THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 9-15-02
LESSON TITLE: UNDESERVED BLESSINGS FROM GOD: "THE PROMISE OF HEAVEN"
Good morning! Thank you for joining us today for God's Living Word. I hope everyone had a great week, and I hope your weekend was a profitable one also.
Now, here we are on another glorious Lord's Day morning. What a wonderful opportunity we have again today to join together in the worship of our Redeemer. I hope you are ready to begin this new week with a day of service and offering to your God.
As always, it is our commitment through this program to proclaim the simple truth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ - which is confirmed for us in the Bible. I hope you all have your Bible's handy and I hope you are ready to worship God together as we sing praises to His name and study from His wondrous word. Now let's begin by talking to our Father in prayer!
At this time, we want to sing our first song of the morning. Won't you all join in with the congregation at this time as we praise God together with the hymn, " There is Sunshine In My Soul."
(SONG # 1)
Think for a moment about what a privilege we have as Christians to serve God. As His children we must take advantage of every opportunity to see that His Will is carried out. One command that stands out among many is the fact that we are to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the whole world. Remember what the Lord Himself said in Mark 16:15-16? There we read, "And He said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.'" Paul said it was the duty of the church to make known the manifold wisdom of God to all, Ephesians 3:10! And Peter proclaimed that we must all be ready to give an answer, at any time, for the hope that lies within us, 1 Peter 3:15. The reality is, we all have a lot of work to do as followers of God to see that everyone on this earth hears the precious message of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is able to save anyone from their lost state in this world.
With this in mind think of the many ways that we can reach out to accomplish this great task for our God. Many of us have the opportunity to go to countries throughout this world to preach the message of God. Others reach out in their own communities through various opportunities to allow others to see Christ in them. In fact, this program is centered around accomplishing the very thing we are talking about this morning. Help people to know more about Jesus, His Will, and to provide us each with another opportunity to serve God.
I am excited this morning to tell you that there is now another great opportunity on the horizon which is being established to help accomplish the goal's set out by our God. The Kansas Expressway congregation has accepted that challenge to establish a preachers training school in our own area to accomplish the great task of "teaching faithful men the Word of God, who will be able to teach others also," just as Paul said in 2 Timothy 2:2. This new school which is scheduled to begin classes on August 25, 2003, will be called the Bible Institute of Missouri. It's goal will be to primarily train men to preach the gospel. However, there will also be ample opportunity for all of us who live in this area to grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I hope we all will take advantage of special classes, seminars and even the chance to audit many of the classes to better equip ourselves to do the work of God.
Let me ask you to begin now praying for this great undertaking to the glory of God. If you have any questions or are interested in more information concerning the school feel free to contact us. I would be happy to talk with you and send you a brochure which will tell you specifically about the great new work of our Lord. If you know of anyone who is interested in attending the school or any individuals or congregations who might have an interested in getting involved financially to see that this good work is a success, please contact me very soon. Together we can make this new opportunity a wondrous success that Lord willing will accomplish great things for the sake of God and His Kingdom.
My father, Jerry Sullins, who will be the director of this new school here in Springfield will be our guest speaker this morning. Today we will be concluding our study on those, "Undeserved Blessings From God." Our specific topic of the day will deal with, "The Promise Of Heaven." So please continue with us this morning and after our next song together, my father will return with this lesson from God's Word. It's now time to join in our second hymn of the morning, the name of the song, "We Praise Thee, O God."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Jerry Sullins
Good morning. It's so good to be with you here in the studio and to bring this lesson from God's Word. I'd like to say first of all that my wife and I are very excited about moving to Springfield and to begin The Bible Institute of Missouri which is scheduled to begin on August 25, 2003. That means we have just a little less than a year, well about a year, to get everything set up in the school and we're going to be bringing other people from other regions of the country in for faculty members, establish or actually build a new facility for the school. And so many things are planned and we welcome your interest in the work and as Ray has said please feel free to contact us at anytime. We'll be glad to send you whatever information you need concerning how to become a student and how to support this good work that is going to begin very soon.
Today, I am to complete a series on "Undeserved Blessings From God." There are many things that we do not deserve in this life and we've mentioned some of those throughout the past week. Although they are things for us to have as God's children, we don't really deserve them. We've mentioned things like salvation, grace, peace, our daily needs, and even compassion and other things. Really, do we deserve these things? Some people might think that we do. But let us conclude this morning by talking about the undeserved blessing of heaven itself. Of course, that's the major goal that we all seek to have and that is a heavenly home.
Many people do not understand what heaven is all about. Although all peoples, I would say almost all people on this earth, think about a place that is to be enjoyed after this life is over. Still the Bible is very clear about this place being a reality for those who are faithful to God's Word. There will be an eternal abode. This belief is shared by all of us who believe in the Bible, which is God's eternal Word. And it tells us of this wonderful place, this blissful place that is called heaven. This place will be enjoyed by those who are faithful. This indeed is the promise of God that we're talking about this morning. And no, we cannot deserve this just like we cannot deserve the grace of God that gave us Jesus Christ to die upon the cross. That was a great blessing that we'll never deserve and actually a part of that blessing is the eternal home. So we can't deserve it, but we can look forward to it as we follow God's teachings and God's Word.
Let's read first of all from Colossians chapter 1, verses 3 through 5. In here, we see that the hope of heaven is a part of the gospel, that is the good news of Jesus Christ. There Paul said to the brethren at Colossi, "We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ praying always for you since we heard of your faith in Jesus Christ and of all your love for all the saints because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven of which you heard before in the Word of the Truth of the Gospel." So part of the Gospel, that is the good news that Jesus Christ has come to this earth to die upon the cross for our sins is a reality that if we obey that gospel, we will be given an eternal reward. That reward is referred to in the Bible as in a place called "heaven."
Some people might ask the question though, "Is heaven a real place?" Well again, we have to search throughout God's Word to find out about this and determine what our faith will be on this matter because as Paul said in Romans 10, verse 17, "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God." So to have faith that the Bible or that heaven is a real place, one must go to God's Word. And I call your attention to John 14, verses 1 through 6 where Jesus is speaking here. And He says this, "Let not your heart be troubled..." Of course, He's speaking to His disciples. "Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God. Believe also in Me for in My Father's house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto Myself, that where I am there you may be also, and where I go, you know and the way you know." And then Thomas, one of the disciples said to Him, "Lord, we do not know where You are going and how can we know the way?" And Jesus said to him, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes unto the Father except by Me." So heaven is a real place and Jesus is speaking of it here in His own Words. It is a place that is prepared.
My 84 year old father tells me almost every day I see him, He says, "Jerry, I've been told in the past that heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people." And how true that is and certainly one must be prepared by obeying the Gospel in order that he or she would have an opportunity for an eternal home.
The Bible teaches clearly that heaven is a place where Christ is. If we turn over in our Bibles to Colossians chapter 3, we read this clearly in Colossians chapter 3, verses 1 and 2 where it is speaking of the place where Jesus is now. It says, "If you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above not on things of the earth." So where is Christ? He's sitting in heaven. He's sitting in that place that is referred to here as that place that is above, above this physical realm in another realm.
In Ephesians chapter 1, verse 20, the apostle Paul said concerning the mighty power of God. It said, "Which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in heavenly places." So see again, we see the dwelling place that is called heaven is a place where Christ abides. It is a spiritual place and we must look at it as not being a physical place but being a spiritual place.
I'll call you again, your attention, to the Bible. In 2 Corinthians chapter 4 beginning in verse 16 because this tells us about heaven itself. Paul is saying here again to Christians, he said in verse 16, "Therefore, we do not lose heart, even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day for our light affliction which is but for the moment is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal way to glory. While we do not look at the things which are seen but at the things which are not seen for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal."
And one of those things which is not seen is heaven. We accept by faith that Jesus Christ came to the earth and died upon the cross for our sins and that by our obedience to the gospel, we could have eternal life. We accept by faith that by begin obedient to the gospel and by living faithful unto death that God would give us that eternal home in that place that is called heaven. We cannot look at it in a physical way because it has nothing to do with the flesh but rather those things that deal with the spirit.
Someone might ask the question, "What is heaven going to be like? And what form will my body take when I reach heaven?" That's an interesting question and I believe the Bible deals with it.
In 1 Corinthians chapter 15, let's look beginning at verse, well let's just start at verse 50. And Paul said here again to the brethren at Corinth, he said, "Now, this I say brethren that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery we shall not all sleep but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet, for the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised incorruptible and we shall be changed, for this corruptible must put on incorruption and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the same that is written, dead is swallowed up in victory." Then verse 55 says, "Oh death, where is your sting? Oh Hades, where is your victory?" Well, the fact is through the blood of Jesus Christ there is no real sting of death because spiritually that is the soul that we've been given by God and we've obeyed the gospel spiritually, then spiritually we will have hope of eternal life and has nothing to do with the physical body whatsoever.
So what will heaven be like? Well, it is very difficult to explain this. If I were to ask you this morning that you just write down on a piece of paper what you think heaven would be like, what would you say? What would you know to say? Or how would you know to say anything unless you would go to a reference? The reference being the Word of God, the Bible itself, to actually give me a description. My friend, the only way anyone knows anything about heaven or anything else spiritual is through the pages of God's Word. So in a finite way, that is something that we can understand with our minds and something that represents the things of this material world, we see a description given of heaven in that vision that John received on the isle of Patmus recorded for us in the book of Revelation. I call your attention to Revelation 21, verses 1 through 4 for a description of that heavenly place, that place we call heaven. It was put this way. "Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also, there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God prepared as a bride adorned for her husband, and I heard a voice from heaven saying, "Behold the tabernacle of God is with men and he will dwell with them and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God." Here's what I think is important about heaven, that's the spiritual part of it. Of course, it is all spiritual, but this has to do with how we're going to feel there because God, it says, "God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain for the former things have passed away." The former things of what? The former things being those things of the flesh, of this material world. Those things will pass away.
Won't it be great when we get to heaven if we've obeyed God's Will? When we get there, won't it be wonderful for there to be no more tears, no more death, no more sickness? All of these things that have brought us torment in this life will then be over and we'll be in the presence of God Himself.
Now in a limited way, heaven was described in verses 9 through 21 in Revelation 21. That's verses 9 through 21 and really I would like for you to read that on your own because it just describes heaven as being a city that is made of pure gold and there is all types of precious stones in the foundation and it talks about how it is protected and how it is a city that is foursquare. It is built in a square. This is all figurative language which shows us if we could see something like that, it would be one of the most beautiful things that we would ever envision with our eyes and that's what is trying to be portrayed here through the Holy Spirit in this text. So it will be a beautiful place but the beauty of heaven will be in the fact that all of the things of this life that have brought us grief and sadness and pain and agony will pass away when we get to that wonderful place.
Now what I want us to consider just a few minutes is this fact. Who will actually get to go to heaven? Well, all of us will have to accept the fact because the Bible says, "Since no sin will enter heaven," that one will have to be a faithful Christian in order to get to that place. Now I am not going to be the one who judges whether you get to heaven or not, but Jesus said, "The Words I have spoken unto you, the same will judge you in that last day," John 12, verse 48. So it is important that we know the Words of Christ. First of all, so that we can become Christians, but secondly, so that we can know whether or not we have the right to eternal life.
Do you remember the analogy that is given in Matthew 25, the 25th chapter of Matthew? Do you remember that? When all of the nations of the earth were gathered before Jesus and He separated them as the sheep from the goats, the ones who were evil on one hand and the ones who were righteous on the other hand. Now what did He do with the righteous? "The righteous," it says in Matthew 25, verse 34, "come you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom which is prepared for you from the foundation of the world." What was that kingdom? It was the heavenly kingdom. What did He do to the wicked? The last part of that chapter says, "Cast these unprofitable servants into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth."
In the book of 2 Corinthians chapter 5, Paul points out to those Corinthians that we are living in this earthly tent which is basically just a tabernacle. It's something that will decay. It's something that will pass away. I think what he says there is very important to us as far as understanding what will happen when this life is over. Let's read first of all in verse 4 and verse 5. "For we who are in this tent grown being burdened not because we want to be unclothed but further clothed that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now He who has prepared for us this very thing is God who also has given us the spirit as a guarantee." A guarantee of what? A guarantee that someday we will be able to enjoy eternal life.
I call your attention finally to Hebrews 11:13-16. These people of great faith throughout the Old and New Testaments lived in such a way to inherit the eternal home, although they lived many of them without the hope of even being able to be in Christ and to enjoy the blessings of the Christian life because they lived in the Old Testament Age. So let us seek to go to heaven, but let us remember this one thing that we cannot go to heaven unless we ourselves have determine that we're going to obey the gospel because He is the Way, the Truth and the Life and no man comes unto the Father but by Him. So may God bless us all in trying to reach the eternal home.
(SONG # 3 - "Rock of Ages")
What a wondrous time we have had together in participating in the things of God. I hope we all have been encouraged through our time spent together. Please remember, you are invited to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God.
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How wondrous it is to know that God has so richly blessed us with the promise of eternal life. Isn't it comforting to know that a place has been prepared for the faithful in Heaven!