27 Jun Good News #1 – How God Will Fix the World He Made
– Well, I know you’ve been getting a lot, a lot, a lot of bad news, and I wanna give you a lot of good news. Lately, it seems like all we are getting is bad news, and that is bad for your health. That is bad for your soul. There was a study done and resulted in an article that was published in 2016 in Forbes magazine. Neuropsychologist, Dr. Fabian van den Berg. If I could summarize what he said, he basically said that bad news causes bad health, that the more bad news you receive, the more bad health you will experience. What we are finding is that you and I were custom designed by God to be recipients of good news. And when we get good news, we get healthy. When we get bad news, our health begins to diminish. And so I wanna take this series and talk about good news and give you some hope, help and healing for the future. The good doctor says this. He says that, “Bad news increases the risk for mental illnesses “Like anxiety and depression. “It will shorten your life. “It will make you weaker in general. “It can cause a domino effect “Shifting the balances in your brain and your entire body.” As you are getting lots of bad news, you need some good news. This is exactly what the wisdom book of Proverbs says. Proverbs 15:30 says, “The good news refreshes the bones.” You wanna be strong? You need good news. In addition, Proverbs 25:25 says that, “Like cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news.” I live and minister, preach and serve here in the desert. And once you move here, you learn very quickly, you need to stay hydrated. What Proverbs is saying that, as much as your body needs water for hydration, your soul needs good news so that it too can be nourished and replenished. Well, I have some really good news for you. While the world is giving you lots of bad news, I’m excited to bring to you this new sermon series on good news. Good news. That’s what we’re gonna focus on. That’s what we’re gonna use to feed and nurture and to grow and to fortify your soul through these troubled times. Now Jesus says it this way. He says in Luke 4:43, he says, “I must preach the good news of the Kingdom of God “For I was sent for this purpose.” Jesus summarized much of his ministry on the earth, as being a messenger of good news. Good news connected to something that he calls the Kingdom of God. We also use terms like heaven or the Kingdom of heaven. Here’s why this is so critical and important for you. What we are seeing right now play out globally is that when a little bit of good news goes out, people’s hopes rise. When bad news goes out, their hopes fall. We even see this in our stock market. One day, there’s good news, the market rallies, the next day, there’s bad news, the market crashes. Your soul, your mind, your life cannot be lived like that. You need constant good news so that you have hope for your future and you have some health in the present. So what I’m gonna do in this series, I’m gonna unpack the big questions about heaven, the eternal life. What awaits us on the other side of the grave, what Jesus grand plan is for us all for all eternity. And I wanna just give you good news. If you want, in addition to signing up, to receive the sermon, you can also receive in your inbox, five days a week, Monday through Friday, daily devotions. I’ll take one question a day and answer it. I want you to get a steady dose of good news to get you through these hard times. It’s all free. And I just wanna be the bearer of good news for you. And these are some of the questions that came in on social media, and I’m really excited dig in to the subject of heaven, the Kingdom of God and the good news of Jesus Christ. Here was one of the first questions that I received. What is life on earth supposed to be like? We’re all frustrated. We all know that something has gone terribly wrong. We’re all wishing and wondering when we can get back to normal and let’s be no, let’s just be honest. Normal is okay, but it’s not awesome. Now abnormal is bad. Normal is kind of bad. God has something much better. And this is God intended you and I to experience life on the earth. Genesis 1:1, that’s where the whole storyline of the Bible begins. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” God is eternal. God is independent. God is preexisting. Everyone and everything proceeds from God. He made it all from nothing. Therefore you and I cannot live apart from God and we cannot find purpose, meaning and value in our life apart from God. We need God and God is good to us. The story continues in Genesis 2:7. “The Lord, God formed the man of the dust of the ground “And breathed into his nostrils the breath of life “And the man became a living creature.” This is our first father, Adam. This is the first human being that God made. And it says that he had a physical body, but he was not yet fully alive until he also received a spiritual soul. When God breathed the breath of life into the man, that’s where he received his soul. This is to tell you something that is a very important clue that you are one person in two parts. The not only do you have a physical body that you see you have a spiritual existence in your soul that God sees. You need to tend to both parts of who you are to be entirely healthy. And God’s relationship with you and his plan for you, it is physical and spiritual. It encompasses your body and your soul and God intends you to live in his created world, both body and soul. This is a crucial clue for where we’re going. Number three in Genesis 2:15, it says, “The Lord, God took the man “And put him in the garden of Eden to work it.” God creates the world. God creates us in his image and likeness. God puts us in a beautiful finished garden, and God shows us what completed perfected work looks like. And then he appoints humanity starting with our first father, Adam, to go out, to build, to create, to in every way, explore creation and bring it to the fullness of its glorious potential. What this means is you and I were made for work. We like to work. We need to work. And right now that many people have lost their jobs, it’s why there’s so much concern and crisis because ultimately we were created for purposeful work to be done. In addition, Genesis 2:24 and 25, “A man shall leave his father and mother, “Hold fast to his wife. “They shall become one flesh. “The man and his wife were both naked, or if you’re in Texas naked, “And they were not ashamed.” So what God intends is us to not only exist as human beings, but male and female to fall in love, to build relationships, to build families, to build cultures, to subdue the earth, to expand, to multiply, flourishing and life, which is the opposite of so much of the devastation and death that we are now experiencing. In addition, Genesis 1:27-28 and 31, “God created man in his own image. Other animals and other created beings are not God’s image bearers like you are. You are special. You are handcrafted by God. He has a purpose and a destiny for you. He has placed a name on you. He has sent his son for you and you are his image bearer on the earth. “God created man in his own image, “Male and female… Binary gender, created them. “God blessed them. God loves to bless you. “And God said to them… God speaks to you and he wants you to hear and obey him. “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, “Subdue it and have dominion. “And God saw everything he had made “And it was very good.” When God gets done with all of his created work, when God is finished with this world, it’s perfect. It’s amazing. Everything is according to God’s perfect design decree. Everything is architected according to the flourishing of human life and the glorifying of God. It’s all not just good. It’s very good. Now you look at the world and it’s very bad and in a moment, I’ll explain to you what happened. But theologians will also call this the cultural mandate. So at this point, there is the earth. It is perfect. Adam and Eve are given dominion over lower animals and lesser creation. They are to have children, who’ll have children, multiplying, expanding. God is a living God and the God of life. In addition, they are to go forth. They are to create music, food, art, cultures, cities, to explore the globe, to go to the depths of the sea, to go to the heights of the sky, to leave, to explore other planets, to open universities, to create technology, to explore the fullness of all the potential that God has put within us and within his good creation. This is amazing. This is the world we’re all longing for. This is the world that we’re all hoping for. This is the world that we’re all frustrated that we can’t experience right now. And it says, lastly, God blessed the seventh day and made it holy because on it, God rested from his work. God sets in motion a seven day week where your work is meaningful, valuable and purposeful. And then there is rest so that you are healthy and you get to enjoy God, people and the life that God has given you with people. This is a healthy rhythm to life. Everything is according to God’s designed decree and desire and everyone is happy and everything is perfect. When God got done with the earth, you need to know this is exactly what it looked like. This is how it functioned. Just wanna run through an amazing list. And what I want you to do, I want you to use your imagination a little bit. We don’t live in this world. We live in this world, fallen and broken. We’ll deal with that in a moment. But imagine a perfect relationship with God and other divine beings. That’s what Adam and Eve enjoyed. They knew angels. They dealt with other divine beings. They knew God. They had a relationship with God. They walked with God, God talked with them. They talked with God, imagine a perfect relationship with God and other divine beings. Imagine access to heaven and earth. This garden of Eden, it is a realm. It is a realm that connects heaven and earth. Just as you are one person in two parts, so there is the unseen realm that God rules in, there is the seen realm that we live in. Eden was the connecting point between the two. Adam and Eve would go there to meet with God and angels and other divine beings. Imagine having at any point, access to the unseen realm, to the Kingdom of God that exists right now, where Jesus Christ is ruling and reigning over an invisible Kingdom. And he is ruling and reigning with divine beings and angels and departed saints. And that at any point you could just enter in, be in God’s presence, be with God’s people and enjoy God’s praises. In addition, imagine a perfect relationship between your body and soul. That your soul is healthy and it loves God, and it knows God. And it’s filled with open joy and your body is healthy. There’s no sickness. There’s no suffering. There’s no death. You don’t need to go to the doctor. You don’t wake up with any pain. You don’t have any fear of death in your future. There’s no need for medical attention because there’s no such thing as human suffering and death. Imagine working a perfect job under perfect conditions. A perfect job under perfect conditions where there wasn’t resistance and all of your energy resulted in fruitful labor. Imagine having mental, emotional health without any shame. It says here that they have no shame. You don’t have any regrets. You don’t have any haunts. You don’t have any fears. You don’t look back at your life and wish you had done things differently. Instead, you just have hope for your future. That’s the world that God made. Imagine as well, having a perfect relationship with others. Adam and Eve got along perfectly. Before sin enters the world, we get along perfectly. Imagine starting with your spouse, extending to your family, perfect, healthy life giving, joyful, burdenless relationships. In addition, imagine having dominion over lower creation. Imagine that animals obeyed you because you have dominion authority. Imagine that you could explore all of God’s creation. Imagine that all of God’s creation was one big adventure for the chasing by God’s children. That was God’s design to create and design. Imagine as well, perfectly healthy families. People love each other. People forgive each other. People serve each other. People bless each other. Please people tell the truth to each other. People build one another up, they don’t beat one another up. And then imagine perfect rest for your body and soul. You could sleep good. You would be replenished and refreshed on your day off and your vacations. When God is done, he says, “Everything is very good.” This is his original design. And let me tell you this, God has not deviated from his design. God has not moved from his intent for you and for all of his creation and all of his people for all of eternity. Things have changed, but this intent, this design from God has not changed. This is the world that God made. We have done something to it. God will fix it and restore it. But God’s plan for humanity has not changed. That’s good news. So as you look at what God says in his word and the world that he has prepared for us, and then you look at the world that we live in, the next question that I got from social media is one that we are probably all asking to some degree. What went wrong on the earth? If everything is this amazing, and now it’s this awful, what happened? The Bible alone helps us interpret reality and understand what went wrong in the world that God made very good and now things are very bad. Genesis 3:1, “Now the serpent was more crafty “Than any other beast of the field “That the Lord God had made.” Here is the entrance of Satan and the demonic realm. God created angels. There was a rebellion in heaven. Satan and the demons lost that war. You can read about it in Revelation 12:7-9, they were cast down to the earth. They wanted to take over heaven. They wanted to rule and reign. They wanted to be the ones who would determine the eternal destiny and what it would look like for all humanity. And here they are coming. Satan and demons are coming to lead our first parents astray and really what this is, this is that Satan lost his place in heaven. He shows up on earth. Eden is heaven on earth. It is that realm that connects the two realities, the seen in the unseen, and he shows up there to ruin that heaven for us as well. That’s exactly why he comes. Genesis three reports that Adam and Eve, our first parents, they had a choice to make and it implicated all of us. They could side with God and obedience or side with Satan and disobedience. They could choose life with God or they could choose death with Satan. Tragically, our first parents and all human beings since have sinned against God and sided with Satan and declared war against the world that God made. “And then the eyes of both of them were opened. Our first parents, “They knew that they were naked.” So now they have a self awareness and a sense of shame. “They sewed fig leaves together “And made themselves loincloths. Now people are hiding from one another and you can’t really know me and I can’t really know you. And if you find out who I really am, you will not like me. Here comes human insecurity. Here comes relational struggle and strain. “And they heard the sound of the Lord, God “Walking in the garden in the cool of the day. I told you that Eden, it’s a paradise. It’s a garden. it’s where God would come to meet with his people. So God shows up in this place, this amazing realm and they run from God. This is what happens. God made us and loves us and pursues us and we run from him. This is the story of all human history. “They heard the sound of the Lord, God “Walking in the garden in the cool of the day “And the man and his wife hid themselves “From the presence of God.” They are shamed filled. They are hiding. They are fearful and running from God. So God pursues them. This is the good news of the storyline of the Bible. We run from God, God runs for us. That’s the good news. It doesn’t matter how far you’ve run. If you turn around, you will find that God is right there. You can never outrun God. Genesis 3:17, to Adam, God said, “Curse it is the ground because of you.” This is a tremendously significant insight that only the word of God gives us. Everyone would agree that something has gone terribly wrong, right? Entropy sets in, death sets in, everything goes into decline. The world is not as it should be. There are plagues. There is pestilence. There are pandemics. There are earthquakes. There are hurricanes. There are funerals. There is death. There is war. What has gone wrong? We live now in a world that was made very good, but it is now cursed. It is now cursed. Only the Bible really tells us what the problem is and who the solution is. What this means is now everything is fighting against us. That ultimately to do your job is nearly impossible. To stay healthy is nearly impossible. To have a healthy relationship is nearly impossible. To take care of your family is nearly impossible. To establish a functioning government for people is nearly impossible. To have enough resources for all of your needs is nearly impossible. You need to know that’s not what God did. That’s what we did. And then Genesis three, the Lord, God said, 22 through 24. “Now, lest he reach out his hand “And take also the tree of life and eat and live forever, “Therefore, the Lord, God “Sent him out of the garden of Eden… We got kicked out of Eden. We got kicked out of paradise. We got kicked out of the place where God would come to meet with us and provide for us. “Therefore, the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden “To work the ground from which he was taken. Now, his work is gonna be really hard as Adam and Eve had dominion over lower creation and rebelled against God’s authority. Now, as we go to exercise our authority, all of creation does to us what we have done to God that is fight us every step of the way, and also rebel against us. That’s to remind us of how we treat God. “He drove the man and at the east of the garden, “He placed the cherubim, that’s an angel, a divine being, “And flaming sword that turned every way “To guard the way to the tree of life.” Now God made us to live on this earth and heaven and earth were together and Eden, paradise. This amazing garden was that place between the seen and the unseen realm. It was literally heaven on earth and ultimately we’re kicked out of it. Not because God doesn’t love us, but because he loves us. God knew that if we kept coming to that place and partaking of the tree of life, that ultimately we would live forever. Apart from God, we would live forever like Satan and demons do totally disconnected from any loving, meaningful relationship with God. And since we chose sin and death, God allowed the death cycle to continue so that then he could bring us back to life to continue the relationship with us. But if we live forever, in a simple state, we would live forever separated from God. And so ultimately we were driven out. Now what this means is, there’s a sense of restlessness in all of our souls. It doesn’t matter what vacations we take. It doesn’t matter what homes we move into. It doesn’t matter what environments we enjoy. There’s something in us that always longs for more. So we’re always working on our house. We’re always moving to another house. We’re moving to another state. We’re moving to another city. Even when we settle in, we wanna go on vacation and go somewhere else. We’re restless because we are homeless. Ultimately we were made to live in this place that God intended, we’d been kicked out of it and we feel restless ever since. I want you to see though that at Eden, these two realms were connected, the unseen and the seen. The supernatural and the natural. And then sin separated those realms and we were kicked out of the supernatural and we were left in the natural. Couple of things I wanna say here. Number one, we all seek to be happy and healthy. Those are just human longings and desires. They are not bad. They are intended by God. God made us to be happy and God made us to be healthy. The pursuit of happiness and health can either lead you away from God or to God. But if you will chase that longing for happiness and health, I’ll tell you what, it’ll lead you to the Lord Jesus, ’cause he’s the only place you’ll ultimately be healed and eternally be happy. Number two, from the vacations we take to the homes we move into, we just never quite feel like we’ve arrived at the place that we’re intended to be. What happens as well then is when you are moving from one place to another, here’s what we tend to do. A little bit of research. Well, what’s it gonna be like when I moved there? And then we also look for directions, how do I get there? The reason I wanna talk to you about the Kingdom of God and heaven and the resurrection of the dead is that ultimately, that’s where you’re moving to. I want you to do a little bit of homework so you know where you’re moving and prepare yourself and look forward to it. And in addition, make sure you know the directions to get there. And his name is Jesus Christ. He says, “I am the way, the truth, the life.” The only way to leave this life and enter into that eternal life that God originally intended is through faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ. And what’s curious too, anthropologists tell us that every culture in the history of the world has some sense of a greater life that awaits people on the other side of this life. There are variations of what they think that might be, but it seems like we were made for eternity. God just brought to mind a verse in Ecclesiastes that God has set eternity in the hearts of men. That God made us with a longing for eternity. That’s why we hate death so much. That’s why we hate destruction. That’s why we hate devastation so much. We were made for life and God has set eternity in our hearts. And ultimately all of the anthropologists will say that human longing exists in every culture. You know what that means? It’s not cultural it’s created in us. It’s not something that culture causes in us, it’s something that God created in us and that is this appetite for eternity. And let me say this. We’re told a lot about hell. If you’re a Christian, you’ve heard probably a lot about hell. Maybe a little bit about heaven, maybe a lot about how to get there through trusting in the death, burial, resurrection of Jesus Christ. But my assumption and presumption is, most Christians don’t know enough about the Kingdom of heaven. They don’t know about the resurrection of the dead. They don’t know about the eternal life. They don’t know about God not deviating from his design plan to do good for all people for all eternity. And once you know that, once you see that, once you embrace that, that good news, like Proverbs says, it strengthens the bones and it hydrates the soul so that you can continue forward until you arrive safely at that home, that God has intended for you. One of the reasons that I think that we know so little about heaven is because I think Satan was kicked out of heaven. I think he hates heaven. I think he showed up at heaven on earth, in the garden of Eden. He declared war on that heaven. And I think ever since, Satan and demons have had a tremendously effective negative PR campaign to just tell us a lot of falsities about heaven as if it’s not a fun place, it’s not a joyful place, being with God is boring. It’s an eternal church service. You’re sitting on a cloud. You’re a fat baby in a diaper with little wings that can’t carry you to anywhere interesting. There’s nothing exciting going on. Meanwhile, down in hell, all the guys with the tattoos and the amps and the cigarettes and the girls in high heels are really having a great time drinking whiskey. And that’s kind of the myth and that’s not the way that it is, but that’s the false PR campaign that Satan has unleashed. And many people, including many believers think, “Hell, that’s where the fun people go. “Heaven, that’s where we go. “And it’s not the fun place to be.” And that’s not the case at all. I want you to hear this good news. I want you to receive these good news. I want you to prepare for this good future. The next question, therefore arises is, well, if that’s where we’re gonna be forever if we belong to Jesus and we live here now, what happens when we die and Jesus has not yet returned? What happens to people who die before Jesus returns? So I’m telling you about eternity and the eternal state and the great grand glorious future that God has for us. It’s super exciting and amazing. We’re not there yet. We’re gonna die. Someday Jesus comes back. We rise from death. We enter into the Kingdom and everything’s perfect. I’ll tell you about that in a few moments. In the meantime, what happens now if you die? 2nd Corinthians 5:8, Paul says, “We would rather be away from the body “And at home with the Lord.” Paul says, “I like my life, all is well, “But when I die and I get to be with Jesus, “That I’m actually looking forward to, “That would be the best case scenario.” I was having this conversation on a walk the other day with a friend of mine. And he said, “Man, I’m so glad I’m a believer. He said, “Because I don’t fear death. He said, “All my friends that are unbelievers, “The worst thing they can think of is death. And he said, “For me, I’m actually not scared of death. He has a family, he’s got a job. He’s happy. He’s living his life. He’s doing his best. He’s like, “But just to know, “I’m gonna die and be with Jesus. He’s like… He said, “What they think is worst case scenario, death, “Is actually best case scenario “Because it’s when eternal life begins.” Philippians 1:21-23, the apostle Paul says, “To live is Christ. As long as you’re alive, get to know Jesus, follow Jesus, love Jesus, serve Jesus, worship Jesus, talk about Jesus, share Jesus with others. Give money, time, service to the cause of Jesus. Just go all in on team Jesus. “To live is Christ to die is gain. Let me tell you, most people don’t believe this. They don’t believe that to die is gain. They believe it is total loss. It’s not. If you belong to Jesus to die is gain. It’s an upgrade. “To depart and be with Christ is far better.” What Paul says is there’s nobody who’s gonna die, be with Jesus and say, “Man, I really miss my old days on the earth.” Everyone will be glad that they finally made it home. The longings of their soul will be satisfied by the presence of God forever. So what happens to people who die now? Well, their body and soul are separated. Their body goes into the ground. Their soul goes into the presence of God. Their body stays in the seen realm of the natural. Their spirit, their soul, goes into the unseen realm of the supernatural. And then one day when Jesus returns, their body and soul are reunited as his was, they are resurrected from death, perfected forever to walk into the Kingdom of God that I’ll tell you about in just a few moments. But I wanted to share this verse with you. It’s a bit complicated, controversial, and complex. If you are a nerd, you’re gonna love this. If you’re not a nerd, now’s a good time to go use the restroom. We’ll see you in a moment. Here’s what it says in Revelation 6:9-11. What happens is that heaven opens up, the unseen realm opens up. Isaiah sees this realm. Ezekiel sees this realm. John here in Revelation sees this realm This unseen realm where departed saints have gone. So in the presence of God, right now, there’s a Kingdom. Heaven exists as a Kingdom right now ruled by a King named Jesus. He is surrounded by angels and other divine beings and departed saints, brothers and sisters who died trusting in him. And now they’re in his presence. And occasionally the Bible shows us what’s going on in the unseen realm. I was thinking about how to explain this. Right now, we cannot gather physically as we normally do, but we are gathering digitally to look into the worlds of people that we are not physically present in. We use FaceTime. We use Zoom. We use Skype. I’ve used all of those this week. Recently, it was my mom’s birthday. And mom, if you’re watching, I love you. Glad you’re doing good. Looking forward to seeing you again. Couldn’t be with my mom on her birthday. So what we did, we had dinner with the kids at our house and we Zoom called my mom. I’m in one place, we’re in one place, she’s in another place. And now technology allows me to see her environment where she is, and to communicate with her. These visions and unveilings, in the Bible, are a little bit like our technology. Someone is in another place. We are not physically present with them, but we can communicate with them and we can see what they are doing and they can see what we are doing. What we are now experiencing technologically happened in the Bible, prophetically, as God, literally connected heaven and earth and let people on earth see what’s going on in heaven. That’s exactly what happens here. And it’s amazing. He says, “I saw the souls of those who had been slain “For the word of God and the witness they had borne. It says, I saw on this Zoom call with Jesus in heaven. How crazy was that? I saw with Jesus on the Zoom call in heaven, a bunch of people who love Jesus and they died and they were there with him. They cried out with a loud voice, “Oh, sovereign Lord, Holy and true. “How long before you will judge and avenge our blood “On those who dwell on the earth?” “Then they were each given a white robe “And told to rest a little longer.” Number one, people who die and go into the presence of Jesus in the unseen realm and the Kingdom of heaven, they are consciously aware. Did you see that? And they communicate. They communicate. They’re consciously aware and they communicate. Their question is “Okay, Jesus. “When are you gonna fix all this mess that we’ve made “On the earth?” In addition, they seem to be aware of what is happening on the earth. Now there’s a lot here that’s a mystery. When I was 10 years of age, my grandpa George died. I love him very much. He’s one of my favorite people. I tell my kids all about him. I got photos of him up in my office. There was a bird house that we painted together and it’s in my office just to remind me of good times I had with my grandpa, George. According to this verse, my grandpa, George might be in heaven, fully aware that he has grandkids and great grandkids. My grandpa, George, might be fully aware of what we’re doing to get the gospel of Jesus Christ out. My grandpa, George might be fully aware of what is happening on the earth. They were, so it’s at least a possibility. In addition, they communicate with God asking him to be involved in the needs and affairs of men and women on the earth. Now let me say something here that is maybe even more controversial. I love teaching the Bible. Occasionally I get in trouble. I’ve not gotten in trouble for a while, so I’m gonna give it a shout right now. Think about this. I’ve always thought until I started this study on the eternal state, the Kingdom of heaven, that when we die, we just exist spiritually, but not physically. And then we don’t exist physically again, until Jesus comes and we rise from the dead. That’s what I’ve always thought. And then I read this verse and it seems like we may have some form of body after this life in the unseen realm, at least a temporary body, because what this is, this is the intermediate state. You live, you die, Jesus returns, you rise. That’s the eternal state. The time in the middle, the time that happens for those who die now is the intermediate state. For sure, we have conscious awareness in our soul, in that intermediate state. But do we also have a physical body in the intermediate state? Maybe. Here their dead souls were given white robes to wear. You know what you need for that? Physical body. A physical body. Additionally, Acts 1:11, Jesus died, Jesus rose, Jesus ascended into heaven. Question, is Jesus right now in the Kingdom of heaven in the unseen realm, is he in a physical body, yes or no? Yes. And it says in Acts 1:11, that he will return as he departed. Next time we see Jesus, he will be on the earth in a physical body. What that means is right now in the Kingdom of heaven, in the unseen realm, there’s at least one person who is in a physical body. His name is Jesus. This would indicate there may be others. In addition, there’s at least perhaps two other guys there that are in a physical body, Enoch and Elijah, neither of them died. They just got taken right into heaven in their physical body. They went into the unseen realm. Additionally, when Moses and Elijah come down to the Mount of transfiguration to meet with Peter and Jesus, they show up in a physical body. Sometimes the intermediate state is hard for us to understand because we’re wondering like, how would I possibly exist without a body? Lemme say, I don’t know. But according to this and some of those lines of reasoning, there may be some sort of intermediate body that you occupy on the other side of death until you get your eternal body at the resurrection of the dead. That is a possibility. Part of the reason that it is hard for us to think of holiness and godliness and purity in a body, it’s ’cause let’s be honest. Most of the naughty nasty stuff we do, it’s in the body. We watch stuff we shouldn’t watch. We drink stop we shouldn’t drink. We smoke stop we shouldn’t smoke. We take stuff we shouldn’t take, we touch stuff or people that we shouldn’t touch. And so for us, most of our sin is connected to this physical body. And so it’s hard for us to think that this body could be clean, pure, holy, good, redeemed, renewed, restored fully for God’s intentions, fully used according to God’s glory. That’s why the Bible says to honor God with your body. That’s why the Bible says to practice self control over the passions and pleasures of the body. There will be a day that your body is perfect. It is holy. It is devoted unto God as a temple of the Holy Spirit and that ultimately this body will be used for you to live your life in perfect holiness and worship to God. And there may be a body for you in the intermediate state. I don’t know. I’m throwing it out there. Something to think about. That leads to the next question that we received on social media. How will God repair the world? Okay, so we’ve established, God made the world good. We flat out, wrecked it head on collision with sin and death. God ultimately has a forever plan to fix, to restore, to renew, to redeem all things. How’s he gonna do it? How will God repair this world? How will he do it? Right now we’re hoping for doctors, we’re hoping for economies. We’re hoping for governments to fix the world. They’ll do their best. Let’s hope they do good, but ultimately, no matter how much effort is thrown at the curse, there’s only one guy who can ultimately fix it and his name is Jesus. Romans 8:18-22, “The sufferings of the present time…” The Bible doesn’t make light of what you’re going through. Right now, many people are suffering globally, suffering financially, suffering emotionally, suffering spiritually, suffering in an incredible season of upheaval and uncertainty and chaos. Suffering. It’s okay to be honest about reality, even if you believe that God has good in the future, you can be honest that they’re suffering in the present. “The sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing “With the glory that is to be revealed to us. “For the creation… Everything, because it’s all under the dominion of humanity, “Waits with eager longing “For the revealing of the sons of God. What he’s talking about here is, until the children of God are fully redeemed by God, the rest of creation is under the curse that we have caused. “For the creation was subjected to futility… The world is broken. It doesn’t work. We now know that. “Not willingly, but because of him who subjected it “And hope that the creation itself “Will be set free from its bondage to corruption… Yes, that would include viruses. That would include natural disasters. “That would include death “And obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. “So we know that the whole creation, “Everything has been groaning, aching, longing, moaning, “Weeping, crying together in the pains of childbirth.” Now, what he’s saying is this, that this world, God will not abandon. That instead, God will renew. The Bible uses words like renew, redeem, resurrect, reclaim, and these words all talk about taking something that was bad and broken and making it good and fixed. God doesn’t abandon his creation any more than he abandons his children. God does not deviate from his original plan. What I told you in Genesis one and two that’s God’s plan. We have created a problem. God will solve the problem, lift the curse and return to his original plan. This is really good news and hopeful for you and I, and with this, it means that the curse will be lifted. This world is beautiful. Imagine how beautiful it will be when the curse is lifted. There’s incredible opportunity on this planet and beyond. Imagine the opportunities when the curse is lifted. You and I, we have pretty amazing lives. How amazing will life be when the curse is lifted? And here’s what I’m telling you, God doesn’t change, but we change. God doesn’t change, but heaven and earth change. God doesn’t change and he doesn’t change his plan for heaven and earth. Though we have changed and creation has changed, God has not changed and God’s plan has not changed. What I’m telling you is that ultimately when all is said and done, you are gonna have a physical body filled with a spiritual soul, living on a perfected planet in the presence of God, pursuing the fullness of all God had intended for all humanity, for all eternity from creation. God is not losing. God is not changing. God is not deviating. God is redeeming. That’s exactly what Romans eight promises for us all. And so let me say this. The process to get there is like childbirth. That’s his analogy. We’ve got five kids, three boys, two girls. Love my kids. Love my wife. I can just tell ya from a front row seat, having kids, it’s painful. Poor woman, puts on weight, retains water, it’s imbalanced, heartburn like crazy, weird food cravings. The baby gets big enough that they start kicking them in the bladder and then they pee their pants. I mean, I just watched all this go down and I was like, “Oh my gosh, this isn’t, this is different.” And then you start getting pain. You can’t sleep at night. The baby’s on your organs. You can’t breathe. And then all of a sudden you start getting early birth pains. Hurts like crazy. And then the birth pains, they intensify. They’re more on top of one another in regards to timing, the intensity increases. And then all of a sudden, your wife, and if you’re a mom, God bless ya. Thank you. We’re all here ’cause our mom knows exactly what this feels like. All of a sudden, it just sort of escalates and the woman is exhausted, she’s pushing, she’s screaming, she’s crying. She’s in pain. She feels like she’s gonna die. And then boom, new life. New life gets birthed through pain. I have never met a woman who likes having a baby. I’ve met a lot of women who like their baby. The end result, I’m pretty excited about. The process, not really a fan. That’s why you’ll see a lot of photos of a mom with a baby. You won’t see a lot of photos of what happens to get the baby out. That’s painful. What he says is this, that the life that you and I are in right now, this is childbirth. It’s painful. It’s bloody, it’s exhausting. It’s overwhelming. It’s terrifying. And on the other side, it’s worth it because not only do we get a new body, we live in a new creation. We have a new relationship with God and others that is perfected forever, that we enter into an eternal state of nothing but life birthed through pain. So I want you to know that if you are a Christian, this explains and frames, all of humanity’s suffering, but also your human suffering. It’s the pains of childbirth that God uses to birth something that when all is said and done, we will believe was absolutely worth all of the pushing and all of the pain. And I wanna tell you about that place. I wanna get some good news on your horizon. For those who only see death and cannot see beyond it, there is no good news. For us who with faith can see beyond it, there is hope. And I know we’re talking here about a realm or a reality or an eternity that we can’t see. There was a day that we couldn’t see a small world that really does exist until we created a microscope. And then a new reality is open to us. And a new realm is open to us. We create the telescope. Now we can see new realms and new realities. I’m telling you that the word of God looked at by faith becomes the means by which we also peer into a reality that exists right now and is coming at some point here for us and to be with us. This leads to the last question that we grabbed off of social media. What will the new heaven and the new earth be like? Let’s just be honest. This earth ain’t working. And if I could speak just briefly to those who are younger trending socialistic in their politics, your longing is… What we need, we need all the nations to get along. We need everybody to be healthy. We need everybody to have food to eat. We need everybody to have a house to live in. We need everybody to have a great opportunity. We need everybody to love each other. You know what you want, it’s not socialism, but Jesus. You know what you need is not socialism, but Jesus. The longings that people have for how the world should be, are only possible with a King who comes to set up a Kingdom with the resources to take care of all the people that he’s made in his image and likeness. All false political ideologies are hijacking the Kingdom of God. That’s all that it is. It’s human beings trying to make the Kingdom here rather than invite the Kingdom from there. And you’ll see here, the Kingdom of heaven, the Kingdom of God, it doesn’t come up from us. It comes down from him. It doesn’t emerge from this realm. It enters from that realm. I’ll show it to you. Isaiah 65:17, “I create a new heavens and a new earth “And the former things shall not be remembered “Or come to mind.” New heavens, new earth. I know some of this has political implications. When everybody who’s saying, “Hey, we need to protect the environment.” We need to be good stewards of the environment. But let me tell you until the curse is lifted and Jesus comes and there’s a new environment, it’s not gonna be exactly the way we wished it would be. This is how it works. Here’s what I’m saying. The planet needs Jesus. The environment needs Jesus. The economy needs Jesus. The government needs Jesus. Here’s what I’m telling ya, everybody and everything needs Jesus. And until he shows up, we still got problems. That’s how it goes. 2nd Peter, 3:13, “We are waiting for a new heavens, new earth “In which righteousness dwells.” You see this, new, renewed. Acts 3:21, “The time for restoring all the things “About which God spoke by the mouth of his Holy prophets.” Restoring again, this language of the Bible, restore, redeem, renew, resurrect, it’s taking what was broken, it is fixing it and then giving it back to the children of God to enjoy together forever. That’s God’s plan. And in the old Testament, the Holy prophets, they have this view of their land being restored, and their nation and their crops being flourishing and human learning increasing, and worship of God continuing, their view of heaven was incredibly earthy. It wasn’t that we just go live up there. It’s that down there comes to live with us here. That heaven and earth come together. ‘Cause I told you at the beginning friend, when God started heaven on earth, they were connected. They worked together. We had access to both and then sin separated those realms and realities. And then Jesus restores, redeems, renews, reconnects those realities. Your thoughts of what awaits you need to be incredibly practical. In heaven can you ride a bike? Sure. In heaven can you go on vacation? Sure. In heaven can you go for a swim? Sure. All the things that we were made to do on God’s earth are possible as long as they’re not sin. I’m just thinking about it this way. My son’s here. I think he’s in the room with me. He’s a senior in high school. His senior year, all that fun stuff you get to do with your buddies. Last baseball season, I’ve been watching my boy play ball since he was a little guy hitting off a tee. This is his senior year. They’re gonna make a run at state. School gets canceled. Baseball gets canceled, everything gets canceled. Dad’s crying, I’m crying. ‘Cause I love my kids, I want them to have fun. And then as I was praying, I thought, you know what? We could play baseball in heaven. We could play baseball in heaven. It’s not a sin. We’re gonna have a planet. We’ll have resurrected bodies. I’ll probably throw in the 90s. I can’t wait for that. My son will hit. He’ll probably take me over to fence ’cause he’s perfect too. But all I’m telling you is that ultimately even movies like the “Field of Dreams” where there’s this realm where the departed and the living come together to make memories and enjoy one another. I’m telling you that everybody who watches “Field of Dreams” ultimately wants Jesus. I’m telling you that our view of heaven is far too small and our view of death is far too big and that will poison your soul. That will poison your soul. All the good things that we enjoy God will have for us perfectly in eternity together forever. You’re gonna be able to go on adventures. You’re gonna be able to explore. Are you gonna explore the cosmos? You’re gonna create cities. You’re gonna make art. You’re gonna cook dinners. You’re gonna harvest fruit. It’s gonna be awesome. And it’s gonna be earthy with God present as the realms reunite. Lemme close with this. This is awesome. Revelation 21:1-3, we started in Genesis, the book of beginnings, we’ll end in Revelation, the book of conclusions. “I saw a new heaven and a new earth. That’s amazing. Heaven comes to earth. “For the first heaven and the first earth passed away. “I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, “Coming down out of heaven from God. Heaven comes down from God. It doesn’t come up from us. The lie of evolution, the lie of human progress. The lie human goodness is that if we just band together and keep going, we’ll get heaven on earth. No we won’t. We’ll make hell on earth. Jesus brings heaven to earth. “And I heard a loud voice. I like it that there’s yelling in heaven. That means it’s godly. “I heard a loud voice from the throne… That’s where Jesus sits, he’s King. “Saying “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. Heaven comes to earth and heaven overtakes, perfects, renews, restores earth and resurrects people to enjoy it together forever. “He will dwell with them. “They will be his people and he himself will be their God.” The storyline of the Bible is beginning, middle, beginning. Much of Western storytelling is beginning, middle, end. Genesis one and two, beginning, Genesis three, all the way through Revelation, human sin, the curse, death, destruction, Satan, demons, funerals, wars, weeping, bleeding, crying, birth pains. The last two chapters of the Bible mirror the first two chapters of the Bible. Beginning, middle, beginning. God goes back to his original intent. There is the earth, God is present with his people, angelic and other divine beings are there. The garden of Eden is open. You can eat of the tree of life together with God forever. There is no sickness. There is no suffering. There is no shame. There is no death. There is no war. There is no want. There is no lack. There is no need. There is no fear. There is no sadness and there are no tears. That’s where you’re going. That’s where you’re going. So what do you do in the meantime? Winston Churchill in the middle of a great global crisis. Not unlike our own said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” The birth pains that you’re experiencing that is as close to hell as you will be. And what awaits you on the other side is nothing but life together on a perfected planet forever. That’s amazing. Right now you’re in hell. You know what you do? You keep going. You keep going as Jesus did. Do you know Jesus? Do you love Jesus? Do you follow Jesus? Do you trust Jesus? If so, you’re gonna see Jesus. I look forward to seeing you there. Father God, thank you for an opportunity to share good news. Lord God, in a world where everyday people are getting hammered with bad news, may we be helped by good news. The good news of the Kingdom of God. God, thank you that you have not left your plan, that you are working your plan and the pains that we are experiencing are birth pains for life that endures forever in Jesus name, amen.