Greg Laurie - See You in the Morning
How many of you have GPS? I don't know about you but I am navigationally challenged. I get lost all of the time. If I am going to take a drive somewhere I will punch in the address on GPS. Then I start driving. I don't know about your GPS but mine talks to me. It will say, "Turn right at the next off-ramp". If I don't turn right at the next off-ramp and keep going it says, "Why did you not turn right at the last off-ramp". Then it will actually say, "I told you to turn right at the last off-ramp". I have go into settings and take out the nag feature so it stops doing that.
Sometimes I have had my GPS take me to the wrong place because it is not doing its job well. Here we have this sophisticated technology working with satellites. Think about this. God put a GPS system inside of a lot of birds. Birds have a homing instinct. One of them is called the Golden Plover. Native to Hawaii the Plover migrates during the summer to the Aleutian Isles. The Aleutian Isles are 1200 miles away from Hawaii. These little birds make the trek over there. They lay their eggs. Their little fledglings are born. Then the Golden Plovers just leave. They leave the little baby birds to figure it out.
I wonder if they tell them, "You go by Krakatoa which is east of Java. Hang a right. Go straight". They don't tell them anything. The little birds are born and without ever having been to Hawaii before amazingly they fly there on their own. God put a homing instinct inside of them. The next time someone calls you a birdbrain, take it as a compliment. I believe God has put a homing instinct inside of us too. A homing instinct to go to a place we have never been to before. That place is called heaven. The Bible says that God has placed eternity in our hearts. We long for this from the day we are born. By the way, heaven is not the default destination of every person. You don't get to go to heaven because you are an American. It is only the destination of those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. I am going to tell you how to do that tonight so you can know you will go to heaven when you die.
We start our lives out on a search. It starts in our childhood. We are just little kids. We think, "If I just got that toy I saw advertised on TV, I know I would be happy". I remember when I was a little kid I got a pretty good haul for Christmas. I was pretty happy about it. I had a friend that got his gifts. For some reason he got something I wished I had received. It was a little plastic skin diver toy. Understand this is the 60's so things are relatively primitive back then. You put two batteries in him. You dropped him in a pool. He sunk to the bottom and little bubbles came out of him. I thought, "I don't like anything that I have. I know I would be happy if I had that plastic skin diver".
Stupid. What is that saying? "The only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys". We get a little bit older and say, "Maybe if I can just find a girlfriend or boyfriend then I will be happy". You get that boyfriend or girlfriend. Then you say, "If I could be engaged to them then I would be happy". You get engaged. Then you say, "If we got married then we would be happy". You get married. You say, "If we would just have children we know we would be happy". You have children. Then you say, "If we could just find a way to get rid of these children we know we would be happy". Then you start looking around and saying, "If I were just single again, I know I would be happy". On and on it goes. You might say, "I would be happy if I had this sexual experience. I would be happy if I tried this drug. I would be happy if I had this possession". On it goes. Do you know what it is? You are longing for God. Deep down inside that is what you are looking for. God. And you have a desire to go to heaven.
We are celebrating 25 years here of crusades. It is hard to believe. We are looking back on 40 years at our church. I can't believe how quickly the time has gone by. The Bible says in the book of 1 Chronicles. "We are only here for a moment. Visitors and strangers in the land. As our ancestors were before us, our days are like a shadow. Gone so soon without a trace". Before you know it, you are old. You always looked at those old people and then one day you look in the mirror and you are one of those old people.
I heard about three guys that were buddies. One day they discovered that they all shared the same birthday. They decided they would go out and do something fun. They were talking about where they could go. One the guys said, "I hear there is an amazing restaurant down by the water". These guys were all 50 at this point. "There is an amazing restaurant down by the water" one of them says. "They have really pretty waitresses. Let's go". They go down and celebrate together. They let another 10 years pass. Now they are 60. One of them says, "Let's go back to that restaurant down by the water. They have really great food". Then another 10 years go by. They are 70. One of them says, "Let's celebrate down at that restaurant by the water again. they have great wheelchair ramps". Then they hit 80. They are trying to figure out where they should go. They are amazed they are still around. One of them says, "I heard about a restaurant down by the water. Let's go there. We have never been there before".
Before you know it life is going to end. Then comes eternity. Only a few years ago my friend Frank Pastore was here. He would lead us in prayer. Now he is in heaven. Last year pastor Chuck Smith was still with us. Now he is in heaven. Six years ago my son Christopher was here with us. Now he too is in heaven. It is hard. Especially with my son because I still miss him. People say after six years, "Are you over it"? Don't ever ask a person who has lost a child if they are over it. They are never over it. You just get through it. Day by day. I grieve still, believe it or not, but I do not grieve hopelessly. I grieve hopefully because I know I will see him again. That is the hope of the Christian. That is the hope of heaven.
A Christian never says good bye. We say, "See you later". I heard the story of a Christian man who was dying. He was terminally ill. He called his three boys to his bedside. Two of them were believers. He said to them, "Good bye boys and I will see you in the morning". Then turning to his third son who was not a Christian. With sadness in his voice the father said, "Good bye son". The boy said, "Dad why did you say I will see you in the morning to my brothers and not say that to me". The father said, "Son because you not have asked Jesus Christ into your life to be your Savior. What breaks my heart is I will never see you again". The boy began to weep and said, "Father I want to see you again". "Then you need to trust in Christ right now". That boy prayed and accepted the Lord so the father could say to him as well, "I will see you in the morning". That is our hope.
Will I see you in the morning? Have you put your faith in Jesus? We talk about heaven. It is kind of hard to wrap our mind around this place we have never been to. The problem is our minds have been filled with all of these caricatures of heaven from Hollywood and cartoons and other sources. It is hard for us to imagine what heaven is really like. We wonder is heaven real? What will we do in heaven? Will we know one another in heaven? What will our new bodies be like? Let's answer a few of those questions.
1. What is heaven like? Simple answer. Heaven is an actual place. Jesus said, "I have gone to prepare a place for you". Heaven is a real place for real people to do real things. We often think of heaven in a mystical way. Sitting around on clouds plucking harps with fat little baby angels sort of hovering above us. That is not biblical heaven. That is cartoon heaven. Heaven is a real place. Science fiction writer Isaac Asimov once made this statement. "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 worse".
What a stupid statement. Heaven is not a boring place. The Bible describes heaven as a paradise. Remember when Jesus died on the cross. Next to him was a thief. Probably worse than a thief. A hardcore criminal because he was being crucified by Rome. He probably was a murderer. An insurrectionist we would probably call him a terrorist. He came to his senses hanging there on the cross. He said, "Lord remember me when you come into your kingdom". Jesus turned his face to that man and said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise". Heaven is a paradise.
Paul writes about dying and going to heaven. Yes the apostle Paul was stoned. Not that kind of stoned. He was pummeled with rocks and left for dead. He went to heaven. I wonder what happened when he got there. I wonder if the Lord said, "Paul welcome. I have some good news and some bad news". Paul would say, "Good news and bad news. What is the good news"? "Paul the good news is you are coming back again". Paul would then say, "What is the bad news"? God would say, "There are some Christians down there praying that you will be raised from the dead". Paul would say, "Don't listen to their prayers Lord. They are sinners".
Trust me when I tell you this. No one in heaven if given the choice would ever want to come back to earth again. It is paradise. Paul, talking about that experience, said, "I knew a man in Christ who fourteen years ago, was seized by Christ and swept in ecstasy to the heights of heaven. I don't know if this was in the body or out of it. I know this much. He was hijacked into paradise. He heard the unspeakable spoken, but was forbidden to tell what he heard". Heaven is a paradise.
2. Heaven is a city. On more than one occasion the Bible describes heaven as a city. Hebrews 11:10 says, "God is the architect and Builder of this city". Hebrews 13 says, "We have a city that is to come". Think of a real city you have been to. Cities have buildings. Cities have culture. They have art. They have music. They have goods. They have services. They have events. Don't think of sitting around on a cloud. Think about the best cities you have ever visited and then think of heaven. Whatever you have experienced that is great on earth will be so much better when you get to heaven. Heaven is the original. Earth is the imitation.
Heaven is a paradise. Heaven is a city. The Bible describes heaven as a country in Hebrews 11. "We desire a heavenly country that God has prepared for us". Heaven is a country, a city, a garden, a paradise, a place. Listen. Earth is wonderful. God made this earth we live on. I don't think anyone enjoys life on earth more than a Christian. No one enjoys the beauty of a sunset more than a follower of Jesus Christ because we see the signature of our Father there. We know the God who did that. No one appreciates the love of family and friends more than a follower of Jesus Christ. The Bible says that the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof. Even Jesus took time to admire a simple flower. He picked one up and said, "Consider the lilies of the field. They don't toil, nor do they spin, yet Solomon in all of his glory was not as beautiful as one of these".
Here is the great thing you need to know. For the Christian living on the earth this is as bad as it will ever get. If you are saying to me tonight, "Hey Greg my life is pretty good". That is fantastic. Listen Christian. This is as bad as it is ever going to get. If you are nonbeliever, this is as good as it is ever going to get. You say, "Greg my life sucks". That is the problem. It is going to get worse. Way worse. I will tell you what I mean about that in a moment. We have a hope as a Christian that as good as life is on this earth, better things are coming because The Best Is yet to Come.
That is good news isn't it? God is going to give you a new body. You are not going to become another person. You are still going to be you in heaven. You are just going to be the radically upgraded version. The blueprints for your glorified body are in the body you now possess. Heaven is the earthly life of the believer glorified and perfected. On the other side we are going to know more because we are going to become like him. Sometimes people ask, "Will we know one another when we get to heaven"? Do you think you are going to be more stupid in heaven than you are on earth? Of course you will know more. God will give you that ability. We will be reunited with friends and family.
When Jesus died and rose again from the dead, he appeared to his disciples. He was popping up practically everywhere. He is there with Mary at the tomb. He is there with the two disciples on the Emmaus road. Then he is there with the fishermen apostles down there by the sea of Galilee. Then we see him appear to 500 people at once. It is like he picked up where he last left off. If you have a loved one in heaven. Let me just ask you how many of you have a loved one in heaven? That is almost everyone. You will see them again. You will be with your family again.
You say, "Greg I have a weird family. That doesn't excite me". Good news. They won't be weird anymore. Best of all you won't be weird anymore. What will we do in heaven? Heaven sounds boring. We are going to be worshipping the Lord. We are going to be serving the Lord. Here is another thing. We are going to be eating in heaven. Yes you heard me right. How many of you like to eat food? Raise your hand. Oh yeah. I thought so. You look like a hungry bunch to me tonight. Can you imagine not only being reunited with friends and family, but meeting the great patriarchs and matriarchs of scripture. Matthew 8:11 says, "Many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the Kingdom of Heaven". Can you imagine sitting down and having a meal with these great men and women of God?