Prequel of the Bible: The Choice | TBN

Prequel of the Bible: The Choice

Watch Prequel of the Bible: The Choice
December 15, 2019
27:29

It Is Written with John Bradshaw

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Prequel of the Bible: The Choice

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  • -John Bradshaw: This is It Is Written.
  • 00:00:19.170 --> 00:00:21.160
  • I'm John Bradshaw. Thanks for joining me.
  • 00:00:21.170 --> 00:00:24.170
  • You might not be especially amazed by this tree.
  • 00:00:24.180 --> 00:00:28.180
  • It's an evergreen, a pine tree, and aside from its beauty,
  • 00:00:29.180 --> 00:00:33.100
  • it looks, well, unremarkable.
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  • But this plain pine tree is, in fact,
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  • a Monterey pine, and there are just a couple of natural stands
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  • of these trees left in coastal central California.
  • 00:00:44.210 --> 00:00:49.080
  • So it's a little rare.
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  • At least, it's rare in its native habitat.
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  • But in countries like New Zealand and Chile,
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  • Australia, Spain, and South Africa,
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  • the Monterey pine, or pinus radiata,
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  • is the most planted of all pines,
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  • creating an entire lumber industry around this one tree.
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  • And they can get tall, with the average being somewhere
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  • between 50 and 115 feet tall in the wild
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  • or around 150 feet, about 46 1/2 meters,
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  • when they're cultivated.
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  • There's some debate among arborists
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  • about where the tallest Monterey pine is.
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  • Some say it's in New Zealand.
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  • Others say South Africa.
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  • But one thing's for sure:
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  • It's not here in Monterey, California,
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  • among the remaining natural forests.
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  • Now, there's something interesting about this tree.
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  • It can teach us a lot about the character of God,
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  • about the backstory of the Bible,
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  • the prequel of the Bible, if you will.
  • 00:01:48.250 --> 00:01:51.010
  • It can even teach us something about the sequel of the Bible.
  • 00:01:51.020 --> 00:01:54.280
  • In this series we've looked at the prequel of the Bible,
  • 00:01:55.280 --> 00:01:58.280
  • the story of Satan's rebellion against God.
  • 00:01:58.290 --> 00:02:02.090
  • We've investigated the war that began in heaven
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  • and continues here on this earth,
  • 00:02:04.210 --> 00:02:06.250
  • a war that impacts everyone everywhere, all the time.
  • 00:02:06.260 --> 00:02:11.090
  • What we know is that Satan's rebellion against God
  • 00:02:11.100 --> 00:02:13.190
  • was a political rebellion.
  • 00:02:13.200 --> 00:02:16.100
  • This was a clash of ideas,
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  • a clash of, of governing philosophies.
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  • Satan campaigned against God
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  • to attract followers and displace God.
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  • He attacked God's character.
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  • He said that God was fundamentally selfish
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  • and unfair, stating that what God wanted to do
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  • was hold back the human family
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  • and keep the very best for Himself.
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  • As with any political campaign, Satan offered a platform,
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  • his way of running the universe.
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  • He rejected God's plan--
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  • God's plan based on lovingkindness
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  • and universal giving, where the objective is mutual benefit.
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  • Satan's plan was based on selfishness
  • 00:02:56.030 --> 00:02:59.020
  • and opportunistic taking,
  • 00:02:59.030 --> 00:03:01.020
  • where the objectives are power and domination.
  • 00:03:01.030 --> 00:03:04.240
  • And he had a surprising amount of success,
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  • attracting to his side, according to the Bible,
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  • one-third of all the angels in heaven.
  • 00:03:10.060 --> 00:03:13.010
  • Once Satan usurped dominion of the world
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  • by conquering Adam and Eve,
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  • he got to work setting up his system for the world.
  • 00:03:18.100 --> 00:03:22.000
  • He twisted and he perverted creation
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  • so that the amazing things that God had made were,
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  • to a great extent, obscured.
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  • And then he got about obliterating the evidence
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  • of the character of God
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  • as you once would have seen it in the natural world.
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  • Satan set in place for this earth a system
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  • based on selfishness.
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  • [soft music]
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  • So here we are, living on earth as Satan's system plays out,
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  • and the entire universe is able to see more and more clearly
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  • that Satan's system is a complete disaster.
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  • The problem for him, and for us,
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  • is that selfishness as a system collapses in on itself.
  • 00:04:02.000 --> 00:04:06.050
  • Since the world we live on is organized around selfishness,
  • 00:04:06.060 --> 00:04:09.230
  • we're observing in real time the accelerating decay
  • 00:04:09.240 --> 00:04:13.060
  • of all the natural systems and living creatures of earth,
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  • as well as society itself.
  • 00:04:16.230 --> 00:04:19.000
  • Now, this won't go on forever.
  • 00:04:19.010 --> 00:04:20.250
  • Eventually Satan's rebellion will be universally seen
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  • as a complete failure,
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  • and Christ will return to the earth to redeem His followers.
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  • And judging by the prophecies we see being fulfilled around us,
  • 00:04:29.180 --> 00:04:33.090
  • that tipping point is very, very close.
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  • That, in a nutshell, is the prequel of the Bible,
  • 00:04:37.160 --> 00:04:41.000
  • the backstory of the Bible.
  • 00:04:41.010 --> 00:04:43.140
  • So what, then, is the sequel of the Bible?
  • 00:04:43.150 --> 00:04:46.010
  • Well, being a sequel, it's what comes after,
  • 00:04:46.020 --> 00:04:49.020
  • and like the prequel,
  • 00:04:49.030 --> 00:04:50.140
  • it's directly related to God's character, to who He is.
  • 00:04:50.150 --> 00:04:55.020
  • Now, to try and explain a bit about the sequel
  • 00:04:55.030 --> 00:04:57.070
  • and God's character, I'm going to use an interesting tree,
  • 00:04:57.080 --> 00:05:02.200
  • a tree I'll tell you more about in just a moment.
  • 00:05:02.210 --> 00:05:05.220
  • [music]
  • 00:05:05.230 --> 00:05:11.240
  • -John: If you're planning on being part
  • 00:05:14.240 --> 00:05:16.110
  • of God's eternal kingdom of lovingkindness,
  • 00:05:16.120 --> 00:05:19.280
  • I've got something for you.
  • 00:05:19.290 --> 00:05:21.120
  • Be sure to call right now
  • 00:05:21.130 --> 00:05:22.170
  • 800-253-3000
  • 00:05:22.180 --> 00:05:24.290
  • and ask for "Steps to Christ."
  • 00:05:25.000 --> 00:05:27.160
  • It's the best book I've ever read outside of the Bible
  • 00:05:27.170 --> 00:05:30.280
  • on having a successful relationship with Jesus
  • 00:05:30.290 --> 00:05:33.170
  • that will see you into eternity.
  • 00:05:33.180 --> 00:05:35.200
  • Get it for yourself or someone you care about.
  • 00:05:35.210 --> 00:05:37.140
  • "Steps to Christ."
  • 00:05:37.150 --> 00:05:38.140
  • Call 800-253-3000
  • 00:05:38.150 --> 00:05:41.130
  • or go to iiwoffer.com.
  • 00:05:41.140 --> 00:05:44.010
  • -John Bradshaw: Thanks for joining me on It Is Written.
  • 00:05:45.010 --> 00:05:47.130
  • So far in this series,
  • 00:05:47.140 --> 00:05:48.290
  • we've looked at examples of how Satan's system of selfishness,
  • 00:05:49.000 --> 00:05:53.250
  • which reflects his character, are seen in the natural world.
  • 00:05:53.260 --> 00:05:57.080
  • We've looked at rattlesnakes and beaded lizards,
  • 00:05:57.090 --> 00:06:00.120
  • and we've looked at scorpions.
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  • It's not that they're not beautiful or impressive--
  • 00:06:02.100 --> 00:06:05.010
  • they are both--but they show that sin and death have entered
  • 00:06:05.020 --> 00:06:09.290
  • into the natural world, and that was not God's original plan.
  • 00:06:10.000 --> 00:06:14.000
  • So thousands of years after the rise of sin,
  • 00:06:14.010 --> 00:06:16.170
  • can we see in the world around us examples of God's character,
  • 00:06:16.180 --> 00:06:21.260
  • remnants of His original model?
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  • Yes, we can.
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  • I'd like to show you one of them,
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  • a beautiful tree, the Monterey cypress, or macrocarpa.
  • 00:06:26.240 --> 00:06:31.230
  • The Monterey cypress is an interesting tree.
  • 00:06:31.240 --> 00:06:34.290
  • It absolutely loves being right next to the ocean.
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  • The windier and the foggier, the better.
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  • The trees that are exposed to constant winds
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  • take on bent and twisted shapes
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  • over the hundreds of years that they live.
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  • And some of them are absolutely beautiful.
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  • The tree has been planted widely,
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  • especially in coastal California.
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  • But there are only two native stands,
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  • one here at Point Lobos State Natural Reserve
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  • and one nearby at Pebble Beach.
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  • In fact, the trademark of the famed Pebble Beach Golf Course
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  • is a drawing of a Monterey cypress.
  • 00:07:09.260 --> 00:07:13.130
  • But aside from being ruggedly beautiful and interesting,
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  • this tree can teach us about God.
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  • Not just this tree actually, but all trees.
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  • You see, God's character is one of giving,
  • 00:07:25.120 --> 00:07:28.140
  • and God looks to bless with every interaction.
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  • Now, the system that He created is just the same
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  • and works on the same principles.
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  • Now, we can't find any examples of trees
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  • as they were originally created,
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  • and it's not known to what extent they've changed
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  • over the millennia.
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  • But if we take them at face value,
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  • there's a lot that we can learn about God and His character
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  • and God's system...from trees.
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  • For instance, right now, the small leaves on this big tree
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  • are engaging in photosynthesis
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  • to produce sugars that nourish the tree.
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  • Through the same action, they're also producing oxygen
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  • and taking in carbon dioxide.
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  • They're performing a chemical exchange
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  • that makes our lives possible.
  • 00:08:15.180 --> 00:08:17.270
  • At the same time, trees are home to an astonishing array
  • 00:08:17.280 --> 00:08:21.280
  • of insects, birds, and small animals.
  • 00:08:21.290 --> 00:08:26.080
  • And, of course, millions of trees are harvested to provide
  • 00:08:26.090 --> 00:08:29.020
  • not only paper products but the building materials
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  • out of which we make our homes.
  • 00:08:32.060 --> 00:08:34.250
  • Trees also produce large amounts of leaves or needles
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  • that enrich the soil.
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  • And many produce fruit or nuts,
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  • which become food for humans, animals, insects, and bacteria.
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  • Fundamentally, trees give to everything else in the world
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  • with every interaction,
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  • and they don't take anything that's not given to them.
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  • So they're a good example of how things were
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  • when God first created the earth.
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  • They're also a good example of the sequel,
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  • how things are going to be in heaven
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  • and in the earth made new.
  • 00:09:07.280 --> 00:09:09.280
  • So what we see is that in order to get a clear picture
  • 00:09:11.060 --> 00:09:14.070
  • of the prequel to the Bible,
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  • we've got to go throughout the Bible and get the various pieces
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  • and, and put them together, a little bit like a puzzle,
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  • and then we see clearly this,
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  • this backstory of the Word of God.
  • 00:09:23.290 --> 00:09:26.240
  • The same is basically true for the sequel of the Bible,
  • 00:09:26.250 --> 00:09:30.120
  • where we deal with heaven and the earth made new.
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  • Here's what we know for sure:
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  • One day, God is going to completely destroy
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  • this sin-twisted earth and then remake it.
  • 00:09:38.070 --> 00:09:42.010
  • In 2 Peter 3:10 we read that "the day of the Lord will come
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  • as a thief in the night,
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  • in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise,
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  • and the elements will melt with fervent heat;
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  • both the earth and the works that are in it
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  • will be burned up."
  • 00:09:57.280 --> 00:10:00.030
  • Then God will create a new earth.
  • 00:10:00.040 --> 00:10:03.170
  • The Apostle John, writing in Revelation 21:1-4,
  • 00:10:03.180 --> 00:10:07.050
  • gives us a vivid description:
  • 00:10:07.060 --> 00:10:10.120
  • "Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth,
  • 00:10:10.130 --> 00:10:14.160
  • for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.
  • 00:10:14.170 --> 00:10:18.170
  • And there was no more sea.
  • 00:10:18.180 --> 00:10:21.040
  • Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem,
  • 00:10:21.050 --> 00:10:25.040
  • coming down out of heaven from God,
  • 00:10:25.050 --> 00:10:27.170
  • prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
  • 00:10:27.180 --> 00:10:31.180
  • And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying,
  • 00:10:31.190 --> 00:10:34.130
  • 'Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men,
  • 00:10:34.140 --> 00:10:38.030
  • and He will dwell with them,
  • 00:10:38.040 --> 00:10:39.290
  • and they shall be His people.
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  • God Himself will be with them and be their God.
  • 00:10:42.180 --> 00:10:46.120
  • And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes;
  • 00:10:46.130 --> 00:10:50.240
  • there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.
  • 00:10:50.250 --> 00:10:56.170
  • There shall be no more pain,
  • 00:10:56.180 --> 00:10:58.280
  • for the former things have passed away.'"
  • 00:10:58.290 --> 00:11:02.130
  • We're told in Romans 8 and verse 22
  • 00:11:03.130 --> 00:11:05.260
  • that all of creation groans under the weight of sin.
  • 00:11:05.270 --> 00:11:09.280
  • Romans 6:23 says the consequences of sin is death.
  • 00:11:09.290 --> 00:11:15.170
  • So you can know that in heaven, in an earth made new,
  • 00:11:15.180 --> 00:11:19.140
  • there won't be any sickness.
  • 00:11:19.150 --> 00:11:21.130
  • There'll be no suffering, no pain.
  • 00:11:21.140 --> 00:11:23.280
  • There'll be no death.
  • 00:11:23.290 --> 00:11:25.240
  • Satan, his old order of things, his system of selfishness,
  • 00:11:25.250 --> 00:11:31.030
  • will be completely gone.
  • 00:11:31.040 --> 00:11:33.190
  • Now, while that talks to us something about heaven,
  • 00:11:36.140 --> 00:11:38.250
  • it tells us mostly what heaven won't be like,
  • 00:11:38.260 --> 00:11:42.210
  • which leaves hanging, of course,
  • 00:11:42.220 --> 00:11:43.260
  • the question of what heaven will be like.
  • 00:11:43.270 --> 00:11:46.290
  • So, in a moment, we'll go looking into the Bible,
  • 00:11:47.000 --> 00:11:49.280
  • and we'll piece together as much of that as we can.
  • 00:11:49.290 --> 00:11:53.130
  • [music]
  • 00:11:53.140 --> 00:11:59.130
  • -John: If you're planning on being part
  • 00:12:02.130 --> 00:12:04.040
  • of God's eternal kingdom of lovingkindness,
  • 00:12:04.050 --> 00:12:07.210
  • I've got something for you.
  • 00:12:07.220 --> 00:12:09.050
  • Be sure to call right now 800-253-3000
  • 00:12:09.060 --> 00:12:12.230
  • and ask for "Steps to Christ."
  • 00:12:12.240 --> 00:12:15.090
  • It's the best book I've ever read outside of the Bible
  • 00:12:15.100 --> 00:12:18.210
  • on having a successful relationship with Jesus
  • 00:12:18.220 --> 00:12:21.100
  • that will see you into eternity.
  • 00:12:21.110 --> 00:12:23.140
  • Get it for yourself or someone you care about.
  • 00:12:23.150 --> 00:12:25.080
  • "Steps to Christ."
  • 00:12:25.090 --> 00:12:26.080
  • Call 800-253-3000
  • 00:12:26.090 --> 00:12:29.040
  • or go to iiwoffer.com.
  • 00:12:29.050 --> 00:12:31.240
  • -John Bradshaw: Consider for a moment the character of God.
  • 00:12:34.090 --> 00:12:37.120
  • The Bible says that God is love. He's the very essence of love.
  • 00:12:37.130 --> 00:12:41.170
  • And 'way back in the beginning,
  • 00:12:41.180 --> 00:12:43.060
  • He created a world especially designed to thrill us,
  • 00:12:43.070 --> 00:12:47.200
  • to bless us, to please us, to satisfy us, always.
  • 00:12:47.210 --> 00:12:51.120
  • In fact, you read Job 38, verse 7,
  • 00:12:51.130 --> 00:12:54.130
  • and it indicates that at creation
  • 00:12:54.140 --> 00:12:57.030
  • angels sang, and "the sons of God shouted for joy."
  • 00:12:57.040 --> 00:13:01.210
  • It was that good.
  • 00:13:01.220 --> 00:13:03.150
  • Now, when the earth is re-created,
  • 00:13:03.160 --> 00:13:05.050
  • it's going to be that good and more.
  • 00:13:05.060 --> 00:13:07.230
  • It will be even better.
  • 00:13:07.240 --> 00:13:10.050
  • So throughout eternity we will dwell in a place
  • 00:13:10.060 --> 00:13:13.060
  • that has been calculated by God to completely delight us.
  • 00:13:13.070 --> 00:13:18.050
  • We also know that we'll be part of God's administration
  • 00:13:21.190 --> 00:13:24.270
  • of the universe.
  • 00:13:24.280 --> 00:13:26.120
  • When the earth was created, humans were given dominion.
  • 00:13:26.130 --> 00:13:29.160
  • We were in charge of overseeing the earth.
  • 00:13:29.170 --> 00:13:32.210
  • Satan usurped our dominion when he conquered Adam and Eve.
  • 00:13:32.220 --> 00:13:36.290
  • It's reasonable to expect that with the re-creation
  • 00:13:37.000 --> 00:13:39.190
  • of the earth, our dominion will be restored.
  • 00:13:39.200 --> 00:13:43.060
  • So one thing we'll be doing is overseeing the earth.
  • 00:13:43.070 --> 00:13:47.000
  • We'll also be doing a whole lot more than that.
  • 00:13:47.010 --> 00:13:49.050
  • In 2 Timothy 2:12 it says that those who endured
  • 00:13:49.060 --> 00:13:52.140
  • and remain true to God will "reign with Him."
  • 00:13:52.150 --> 00:13:56.080
  • What that means exactly, we can't really be sure,
  • 00:13:56.090 --> 00:14:00.110
  • but we know that we'll join in some aspect of Christ's reign.
  • 00:14:00.120 --> 00:14:04.240
  • But all that will likely take up just a slice of our time.
  • 00:14:04.250 --> 00:14:08.110
  • For what we'll do with the rest of our time,
  • 00:14:08.120 --> 00:14:11.000
  • let's look again at creation.
  • 00:14:11.010 --> 00:14:12.280
  • We're told in Genesis 1:27
  • 00:14:12.290 --> 00:14:14.190
  • that we were created in the image of God.
  • 00:14:14.200 --> 00:14:17.180
  • God gave us the ability to think, to reason,
  • 00:14:17.190 --> 00:14:20.140
  • to create, to do.
  • 00:14:20.150 --> 00:14:22.290
  • He created us to constantly accrue or develop abilities
  • 00:14:23.000 --> 00:14:27.120
  • and have joy in using them.
  • 00:14:27.130 --> 00:14:29.230
  • He created us as social creatures.
  • 00:14:29.240 --> 00:14:32.180
  • We love talking to others, exchanging thoughts and ideas,
  • 00:14:32.190 --> 00:14:35.130
  • hearing stories, telling stories.
  • 00:14:35.140 --> 00:14:38.120
  • So it would seem that a significant part of the delight
  • 00:14:38.130 --> 00:14:41.120
  • God designed for us in the eternity of heaven is being us,
  • 00:14:41.130 --> 00:14:46.090
  • being the inquisitive, social, creative, learning creatures
  • 00:14:46.100 --> 00:14:49.200
  • that He made us to be.
  • 00:14:49.210 --> 00:14:51.080
  • God designed us to joyfully create things.
  • 00:14:51.090 --> 00:14:55.180
  • Maybe what we'll want to do is make an amazing country home
  • 00:14:55.190 --> 00:14:59.000
  • for ourselves.
  • 00:14:59.010 --> 00:15:00.230
  • We'll be deliberate about designing it,
  • 00:15:00.240 --> 00:15:02.160
  • looking at what others are doing,
  • 00:15:02.170 --> 00:15:03.260
  • discussing their ideas with them.
  • 00:15:03.270 --> 00:15:05.240
  • After all, there's no shortage of time in heaven.
  • 00:15:05.250 --> 00:15:08.230
  • So we'll want to find the exact spot where we'd like to build,
  • 00:15:08.240 --> 00:15:11.230
  • then find and cut the exact stone we want
  • 00:15:11.240 --> 00:15:14.100
  • for the foundation--or the interior or the exterior.
  • 00:15:14.110 --> 00:15:18.020
  • Maybe we'll want to use massive beams.
  • 00:15:18.030 --> 00:15:20.090
  • Maybe we'll want to grow our beautiful beams from seed.
  • 00:15:20.100 --> 00:15:23.090
  • Who knows.
  • 00:15:23.100 --> 00:15:24.120
  • Isaiah said in Isaiah 65
  • 00:15:24.130 --> 00:15:26.230
  • that we'll build homes and inhabit them.
  • 00:15:26.240 --> 00:15:30.070
  • And then, of course, there's the travel.
  • 00:15:30.080 --> 00:15:33.090
  • We'll be able to go anywhere in the entire universe
  • 00:15:33.100 --> 00:15:37.000
  • and see sights and meet new people.
  • 00:15:37.010 --> 00:15:40.100
  • Distance won't matter.
  • 00:15:40.110 --> 00:15:43.030
  • Everything you read in the Bible suggests
  • 00:15:43.040 --> 00:15:45.090
  • heaven and the new earth will be a fantastic, amazing,
  • 00:15:45.100 --> 00:15:50.290
  • social, creative experience
  • 00:15:51.000 --> 00:15:54.230
  • that will constantly amaze and delight us.
  • 00:15:54.240 --> 00:15:58.110
  • Now, as strange as it may seem, I've actually met people
  • 00:15:59.090 --> 00:16:02.200
  • who have said they don't want to go to heaven.
  • 00:16:02.210 --> 00:16:05.040
  • They don't like the idea of living forever.
  • 00:16:05.050 --> 00:16:08.090
  • That they are, oddly enough,
  • 00:16:08.100 --> 00:16:10.150
  • almost scared of the idea of everlasting life.
  • 00:16:10.160 --> 00:16:13.230
  • Now, I want to challenge that thinking.
  • 00:16:13.240 --> 00:16:15.290
  • It would seem to me--
  • 00:16:16.000 --> 00:16:17.030
  • in fact, I'd almost be willing to guarantee you--
  • 00:16:17.040 --> 00:16:19.190
  • that your view on what heaven will be like
  • 00:16:19.200 --> 00:16:23.070
  • will match up pretty well with your view of what Jesus is like.
  • 00:16:23.080 --> 00:16:28.050
  • If you think that Jesus is intimidating
  • 00:16:28.060 --> 00:16:30.190
  • and distant and scary,
  • 00:16:30.200 --> 00:16:32.120
  • then heaven isn't going to hold much appeal for you.
  • 00:16:32.130 --> 00:16:35.130
  • If you think that Jesus is boring and stuffy and tedious,
  • 00:16:35.140 --> 00:16:39.010
  • well, you're probably going to think about heaven
  • 00:16:39.020 --> 00:16:41.100
  • in the same way.
  • 00:16:41.110 --> 00:16:42.120
  • But Jesus is amazing. Jesus is wonderful.
  • 00:16:42.130 --> 00:16:46.040
  • There's no one ever been more friendly,
  • 00:16:46.050 --> 00:16:48.000
  • more loving, more kind, more gracious,
  • 00:16:48.010 --> 00:16:51.230
  • and so you can know that heaven is going to be
  • 00:16:51.240 --> 00:16:54.080
  • that sort of place.
  • 00:16:54.090 --> 00:16:55.110
  • In fact, the Bible tells us as much.
  • 00:16:55.120 --> 00:16:58.040
  • In 1 Corinthians chapter 2, verse 9:
  • 00:16:58.050 --> 00:17:01.060
  • "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard,
  • 00:17:01.070 --> 00:17:04.130
  • neither have entered into the heart of man, the things
  • 00:17:04.140 --> 00:17:07.260
  • which God hath prepared for them that love Him."
  • 00:17:07.270 --> 00:17:11.050
  • Jesus and the Bible are far, far better than anything
  • 00:17:11.060 --> 00:17:15.170
  • that you could imagine.
  • 00:17:15.180 --> 00:17:17.030
  • If your opinion of heaven isn't very high,
  • 00:17:17.040 --> 00:17:19.120
  • if you don't have a great view of the hereafter,
  • 00:17:19.130 --> 00:17:22.130
  • what I want to recommend to you is that you get to know Jesus.
  • 00:17:22.140 --> 00:17:25.130
  • And it's not a hard thing to do.
  • 00:17:25.140 --> 00:17:27.140
  • It's our privilege.
  • 00:17:27.150 --> 00:17:29.000
  • It's your privilege
  • 00:17:29.010 --> 00:17:30.050
  • to have a vibrant two-way relationship with God.
  • 00:17:30.060 --> 00:17:33.240
  • That's what He wants.
  • 00:17:33.250 --> 00:17:35.160
  • So where do you start?
  • 00:17:35.170 --> 00:17:36.260
  • Get to know God.
  • 00:17:36.270 --> 00:17:38.030
  • The Bible was given to us so that we could read that story,
  • 00:17:38.040 --> 00:17:41.230
  • or that collection of stories,
  • 00:17:41.240 --> 00:17:43.230
  • and get to know the God of heaven.
  • 00:17:43.240 --> 00:17:45.190
  • To know Him is to love Him.
  • 00:17:45.200 --> 00:17:47.290
  • Read the Word of God and find out what God is truly like,
  • 00:17:48.000 --> 00:17:51.270
  • what Jesus is really like.
  • 00:17:51.280 --> 00:17:53.200
  • And take time to pray. Communicate with God.
  • 00:17:53.210 --> 00:17:56.030
  • Have that two-way relationship with Him where you talk to Him,
  • 00:17:56.040 --> 00:18:00.090
  • listen for the sound of His voice,
  • 00:18:00.100 --> 00:18:02.030
  • and He'll talk back to you.
  • 00:18:02.040 --> 00:18:04.130
  • It's interesting, isn't it,
  • 00:18:04.140 --> 00:18:06.030
  • that there's so much ahead of us,
  • 00:18:06.040 --> 00:18:08.030
  • and yet so many people are ignoring it.
  • 00:18:08.040 --> 00:18:11.030
  • As Shakespeare wrote in "Hamlet,"
  • 00:18:11.040 --> 00:18:13.130
  • "All that lives must die,
  • 00:18:13.140 --> 00:18:15.150
  • passing through nature to eternity."
  • 00:18:15.160 --> 00:18:19.130
  • Everyone agrees with the first part of that statement:
  • 00:18:19.140 --> 00:18:22.090
  • "All that lives must die."
  • 00:18:22.100 --> 00:18:24.150
  • But it's the nature of the second part
  • 00:18:24.160 --> 00:18:26.160
  • where there's some disagreement:
  • 00:18:26.170 --> 00:18:28.090
  • "Passing through nature to eternity."
  • 00:18:28.100 --> 00:18:31.130
  • For centuries, even for millennia,
  • 00:18:31.140 --> 00:18:33.150
  • there wasn't much debate about that.
  • 00:18:33.160 --> 00:18:35.270
  • The Egyptians prepared for it.
  • 00:18:35.280 --> 00:18:37.210
  • The magnificent pyramids were tombs for kings and queens.
  • 00:18:37.220 --> 00:18:41.140
  • Ancient Babylon: an afterlife was anticipated.
  • 00:18:41.150 --> 00:18:45.040
  • The ancient Greek view of the afterlife ebbed and flowed
  • 00:18:45.050 --> 00:18:48.170
  • a little bit as times changed.
  • 00:18:48.180 --> 00:18:50.220
  • The ferryman would transport the souls of the dead
  • 00:18:50.230 --> 00:18:53.200
  • across the River Styx into Hades.
  • 00:18:53.210 --> 00:18:56.290
  • It was the Greeks that taught that at death the soul separated
  • 00:18:57.000 --> 00:19:01.040
  • from the dead body and went on living in another plane.
  • 00:19:01.050 --> 00:19:05.110
  • So if there's life after life, and there is,
  • 00:19:05.120 --> 00:19:09.070
  • then you'd want to be part of that.
  • 00:19:09.080 --> 00:19:11.220
  • Except life today is intoxicating,
  • 00:19:11.230 --> 00:19:15.140
  • and we can be distracted easily,
  • 00:19:15.150 --> 00:19:18.100
  • and it's not difficult to be confused, led astray,
  • 00:19:18.110 --> 00:19:22.250
  • influenced by competing voices.
  • 00:19:22.260 --> 00:19:25.270
  • If you haven't learned for yourself that God is good,
  • 00:19:25.280 --> 00:19:29.160
  • you might be inclined to listen to the voices that say He isn't.
  • 00:19:29.170 --> 00:19:34.010
  • If you haven't read the Bible and learned for yourself
  • 00:19:34.020 --> 00:19:36.140
  • what Jesus is like, you might be open to the idea
  • 00:19:36.150 --> 00:19:40.000
  • that He's irrelevant or out of touch.
  • 00:19:40.010 --> 00:19:42.250
  • And if you don't take the time to stop and read the Bible
  • 00:19:42.260 --> 00:19:45.290
  • for yourself, then other things are going to fill that space
  • 00:19:46.000 --> 00:19:49.220
  • in your heart, in your mind.
  • 00:19:49.230 --> 00:19:52.080
  • You'll end up chasing all the wrong things in this world.
  • 00:19:52.090 --> 00:19:56.250
  • It isn't that God offers you a choice between Him and nothing.
  • 00:19:56.260 --> 00:20:01.230
  • It's God's plan to fill your life
  • 00:20:01.240 --> 00:20:03.220
  • with all of the best blessings.
  • 00:20:03.230 --> 00:20:06.070
  • But there's a spiritual war raging right at this moment,
  • 00:20:06.080 --> 00:20:10.200
  • as we speak, right now.
  • 00:20:10.210 --> 00:20:12.280
  • A war we are caught right in the middle of.
  • 00:20:12.290 --> 00:20:16.130
  • The stakes are high: eternity.
  • 00:20:16.140 --> 00:20:20.130
  • The reason Jesus came to this world was to demonstrate to us
  • 00:20:20.140 --> 00:20:23.230
  • that there's something bigger than what we see in the world
  • 00:20:23.240 --> 00:20:26.100
  • around us, something enduring, something more important.
  • 00:20:26.110 --> 00:20:32.030
  • The trouble is we often see what's around us
  • 00:20:32.040 --> 00:20:34.180
  • as more important or even more meaningful
  • 00:20:34.190 --> 00:20:37.130
  • than that which is around us but we cannot actually see.
  • 00:20:37.140 --> 00:20:40.270
  • Pays to remember Shakespeare again--
  • 00:20:40.280 --> 00:20:43.230
  • this time from "The Merchant of Venice":
  • 00:20:43.240 --> 00:20:46.190
  • "All that glisters is not gold."
  • 00:20:46.200 --> 00:20:50.260
  • The truth is we live in a world that increasingly reflects
  • 00:20:50.270 --> 00:20:54.280
  • the character of Satan.
  • 00:20:54.290 --> 00:20:57.050
  • He's made a mess of this world,
  • 00:20:57.060 --> 00:20:59.210
  • a world that is now characterized by pain,
  • 00:20:59.220 --> 00:21:02.100
  • suffering, and death.
  • 00:21:02.110 --> 00:21:05.000
  • But even though this world is in terrible shape,
  • 00:21:05.010 --> 00:21:07.230
  • most of the people in it are caught up in chasing
  • 00:21:07.240 --> 00:21:11.050
  • the selfishness-based goal Satan has set up,
  • 00:21:11.060 --> 00:21:14.280
  • the gods of money,
  • 00:21:14.290 --> 00:21:16.040
  • pleasure, status,
  • 00:21:16.050 --> 00:21:17.260
  • fame, and power.
  • 00:21:17.270 --> 00:21:20.170
  • They're on a road to nowhere.
  • 00:21:20.180 --> 00:21:23.290
  • In this distracted world, steeped in selfishness,
  • 00:21:24.000 --> 00:21:27.220
  • it's the privilege of everyone who has taken the name of Jesus
  • 00:21:27.230 --> 00:21:31.240
  • to demonstrate through their lives, words, and actions
  • 00:21:31.250 --> 00:21:34.290
  • that there's another way,
  • 00:21:35.000 --> 00:21:37.010
  • a way that's based on lovingkindness.
  • 00:21:37.020 --> 00:21:40.230
  • It's the Christian's role to demonstrate
  • 00:21:40.240 --> 00:21:42.220
  • the character of Jesus to others in words and actions.
  • 00:21:42.230 --> 00:21:46.210
  • Like the trees, we're to witness to the character of Christ
  • 00:21:46.220 --> 00:21:50.110
  • and pass on blessings to others in our interactions.
  • 00:21:50.120 --> 00:21:54.080
  • And here's the thing;
  • 00:21:54.090 --> 00:21:55.180
  • if we don't do this, how are people going to know?
  • 00:21:55.190 --> 00:21:58.260
  • How will people know that God's kingdom of lovingkindness
  • 00:21:58.270 --> 00:22:01.230
  • opposes Satan's kingdom of selfishness?
  • 00:22:01.240 --> 00:22:05.290
  • It's a big responsibility-- and a great opportunity.
  • 00:22:06.000 --> 00:22:10.030
  • There are some interesting implications arising
  • 00:22:10.040 --> 00:22:12.230
  • out of this great privilege that God has given us.
  • 00:22:12.240 --> 00:22:16.100
  • Think about this:
  • 00:22:16.110 --> 00:22:17.170
  • It's impossible, really, to be an island of lovingkindness
  • 00:22:17.180 --> 00:22:21.290
  • in a world that's drowning in selfishness.
  • 00:22:22.000 --> 00:22:25.100
  • You can't constantly give, give, give
  • 00:22:25.110 --> 00:22:28.110
  • in a world that takes and takes and takes.
  • 00:22:28.120 --> 00:22:30.200
  • At least not of yourself.
  • 00:22:30.210 --> 00:22:34.010
  • So in order to, in order to carry out that role
  • 00:22:34.020 --> 00:22:37.210
  • that God has placed upon our hearts,
  • 00:22:37.220 --> 00:22:39.020
  • what we need is something special.
  • 00:22:39.030 --> 00:22:40.180
  • We need the person of Jesus dwelling in us.
  • 00:22:40.190 --> 00:22:44.240
  • What God's plan is, is to show Himself through you,
  • 00:22:44.250 --> 00:22:49.120
  • for Jesus to live His life in you,
  • 00:22:49.130 --> 00:22:52.150
  • and then shine out of you
  • 00:22:52.160 --> 00:22:54.190
  • and let others see Jesus in your life.
  • 00:22:54.200 --> 00:22:57.280
  • It can be done.
  • 00:22:57.290 --> 00:22:59.120
  • It's a fantastic privilege.
  • 00:22:59.130 --> 00:23:01.080
  • That's the kind of relationship that God wants to have with you.
  • 00:23:01.090 --> 00:23:05.060
  • [soft piano music]
  • 00:23:05.070 --> 00:23:07.230
  • [waves rushing, birds twittering]
  • 00:23:07.240 --> 00:23:13.170
  • And there's another implication.
  • 00:23:13.180 --> 00:23:15.170
  • We can't show the world what a different system is like
  • 00:23:15.180 --> 00:23:18.220
  • unless we are...different.
  • 00:23:18.230 --> 00:23:21.290
  • Jesus doesn't call on us to compete in the world
  • 00:23:22.000 --> 00:23:24.100
  • on the world's terms, fully immersed in selfishness,
  • 00:23:24.110 --> 00:23:27.170
  • then go to church to gloss it over.
  • 00:23:27.180 --> 00:23:30.170
  • Jesus calls on us to be His disciples,
  • 00:23:30.180 --> 00:23:32.280
  • His witnesses.
  • 00:23:32.290 --> 00:23:34.080
  • He calls on us to reject selfishness,
  • 00:23:34.090 --> 00:23:37.120
  • to live out lovingkindness and proclaim Jesus and His character
  • 00:23:37.130 --> 00:23:41.130
  • through our words and actions.
  • 00:23:41.140 --> 00:23:44.030
  • This call that Jesus is giving us
  • 00:23:44.040 --> 00:23:45.180
  • makes many people uncomfortable because in order to do this,
  • 00:23:45.190 --> 00:23:49.000
  • you've got to embrace the gospel of Jesus,
  • 00:23:49.010 --> 00:23:51.230
  • where selfishness is put to death
  • 00:23:51.240 --> 00:23:54.080
  • and Jesus lives His life in you.
  • 00:23:54.090 --> 00:23:56.180
  • Less of us, less of our will;
  • 00:23:56.190 --> 00:23:59.210
  • more of Jesus, more of God's will.
  • 00:23:59.220 --> 00:24:02.110
  • And yet we can't be part of two systems.
  • 00:24:02.120 --> 00:24:05.080
  • Either we're followers of Christ,
  • 00:24:05.090 --> 00:24:07.080
  • dedicated to lovingkindness and passing blessings
  • 00:24:07.090 --> 00:24:10.080
  • to those around us,
  • 00:24:10.090 --> 00:24:11.230
  • or we're followers of the world,
  • 00:24:11.240 --> 00:24:13.150
  • and we are dedicated to selfishness.
  • 00:24:13.160 --> 00:24:17.220
  • Where are you with that?
  • 00:24:17.230 --> 00:24:19.060
  • You don't want to be a mixture of the two.
  • 00:24:19.070 --> 00:24:20.270
  • In the end, everyone's going to be one or the other.
  • 00:24:20.280 --> 00:24:25.110
  • Beginning the transformation to being fully a follower of Jesus
  • 00:24:25.120 --> 00:24:29.290
  • isn't hard.
  • 00:24:30.000 --> 00:24:31.070
  • Jesus is waiting to walk with us and support us through each step
  • 00:24:31.080 --> 00:24:35.180
  • so that we have an amazing sequel with Him
  • 00:24:35.190 --> 00:24:37.290
  • after our lives on this earth.
  • 00:24:38.000 --> 00:24:40.080
  • The process begins when you give your life to Jesus,
  • 00:24:40.090 --> 00:24:43.080
  • when you tell Him you want to follow Him,
  • 00:24:43.090 --> 00:24:45.130
  • when you invite Him in to guide you
  • 00:24:45.140 --> 00:24:48.050
  • and live His life in you and dwell in your heart.
  • 00:24:48.060 --> 00:24:51.190
  • -John: Thank you for remembering that It Is Written
  • 00:24:52.190 --> 00:24:54.190
  • exists because of the kindness of people just like you.
  • 00:24:54.200 --> 00:24:58.030
  • To support this international life-changing ministry,
  • 00:24:58.040 --> 00:25:01.100
  • please call us now at 800-253-3000.
  • 00:25:01.110 --> 00:25:05.170
  • You can send your tax-deductible gift
  • 00:25:05.180 --> 00:25:07.030
  • to the address on your screen,
  • 00:25:07.040 --> 00:25:08.150
  • or you can visit us online at itiswritten.com.
  • 00:25:08.160 --> 00:25:12.110
  • Thank you for your prayers and for your financial support.
  • 00:25:12.120 --> 00:25:15.050
  • Our number again is 800-253-3000,
  • 00:25:15.060 --> 00:25:19.160
  • or you can visit us online at itiswritten.com.
  • 00:25:19.170 --> 00:25:22.170
  • -John Bradshaw: Let's pray together now.
  • 00:25:23.190 --> 00:25:25.150
  • Our Father in heaven, we thank You so much
  • 00:25:25.160 --> 00:25:27.230
  • that Jesus makes the eternal difference,
  • 00:25:27.240 --> 00:25:30.090
  • that there is a great Savior willing to come into the lives
  • 00:25:30.100 --> 00:25:32.260
  • of even the most broken people,
  • 00:25:32.270 --> 00:25:34.280
  • the most seemingly helpless people,
  • 00:25:34.290 --> 00:25:37.200
  • sometimes the most discouraged people.
  • 00:25:37.210 --> 00:25:39.230
  • He's ready to come into every life and remake that life
  • 00:25:39.240 --> 00:25:44.190
  • and give every believer the assurance
  • 00:25:44.200 --> 00:25:47.110
  • that she or he is a child of God.
  • 00:25:47.120 --> 00:25:51.150
  • We thank You that in spite of the chaos of this world,
  • 00:25:51.160 --> 00:25:54.140
  • we can look beyond this world
  • 00:25:54.150 --> 00:25:56.280
  • to an eternity filled with Your presence,
  • 00:25:56.290 --> 00:26:00.050
  • an eternity without sin,
  • 00:26:00.060 --> 00:26:02.140
  • an eternity of life everlasting.
  • 00:26:02.150 --> 00:26:05.030
  • We claim it today. Friend, do you claim it?
  • 00:26:05.040 --> 00:26:08.000
  • Do you claim that through Jesus?
  • 00:26:08.010 --> 00:26:09.120
  • You can have it now by faith.
  • 00:26:09.130 --> 00:26:11.110
  • Just tell Jesus Himself,
  • 00:26:11.120 --> 00:26:13.130
  • "I accept everlasting life from You.
  • 00:26:13.140 --> 00:26:16.130
  • I believe You give me the gift of everlasting life.
  • 00:26:16.140 --> 00:26:19.210
  • I believe You forgive my sins and give me a new heart."
  • 00:26:19.220 --> 00:26:23.040
  • We thank You, Lord, for doing that.
  • 00:26:23.050 --> 00:26:25.050
  • We claim it gratefully.
  • 00:26:25.060 --> 00:26:27.180
  • In Jesus' name.
  • 00:26:27.190 --> 00:26:29.220
  • Amen.
  • 00:26:29.230 --> 00:26:31.030
  • Thank you so much for joining me.
  • 00:26:31.040 --> 00:26:32.130
  • I'm looking forward to seeing you again next time.
  • 00:26:32.140 --> 00:26:34.080
  • Until then, remember:
  • 00:26:34.090 --> 00:26:36.120
  • "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone,
  • 00:26:36.130 --> 00:26:40.190
  • but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'"
  • 00:26:40.200 --> 00:26:44.250
  • [theme music]
  • 00:26:44.260 --> 00:26:52.010