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Why Do Christians Have to Suffer? | Sunday Message

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
February 13, 2022 3:00 am

Why Do Christians Have to Suffer? | Sunday Message

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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February 13, 2022 3:00 am

If you’re suffering today as a Christian, you’re not alone. But here’s the good news: God uses suffering to reinforce some big truths. In this Sunday episode, Pastor Greg Laurie reveals the profound reasons God allows His people to experience trials. Listen in!

Notes

The Christian life is about persevering.

Job said, "We're all adrift in the same boat: too few days, too many troubles.”

There is a loving God who, despite the worst tragedy, can bring good out of bad.

Christians are not exempt from suffering.

1. Suffering and adversity keep us humble.

“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” —C. S. Lewis

2. Adversity teaches us eternal truths we would otherwise not learn.

Trials are like God's gym: to break us down and to build us up.

God will teach us lessons in those valleys we would never learn on mountaintops.

“Pain removes the veil; it plants the flag of truth within the fortress of a rebel soul.” —C. S. Lewis

3. We have a new compassion for others in pain.

Success builds walls; failure builds bridges.

There are two forms of satanic attacks when you set out to serve the Lord:

1. Outward attack

2. Pride

On Heaven:

1. The 1st Heaven: the sky, clouds, atmosphere surrounding Earth

2. The 2nd Heaven: outer space, the sun, moon, galaxies, stars

3. The 3rd Heaven: the dwelling place of God and future destination of believers

“Paradise” indicates the “future life.”

Jesus told the thief on the cross, “Today you will be with Me in paradise.”

In Revelation 2, "Paradise" can be translated “the royal garden of a king.”

Heaven is a place of sight and sound.

Heaven is a place of feasting, fellowship, friends, and family.

Heaven is a place of fun.

Paul and Barnabas encouraged the believers to "continue in the faith."

We need to “continue in the faith.”

You don’t go to Heaven to find Christ; you go to Christ to find Heaven.

Scripture Referenced

Romans 5:3

John 11:4–7

Proverbs 30:7–9

2 Corinthians 1:4-5

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Learn more about Greg Laurie and Harvest Ministries at harvest.org.

This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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Hey there Victor, listening to the Greg Laurie part just a ministry supported by harvest partners on Greg Laurie encouraging you if you want to find out more about harvest ministries. To learn more about how to become a harvest partner, just go to harvest.org. I want to talk about suffering and specifically I want to address the question why do Christians have to suffer sewer in our series in the book of acts, and I want you to have two passages ready to go to acts chapter 14 and second Corinthians chapter 12 when we pray together. Father, we ask you to speak out to us from your word. We know your word is truth that we need truth in a world that's just filled with lies and half-truths. So we ask you to bless this time a Bible study and we ask this in Jesus name, amen. Have I love to talk about heaven. What is heaven like what will we see when we arrived in heaven. The reason I bring this up as before, is here in acts chapter 14 is a story of when the apostle Paul died and actually went to heaven and he writes about it elsewhere. Second Corinthians 12. What he saw when he was there so Paul was given a glimpse of glory ever go to a movie theater. People are going to theaters like they used to, but do you see the trailers for the upcoming films I saw trailer recently for a film I was really looking forward to seeing it was a fantastic trailer and I finally saw the film I have to tell you the trailer was better than the film that happened sometimes will Paul was given a glimpse of glory. But in this case the trailer was not better than the film he just got a sense of what was coming and we will have those moments in our lives were wicked since special, you know, sort of a magical moment a beautiful sunrise or sunset or a meal with family and friends are, or a worship moment in church where you thought all men. I wish it could always be this way. We just were in Hawaii, a recently visiting our church let her know if you know about this, but we have a church campus in Maui. It's called harvest through Milani and we also have the campus of course in Southern California to altogether. We went to speak at the church there went over 1100 people come to the serve to services. It was fantastic, but as it turns out there were a lot of whales are there a lot of wills that it come in and were leaving quite yet and so someone said to me, you'll never find more whales curing Maui. Then write down a set all men. I wish I could go look at them up close nieces he there's a guy in a church of the boat. Maybe he'll take you out and sure enough we got on this guys boat and we went out and saw some whale so here's a little video that I shot with my iPhone but we were looking at whales in Maui wait for it. Lahaina whale is waving at me," only Vince now way baby come back any tenant follow could see I was not and I just can't live without you whale combat you blame it all on me, I know that wasn't a very good rendition of baby combat, but it just occurred to me, yet you know the whale when the water and that song popped into my head so I heard that whale sing to each other so I would thought I would try singing to the whales and that's probably why the will, never surfaced again but tell you the cooling about Maui is on any given day you can see whales you can see dolphins you can see a rainbow of courses, sunrise and a sunset. To me these are glimpses of greater things to come. I'll talk about that in a few moments, but here in the book of acts were sort of shifting gears now this is sort of the second section of this great book a part of a series were calling upside down, living the focus of acts. No shifts from Peter to call the ball. Of course, formally Saul was converted on the Damascus Road on his way to hunt down and arrest Christians. God got hold of Saul he's been whipping them into shape for the encouragement of amending Barnabas and the help of other believers and out. Paul well, he's ready for prime time, and he had a very daunting task before and so the time Paul was preaching was in the first century and Rome was in control.

Now I know that we think things are bad in our culture today and actually really are but I want you to consider for a few moments the challenges the Paul faced in his day as he brought the gospel to his generation. Rome, as I said was in power. Immorality was rapid. Divorce was widespread slavery was the order of the day and infanticide was a regular practice where they would murder their children. There was prostitutes roaming the streets pulling people in the pagan temples add to this the fact that the religious establishment was completely corrupt. Idolatry was rampant's spiritism was prevalent people or even outright worshiping demons for so this is the culture. Paul has to reach but in short order without social media without video without any of the tech we have today.

These first century apostles and their followers effectively turned the world upside down and we've been given the same task in our day to go out and reach the world of the gospel and turn it upside down or should I say right side up. When any nice if the moment we came to Christ, we just went straight to heaven. You say to someone, would you like to accept Jesus in your life right now, they would say yes if you will pray this prayer with me, Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner, I believe you're the Savior coming to my life. I'm sorry for my sins, and you open your eyes improve your and have it well, that's not the way it works one day will be in heaven. But until that day, we have to persevere and you know the Christian life is a life of constant growth, constant learning and God is effectively preparing us for the afterlife were prepared in this life for the afterlife wife because heaven is a prepared place for prepared people.

Jesus says I've gone to prepare a place for you. So God was getting Paul ready and Barnabas ready and the first century church ready and he's getting you ready as well.

Being a Christian isn't always easy. We have challenges we have trials we have temptations but we need to persevere. In fact, that's the focus of the verses going to look at right now.

In acts chapter 14 verse 21 it says when they preach the gospel to that city. This would be Paul and Barnabas and made many disciples. That means they let a bunch of people to Christ that were helping them get grounded in their faith.

They return to Lysistrata I chromium and Antioch strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue with the faith insane weed through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God. Think about that verse weed through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God. All I know we all like that verse. We want to have a carefree life and easy live for the sun is always shining the birds are always singing we might say I want to fly like an eagle telling free. You know like the song says listen birdbrain life is hard and life can be challenging.

In fact, Job said it well when he said were all adrift in the same boat to few days too many troubles. How relevant that statement is even today, Jesus talked about two men that build homes one built on a solid foundation of rock. The other build on a shaky foundation of sand and the storms came and beat against those houses and the house that was built on the rock stood and the house that was built on this and collapsed quickly. Sort of like one of those sand castles that the kids will build at the beach and like to be like that you decide what you're going to build your life on are you going to build it on the rock which means Christ himself a relationship with him or are you going to build it on the shifting sand of materialism or pleasure or even religion because, listen. It's interesting to note storms come in every life, every life is going to face some kind of adversity. The rain falls on the just and the unjust. The Bible says there's no getting around it. CS Lewis describes it as the problem of pain there's no vacation from human suffering and tragedy.

Because of this. Maybe that's why Benjamin Disraeli, the former minister of England once said that is reviewing his own life quote youth is a mistake. Manhood is a struggle old age is a regret." While that's a pretty dismal look at life. The Russian philosopher and novelist Tolstoy summed up for attitudes that people have toward the problems of life and the suffering that can come number one.

He said there are those of you life is all bad, just get drunk to forget it like a man.

I can't change it. Its miserable life sucks so I might as well just party number two. He said those there are those who view life as all bad by suicide is remove themselves from it tragically was seen this happen more and more, especially among young people. Before then, finally, there are those of you life is all bad.

According to Tolstoy and they just sort of accepted like others nothing I can do is resist the way this when there's 1/5 category that Tolstoy and Benjamin Disraeli missed and that is simply this, there is a loving God who, despite the worst tragedy can bring good out of Beth.

There is a loving God who despite tragedy can actually bring good out of bed. That doesn't mean that he takes bad things and make them good because our bad things that happen to us, that will never be good but there is a promise in the Bible, you probably heard it.

Romans 828 and since we know that all things work together for good to those that love God, the called according to his purpose. This is where were at.

As Christians, were not exempt from suffering, but God can use suffering in our life wife because too many tribulations we will enter the kingdom of God. That's what we read already there in acts chapter 14 sometimes as believers we may think that when I can never suffer. That will only happen to someone else.

But listen to this. Christians get cancer.

Christians have disabilities. Christians die in automobile accidents. We did know that won't happen. Anyone not seen, it will happen you, but it could is you know are oldest son Christopher went to be with the Lord. Back in 2008 and he died in a tragic automobile accident. It was the worst moment of our lives and I had people come up to me and say why did God let this happen to you. I mean, you're a preacher you do so much good for people. Why would this happen to you.

Why would you even ask that question.

Do you think because I'm a preacher I get a pass on pain. I because I'm out. You know, telling people about Jesus.

I am not going to personally suffer as I said this can happen to any of us. There's things that happen. The just don't make sense but we always remind ourselves that God is in control. Paul writes in Romans 53 nieces. We can rejoice. We run when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us to develop endurance and endurance develop strength of character, and character strings and strengthens our competent hope of salvation, and this hope will not lead to disappointment.

We know how dearly God loves us, wait, hold on.

Stop the presses. Paul what are you saying to us your scene trials, problems, and God loves us and God loves us. Why would he not remove the trials and the problems answer because he loves us and as we already read through many tribulations we will enter the kingdom of God as an example look at the story of Lazarus know Lazarus, Mary and Martha were all personal friends of Jesus, by the way, it would be very hard not bring that up in the conversations right to be talking to someone to see what you know Jesus were good friends just texted me five minutes ago.

I see the text. The other is Jesus anyway so Jesus says this to me or or Jesus did this the other day are what we're having dinner with Jesus at our house but they really were friends of Jesus and he would often visit them.

They lived in a little town called Bethany, which was not far from Jerusalem, so when he was headed into Jerusalem he would stop at the home of Barry Martha and Lazarus. So Martha was an amazing cook and any love to hang out with them. So one day, Lazarus got really sick and does a sent word to Jesus. Jesus, the one that you love is sick. Please come quickly and heal the probably the Christ would stop what he was doing and rush back and lay his hand on Lazarus and heal them of his sickness.

But there's an interesting verse. When Jesus heard that Lazarus was sick, sick. John 11 four says Jesus heard it and he said Lazarus sickness will not end in death. Know what happened for the glory of God.

So the son of God will receive glory from this. So although Jesus loved Mary and Martha and Lazarus. He stayed where he was, for the next two days because that happened. Lazarus died. So what happened there. So Jesus finally shows up at Bethany.

Not only did he not get there in time to heal Lazarus. He missed the funeral event and so Martha says to them. Lord, if you would've been here, my brother would not have died. Let me just paraphrase that Jesus Martha St. you blew it we were bragging on you. We were telling everyone you would come and save the day and our brother is dead, and then Mary came and effectively said the same thing.

Jesus said brother will live again. Martha says I know I know the resurrection of the last day Jesus and Martha. I am the resurrection and the life he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live in is whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.

You believe this, then of course you know what happened, she should note Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.

He said Lazarus come forth. It's a good thing. He said Lazarus come forth. Every would've just said, come forth every body and every grave around the planet would've suddenly risen Lazarus come forth and Lazarus was in the afterlife called back into this life and he lived again. They wanted the healing Jesus wanted a resurrection so maybe in your life right now it seems like God is late. God is not come through for you.

You need to just hold on and remember that he is in control. She is doing all things according to his purpose. So let's answer the question now. Why do Christians have to suffer. You might want to write these points down number one suffering and adversity can keep us humble, suffering and adversity can keep us humble. Listen to this prosperity can make people proud and self sufficient. You know, we have money in the account and we have a home that we live in. Maybe it's even. Often we have the car that we drive and we have our family and we have our career and were thinking. Why do I need God in my life. That's why the writer of Proverbs 30 said this give me enough food to live on either too much nor too little.

If I'm too full and might get independent St. God who needs them. Sometimes that happens I don't need God. I have everything that I need in life. So God may send adversity as a wake-up call in your life to show you how much you need God. You know, the Israelites marched of the wilderness for 40 years. By the way, it doesn't take 40 years even on foot to get from Egypt to Israel takes maybe 40 days but it took them 40 years. Obviously there were going around and around in circles and God would supernaturally feed them with man in the coolest GPS system you've ever seen. It was a fire by night and a cloud by day.

That would guide them along. But when they finally entered the promised land. The land of Canaan. God said this to. Then he said that was you coming to this land flowing with milk and honey when you have even you are full. Be careful lest you forget the Lord don't forget the Lord give thanks to the Lord for he is good and his mercy endures forever. It can be as simple as giving thanks for a meal when it served to you. Maybe you're in a restaurant and the food arrives. It's great to pray a prayer by the way, doesn't have to be long prayers. The food is hot. People want to eat the food but give thanks to God for that food. Give thanks to God right now for your help.

Give thanks to God for all that he is given to you and most of all, if you're a Christian, give thanks to God for your salvation, but then sometimes adversity hits and it gets us on our knees like the church was on their knees praying for Peter in acts chapter 12 after he was arrested on the heels of James being put to death and we read constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.

So again, suffering and adversity can happen in our life to keep us humble in his book the problem of pain. CS Lewis writes and I quote God whispers to us in our pleasures. He speaks in our conscience, but he shouts in our pains.

Pain as his megaphone to rouse the deaf world." Yeah pink and get our attention chanted as the psalmist said before I was afflicted I went astray.

But now I have kept your word.

Number two.

What is God allow suffering adversity trials hardship in the life of the Christian because adversity teaches us eternal truths. We would not otherwise learn. We try to avoid pain at all. Constantly like when you go to the dentist and he'll pump you full and Novocain and then also visiting in her one bit. But for me it always does her somehow and anywhere we want to avoid pain. We want to lose weight without having to cut back on her eating or we want to get into better shape or the shape we just like the shape or rent were more of a pear shape people even call us Lord's prayer.

Not a good thing. So you want to get a better shape. But how can I do this without having to work out answer. You can haven't you heard that expression, no pain, no gain.

So God can allow trials in your life to whip you in the shape because the way you build muscle up is by effectively tearing it down and so trials are like God's gym where he's building us up. Ultimately Keene reminds us of the deeper need for, and since hunger pains remind you that your hungry and man I tell you I might, I get hungry at the same time every day I wake up hungry.

The moment I wake up I'm hungry and I want to eat immediately. My wife won't even think about breakfast and sometimes she won't get to lunch and think how can you not think about this because my stomach is saying it's time to eat. Same thing for lunch.

Same thing for dinner. Keene reminds us of a deeper need. What is the deeper need.

It's a need for God himself and there are lessons there are truths that we will learn in the valleys of life that we will not learn on the mountaintops of life, so we hate the valleys. We would rather avoid the valleys. We would rather miss the storms with there are things you learn about God and yourself that you learn their coming back to CS Lewis in his book the problem of pain.

He writes quote team removes the veil that plants the flag of truth within the fortress of a rebel soul." Now don't get me wrong I'm not saying the Christian life is all pain and suffering.

I hope it doesn't come off that way.

There's many wonderful times that we have joyful events that we experience things that we can enjoy. In fact, if you're having a great day. Right now, don't let me ruin it for you. I just rejoice. Lord, thank you for this day thinking that things are going well. First Timothy 617 says God gives us richly all things to enjoy.

So enjoy it bunches the realistic and know that adversity will come in time. Why again Qubec acts 14 through much tribulation we enter the kingdom of God number three why does God let this go through pain and adversity and suffering, so will have a new compassion for others and pick so will have a new compassion for others and pain.

Basically we live in a world of pain and hurt. I know right now I'm talking to somebody who's in deep pain, horrible adversity, intense suffering, something is very difficult in their life and you're almost ready to give up hope and I want you to know that God is here he is with you. And if you're not a Christian, yet he can come and live inside of you, and you need to reach out to him, but as Christians we live in a world filled with pain and there are people that need our help.

It's been said if you preach to hurting people.

You will never lack for an audience because there's so many hurting people. It's also been said, quote, success builds walls failure builds bridges semi-since the fall.

He talked about is my successful life my wonderful life my perfect life who can relate to that success builds walls, people are resentful but failure builds bridges, meaning that hey, I've suffered I've gone through hardship. I've messed up but here's what God is done for me.

Second Corinthians 1. Paul writes he comforts us in all of our troubles in order that we might comfort others when their troubles will be able to give them the same comfort God is given us the more we suffer for Christ the more God will shower us with this comfort through Christ. So God can take the suffering of your life and you can use it as a tool to encourage other people's about to acts chapter 14 we are Paul and Barnabas rolling into town and tell you it's a place called Lysistrata and now we see what happens on a typical day in the life of the apostles had seems like wherever Paul went there was either Orion or a revival.

Amazing. So here's what happened on this particular day next chapter 14 and reading adverse eight down and this is from the new living translation while they were the strut.

Paul and Barnabas came upon a memo crippled feet would been the way from birth and he had never walked. He was sitting and listening as Paul preached, and looking straight at him. Paul realized he had faith to be healed. So Paul called to him with a loud voice and said stand up and the men jumped to his feet and started walking when the crowd saw with Paula Dunn.

They shouted in their local dialect. These men are gods in human form and they decided that Barnabas was the Greek god Zeus, and Paul was Hermes well Trixie, then the people going to offer sacrifices to Paula Barnabas pulses. We are not God's were here to talk to about the living God that loves you and wants to forgive you of this sin of idolatry and he tries to turn them from the Lord. But now along comes the opponents of Paula Barnabas who followed them from the city they been in before.

Verse 19. Then some Jews arrived from Antioch and I chromium and one the crowds to their side and they stoned Paul and dragged him out of town thinking he was dead. But as the believers gathered around him. He got up and went back into the town. Tracy never a dull moment right now. Look how fickle these people are one moment they see your gods and we want to worship you in the next moment they stone Paul and Barnabas thinking they had killed. We can be so fickle. Reminds us of the crowds that greeted Jesus on Palm Sunday Lane palm branches don't say no Santa to the son of David, and then only days later that same fickle crowd was crying out the words, crucify him of his blood be upon us and upon our children but in this story we see two primary forms of Satanic attack when you set out to serve the Lord know you're going to face opposition.

Here's one way Satan attacks out word attack. Verse 19 the stone Paul and dragged him out of the city.

I don't know if you understand how horrific mean stone was. That's how young Stephen died. Sometimes they would take a person to bury them up to their waist and the grounds of the could not escape. Other times they would just throw rocks at them, but they could be buried up to their ways and the people would pick up huge rocks and starts keeping them at the person you can understand what a painful way. This would be to die out word attack. Why did the attack. Paula Barnabas one of the debt they will they preach the gospel, their very presence in this town proclaiming this truth irritated people and the same is true of us.

Listen as a Christian, you're a bright light in a dark place coming back to movie theaters from moment I've ever been in the theater were someone turns on their phone there checking their social media or whatever men your eyes just darted over to that light, even a small light in a dark place, so when Christians are out there walking with the Lord you have that effect on people.

You're sort of like sold in an open wound that people don't like it, why are we persecuted for our faith. Jesus gives us the answer. In John 15 pieces of the world hate you know that it hated me before it hated you. If you were of this world, the world would love its own, but because you're not of this world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

Jesus says remember the word I said to the servant is not greater then his Lord. If they persecuted me, the persecuted use of the devil attacks outwardly. If you've had this happen to you. People make fun of you if you've lost a job because of your faith maybe are alienated from your family because of your faith maybe are ostracized from others because of your faith so outward attack, but then the devil attacks in other ways, and the second way is through Fry because what did the people do they see these men are God's. So the devil will say God would never use you your worthless your pathetic but you believe the promise of Scripture and you read where the Lord says that God uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise first Corinthians 127 is the God can use me and you step out and God speaks through you or touches another life through you, the devil changes his approach comes in the whispers in your ear, your house, you are all that and a bag of chips.

You are the greatest man of the greatest woman that God is ever used and we starts and yeah you know that may be true that so it's probably listen to this popularity is more lethal the persecution you know when you're persecuted it'll cause you to hang onto the Lord more tightly deprived can alienate you from God so outward attack or telling you that you're the greatest of all time. He just wants to bring you down and immobilize you because the devil knows the pride goes before a fall. Okay, so here's Paul.

He's been stoned now go back to ask 14 verse 19. They stoned Paul and drug them out of town thinking he was dead, but the believers gathered around him and he got up and went back into the town okay so is this the moment that Paul died and went to heaven is a will. How do you know that happened because he talks about it in second Corinthians 12 and I read the verse you in a moment. So there was a moment in his life when all die and went into the afterlife. He went into the presence of God. Many commentators believe and I happen to agree with them that this is probably the moment when it happened. This is when Paul died noticeably worse gather around him and pray for him to be raised in China understand what that was like.

So here's Paulie. He's preaching the gospel he stone. He's fronted of the presence of God and the Lord says something like Paul. Welcome to heaven and you're doing a great job down there, and earth and I have some good news and some bad news, good news and bad views went to good use when you're in heaven and you'll be back again again where my going now that brings into the bed. Is Paul there some believers down there and earth praying for you to be raised from the dead Paul by the said Lord to listen to them, their centers know Pauline, I have some work for you to do down there still. Meanwhile, back on earth. Here's the lifeless body of Paul laying there after he's been stoned in these Christians are pre-and oh God raised Paul uphold Lord bring them back to life full Lord, hear our prayer. Suddenly they see the color returned to his face in the sea, his hand begin the move but to their amazement, and it makes up for supposedly hit someone, or sets out the story. That's what I would've done I can tell you this much. There's no person who is in heaven right now given the choice would come back to earth voluntarily. But Paul went to Kevin and he returns again.

What did he see when he went to glory. Now we look in second Corinthians chapter 12 verse one Paul writes it's doubtless not profitable for me to boast I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I knew one man in Christ. 14 years ago. So when he wrote this was talking about an event that it happened 14 years earlier 14 years ago. He says whether he is in the body or out of the body. I don't know, God knows such a man was caught up to the third heaven and I know such a man, whether he was in the body or out of the body. I'm not really sure. God knows this man was caught up to paradise.

Listen to this. He heard things so astounding they cannot be expressed in words. Things no human is allowed to tell. So Paul was given a preview of heaven according to the Bible. There are three habits number one, there would be the first heaven which would be the sky, the clouds, the atmosphere surrounding our planet. The second heaven would most likely be outer space is on the moon, the galaxies and the stars and the third heaven will that's the dwelling place of God himself. Though we think of the third heaven is really far away is it or is it just another dimension. While we don't know exactly where the third heaven is but it's a real place that does exist in the maybe closer than we think. Paul was in heaven, but he was given a return ticket to work and he says I was caught up in the paradise verse four to an interesting word that he uses there for paradise to choose three times in the Bible, indicating the future life. Jesus ascended to the thief on the cross and by the way, it was probably worse in the thief. It was probably an insurrection is possibly a murderer because the Romans did not crucify mere feats to make up your hands off with a wooden crucify.

So this hardened criminal is crucified next to Jesus and Jesus is hanging on the cross and he says of the father father forgive them for they know not what they do and that criminal turns to Jesus and says, Lord, remember me when you come in your kingdom and Jesus is truly, truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise. While talked about being at the right place at the right time, then man was taking the paradise with Jesus himself and then also this word paradise, using been used to describe the afterlife is found in Revelation chapter 2 and he could literally be translated the Royal Garden of the King, the Royal Garden of the kingdom of this is very hard for us to envision, but imagine the most beautiful landscape you've ever seen a multiply it many many times and you get a glimpse of what heaven is like. He said it was paradise pulses. I heard things so astounding they cannot be expressed in words. Things no human is allowed to tell have what is it like it's a place of site and sound.

Heaven is a place that is a reality. It's a real place in a deal movie the great evangelist once said heaven is as much of a place that Chicago is it's a destination it's a locality we often think of heaven in a in a vague way, but it's a real place that we go to and it's a wonderful place.

It's a place of feasting and fellowship. It's a place of sight and sound in friends and family that were reunited with Dare I say it heaven is a place of fun you have fun in heaven will rejoice in heaven like the Bible says Jesus said there is joy in the presence of the Angels over one sinner that comes to repentance. Imagine how wonderful it's going to be so. Paul writing about this experience of being caught up in the third heaven then comes to this conclusion in second Corinthians 12. This is from the Phillips translation. He says therefore I cheerfully made up my mind to be proud of my weaknesses because they mean a deeper experience of the power of Christ.

I can even enjoy weaknesses and suffering and persecutions and difficulties for Christ sake from a very weak this makes me strong in him. When we come back to my son Christopher who went to be with the Lord cemented in 2008. It was the worst day of my life. If words could have killed a person I felt when I heard those words that she had died that I could have died on the spot I collapsed to the ground. I didn't know what to do and I went up to my office, which is was above my garage at that time and I got down to my knees and and I traded Job like prayer and I said Lord you gave him to us and I give them back to you and I sense the presence of God in such a tangible way. I was asked a while ago on a television interview that one moment of my life that I experience a present presence of God more than any other side reflect back to my life.

Well, was that the day of my conversion was a wonderful day but that wasn't the day I experience his presence like no other day was that the day of my baptism. No great day. But that was in the day wasn't the day that I got married fantastic data that was in the day of the day I experience God like no other day was the day that was the worst day of my life.

But God was there. And God took that adversity and and I if I could change it. I will be honest with you, and I if I could bring my son back I would but God is taken. This adversity and work it through my life and is given me a message to bring hope to others as I hope this message is done for you, so here's Paul he dies he goes to heaven he summoned back to earth a little bit happens next adds chapter 14 verse 20 is a believers gathered around him. He got up and he went back into the town and the next day he left with Barnabas for dirty but is okay, let's go. We have things to do. We have souls to save.

Let's get back to work again honey.

You would've thought that he would later run I want to talk about this or write a book about his experiences in heaven ago on a book tour.

No he says I got Geneva describe what I saw but I know what I'm supposed to do on earth see his vision of heaven's experience of heaven impacted him in the way that he lived on her fish and said that our hearts should be in heaven but our feet should be on this earth. This is why the apostle Paul writes and says that we should set our mind on things above, which means we should be heavenly minded people and Paul certainly was. He goes right back to work to reach other people coming back to that statement that we started with the next 14 verse 21. After he preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned the list draw I Coni him in Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them, which means encouraging them to continue in the faith, saying through many tribulations we enter the kingdom of God one to the notices. Those were closing this message that Paul and Barnabas went back to I Coni him in Antioch is a so that's the place they were run away from this is where their enemies came from that stirred the crowd up against them, resulting in the stony sort of visit winner going to that town again. Forget about it no they go back to that town again these courageous apostles would not be stopped.

A look of these encouraging words of Paul and Barnabas because they resonate with us today.

They exhort the believers to continue in the faith. That's my word of encouragement for you. Whatever you're going through right now. Whatever adversity you're facing whatever temptation is knocking at your door. Whatever trial you are going through. I urge you to continue in the faith notice.

Paul did not say continue in the feeling. Don't build your Christian life on your emotions because emotions are fickle. They come and go. The Bible says it just shall live by faith continue in the faith. Hold on. Keep persevering wife because too many tribulations we will enter the kingdom of God and if we have loved ones that have preceded us who die believing in Jesus we will see them again in one day.

All of the sufferings of this life will make sense and maybe not until that day we get to the Lord. But here's my final question for you.

Are you ready to go to heaven as I said earlier, heaven is a prepared place for prepared people listen, you don't go to heaven to find Christ you go to Christ to find heaven. Let me say that again you don't go to heaven to find Christ you go to Christ to find heaven. Jesus said I am the way the truth and the life no man comes a father but by me.

The only way to heaven. The only way that the presence of God the father is through Jesus Christ who is the son of God, who died on the cross for our sins. Why did he die. Why did he suffer he died for our sins so we could be forgiven. Jesus said it this way in a very familiar verse John 316.

He said for God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have ever lasting life you have everlasting life. Do you know that you go to heaven when you die.

Got to be ready. Let's say you're going to take a trip. I mention we flew to Hawaii, led by plane ticket and I had to get a seat assignment that I did go through security and I had to eat horrible food on the plane that's mandatory. I think airline food is an artsy moron. The worse but anyway you have to go through these protocols you have to wear a mask now on planes which I don't really enjoy.

You have to keep your seatbelt on, etc. then you land at your destination and then you of your return flight, you can just walked out of the airport security get on any plane you want and do it your way.

You can't do that in the same way if you want to go to heaven. You have to have your reservation will God is a place reserved for you. Jesus said in my father's house are many mansions were not so I would've told you that if I go I will come again and receive you want to myself. God is a reservation for you, but you need to take is okay. How much is the cost.

You couldn't afford it you can buy your way into heaven, you can earn your way into heaven to your good works. The only way to heaven is through Jesus who effectively has bought the ticket for you with you Wilkie is purchased your salvation and it's a gift.

Now someone offers you a gift and you want to gift what you need to do.

You need to receive the gifts you need to open the gift you need to enjoy the gift God is offering you the gift of eternal life. The Bible calls that the indescribable good.

So here's a gift. Are you going to take to get or you can leave it unopened.

Jesus said here for me or you're against me. This is an either or proposition. Listen if you want to go to heaven. You want your sins forgiven. If you want Christ to enter into your life and help you through whatever you're facing. You need to ask him to come and he will not force his way in your life. Jesus says behold I stand at the door knock in the future my voice and open the door. I will come in. He didn't say follow my teaching said and admire me and try to emulate me to others. No he said I will come in being a Christian is having Christ live inside. Would you like Jesus to come in your life would you like him to forgive you of your sin. Would you like to know that you go to heaven when you die. If so, lean Juniper a simple prayer and I would like you to pray this prayer out loud after me or in the quietness of your heart. If you choose, you need to say this to God because the Bible says whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. So in this prayer you're calling on the name of the Lord's again as I pray, why don't you pray this after me just pray these words or Jesus. I know that I'm a sinner but I know that you're the Savior who died on the cross for my sin. I turn from my sin.

I'm sorry for it and I choose to follow you, Jesus.

From this moment forward. Thank you for hearing my prayer and answering my prayer in Jesus name I ask this in here. Everybody thinks you're listening to this podcast to learn more about harvest ministries follow the show and consider supporting it. Just go to harvest.org and find out how to know God personally go to harvest.org and click on know God


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