
Okay, he's drawing on what was said. What did he just say, Hebrews 11, he told us all about the heroes of the faith. We call Hebrews 11 the heroes of the faith, the hall of faith, and these are the great men and women of God that were used very powerfully: Abraham, Moses, Joseph, Gideon, Samson, David, Rahab, Daniel, the list goes on. And now it starts, therefore, so here's the thing I'm wondering. Is this telling us that they're watching us from heaven? Therefore, since you're surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, run the race that is set before you. Heavenly grandstands? You know, when I was running track and field many years ago, I always ran faster if a pretty girl was watching me. I notice this. It was just drudgery, running, all a sudden, I saw a cute girl, I'm running faster, come on, right? And you know, when someone's watching you that you love, like when we go to the soccer game of one of our grandchildren, they score a goal or they do something, they look over to see if we're watching. They wanna be watched, and so are we being watched? I don't know. It may be that they're just giving us an example, they went before us, they showed us how to do it, so we admire that example. Are they watching us? I can't say with any certainty, but I know one thing: Jesus Christ is watching us, and that should be the greatest motivation for running the race of life. He's cheering you on.
You know, I've heard it said, we use five percent of our brain capacity. Can you imagine? Five percent. I don't even know if some people use all five percent. I may be one of them. So presumably, in heaven, we'll get the other 95% of our brain given to us, and probably a lot more. You know, the thing about heaven, when you get there, I don't think you'll know everything. There are many verses that would imply you'll learn things in heaven. Things will be revealed to you in heaven. Otherwise, you'd be like one of those bobble heads, you know those bobble heads? Big giant head, little tiny body. So you know, you're gonna learn, you're gonna know a lot more the moment you get there, but I think you'll learn new things about the glory of God, learn new things about God's creation, learn new things about the mysteries of God, learn new things about all kinds of things. So you're gonna be learning in heaven, you're gonna be worshiping in heaven, you're gonna be eating in heaven.
The Bible says you'll be serving in heaven. You'll be serving the Lord. The Bible says we serve the Lord day and night, so this idea of being bored in heaven, forget about it. It's gonna be nonstop action and beauty and splendor and knowledge, but best of all, it'll be nonstop Jesus. And you'll see your loved ones again. You'll be reunited with those that have gone to heave before you. And what a day that will be. I'm looking forward to that, especially, with my son, and other members of my family. So I think, deep down inside, we're homesick for a place we've never been before. It's like that line of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, "There's no place like home," and that home is heaven, for each of us one day. Heaven is your home, a place, a paradise, a city, a country. So how can I know that I am going to heaven?
Well, go back to, let's go back to John 14, that I quoted, and I'll close with this. Jesus said, "In my Father's house are many mansions, "and if it were not so, I would have told you. "And if I go, I'll come again and receive you unto myself, "and where I go, you know, and the way you know," and good old Thomas said, excuse me, we don't know where you're going, and we don't know the way. I'm so glad he asked that question, 'cause I think a lot of times, Jesus would say something, and all the other disciples would nod in unison. That is so good, that is so deep. I'm tweeting that later. But I think Thomas was honest. Like, I have no idea what you're even talking about. What do you even mean when you say, where you go, we know the way, we know? We don't know where you're going, and we don't know the way. And what did Jesus say? "I am the way, the truth, and the life, "and no man comes of the Father but by me". Excellent question, Thomas, giving us this signature statement of Christ. I am the way.
Coming back to the Disneyland illustration. If you wanna get into Disneyland, you pay the price of what is it, $2,000 for a day? And that's just the food. But whatever it is, you pay the price and they stamp your hand and now you can go in the park and out of the park and back in the park again, and all that. You have to pay the price. Well, look, you can't afford the price to heaven, but it was paid for you 2,000 years ago by Jesus on the cross. Remember, I told you, heaven is not for good people. 'Cause you're not good enough to get there. But heaven is for forgiven people, so the real question is, are you forgive? Have you said to God, I know I'm a sinner, I know I don't deserve to go to heaven, but you've offered me this wonderful promise that I can go there someday, and I want to, so I want to believe in you, and that's really what it comes down to. You have to admit your sin, believe Jesus died on the cross for your sin, turn from that sin, ask God to forgive you of that sin, and begin to follow Christ.
When you do that, you can know with certainty you'll go to heaven. I'm going to heaven when I die. I guarantee you. Well, how do you know? 'Cause God promised that I would go there, and I'm taking Him on that promise. I'm standing on that promise, and I know many of you believe it, as well. I wanna make sure everybody here and everybody watching wherever you are, I want you to know this tonight, and He's just a prayer away. So I'm gonna give you an opportunity to ask God to forgive you of your sin so you can know that you know that you know you're going. All right? Let's pray.
Father, thank you for your Word to us. Thank you for your promise to us of heaven, how amazing it is, and we wanna all go there one day. We wanna see you, Lord. We wanna see this paradise, this place, this city, this country, this place that exceeds our wildest dreams and I pray for anybody here or anybody watching or listening, wherever they are, if they don't have the hope of heaven, help them to come to you and believe in you right now.
And while our heads are bowed and our eyes are closed and we're praying, how many of you tonight would say, I wanna go to heaven when I die? I want Jesus Christ to forgive me of my sin. I want Him to come into my life. I wanna have this certainty of heaven, so I'm saying yes to Jesus right now. If that's you, if you want Christ to come into your life, and if you want Him to forgive you of your sin, if you wanna go to heaven when you die, wherever you are, I want you to raise your hand up right now and I'm gonna pray for you. Raise your hand up where I can see it. God bless you, God bless you. Anybody else? Raise your hand up high. God bless you, and you, and you. God bless you, too. Raise your hand up. All over the room, hands are going up. I hope yours is one of them, if you need to raise it. Anybody else? You wanna be sure you'll go to heaven when you die, you want Christ to come into your life tonight, raise your hand up and I'll pray for you. God bless you, God bless all of you.
Maybe there's some of you here that walked with the Lord at one time in your life, but you've fallen away, you've been that prodigal son, that prodigal daughter, but you wanna come back to Jesus tonight, you wanna get right with God tonight. If that's your desire, I want you to raise up your hand right now and let me pray for you. If you need to make that recommitment to Christ, God bless you, and you, and you. God bless all of you. All right, I want you to stand to your feet, and I'm gonna lead you in a prayer. Just stand to your feet, and we'll pray together. Stand up, you heard me right. All right, I'm gonna ask that you would pray this prayer out loud after me. It's a simple prayer. We are asking Jesus Christ to come into your life, and forgive you of your sin. Just mean it from your heart, God will hear you, and God will answer this prayer. So again, as I pray, just pray this, out loud, after me, okay? So let's all bow our heads, pray these words if you would.
Lord Jesus, I know I'm a sinner, but I know you're the Savior who died on the cross for my sin, and rose again from the dead. I turn from my sin, Jesus, and I choose to follow you, from this moment forward, as my Savior, as my Lord, as my God, and my friend. Thank you for calling me, Jesus, and forgiving me. In your name I pray, amen.