Sunday, October 31, 2010

October 31, 2010


Week Seven – “Living Like Heaven” II Peter 3:11-14

A pastor visited an older man. The pastor urged the man, “Friend, at you’re your age you should be thinking about the hereafter.” He replied, “Oh, Pastor, I do all the time. No matter where I am – in the living room or upstairs, or in the kitchen or downstairs in the basement – I ask myself, “what am I hereafter?”

The hereafter DOES matter! It matters forever but the hereafter ALSO matters in the “here and now”!

Have you heard that expression, “He is so heavenly minded he is of no earthly good!” IS THAT POSSIBLE?

If I have been successful in presenting this series I should begin to see some positive changes in your attitudes and actions as a result of your new focus on eternity.

C.S. Lewis said, “It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this one.”

Pastor Joe Stowell, of Moody Church in Chicago, wrote, “When we begin to believe in the reality of the other side, we start behaving differently on this side.”

I understand how easy it is to get distracted and weighed down with the demands of every day life and I know how the squeaky wheel is the one that usually gets the grease………

Neither does the Great Apostle, Peter. So, he gives some very wise and godly advice on how godly people should live. Let’s have that vital discussion this morning!

I. Living Earnestly, V. 11b

After six weeks of studying eternity, how many of you would agree eternity is important? How many would say it is important to know where you will go?

If the “ever after” is important, what does that mean for our “here and now?”

Let me ask you this, if you received a letter or an email from a credible source telling you that at noon tomorrow they would come to your address with a high tech nuke weapon and vaporize everything on your property, would that impact what you did today?

Essentially, that is what Peter is asking, “How they should behave knowing that their stuff is all going to be destroyed.”

Listen to his advice:

“Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be…..”

Good question, “Right?”

What manner of person OUGHT you to be = INDEBTED TO BE

This implies an indebtedness – “If you want Heaven you are indebted or obligated to holy and Godly living”

So, let’s take a closer look at the manner in which we should be living:

The great Bible-teacher and pastor, John McArthur writes, “Holy conduct refers to action, godliness refers to attitude. Holy conduct refers to that which rules my behavior, and godliness refers to that which rules my heart. And so Peter is saying what kind of person ought you to be in heart and in behavior, in motive and in action, in attitude and in duty.”

HOLY = PURE = Uncontaminated By The World

I John 3:3 says, “And everyone who has this hope purifies himself, just as He is pure.”

It just makes sense doesn’t it? If you are serious about spending your “ever after” in a holy place you should be allowing God to create in you holy attitudes, motives and behavior?

GODLINESS = “WORSHIP” and does not simply refer to what one does for an hour on Sunday morning but what one does every day in all his ways to add value to eternity. LIVING LIFE = WORSHIP YOU LIVE TO WORSHIP!




And this is what Paul meant in Romans 12:1-2………

People who are living for Heaven and focused on eternity live holy and godly lives! SANCTIFIED LIVES. They live earnestly for God!

II. Living Expectantly, Vv. 12-14a

Here in these verses Peter uses the phrase “looking for” three times. This is significant as it describes the attitude and the urgency Christians should have as they live with an eternal perspective. If you are looking and preparing for an eternity with God in Heaven, shouldn’t you “look forward” to that?”

The verb that is used in the original language translated “Looking for” or “Looking forward” - is phrased in such way that is refers to a person’s habit or lifestyle. This is to be a constant characteristic of godly people.

V. 12 – “Looking “ for the coming of the Lord”
V. 13 – “Looking” for the new heaven and new earth”
V. 14 – “Looking” forward to these things”


We look forward to what we love! We look forward to what we are invested in. Our expectations shape our attitudes, actions, hopes and values!

III. Living With Excellence, V. 14b

So, how should we be as a result of living earnestly and expectantly? How do we know we are prepared?

Good Questions, Eh? Peter gives three good answers: Pay Attention!

“SPOTLESS” - This refers to our morality – (See I John 1:7-9)

“BLAMELESS” - This refers to our motives

”Let your hearts therefore be blameless and wholly true to the Lord our God, to walk in His statutes and to keep His commandments, as today.” I Kings 8:62

”Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression.” Psalm 19:13

"May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.” I Thessalonians 3:13


The ultimate evidence that you are living EARNESTLY and EXPECTANTLY and with EXCELLENCE is that you are in peace about your “Ever After”. Everything you own or hold dear could be dissolved tomorrow and you would be at peace!

If you want to secure your “HAPPILY EVER AFTER” - LIVE LIKE HEAVEN!


EXPECTANTLY – Are interested and invested in eternity?

WITH EXCELLENCE – How are you morally? How are your motives?

Imagine you are at this great party. You are having the time of your life! All the “beautiful people” are there. The food is fantastic and the music is rocking and you hope the evening never ends.

But, you are interrupted by your brother, who finds you in the crowd. He informs you that you need to go home right now – there is an emergency. You are upset that he has bothered you and you don’t really want to go. But you politely dismiss yourself and leave.

Still annoyed, he takes you to your house. When you walk in all the lights come on and a room full of people yell, “Surprise!” You look all around and there are all your family and loved ones. They have thrown a party in your honor and you are the guest!

You feel loved! You feel honored! You realize that this is the ultimate party because you are with the people you love the most! The party your left can’t compare to this one!

That is how life is for the one who is prepared for Heaven!

You are enjoying and abundant life and when that gets interrupted your go to and eternal life!








Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ocotber 30, 2010

"So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him." II Peter 3:14
There are three great qualities that mark those who are prepared for eternity. Peter mentions them here:

The morality - "spotless"

Those who want to spend a happy ever after in Heaven make sure they are living spotless lives. Spotless means that there are no unconfessed sins in their lives. They understand the truth of John's statement in I John 1:7 - "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin."

It is possible to live a spotless life by walking in the truth and living in obedience. By walking in truth and obedience you will avoid many sins and the moment you do sin the Holy Spirit will convict you of your sin and you can repent of it. When you repent the blood of Christ cleanses the spot from your life.
The motives - "blameless"
Blameless means that your motives are pure and you do not commit intentional, willful sins. Your hearts desire is to please and honor God. You are entirely commited to pleasing God. When you do sin it is because of a momentary flare up of your selfish will or a moment of weakness of the flesh.
People who are hoping for Heaven have surrendered their will to God and consecrated themselves to serving Him. They walk in the Spirit and do their best to overcome the flesh.
The mentality - "peaceful"
Heaven bound people know that they are spotless and blameless because they have peace in their spirit. God has given them a spirit of power and of love and a sound mind. He has sent their hearts in perfect peace because they have fixed their mind on Him.
They have no fear of the judgment and they have fellowship with God and know that all is well. Also, because they love God they are committed to living in fellowship with their brothers.
Heaven bound people live godly lives in the here and now. They live spotless, blameless and peaceful lives.
How are you measuring up?

Friday, October 29, 2010

October 29, 2010

"Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him." II Peter 3:11-14
Halloween has become one of the most popular holidays in America. Like most of our holidays it melds the sacred with the pagan and morphs into the worst of both.
Christians never quite know what to do with Halloween. Do we celebrate it or not? What message are we sending when we celebrate it? What message should we send? Should we just ignore it?
As I wrap up this seven week series on "Happily Ever After?" let me offer some observations on Halloween from the perspective of this study.
First, death is scary.
God wired us for life. Death was never part of His perfect plan for us. It came as the result of sin by Adam and Eve. Therefore, death became God's enemy. But because of God's mercy and grace and because He is absolutely sovereign He conquered sin and death through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus!
Because of what Jesus did, death has become less frightening. But still, death usually comes as a result of pain and suffering. Not only is death painful but it is lonely. It is unfamiliar because life is all we have known. Death separates us from our loved ones.
Having said all this, death is still scary and it holds our human race hostage to fear.
Second, spirits are spooky!
Fear and humor have a common thread, there must be a kernel of truth in each for them to work. For example, there was a time when you worried about the monsters under your bed because you believed they existed. Once you understood there are no monsters that fear evaporated.
The spirit world DOES exist! It is every bit as real as the physical world of sight and sound and senses. In fact, it is MORE real because the spirit world exists eternally. You and I will spend more time in that world than we will in this one.
Spirits are all around us all the time. Angels guard us and minister to us and demons oppose us. But they ARE NOT the spirits of dead people. When a person dies his spirit goes straight to heaven or hell. There are no dead people "stuck" between this world and the next. That is the myth that propogates all the spooky stories. The spirits that surround us are angels and demons (fallen angels). Angels and demons are very real, very powerful and very active. While they are creative beings just like us, they were created as spirits rather than human beings. When you or I die we do not become angels or, God forbid, demons. Once you die and go to your eternal destination then your will be surrounded by one or the other and you will see them and interact with them.
Spooked out yet? Don't be scared! Just be prepared! The most powerful spirit is the Holy Spirit and He dwells in believers.
Show up Sunday to find out how you can prepare for a "Happy Ever After" and be sure that you spend eternity with the right sort of spirits!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

October 28, 2010

"Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives." II Peter 3:11

The most beautiful place I have ever been is Lake Tahoe in the High Sierras on the California and Nevada border. I would love to go back there some day.

If I aspire to return to Tahoe and I tell all my friends that I want to go back their, but then if I make reservations for a hotel in Miami Beach and buy an airline ticket for Miami, what would people think?

At best they would be a bit confused! They would assume that I am confused. They would probably be right. It IS a mixed message.

What sort of a message are you sending when you say you want to go to Heaven but you can display attitudes and behaviors that do not reflect Heaven?

That is essentially the question Peter asks of these saints. In essence the question he poses is, "How can ou think you are going to Heaven if are living like hell?"

Logically, how can you believe you are destined for a holy place when you are living an unholy life? If getting to Heaven involves a personal relationship with a Holy God, how can you expect to maintain that relationship if you are living an unholy life? Why would you want to spend eternity in a holy place when you aren't comfortable living a godly life?

To get to the destination you desire you must get on the right road and move in the right direction. The road to Heaven is the road to a holy and godly life. A life like that can only be lived in the power of the Holy Spirit in fellowship with the Holy God.

Is that the road you are on? Is that the direction you are headed?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

October 27, 2010

"Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives." II Peter 3:11
C.S. Lewis, "It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they became so ineffective in this one."
This world is going to be destroyed and everything in it. All the glitz and glitter of this world that grabs our attention and affections will evaporate in a second when God sends His Son to mark the end of time. The God Who has been redeeming this world since moments after the fall will bring His redemptive plan to completion in a manner that has been prophecied for centuries.
How can you make sure you are not destroyed with the world?
Doesn't it make sense that if you want avoid being destroyed with the world that you should act and think differently from the world? It really doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out.
Peter states the obvious because it obviously needed to be said. Because you live in the world with worldly pressures and demands it takes discipline and focus to keep from being conformed to the ways of that world. That is what "worldliness" means.
If you want to avoid perishing with the world you must come out of the world. Actually, that is what the Church is. The greek word translated "church" means "called out ones" and "called out" people must live godly and holy lives.
The supernatural spiritual transformation that God desires to work in you should evidence itself in your actions and attitudes. To escape the destruction of this world you must escape its corruption. That requires you to obey God and live according to His Word and be led by His Spirit. When that happens the "spiritual man" will control the "physical man" and behavior dramatically changes.
Heavenly-minded people make earth a better place! What about you?

October 26, 2010

"....what manner of persons ought you to be......?" II Peter 3:11

Membership has its privileges and its responsibilities!
As a high school student I was given a set of rules that I was expected to keep. For the privilege of going to that school I was told what sort of person I should be.
When I became a member of Silver Lake Wesleyan Church I was asked to subscribe to a code of conduct and behavior.
The same happened when I enrolled at Indiana Wesleyan.
In fact, as I think about it, every organization I joined or every athletic team I played on has had a set of guidelines, rules or code of conduct stipulating what sort of person they expected me to be as a member of that group. That is entirely appropriate.
Why then, as people claiming to be followers of Christ not expect to display attitudes and conduct consistent with the character of Christ? As those professing a belief in a holy and perfect eternal destination should they not possess attitudes and behavior befitting of heaven?
Of course!
In II Peter 3, Peter is calling these believers to live up to the expectations incumbent on those preparing for eternity in heaven. The word "ought" carries the idea of necessity. Holy living is not optional for those preparing for a holy place!
People who are preparing for a better place should also be making their homes, their churches, their communites and their world a better place!
Planning on going to heaven? Act like it!

Monday, October 25, 2010

October 25, 2010

“Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved……” II Peter 3:11a

Guys always remember the first car they owned.

My first car was a 1956 Mercury Monterey. It was ten years old when I got it and had plenty of rust spots, but it ran great! Of course, I only paid $100 for it.

I loved that car. I worked an after school job to support it and fix it up. Little did I realize how much support a ten-year old high-mileage eight-cylinder car would require, but I was soon to find out.

Over the time I owned that one hundred dollar car I spent hundreds of dollars and way to much attention and time on it. It always needed something!

Honestly compels me to confess that there were several times when I had to decide whether to pay my tithe or spend money on my Mercury. I am ashamed to admit I made the wrong decision a couple of times.

Each time I honored my car above the Lord, it developed a problem that would cost me extra money. I always paid for my improper priorities. That first vehicle was not only transportation it became a teaching tool.

One rainy night I agreed to do a favor for my co-worker and run him home after work. Even though it was a bit out of my way, he was my friend and I had a car. Because it was a little out of my way I decided to take a short cut not thinking that the short-cut would require me to travel under a railroad viaduct.

I underestimated the amount of rain that had fallen overestimated my driving skills. Remember those public service ads where they caution you against driving into standing water? I didn’t. And as soon as I hit the water I knew I had made a bad decision. When the water lifted my car off the payment and it began to float momentarily, I rued my decision. As my Mercury settled back down to the pavement and the water started streaming in under all four doors, my heart sank – as much as my car had.

My point in sharing this painfully embarrassing story is the lesson I learned. It is the truth that Peter shares in this Scripture portion. Those material things which steal much of our time and money and affection never lasts. All those things wear out, rust out, break down, get damaged, wrecked or stolen and our investments are lost. Even if they manage to last we will some day trade them or sell them or die and leave them behind.

Peter wisely admonishes us to value things that last forever and the only things that last forever are people and relationships. Since you and I are eternal, we should live like it and put a priority on preparing for eternity.

If you think you can wait until you get to Heaven to live heavenly, you are in for a rude awakening. If you are planning to live forever – act like it. Love God supremely and live in love toward His commands and His people. Your journey to Heaven begins today.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

October 24, 2010

Week Six – “Home, Sweet, Home!” Revelation 21
"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." Revelation 21:1-4

The late comedian George Goebel once said, “Sometimes I feel like the world is a tuxedo and I am a pair of brown shoes.”

C. S. Lewis made a similar statement with a little more definition, “If nothing in this world satisfies me, perhaps it is because I was made for another world.”

We have some very gracious hosts in our fellowship who welcome you to their home and will treat you with such grace that you feel like part of the family, but as gracious as they are their home is not your home. After a relaxing and enjoyable evening you return to your home. Despite their hospitality gifts, your home still feels more like home to you than theirs does.

There are a couple of good reasons why we don’t fit real well in this world:

1) Paradise Lost
2) Kingdom Lost

The Bible refers to this longing for a spiritual home. Here are a few examples:

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God[; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.” John 14:1-2

“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own.” Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” Hebrews 11:13-14, 16

This world is not our home! We do not fit here! God has designed and destined us for a “happy ever after” place! Revelation 21 and 22 gives us a great view of Heaven, our “happy ever after” place. Today we get to peak into our future home.

I. The Dimensions of the City, Vv. 15-17

To gain an appreciation for just how marvelous Heaven will be we need to understand the nature and dimension of the city that will be its capital. The New Jerusalem is the crown jewel of the new creation of God. The New Jerusalem is not all of Heaven but it is the capital city of Heaven.

“The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long. He measured its wall and it was 144 cubits thick, by man's measurement, which the angel was using.” Rev. 21:15-17

You may not be a big city person, but you’d better make an exception for Heaven because it is ONE BIG CITY! Even bigger than Texas!

Why do you think this is revealed to John? Why do we need to know how big the Holy City will be?

Could it be God wants us all to know that there is plenty of room for us in Heaven and for everyone who will trust in Jesus! And remember, this is just the New Jerusalem. Heaven is even bigger than this!

So, how big is it? It is pretty mind-boggling! Check this out!

The city is cubic in its shape – 12,000 stadia x 12,000 stadia x 12,000 stadia! A stadia = a furlong = 660 ft. Do the math on that and it figures out to 1,500 miles long by 1,500 miles wide by 1,500 miles high. So, this city would cover 2,250,000 square miles.

If this city were placed in the United States it would stretch from Canada to Mexico and from New York City to Oklahoma City and as high as a 800,000 story building!

Again, that is not all of the Heaven that is just the Holy City!

I have got to believe that in an area that big – there would have to be a golf course!

Not only is the Holy City huge, but it is unbelievably beautiful! Once you walk into it you would not only be overwhelmed by its size but also amazed by its sheer beauty!

II. The Description of the City

a. The Pearly Gates, vv. 12-13, 21

This city is accessed through gates of pearl! And not just one gate but 12 of them! And not just pearls but 240 feet high pearls!

Why pearls?

For one, pearls are beautiful!

Secondly, pearls are the product of irritation, pain, and discomfort. Could it be that every time we enter that city through those gates of pearl we will be reminded of the suffering and pain it took to get there? Both His suffering and ours.
b. The foundation of precious stones, Vv. 19-20

c. The streets of gold, v. 21b

d. The Lamb is the Light, v.23

e. The river of life and the tree of life, 22:1-2

This is a pretty impressive place, wouldn’t you say? How can you not be impressed with a place where the pavement is pure gold!

III. The Distinctions of the City, Vv. 4, 8, 27

Heaven is certainly distinguished by the amazing wonders that will be revealed in Heaven. The splendor of what He has prepared for us will be daze and amaze! When people talk about Heaven or write about Heaven these are the things they concentrate on! And rightly so! Never has there been anything like this before!

But equally impressive are the things that WON’T be in Heaven! The Apostle John. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit focuses on three significant things that won’t be in Heaven and those three things make it a distinctive place.

a. Sadness Is Absent, V. 4

How many of you have had a really good day recently? I am talking about a really care-free joyous day?

Every day in Heaven will be like that! Every second, every minute, every hour and every day will be better than your most perfect day on earth!

Kleenex will have no place in Heaven! God will wipe away all tears AND every reason and every cause of sadness. The only tears possible in Heaven might be tears of joy!

b. Sinfulness Is Absent, V. 8

Heaven is a perfect place – a holy place!

This is quite a list of undesirables! I find it interesting that those types of people mentioned at the end of this verse you would expect to be banned from Heaven, but notice the “cowardly” and the “unbelieving” – interesting….

c. Self-Righteousness Is Absent, V. 27

No one in Heaven will be able to say, “I deserve to be here!”

No one in Heaven will be able to claim, “I earned my way here!”

As Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “For it is by grace you are saved…..”

Heaven will be eternally magnificent based on what is there! And more importantly – WHO is there!

But Heaven will also be incredible because of who ISN’T there!

This world is not your home! Your home is being prepared for you!

You are being prepared for your home!

· What needs to be done in your heart?
· If you find yourself being to comfortable in this world you may not fit in the next.

What are you doing to prepare others for their eternal home?


This morning we have been reminded why!

I want to close with one more amazing truth about Heaven:

“3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."

Saturday, October 23, 2010

October 23, 2010

When I recall the most beautiful and awe-inspiring sights I have seen in my life, there are several that leap to the forefront of my memory.

Not counting the births of my children and grandchildren, the most beautiful image I have is the view of Lake Tahoe from about 1,500 feet above it in the Sierra Mountains. We had hiked up a trail to a place called Eagle's Nest and there was a serene, placid, mirror-like mountain lake with the higher snow-capped peaks reflected in it. And then, turning in the other direct about a quarter of a mile below was Lake Tahoe. Overwhelmed with the natural beauty of it all and in complete sensory overload I had to exclaim, "Oh, God, you are just showing off!"

Augmenting remarkable beauty surrounding me was an awareness of the things that were not there - nothing artificial, no pollution, no loud noise, no urban sprawl, no congested traffic - just raw natural God-created magnificence!

As John reveals his vision of Heaven in Revelation 21 and 22 he elaborates on all it splendor but also casually mentions several things that won't be there which will also add to its beauty!

In verse 4, John tells us that there will be no sadness there!

"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."

Heaven will be a joyous happy place! God Himself will wipe away ALL tears and their will be no more tears because there will be no reason for sadness! All suffering will be banished! There will be no death, no pain, no evil - NOTHING but holiness, healthiness and happiness!

Secondly, there will be no sinfulness in Heaven!

"But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death." 21:8

No evil or malicious or impure people will be allowed into Heaven. One of the reasons there will be no suffering or pain is because the people who cause much of those things won't be anywhere near the place! John specifically lists the types of people who will be excluded from paradise! These are the people your Momma told you to stay away from! In Heaven, they won't be there!

Third, there will be no self-righteousness there!

"Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.' Rev. 21:27

Only those whose names are in the Book of Life will be allowed entrance into Heaven. And the only way to get your name written down in to confess your sinfulness and receive the righteousness of Christ! No one who makes it into Heaven will be able to say, "I deserve to be here." All who get into the Holy City are there because of the mercy of God through the grace of Jesus Christ!

Heaven is an awesome eternal place! In our human intellect and finite understanding we are incapable of conceiving its magnificence. And it is amazing because of what is there but also because of what is NOT there!

No sadness will be there!

No sinfulness will be there!

No self-righteousness will be there!

Will you be there?

Friday, October 22, 2010

October 22, 2010

"He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." Revelation 21:5
Shakespeare once said, "Brevity is the soul of wit."
That being true, John the Revelator, is a genius! He says a lot in just this one brief verse.
Let's take a few minutes to reflect on what he tells us.
Our God is seated on the throne!
What does that mean to us? Everything!
It means He is sovereign - fully in control. He is large and in charge! Nothing happens in this universe without His permission or approval. When the world seems chaotic - like now - it is controlled chaos because He is omnipotent!
If you know Him as your Father and if you are committed to Jesus as your Savior, you don't have to worry! God has given you an abundant life now - His grace, His guidance, and His guardian angels! And He has guaranteed you an eternal life! The best part of the eternal life is that He will be there and in control!
Our God is making everything new!
How do you improve on perfection? God can! And He does! In Reve;ation 21 we see that God makes a new Heaven and a new earth! This is the REAL new world order!
Our God is so great and so dynamic and so intelligent and so creative that, though He never changes, He is always getting new ideas and better ideas and has the power to tweak and improve His creation! That is why we can spend eternity and never get bored!
So that tells us that as good as it is now - it will only get better! Always!
For you and me, the best news of all is that He made us new and He renews us every day!
Third, God is trustworthy and true!
Wow! It is good to know that Someone as powerful as God is trustworthy. We know in our world power corrupts. We are accustomed to leaders who become corrupted by power once they are trusted with that power by their people. God is not like that! Praise His Name!
What that means is that you can depend on Him - always! It means you can hope in Him - always! It means that you can commit to Him - safely! It means what was true yesterday will be true today - and tomorrow! There is a constant in the universe! There is an anchor - a sure foundation for all of time and eternity!
Get your heart and mind around this little piece of good news! Rejoice in this knowledge of God! Give Him praise and honor today! Walk in peace, and confidence and security today. Live in hope of tomorrow!
God is on the throne!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

October 21, 2010

"And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." Rev. 21:3-4
Who is the most impressive person you have ever met? God knows them all!
What is the most impressive thing you have ever witnessed? God allowed it to happen!
Where is the most impressive place you have been? God created it!
For a God Who knows all, does all, and created, how do you impress Him? What impresses Him?
Looking at Revelation 21 and 22 it is impossible to not be impressed by the glorious vision of Heaven! But I can't help notice two things that impress God.
First, it is relationship that impresses God! In the midst of all that splendor and glory it is people that excite God! He gets to dwell with them and they will dwell with Him! They will belong to Him and He will belong to them!
Think about how important relationship is to God! I am amazed at how much He values relationship with you and me! In the beginning He created a beautiful earth where He could dwell with man. And in the midst of that glorious creation which He had pronounced "good" - He crafted a paradise called Eden
After sin ruined paradise He began to form a nation of people He could call His people and He prepared a place for them to be with Him after they came to the end of their earthly journeys.
Now John tells us in this portion of Scripture that God wasn't content with Heaven, He will create a new Heaven and a new earth! He wants the best for His people!
Second, it is restoration that impresses God!
Heaven will be a place where paradise is restored. All that sin spoiled will be restored! A perfect place and a perfect relationship with a perfected people! What the first Adam lost the Second Adam restored through His sacrificial death and resurrection!
"God will wipe away every tear". Tears are the result of relationships gone bad or relationships rejected or relationships interrupted by death. Strained relationships strain the human spirit and cause tears to fall. Out Heavenly Father drying those tears is symbolic of the restoration that God will finally bring to His Universe! This is the REAL "new world order". God's order will be restored. His Kingdom will finally come and His will will be perfectly done for ever more!
So, while you and I are busy being impressed by Heaven God will be busy being impressed with us!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

October 20, 2010

"And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God." Revelation 21:3
Sunday we are going to preview Heaven based on the snapshot John gives us from this great portion of Scripture. Even though he struggled to find adequate words to describe what he saw, what he tells us sure sounds good!
As grand and magnificent as Heaven is, what makes Heaven eternally satisfying is that God is there! And His Son, Jesus is there! And the people of God are there!
The home you grew up in wasn't so much about the dwelling you lived in or the material possessions you had, it was about who lived there. Your parents were there! Your siblings where there. Love was there - unconditional love. Security was there. Acceptance was there. Encouragement and validation were there. Guidance and discipline were there. All of your emotional, physical and relational needs were met there.
If you happened to enjoy those things in a nice building in a fashionable neighborhood, that is all the better. But it wasn't the house that was significant it was the home!
Likewise, before we being the tour of Heaven, I want to focus on the main thing that makes Heaven, well - heavenly. It is relationships! It is being loved by God and by God's people. It is meeting Moses and Noah and Abraham and David and Daniel and all the other great heroes of the faith! It is never having to say good-bye again to family and friends. It is having those relationships that have added so much joy and value to our earthly life taken to new dimensions! Pure joy! Pure love! Pure trust! Perfect knowledge!
Heaven is a real place! Heaven is an unbelievably magnificent place! We can't conceive of it with human minds but even when we behold it we will struggle to comprehend it!
But far more significant than the splendor of the place will be the people who will be there!
Are you onen of them?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

October 19, 2010

"And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God." Rev. 21:3
The late and great C. S. Lewis once said, "If nothing in this world satisfies me, perhaps it is because I was made for another world."
It is hard for me to find a shirt that fits. Here's why, my neck is pretty big, my arms are short, I am big through the shoulders and I am longer from the waist up than I am below the waist. So, to get a shirt that fits my neck then the sleeves are usually too long. If I get one with an athletic cut it fits me in the neck and shoulders but tends to be too short and I can't keep it tucked in. So, it seems I am destined to spend my days on planet earth tucking in my shirt-tail or rolling up my sleeves. My kingdom for a comfortable shirt!
For a believer, living in this world often feels like a tight pair of shoes - it just doesn't fit. We don't fit it and it does not fit us. It doesn't fit our vision or our values.
In this Scripture, John reminds us why that is so. This world is not our home. We were designed for eternity and for paradise and this world is neither eternal nor is it holy. As believers, we walk with Jesus and as we do He changes us and conforms us to His image. The more that happens the less this world fits.
Since Adam and Eve, who were designed for Paradise, were evicted from Eden there has been a longing in the human spirit. This latent and yet powerful desire has shaped every human culture and every political, social and economic system since that time. Wars have been fought over competing ideas of paradise or utopia. That is the source of the current conflicts we face with the war on terror abroad and the political strife at home.
This world is not our home. It will never fit right. Even though we spend our time, energy and money trying to add to our comfort level, it still never quite fits.
Christ never called us to fit into this world. He calls us to allow His World and His Spirit and the trials in this world to FIT US for His eternal Kingdom that He is preparing for us!
Are you devoting all your efforts to fit into this world or are you being shaped for His? How will you know the answer?
By the comfort level you have in this world. The less comfortable the fit, the more fit is your soul!

Monday, October 18, 2010

October 18, 2010

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." John 14:1-3
There is something comforting and soothing about the word "home". Home is our favorite place on earth! Rightly so! But, knowing that most of our lives will be lived in eternity it is good to know that he will have an eternal home!
Jesus promised that He would prepare a home for us - a home near His so we can be with Him in His forever place! This week we are going to take a close up look at that marvelous place called "HEAVEN"!
Henry C. Morrison was a great missionary who served the Lord in Africa for over 40 years. On the way back to United States, he began to wonder “will anyone remember us? Will anyone recall who we are? Will anyone meet us at the boat?”
Well, unknown to Henry Morrison and his wife, Teddy Roosevelt, President of U.S., was also on board that ship. He had gone to Africa for a hunting tripWhen ship pulled into New York harbor he looked to see if anyone had come to welcome them back home. Thousands of people were there cheering. Bands were playing. There were signs, banners, and billboards everywhere saying, “Welcome Home”. Henry and his wife were so excited about the crowds of people that were there to welcome them home and they went down to get their luggage, came back to the deck of the ship to get off and they realized that the parade of people were already gone. They had come to welcome Teddy Roosevelt.
Henry Morrison went to his hotel room with a heavy heart. As he sat there on the bed, he asked his wife, “Honey, I just don’t get it…for 40 years we poured our lives into ministry and service. And yet we come back to America and not a single soul comes to welcome us home!”
His wife came and sat down next to her husband, she put her hand on his shoulder, and comforted him with words that he would never forget, “Henry, you have forgotten something, you’re not home yet!”And may that be of comfort to you. It does not matter what takes place in this life, your reward is in heaven. Always remember, “You’re not home yet.”
Heaven will be the ultimate eternal place that believers can call home! That place is being prepared for you right now! One day you will receive a royal, "Welcome home!"

Sunday, October 17, 2010

October 17, 2010


Week Five – “Body Beautiful” I Corinthians 15:35-52

Everyone has an “ever after”. Some will have a “happy ever after” and some will not.

The “happy ever after” place is Heaven. We have talked about that.

Last we talked about the “horrible ever after” place called hell.

Now that we know where our spirits will go, what happens to our bodies after we die? Will we float around on clouds forever?


Why do you think the Great Apostle addresses this issue?

Then, like now, there were many false theories and bad ideas about what would happen following death – both to the spirit, but in particular – to our bodies.

Surveys say 30% of Americans believe in reincarnation……..

Even more troubling is 20% of professed evangelical Christians say they also believe in reincarnation.

Two Facts:

Death Is Necessary For Resurrection – V. 36

The New Springs From The Old, Vv. 37-38

(Note His Illustration Of The Seed)

“We see that the blueprint for our glorified bodies are in the bodies we now possess. While orthodoxy (Christian doctrine) does not dictate that every cell of our present bodies will be restored in the resurrection, it does require continuity between our earthly bodies and our heavenly bodies. Just as there is continuity between our earthly bodies and the bodies we had at birth – even though all those cells and sub atomic particles have been replaced and renewed – so too there will be continuity from death to resurrection, despite the fact that not every particle in our bodies will be restored. In fact without continuity, there is no point in even using the word ‘resurrection’”. – (Hank Hangraaf – “Resurrection”)

Joni Eareckson Tada, is a beautiful lady, inside and out. She was paralyzed in a diving accident while still a teen and has spent the last 40 years as a paraplegic. She wrote about her trials in her book “Heaven Your Real Home”. “Somewhere in my broken paralyzed body is the seed of what I shall become. The paralysis that makes what I am to become all the more grand when you contrast the atrophied, useless legs against the splendorous resurrected legs. I am convinced that if there are mirrors in heaven (and why not?), the image I will see will be unmistakably ‘Joni’ although a much better, brighter Joni!”

THE NEW BODY IS REAL! Not only is it real but…..


A question many have is this, “Will we know our loved ones and will they know us in heaven?”

Let me ask you this – “Do you think we will know more in heaven than we know now or will we know less?”

Of course! Not only will we be able to recognize everyone we love – we will love everyone we see it heaven!

Famous Missionary, Amy Carmichael wrote, “Shall we know each other in heaven? Shall we love and remember? I don’t think one need wonder about this or doubt for one single moment! For if we just think, we know! Would you be yourself if you did not remember? Your memories are an important part of you! We are told we shall be like our Lord Jesus and does He not know and love and remember? He would not be Himself if He did not! And we should not be ourselves if we did not!”

I find three examples of resurrected bodies in the Bible. Of course, there was Jesus, who appeared to thousands for 40 days following His resurrection. You will recall that he could be seen and recognized and touched and that he ate with them. His new body bore a new and improved version of His earthly body!

On the Mount of Transfiguration, Peter, James and John saw Moses and Elijah and they recognized them – even though they had never seen them before!

THE NEW BODY IS RECOGNIZABLE! Not only is it recognizable but….


The New Body Will Be Indestructible – V. 42
Unlike our earthly bodies which age and wear out and are plagued by diseases – our new bodies will be perfect and stay that way forever!

The New Body Will Be Glorious, V. 43a

The word “glory” = “brilliance” – Philippians 3:21 says, “who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”

The New Body Will Be Powerful, V. 43b

Jesus was able to walk through doors and into locks rooms………

The New Body Will Be Spiritual, V. 44a

Fitted for an eternal spiritual Kingdom – not ghosts or spirits………



Finally, Paul addresses the question, “Who will be resurrected and when?”

Those saints who have died will arise first and receive their beautiful eternal bodies.

The believers who still remain and are alive at the coming of Christ will then be supernaturally transformed as they rise to meet Him in the air.

The Apostle speaks to that in another passage:

“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.” I Thessalonians 4:16-17




It Will Be Real – It Will Be Recognizable – It Will Be Radically Different – AND – It Will Be Received At Christ’s Return!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

October 16, 2010

"When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory." "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?"The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." I Corinthians 15:54-57
I Corinthians 15 is truly one of the great chapters of the Bible! It is great because it captures the spirit of a great man (Paul) and the essence of a great Truth (the Gospel).
Please allow me to summarize several of the great Truths it expresses:
1) God is stronger than the enemy!
Satan's two biggest weapons were sin and death. Through the grace of God in Jesus sin was defeated on the cross and death defeated when He walked out of the grave on the third day.
2) Salvation is stronger that sin!
Because Jesus became a man and proved that temptation can be resisted and that holiness is possible. As a result of His holy life He was able to assume all of the sins of humanity and become the atoning sacrifice for sin! He became like us that we might become like Him.
3) Life is stronger than death!
Jesus had to die in order to conquer death. We have to die in order to become eternal. The wages of sin is death - spiritual separation from God that can lead to eternal death. But because Jesus surrendered to death and then defeated it through the resurrection, we gain victory over death by living in His life!
4) Eternity is stronger than time!
During life, time is pretty much our enemy. We try to learn to use it to our advantage but as seconds become minutes and minutes turn into hours and hour add up into days and days mount into months which multiply into years - well, you know - time wears us down and we die. BUT, when we die in Christ we get the last laugh on time as we are born into eternity! There are no clocks or calendars in Heaven!
If you notice a victorious tone in I Corinthians 15 - you are right! We ARE victorious because Jesus won the victory for us!
Do you have that victory?

Friday, October 15, 2010

October 15, 2010

"And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men." I Corinthians 15:17-19
Two years ago our President was swept into office on a promise of bringing "hope and change". Judging by recent political polls, those hopes have been short-lived and a new batch of politicians are peddling their versions of hope.
When will we learn not to pin our hopes on politicians?
Hope is in short supply today for many reasons. Sort of like it was 2,000 years ago when Paul penned these hope-filled words.
Take some encouragement from this feel good story:
You could call 12-year-old Jack Pittman-Heglund the "comeback kid."

He gave doctors a thumbs-up on Tuesday... an amazing feat considering that Jack had been in a coma for five days after suffering what doctors determined was a heart attack.

His lacrosse team at Keller Middle School is cheering on Jack's recovery at a Wednesday practice.

Their regular uniform color is blue, but this time, all the kids the team wore red.

"This is for Jack," said coach Dan Perry. "It's showing their heart."

Jack collapsed at home last Thursday while talking with his mother.

"I was like really, really sad, because me and Jack were like really good friends... then it just sort of happened," said teammate Connor O'Brien.

Fortunately, Jack's mom knew CPR and she was able to get his heart going again.

"I think she saved his life, and I think everybody's in agreement about that," said lacrosse club president Tracey Perry.

The boy was flown by helicopter ambulance to Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth. He had been there — unconscious — since Thursday's heart attack.

"He was in a coma, and they started weaning him off some of the sedatives, and he started waking up," Perry said. "It's been baby steps form there, but all positive."

That news of Jack's recovery has his teammates smiling again, and signing a giant "get well" card.

"Coach Shane and I have been down to the hospital a couple of times each, and it's positive," Perry told Jack's teammates.
Thank God his mother and the doctors never gave up hope. Hope is powerful!
Of course, we were all rivoted to our TV screens this week as we watched the heroic rescue of the 33 miners in Chile. These men who were trapped 1/2 mile below the surface for over two months in deplorable conditions. They were down there for seventeen days after the collapse of the mine before anyone discovered they were still alive. With hope revived the two-month long rescue effort was undertaken. We celebrated the successful completion of that rescue just a couple of days ago.
Hope kept them alive in the dark, damp, 90+ degree heat of the mine shaft. Hope kept the drillers and engineers and meidcal folks working around the clock preparing for the rescue. And hope sustained the families who spent anxious agonizing hours awaiting the rescue. Hope is a poweful thing.
But, there is hope and then there is HOPE.
Hope, as in wishful thinking, is one thing. This is the hope that was at work in this situation. Everyone worked hard in the hope that all their plans would work and the miners would be saved.
And there is the hope that Paul talks about in this verse. It is a hope based upon a solid fact of history that Jesus Christ was crucified and came back to life on the third day. Because Jesus did arise from the dead and because in so doing He conquered death, we can have a solid hope about our own death and the eternity that follows.
The Great Apostle links all of our hopes on the fact of Christ's resurrection and what His death and resurrection accomplished. When eternity at stake this is what we need. Wishful thinking is not enough.
Thank God for the power of hope! I sure love the feel good stories, but I rejoice in the fact of His resurrection. Therein, is my hope!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

October 14, 2010

"I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory." I Corinthians 15:50-54
Many of the representations of Heaven are so lame! Heaven is often portrayed as disembodied spirits and angels floating in the clouds playing harps. That might be slightly better than hell, but excuse me for not getting real excited about that!
Paul is out to quickly dismiss that notion! He affirms to the believers in Corinth that they will, indeed, have bodies in Heaven. They will not be flesh and blood bodies but they will be new and improved and eternal! These bodies will be especially fitted for the perfect environment that is Heaven!
It may be a good time to clarify that when you die and go to Heaven you will NOT become an angel! God created them a long time ago and they were judged when Lucifer rebelled in the presence of God and he was casted out of Heaven along with 1/3 of the angels who conspired with him. So, the angels who remained faithful spend their time (actually eternity) between Heaven and earth serving God and ministering to you and me (the saints of God)!
You were created to be you and you will be you forever! From the moment you were conceived and God knit you together in the womb, He designed you to be a wonderful unique gift to His plan on earth and then His eternal Kingdom! He celebrates your uniqueness and will preserve it forever by giving you a special glorified body to replace the special earthly body He gave you! During your lifetime of living, loving and serving with Him He has been perfecting you through His Word and His Spirit so you will die a better you than you were when you were born. But following the Second Coming and the Great Resurrection, you will be united with a new and significantly improved body that you will enjoy eternally!
I guess the best previews we have of this eternal body is Jesus after He resurrected and appeared to the disciples over a period of 40 days. People recognized Him so He must have looked very similar to His earthly form. He still bore the scars of His suffering and they were able to touch Him and feel a person. Yet, He was able to appear and disappear in a locked room! How cool is that!?
The other preview I can think of was when the inner circle accompanied Jesus up on the mountain where He was transfigured and Moses and Elijah appeared there. Both of those great men were visible and recognizable. I am not exactly sure how they recognized them since they had never seen them before but I must assume that Jesus introduced them!
Imagine that! "Peter, this is Moses. Moses, I want you to meet Peter!" That's what I'm talking about !!!!!
Heaven is a perfect paradise that will be enjoyed by perfect people who have been redeemed and sancitified and glorified by the grace and power of Jesus Christ! It will be like Eden except eternal. If you want a good visual of Heaven, read about Eden in Genesis. That was the original paradise and Jesus, the Second Adam, came to restore paradise, so why would He change it? When you die in Christ you will go to a real place and eventually become a real person and have a real good time FOREVER - (as in, without end) - and EVER and EVER!
You can work all you want to improve your body. That is a good thing! But thanks to the power and grace of Jesus you WILL someone enjoy a perfect body!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

October 13, 2010

"Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." I Corinthians 15:58
When it comes to our faith, everything hinges on the resurrection of Jesus!
The resurrection is the "therefore" in this verse. Because the resurrection is a fact and Jesus did rise from the dead, then all of God's other claims and promises are true as well! ALL OF THEM!
Life matters! Life matters more when you live it for God! Life continues after death when Jesus lives in you!
Since life matters then what you do (or don't do) with your life matters! What you do in this life with and for Jesus has eternal significance! Everything you will enjoy in the next life is infuenced by what you do in this one! Your resurrection depends on His. Since His happened yours will, too! How encouraging is that!?
If the resurrection were not true that would not be true - but it is!
What you do matters even when it doesn't seem to matter. Everything you do either adds or detracts from eternity - your eternity and eternity for others! So, make today count! Keep obeying God and honoring Him! Keep loving others and serving them. Don't life for results or affirmation, live knowing that every right thing you do is recorded in heaven and great will be your reward!
Paul sent this reminder to encourage us! He, of all people, understood how discouraging it can be to serve God and to serve people. God is invisible and people can be ungrateful and life can seem pointless. But look to the resurrection! When Jesus looked defeated and faith looked its darkness, victory was accomplished!
Take encouragement today! Do the hard thing - the right thing - the faith thing!
Today I want to especially send this encouragement to my beautiful daughter who is celebrating her 34th birthday today in the face of some overwhelming struggles. Sis, you know it pays to do the right thing! Payday is sometimes delayed, but God is faithful to those who remain faithful!

October 12, 2010

"How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body." I Corinthians 15:36-38
You have heard all the good news, bad news jokes. There are some good ones.
For humor to be funny it must contain an element of truth and life IS a good news/bad news proposition. You are fully aware of that!
In this portion of Scripture Paul assures us that we who are the redeemed will receive eternal bodies with which to enjoy the eternal paradise that is Heaven. The bad news is we will have to die to get it!
According to Paul's analogy, the seeds of your new and eternal body are resident in your current body!
So, care for your temporary body. Nurture it. Regard it as sacred because it is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Surrender your body as a living sacrifice that God can use for His glory.
But no matter how well you care for it and maintain it, some day death with rip your spirit out of your body and it will be buried or burned. No matter how your body is disposed of, it will be resurrected and renewed when Jesus returns!
God cares about you as a whole person, emotions, mind, spirit and body. And when Jesus offered Himself as the atoning sacrifice for your sins, He redeemed your whole person! The death of Jesus conquered sin and His resurrection destroyed the power of death! His Holy Spirit ministers comfort, truth and health to your mind and spirit!
So, for believers, there is good news and better news! Death will usher you into the immediate presence of God and the temporary separation from your body will result in the reception of a perfect and eternal body!
Live life carefully and prayerful and joyfully! Love God completely and love others passionately knowing that His eternal life and love at work in you and your future is bright!

Monday, October 11, 2010

October 11, 2010

"But someone may ask, "How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?" I Corinthians 15:35
You and I were never intended to die. Death was not a part of God's perfect plan. Being a forever God, He wanted us to have forever fellowship with Him in the forever perfect place He created. If you want a glimpse of God's "plan A" look at the first several chapters of Genesis. Death is God's enemy. He had to conquer it. How did He conquer it? By sending His Son, Jesus to die and then to arise from the dead!
One day He will totally destroy death. The Bible promises that "death and hell will be thrown into the Lake of Fire.
Isn't it good to know that we serve a God Who is not only bigger than life, He is bigger than death! He will restore order and holiness and perfection to His universe!
To get an insight on the resurrection and the "ever after" bodies we will have we can look to Jesus. After His death He resurrected on the third day and for several weeks He appeared to His disciples. Obviously, they recognized Him and yet he appeared in rooms that had locked doors. So, we learn that our forever bodies will be recognizable!
That is good news! It is comforting news!
Your forever body will be as good and perfect as the rest of your forever!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

October 10, 2010


Week Four – “Hot And Bothered” Luke 16:22-31

One way we seem to deal with topics we find uncomfortable is to jokes about them or draw cartoons. Joking about your eternal destiny is not what I mean when I talk about living “Happily Ever After”.

I. Hell Is A Place Of Misery, Vv. 23-24
“And being in torment in hell……”

Jesus specifically mentioned the word “hell” fifteen times and He wasn’t joking when He talked about it. It appears in the Bible many more times than that. Here are a few examples of references to hell’s torment and torture:

everlasting fire – Matthew 18:8, 25:41 - everlasting punishment - Matthew 25:46everlasting chains - Jude 1:6 - everlasting destruction - 2Thessalonians 1:9eternal damnation - Mark 3:29 - eternal judgment - Hebrews 6:2 - eternal fire - Jude 1:7 - unquenchable fire - Matthew 3:12 - the fire that never shall be quenched - Mark 9:43, 44, 45, 46, 48 - fire unquenchable - Luke 3:17 - shame and everlasting contempt - Daniel 12:2 - mist of darkness is reserved for ever - 2 Peter 2:17 - the blackness of darkness for ever - Jude 1:13

weeping (Matthew 8:12), wailing (Matthew 13:42), gnashing of teeth (Matthew 13:50), darkness (Matthew 25:30), flames (Luke 16:24), burning (Isaiah 33:14), torments (Luke 16:23), everlasting punishment (Matthew 25:46)! Jesus says in Matthew 25:41, "Depart from me, ye cursed, into EVERLASTING FIRE, prepared for the devil and his angels."

Listen to how Bill Hybels described what Hell might feel like: (BAD DREAMS)
“The bottomless pit…conjures up dreamlike feelings of falling away -- falling, falling, falling. You’ve all had dreams like that; where when you woke your heart was beating because you were falling. Picture in your mind hanging over a precipice --- and God is hanging onto you --- and you’re hanging onto him.

“And you decide you don’t need him anymore. So you let go. But the moment you let go you know you made a mistake. You’re falling, and every moment you fall further and further away from the only source of help and truth and love --- and you realize you made a mistake and you can’t get back up --- and you fall further and faster and further and faster into spiritual oblivion --- and you know you’re going the wrong direction --- and you’d give anything to go back, but you can’t. And you fall, and you fall, and you fall, and you fall …
“How long? Forever. And all the while you’re falling you’re saying, ‘I’m further now; I’m further. I’m further from the only source of hope, truth, and love.’
“In hell there is never the bliss of annihilation. You’d give anything for annihilation, but it’s unavailable --- only the conscious continuation of emotional anguish, physical anguish, relational anguish, and spiritual anguish … forever.”

Dr. Maurice Rawlings is a cardiologist and professor of medicine at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Chattanooga, and his colleagues are constantly treating emergency patients, many of whom have had near-death experiences. A study of these cases by Dr. Rawlings was reported in Omni magazine. It is no longer unusual to hear about people who have almost died who speak of seeing a bright light, lush green meadows, rows of smiling relatives and experiencing a deep sense of peace. However, Dr. Rawlings gives additional information from his patients by interviewing them immediately following resuscitation while they are very much in touch with their experience.
Dr. Rawlings says that nearly fifty percent of the 300 people that he has interviewed have reported lakes of fire, devil-like figures and other sights reflecting the darkness of hell. Rawlings says that these people later change their story because they don’t want to admit where they’ve been, not even to their families. "Just listening to these patients has changed my whole life," claims Dr. Rawlings. "There is a life after death, and if I don’t know where I’m going, it’s not safe to die." Dr. Rawlings, a devout atheist, "considered all religion ’hocus-pocus’ and death nothing more than a painless extinction."
But something happened in the late ‘70’s that brought a dramatic change in the life of Dr. Rawlings! He was resuscitating a man, terrified and screaming. "Each time he regained heartbeat and respiration, the patient screamed, ’I am in hell!’ He was terrified and pleaded with me to help him. I was scared to death...Then I noticed a genuinely alarmed look on his face. He had a terrified look, worse than the expression seen in death! This patient had a grotesque grimace expressing sheer horror! His pupils were dilated, and he was perspiring and trembling--he looked as if his hair was ’on end.’ Then still another strange thing happened. He said, ’Don’t you understand? I am in hell...Don’t let me go back to hell!’...the man was serious, and it finally occurred to me that he was indeed in trouble. He was in a panic like I had never seen before."
Dr. Rawlings said no one who could have heard his screams and saw the look of terror on his face could doubt for a single minute that he was actually in a place called hell. He could be a disbeliever no more.

Having to face the reality of hell jolted him into seriously facing his own unbelief and began a spiritual search that led him to become a Christian.

Our Bible teaches us that Hell is a place of darkness. So you say, "Well, if Hell is a place of flame in the center of the earth, how can there be darkness?" Scientists have also figured that one out for us. As flame gets hotter, you have yellow flame, orange flame, then blue flame. Then beyond blue flame there is a green flame, and if gets much hotter than that, the flame becomes entirely clear and gives no color at all. So there is no light in Hell, because the flames are so hot they have no color and have no light. They are simply clear.


II. Hell Is A Place of Memory, V. 25
"But Abraham replied, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.”

REGRETS – Ever grieved over a lost opportunity? Imagine grieving forever…..
Ever made a bad decision and suffered the consequences of it? Imagine that forever.
REMORSE – Wishing you could undo what you’ve done and untangle your life.

Not only memories but cravings and addictions…… if he longed for water that much, imagine how much he would need a drink of alcohol or a drug fix……


III. Hell Is A Place of Mourning, Vv. 27-31


These verses confirm what we already know – relationships are what make life meaningful and worthwhile. Of all the horrors of hell – and they are considerable – the worst torture will result from relationships that have been interrupted forever.

Jeff Strite, a pastor in Indiana, tells this story about his Dad.
My Dad was what was known as "a rounder." He was a man’s man. He was a hard worker, hard fighter, and a hard player of baseball and basketball. He was attractive to women and he loved to go out and dance.
Now, it’s not that dad was a stranger to church (when he first met mom, he kissed her behind the furnace in a church basement). He wasn’t unfriendly to church, it’s just that God held little interest for him. He didn’t need God to run his life.After he married mom, they settled down as married couples did. Mom, a deeply religious woman, never failed to go to church, but Dad always had work to do. And - well, church wasn’t all that important anyway. But after awhile, mom’s church going got to bother him. He accepted the idea that he might go to hell, but the idea of being there without the woman he loved troubled him.Dad finally decided to force mom to avoid church. He asked her if she would feel comfortable in heaven if he were in hell.

Now, Mom was the quiet type of Christian who didn’t try to force her faith down dad’s throat, but now she had the opportunity to address his need. He waited to see how she would respond?She thought for a couple of moments and then asked him: "Lowell, would you really feel comfortable if I were in hell with you?" The simplicity of her response led Dad to change his way of thinking and he turned his life over to Jesus. Why? Because hell wasn’t a comfortable concept to him especially when it came to someone he loved.


REJECTION – Denied access to Heaven and separated from God forever and separated from ones you love. No one likes the feeling of being left out…..

RIDICULE – Imagine Satan in your face mocking you and laughing at your foolishness. If he accuses you and tries to condemn you now – how do you think he will be then?


Gene and Paulette Cranick, of South Fulton, Tennessee, lost their home after officers were ordered by bosses not to extinguish it.

Fire fighters only arrived when the flames spread to the property of a neighbor, who had paid the fee. However, they continued to refuse to help the Cranicks.

Later the same day, the couple's 44-year-old son was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, after allegedly punching the local fire chief.

Jeff Vowell, the city manager of South Fulton, said: "It's a regrettable situation any time something like this happens." Mr Vowell explained that there was no county-wide fire service and it was too expensive for the city's officers to serve surrounding rural areas like the Cranicks' as well.

Rural residents can gain access to the service by paying the annual fee. But "if they choose not to," Mr Vowell said, "we can't make them".

Mr Cranick said: "I thought they'd come out and put it out, even if you hadn't paid your $75, but I was wrong." His wife said the couple had offered to pay the fire fighters whatever was necessary for them to extinguish the flames, but the officers refused.

However they do not blame the officers themselves, she said. "They're doing what they are told to do. It's not their fault." The Mayor of South Fulton, David Crocker, told local reporters: "We're very sorry their house burned."

However he too stood by the subscription policy, arguing that offering a pay-as-you-go service would mean upfront costs could not be met.

About three hours after the fire began, Mr. Cranick's son Timothy allegedly arrived at the South Fulton fire station demanding to see Mr. Wilds the fire chief.

It is alleged that when Mr. Wilds came forward and asked if he could help, Mr Cranick punched him. "He just cold-cocked him," Mr. Crocker reported.

Weird story isn’t it? You could say that it isn’t right and it isn’t fair, but it was the rule and it was understood and they ignored the rule. So, if they knew the rule and they ignored the rule and then the rule was enforced, whose fault was it that their house burned down?

In the same way, people say, “A loving God wouldn’t send people to Hell…….”

1) Anyone who goes to hell does so against the will of God…..

2) Anyone who goes to hell does so against the grace of God…..