Monday Morning Coffee with Mark

Are heaven and hell really real?

May 23, 2022 Mark Roberts Season 2 Episode 21
Monday Morning Coffee with Mark
Are heaven and hell really real?
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Welcome to the Westside church’s special Monday Morning Coffee podcast with Mark Roberts. Mark is a disciple, a husband, father and grand dad, as well as a certified coffee geek, fan of CS Lewis’ writings and he loves his big red Jeep. He’s also the preacher for Westside church.

Speaker 1:

Hello, and welcome to the Westside churches special Monday Morning Coffee podcast on this podcast, our preacher Mark Roberts will help you get your week started right. With look back at yesterday's sermon so that we can think through it further and better work the applications into our daily lives. Mark will then look forward into this week's Bible reading so that we can know what to expect and watch for. And, he may have some extra bonus thoughts from time to time. So grab a cup of coffee as we start the week together on Monday Morning Coffee with Mark.

Speaker 2:

Good morning. Good morning. Welcome to the Monday morning coffee podcast for Monday, may the 23rd. Can you believe we're this deep in may heading into a Memorial day weekend. If we can get through this week and we're gonna get through this week, because, because we're going to borrow some of that spiritual momentum from yesterday, and we're gonna do some great Bible reading and we're gonna do all of that together on this podcast. Let's get started. Let's get started by talking about the sermon yesterday. This is the last in that series asking for a friend and yesterday we talked about the reality of heaven and hell I can't even begin to tell you how difficult a sermon this was to put together because other, because the way I prove, the way I approach that kind of proposition is to open the Bible and put my finger on a passage and say, read that right there. See, see what Jesus says about that, that settles it. And of course, when you're dealing with seekers and searchers and people who are just beginning and a spiritual journey, you can't start with the Bible. They don't vest the Bible with faith and with credibility. And so this sermon was very much an attempt to try to get seekers and searchers, to think, and to begin to consider what the Bible says, because there's some other evidences that cause them to say, I need to take that seriously. I need to think about that further. So yesterday we talked about the demands of love people. Really don't like to think that hell is a choice, but it absolutely. And most certainly is. Then I talked a little bit about justice and our sense of fair play in what is right that we have as humans. And then of course, belief in a sovereign in all powerful God demands, hell if we're going to say that good wins in the end, good needs to win in the end. And that necessitates evil being conquered and even being punished. The part of the sermon that I didn't get to talk nearly as much about as I would like to then would be to talk about heaven. Maybe I bit off too much in that title. But I think the case for heaven being made with the idea of longing and yearning and what Solomon says in Eccles, these three about eternity being said in our heart. I think that's a very, very important point. And I don't think we're making that point nearly enough. I do think there is a longing in the human heart and I do believe many people are ignoring it and they are doing everything they can to cover it up and to not think about it. Probably most of the people that you know, that you're friends with, that you work with who are not religious in any way are living a great life. And they probably think that if I became religious, if I got serious with God, that would just mess up my life and complicate things and not have another thing to do. And another place to go. And I like sleeping in on Sunday. So I just don't even want to do that. But all of that is a veneer over the ache that is in their soul because they are not responding to the spiritual dimension of life. And that is where I'm going with that point yesterday. And I hope that I got there. I hope that that was helpful. I love the quote from CS Lewis. You know, I'm a huge fan of CS Lewis certainly don't agree with everything CS Lewis ever said, or did no shock there. I don't agree with everything mark Robert ever said or did, but CS Lewis said, if I finded myself a desire, which no experience in this world can satisfy the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. And that quote just hits like a ton of bricks because it strips away the things that I'm trying to put in place of God and says only God will fit there. Only God is going to satisfy that. And maybe a fair, extra point here. I like to have some additional thoughts and help you think about the sermon a little bit more, maybe a fair thing to say here is that really means it's not so much about heaven, especially if you have a super materialistic view of heaven, it's the great retirement home in the sky, and I'm gonna fish all day or golf all day and get a hole in one on every hole and all that other kind of nonsense that doesn't fit either. Does it? No. The only thing that fits is God and what we long for and what we were made for is relationships, relationships with each other. And of course, relationships with our creator and heaven is about having that relationship with he, with God that we so desperately need and that we were created to have. The only other point that I wanna make here is that as I was researching and reading and thinking and writing and trying to process, I ran across a really great article about talking to your friends about hell, who don't believe in hell and why that so often goes badly. And I really think this is worth sharing. Can't take credit for it. Wish that I could, but this a fellow who's doing this writing. He, he talked about that, that maybe the best way to talk with people who don't believe in hell about that is to say, I deserve to go to hell. And we don't wanna say that. That sounds Ky. We don't like that. But what happens in many, many conversations is that people come to that conversation. Non-believers come to that conversation with the assumption that heaven is for good people and hell is for bad people. And what I am saying to them then is I'm good. And you are not, you are bad. You are going down. I am good. I'm going up. And of course, that's gonna lead directly to very, very volatile conversations. Like who are you to judge? And what is behind that? What, what behind what is behind that is that person who's saying maybe I'm good. And you just don't know it. You, you're not paying attention to the right things. I am so good. Don't be saying that I'm bad. I'm good. Or you're gonna get that Christians or hypocrites things, which is what, Hey, you think you're so good? And you're not, you're not any better than me. And what we need to tell people is that I deserve to go to hell. And what we need to emphasize to people is that heaven is not for good people. And hell is for bad people. What we need to emphasize to people is that heaven is for bad people. That's what, that's the missing link here. Heaven is for bad people. And hell is for good people. Heaven is for bad people who recognize their badness and have been forgiven by Jesus Christ. That's who goes to heaven, not good people who get there on the basis of their own good deeds and their meritorious works. You can't do that. And so much of the new Testament reminds us of that. And Paul makes a huge play about that. That won't work. Those kinds of people won't even get there and hell will be full of good people who tried to get to heaven on their own good works. Heaven is for bad people like Paul, who persecuted the church, it's for bad people who realize that they cannot get there on their own and that they deserve to go to hell because they have violated God's standards and they are not holy. And they are not what they were made to be. And they understand that. And so they cry out. They call upon the name of the Lord. Please save me. I cannot save myself. Jesus will save those kinds of people. Those kinds of people will be saved. Jesus will find those folks and help them come to faith so they can be obedient to the gospel and be saved. And that is what heaven is about. It's about Jesus. It's not about me. And it's not about I'm better than you. I'm not better than you. I am worse than you. And if you knew everything about me, you would be shocked at what a terrible person and terrible sin I am. But by the grace of God, I can be forgiven and be saved. And that's the message that we need to be getting to people I deserve to go to hell and you deserve to go to hell too. And guess what you don't have to because of what Jesus has done, that's a much, much better conversation. And I hope that that will help you stir you to have better conversations with people about eternity. We certainly don't ever wanna make those conversations about us. And we certainly don't ever want people to think it's because we are morally superior to all of the terrible rebel out there who don't know about Jesus. Boy, I'm, I'm so much better than they are. That attitude is straight out of Luke 18. And that is the attitude of the Pharisee that Jesus identifies in that parable about the Pharisee praying with the public. So there you go. Uh, like I said, couldn't say everything in the sermon actually had a piece of that in the outline and, and just realized it's, it's not gonna happen. It, I can't do all of this, or we're gonna get outta church at about seven 30 Sunday night. And people will be very, very hungry and very, very mad. So in the podcast, I could say a little bit more then I gotta say on Sunday. Thanks for listening to that. Let's think about second Corinthians. Let's think about daily Reading this week. We are starting in second Corinthians, chapter six, starting in verse 11. And this is difficult. I have found this difficult in the podcast. We kind of just parachute into the middle of a chapter where we left off on Friday and here we go. But that's how that's gonna have to work. We're reading second Corinthians chapter six down through chapter seven and verse five. And that's important because of how the first five verses of second Corinthians seven go and, and what they say let's, we'll, we'll solve that problem when we get over there. But that's the reading for today? Six 11 to seven five. And I think this is a difficult section here of Corinthians. This is towards the end four and five, I think are a little bit harder for me, but particularly I sometimes feel like Paul is, is kind of got the wanders here. There's some tangent taking, this is actually a giant tangent out of chapter two all the way through seven six. When Paul finally says, Hey, I met Titus. And I realize how things are now in Corinth. And I'm all that anxiety has been relieved. So this is there's some tangents in the tangents, if you will, some parenthesis within the parenthesis. And sometimes that's a little hard to follow. I think Paul is dealing with some of those false teachers, taking some shots at that, some early insinuation about what they're about and what the true gospel and what true ministry looks like. We've seen some of that in chapter four in last week's reading. But again, if, if you're feeling like I, I'm not exactly sure where I am in, in my reading, then join the club because this is not a book of the Bible that just outlines real cleanly. And Paul doesn't have three observations and then we'll stand and sing. Uh, it gets better. Uh, we get to chapter eight, nine, and that's really about giving. And then 10 to 13 is really about those false teachers. And, and I think it's a little sharper, the bones of the writing and the outlines stand out a little bit clearer, but, but in our reading today, we're, we're still in this section where Paul is very much appealing to the Corinthians. I care for you so very much. You're just seeing that right off the top of the reading, we have spoken freely to you Corinthians our heart is wide open verse 11. Paul also very rarely addresses his readers by name and only strong emotion would cause that to happen. I really care about you. I love you. And this is about that love and that desire to be reconciled. If there is, uh, a tearing apart, if there is a need for reconciliation, which is driving Paul really crazy, uh, have they rejected me? I, and so he's looking for Titu to try to hear. And as he's writing, he's very much, very much laying bare his feelings for them. And so then we get a little bit here beginning in verse 14, a little bit of teaching. Don't be unequally yolked with unbelievers. And that of course has caused a lot of confusion and a lot of concern. What is he talking about here? What partnership verse 14 has righteousness with lawlessness. This is a prohibition against forming attachments with non-believers that would lead to us compromising our Christianity. It is most certainly not all attachments with all unbelievers in first Corinthians Paul deals with a Christian married to a non-Christian and does not say, oh, that's wrong. Gotta get out of that. You did wrong by doing that repent of that and get out of that marriage. And there are certainly other relationships that we might be in with an believer that would not violate what Paul says here in second Corinthians six. So we don't want to think, uh, that this means we can have nothing to do with people who do not share in our Christianity. And, and again, in first Corinthians in chapter 10, verse 27, he says, if an believer invites you to dinner and you're disposed to go, go, go and eat. So it's not all all in every circumstance, we can never be around non-Christians. The passage says that we cannot form a covenant relationship with an believer that would violate the covenant relationships that we already have with God. We have entered into a relationship with the living God, verse 16. We are the temple of God and verse 18. We are the family of God specifically. I think in this context, Paul is talking about idolatry. Paul is talking about all those idle temples. I preached about Corinth and everything that was going on there. And all the idolatrous practices that that city was known for. And he is reminding them that we cannot form alliances with idle gods and idolatry because we belong to the Lord and to the Lord alone. That is what he is talking about here. He is certainly not talking about, I can't go to work at this restaurant, or I can't go to work at this business because it's owned by an unbeliever that is not in view in any shape, form or fashion in our reading here in second Corinthians, chapter six, then we get to chapter seven and maybe you've heard a preacher say at some point. Now, now after that brief aside, let me get back to my main point. And I think 14 to 18 in chapter six, represent kind of a tangent there where Paul steps off for a moment and talks a little bit about idolatry. And I don't want you to get involved in that. And don't form alliances like that. Don't do something that's gonna cause you to compromise your Christianity. And then he's right back to it. Seven two make room in your hearts for us. Look at six 11, we have spoken freely to you Corinthians our heart is wide open. It's back to the heart. It's back to how much I care about you. It's about how much I'm concerned for you. I am certain, I just know that everything is going to go great. And we start to get that in four and five, because in our reading tomorrow, Paul says I met Titus and Titus brought me great news. And so I have been comforted and I'm so excited to hear that there is room in your heart for me, and you are repenting and changing and fixing up all the stuff that I wrote in that first epi. And so now I have great joy because I have been so concerned, verse five about you and how you would receive that letter that I wrote tomorrow. We begin again in second Corinthians, what Paul has really wanted to say, but straight away from that starting in chapter two and verse 13, because he was just so concerned about the reception of first Corinthians in Corinth. Now he can go back to talking about what he really wants to talk about, and we'll get to that in tomorrow's reading it's Tuesday in our reading is second Corinthians seven versus six to 16. And I have talked so much in the pulpit in our Tuesday night zoom. And especially in this podcast on our Wednesday night Bible talks about Paul being concerned about the Corinthians and wanting to hear from Titus and Paul's all anxious. And so he goes to look for Titus and Paul is worried and he hasn't met up with Titus. And I'm certain that everybody's tired of hearing about how worried Paul is. And when is he gonna meet up with Titus? Good news. Second Corinthians seven verse six, God who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus. So here it is, Titus and Paul meet up probably in Philippi and it's all good. It is all good. He tells Paul of their longing for him their morning and their repentance. And Paul starts talking about, I'm sorry that you were sorry. Verse eight with the letter. That's first Corinthians, that letter that I sent you, but I'm not sorry that you were sorry because that kind of sorrow versus nine and 10 has led you to repent. And that's what matters. He references again in verse 12, the case of church discipline that he wrote about in verse Corinthians five, but all of this is summed up in verse 16. I rejoice because I have complete confidence in you. That is an excellent summary of the epistle. To this point. I just knew that you would accept me. I just knew that the church would make the changes that they needed to make. I just knew that this would go well. Wow. I'm so glad now to hear that. In fact, it did go well that you care about me. The way I care about you, you are accepting me as an apostle and we can be United in our love for each other and our love for the Lord and doing what is right. So that opens up then the opportunity for Paul to talk about what he really wants to talk about after he just overflows with joy. And this is just such a sunny, sunny passage after a whole lot of writing in second Corinthians, that kind of is dismal and gloomy. Now, Paul talks about the key issue, which is the collection for the sanctions Jerusalem. And what are you doing about that in Corinth? Because I know some people Paul says who are killing it, and I need you to up your game in the giving department. We're gonna be reading about that tomorrow in second Corinthians chapter eight, see you tomorrow. Welcome to Wednesday. Let's read second Corinthians chapter eight versus one to 10. Today. This is an easy read, particularly because we are setting these epistles. Paul writes in the context of his life story in acts, and we know so much about Paul's life from what we've been reading over there in acts, and especially about this collection for the saints. This is a major agenda item for Paul in this period in his life. He writes about it at Romans 15. He writes about it in first Corinthians 16. There's a famine in Jerusalem. And for Paul, this is about the church in car and full of Gentile believers saying to those Jewish Christians. We care about you. We are interested in you. We are one in Christ. We have broken down racial barriers. We will send you a check. That is exactly what this is about. And it is not nearly so much about how much money that check is written for. What's on the end of it. It's not about the shackles. It's about the statement that the check makes. When I talked about reading second Corinthians and the nine o'clock hour in the pulpit, I just made reference to maybe during the 1960s, all the civil unrest and all the dis racial tensions and rioting and problems the United States was having, what would it be like for a church in Harlem or Detroit or LA that was primarily African Americans or primarily Hispanics? What if a congregation of brethren sent money to an all white church in Mississippi, that would be ginormous? What a statement that would make. And the more I read about the racial divide in the new Testament world between Gentiles and Jews, the more I'm convinced that that illustration of the 1960s and United States of America and, and all of that business that was going on, then doesn't even touch the hem of the garment for how much Jews hated, hated Gentiles and how much Gentiles LOA the Jews. And so this treasury, this collection, uh, for the saints in Jerusalem, that Paul has referenced, as I said, in first Corinthians 16, and apparently, maybe Quran has lost their momentum for that. I wonder if some of the men who have come to Quran, who opposed Paul have said, we don't need to be sending money to those Jewish Christians something's going on there, where they're not given. Like they ought to be given. They are not contributing to this project. The way Paul had told everybody, Hey, those Corinthians will be on this. And so now he writes about the Macedonian churches that would be Philippi lanica Maria. And those churches are giving, even though they don't have the money to give, they are doing a tremendous job. And Paul will use the expression, underlining your Bible. If you underline it in color, I do that different colors, help me see stuff. So the word grace here is what Paul uses instead of the word money or the word collection. He uses the word grace, which can be translated gift, uh, because that's what grace is. And so it's grace it's favor in verse four, it's grace in verse six and seven and nine. And all of those terms reference this collection. It is grace and it is grace that we have received. I love the expression in verse nine, that Jesus Christ has made himself poor for us. He has enriched us and we get the opportunity to help our brethren. We get the opportunity then to give far more generously than maybe even our circumstances would seem to permit the Macedonians pleaded with Paul to let him do that. We get the opportunity to be like Christ to give that's what Jesus has done. And that's what Paul says to the Corinthians. I'm giving you the chance to do that. I told everybody you would do that. I need you to do that. And he'll talk more about that in our reading tomorrow versus 11 to 24 on Thursday, this is an easy read today, except yeah, you can't read this and not think about your own practices and giving. And, and we ought to do that. We, we ought to do that far better than being brow beaten, into giving more reluctant people, never give, like they ought to are people who take second Corinthians into their hearts and then examine their own giving and say, I wanna be a Macedonian. I want to give, I wanna give first myself to the Lord and then that's gonna be reflected in what happens at the contribution period of our worship on Sunday morning. That is the tough part of reading second Corinthians eight, but is it's a wonderful passage, just a wonderful, wonderful passage full of the joy of giving the joy of being part of this grace that the Macedonians know about. So it's Thursday and on Thursday, we are reading second Corinthians aid, 11 to 24. We're gonna finish this chapter and we're gonna finish up what Paul wants to say here about this project for the relief of the saints in Jerusalem. And that really is just about verse 11. So now finish doing it as well. Sometimes a project gets hatched. Somebody comes up with an idea, we're all gung-ho for it. And then pretty quickly it kind of fades. And maybe we forget to take care of it or to meet the commitments that we said we were going to make. And this section here really reminds the Corinthians. I need you to do what you said you would do. And what I have told everybody that you are going to do give proof verse 24 before the churches of your love and of our boasting about you to these men. And part of this then is about doing things properly. Beginning about verse 16, Paul starts talking about how Titu is going to accompany your gift and that everything has to be above board. We aim verse 21 for what is honorable, not only in the Lord's sight, but also in the sight of man. I think this is an important passage for us to think about the new Testament church and how it handles its financial matters. There is nothing under the table. There is nothing secret. Everything needs to be detailed and listed and accounted for. And Paul is certainly saying that to the Corinthian brethren here. In fact, verse 18, we are sending with him, the brother who is famous among all the churches for his preaching of the gospel. Maybe, maybe that's Barnabas. Maybe that's a Polish. Maybe that is Luke. We don't know who that is, but the Corinthians certainly know who that is. And that's part of Paul's efforts to say, we want to do this right? And we want to do this in a way that is above criticism. Paul is especially sensitive to that because yeah, there are people who are criticizing him and he'll get into that a little bit more as we journey further in second Corinthians, I'll see you tomorrow. We'll be reading in second Corinthians chapter nine. Well, you made it. It is Friday. In fact, it is Friday as we get ready to go into a holiday weekend because here comes the Memorial day weekend. I hope you have some great plans and are gonna have a great weekend, but we're gonna get our Bible reading done here, grab a cup of coffee. I'm still nursing some coffees. I record this and let's get second Corinthians nine versus one to 15. Read the chapter division here is really terrible. It kind of sounds like a new subject when he says, now it is superfluous for me to write to you. But of course it is not. It is still the subject of giving and particularly giving for the brethren in Jerusalem. The Corinthians verse two had started a year ago and they still weren't really where they needed to be about this. So Paul, who has boasted to everybody about how well they're gonna do with this and how well they are doing with this is now saying, Hey, I feel like I'm gonna end up red faced about this. I need you to get this done. And then there's a marvelous section. The meat and potatoes here is really cha versus six to 10 in chapter nine, where he begins to talk about giving and what giving is all about and what it is rooted in. I think these passages may get a little overlooked sometimes as we think about the Macedonian so much, but here is verse six, whoever. So sparingly will reap sparingly, whoever SOS bountifully will reap bountifully. Each one must give, as he's decided in his heart, not reluctantly or in a compulsion for God loves that your forgiver, those passages are famous. Maybe you're smiling a little bit to hear me say that they're overlooked because we hear those passages a lot, but unfortunately we don't hear them in context. And so often what we hear about those passages is that you need to give more to the Lord and then God's gonna bless you with more that's giving to get. And that is not, not in the passage and should never be read into the passage or any passage in the new Testament, because the praising here about giving has to do not with how much the gift is, but the virtue, the spiritual qualities of character that cause somebody to give it's about the heart. It's never about the shackles. And that is so important for us to understand. God loves a cheerful giver. I think about the widows might and that Jesus praises her, even though she gives such a tiny, tiny amount, but her heart is in the right place. And these Jerusalem Christians would just know, think of verse 13 here. They would be enriched by the approval of this service verse 13, they will glorify God. They will glorify God because the Jerusalem Christians would be thankful that the Corinthians are serious and real about their discipleships. They would be thankful for the Christians and Corinth being obedient to the apostle. They would be thankful for their liberality. They would be thankful for what the Corinthians have done for them. And that all is independent from how much the Corinthians send. There is no giving to get. It is all about giving because we want, we want to give, we want to be part of the work of God. We want to show God that we trust him verse eight, that he is able to make us abound. We're not gonna starve to death. If we give, we want to trust in the Lord. And we want to have fellowship with our brethren. I think about the work that we've done at west side, sending so much. And so often to our brothers in Africa, we love that. And we want to do that. We want to do that because of what it says to those brethren and what it says to the Lord. Maybe the final thing that I would say out of our reading here on Friday, and I mentioned this on the Facebook read today, did the Corinthians finish up? Like Paul said he wanted them to. And the answer to that is yes, the apostle does come to them for the third time. Second Corinthians 13 verse one, he stays with them for three months. Acts chapter 20 tells us during that time, by the way, he writes the epistle to the Romans and he goes to Jerusalem, bearing their gift. In fact, Paul May be their delegate. He may be the one that is carrying the gift from Corinth to Jerusalem. We'll pick that up as we go to acts chapter 20, which we're headed towards eventually, we've got some letters that Paul wrote during that period that we wanna look at first. And of course we need to finish second Corinthians before we can go to those letters, but we'll get there. We'll get to acts chapter 20 and we'll tidy this up. And we'll be thinking about Paul, traveling to Jerusalem, carrying this financial gift for the needy saints in Jerusalem. How significant this was for them, for the Corinthians and for Paul. That's our Bible reading today in second Corinthians chapter nine. Thank you then for listening to the podcast, if you like what you're hearing, we'd love for you to subscribe, follow, rate a review and especially tell somebody else, email them the link, say to somebody, Hey, can I help you get this on your phone? Let show you how to do this so that they can participate and be benefited from daily Bible reading and spending the year with Paul. So until next time, may your coffee be delightful? May your Friday be wonderful. I hope your holiday weekend is great. And may the Lord be with you today? All day? I will see you on Monday. I hope it's Monday. Maybe some of you it'll be Tuesday before you can get back to daily vibrating and that's okay. We read five times a week to sometimes give ourselves a little bit of slack in the schedule, but I'll see you Monday. I'll see you Tuesday and I'll have my Bible open and yes, I'll have a great cup of coffee with me. See you then.

Speaker 1:

Thanks for listening to the Westside church of Christ podcast. Monday morning coffee with Mark. For more information about west side, you can connect with us through our website, just and our Facebook page. Our music is from upbeat dot IO that's upbeat with two P'S, U P B E a T, where creators can get free music. Please share our podcast with us. And we look to seeing you again with a cup of coffee, of course, on next Monday,

Sermon Notes
Monday 2nd Cor 6:11--7:5
Tuesday 2nd Cor 7:6-16
Wednesday 2nd Cor 8:1-10
Thursday 2nd Cor 8:11-24
Friday 2nd Cor 9:1-15