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Beyond Today: Do You Want to Live Forever?

What were you taught about eternal life? Could your beliefs actually conflict with biblical truth? You need to know.


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[Gary] Are medical researchers on the verge of discovering "biological immortality?" This question is based on the life of an amazing little girl named Gabby Williams. Gabby has a condition so rare doctors haven't even given it a name. She is aging at a remarkably slow rate. Even though she was eight years old at the time of the ABC report, Gabby looked and acted like a newborn baby.

If science offered you a miracle elixir would you like to have a lifespan of 500 or 1,000 years? Think about it.   

Now, before you really answer that question you have to ask yourself some other questions, "What is the significance and purpose of my life? Is life worth living forever?"

On Beyond Today we're going to explore the question, "Do You Want to Live Forever?"

[Announcer] Join our host, Gary Petty and his guests, as they help you understand your future on Beyond Today !

[Gary] Do you want to live forever? We asked some people that question.

> No, I don't think so.

>> Why is that?

> Because at some point I'd like to be able to rest... and not have to worry about bills or anything like that.

>> Probably not. I mean, I feel like my body would wear out. So it just, I don't know, it's like, I already feel old at times, and I know that it's just going to get worse. So I don't know if it's worth like the feeling of just feeling terrible sometimes verses not. But, I don't know, it's kind of a rough question to answer.

> I believe that I would like to live forever just to see whatever types of opportunities I'll be able to be a part of, and also continue helping people that I care about the most.

>> I'd have to say probably not. Because if I lived forever, yeah at first it'd be fun, but then after a while it'd be boring because, you know, all the people that I've loved and cared about would have passed on. And I'd be still living and alive, and I'd probably be alone.

[Gary] Most people we talked with said that they wouldn't want to live forever as a human being. Living forever would mean that they would watch their friends and family die off and would watch the world around them change until they just didn't fit in anymore.

According to an article in Forbes magazine, there are some billionaires who are obsessed with creating technology that would allow them to live indefinitely. One idea is that a person could upload the contents of his or her brain—their knowledge, memories and consciousness—into a cosmic cloud. And later, that person could be downloaded into some kind of computer generated image or maybe a robotic body.

Is that really how anyone would want to live forever? Is that even life?

We have a simple message for you today: The Creator God has an eternal meaning—a path, a direction, a purpose—for your life if you want it. That hope—your future—is more wonderful than you can imagine.

The Scripture says, "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him" (1 Corinthians:2:9).

To really understand God's purpose for you—for your life now and in the future—you going to have to be willing to expand your thinking beyond the problems of today and the issues of today. We want to help you start thinking about beyond today, about the meaning of your life. With this understanding, you going to want to live forever!

Why were you born? We asked some people what they thought was the meaning of their personal lives:

> The meaning of life is just basically being in a game, like a game of chess. Like we are all just basically pawns in this big board on earth, and basically it's a game whether God chooses which path each and every one of us gets to take, and see how things turn out for that person.

>> The meaning of my life I believe is to be a good mother and a good sister, good family member, and help my friends the best way that I can, and to do God's work by living a positive lifestyle.

> ...well, to make a little bit of a difference to the world.

[Gary] Most people we talked to said that the meaning of life is to do good and love others. But the unanswered questions are: Why? What is the ultimate purpose for your life? Is it just to try to do good and be happy? How do you deal with all the bad in life? And what happens after death?

Christians believe that God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to this earth to make possible eternal life.

What is it like to live forever? I mean the way God designed eternal life? Is eternal life just a boring existence of being in heaven without creativity, without work, without relationships and purpose? I've known people who didn't want to live forever because they thought it meant spending uncounted ages hanging out in the clouds and playing a harp.

The apostle John, who was one of Jesus' disciples, wrote about God's design for eternal life. Now listen, this is what he wrote: "Beloved, now we are [the] children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is" (1 John:3:2).

What a remarkable sentence. First of all, John states that those who turn to God are now—right now, in relationship the children of God. God's purpose in creating you is for you to be His child. I mean, this goes way beyond any idea of just sort of being religious, or doing good deeds or going to church. You can now, in the midst of your troubles and suffering, have a Father-child relationship with the Almighty God.

John also reveals that at the resurrection we will see God as He is—I mean that's face-to-face with the great Almighty God and His Son, Jesus Christ. But you know, the most incredible statement in this sentence is "we shall be like Him."

A child can't accurately say, "I am my father." But he can say, "I am a human being like my father." John didn't say that we will be comparable to God in His power, and His wisdom and majesty and perfection, but he did write that we will be "like" God.

Notice that John didn't say that we will be like angels. Human beings weren't created in the image of angels.

You and I were created in the image of God. It's what the Bible says. I mean wrap your mind around this—your eternal purpose is to live forever with the energy, intelligence, joy, love, creativity of being a son or daughter in God's family!

It's hard to understand. I mean right now, we are terribly marred and distorted images of God. But Jesus Christ came to heal you and He came to heal me. And there is only one way eternal life is worth living. It is the way God has designed. "Eye has not seen..." the remarkable eternal purpose for your life. It's time to turn to God and be restored to your purpose as His child.

Now to help you discover how to grow in this relationship with God as His child, we want to send you our free Bible Study Course .

You know, only one book gives us the answers to life's crucial questions: Why were we born? Why are we here? Where is the world headed? What does the future hold? And that book is the Bible.

Our eye-opening 12-lesson Bible Study Course will make the Bible come alive as it leads you through the biblical answers to these and other questions! You need these lessons in your life, and we want to give you all 12 lessons at no charge. You need to know about God's calling and how He wants to transform your life .

These lessons can guide you through the Bible and help you develop a deeper relationship with God and Jesus Christ. And you know, they are absolutely free!

You can read the Bible Study Course online at BeyondToday.tv or request the free course to be sent directly to your home by calling: 1-888-886-8632. Write this down. That's 1-888-886-8632. And if you live outside North America, you can write to the address you see on your screen [Beyond Today, PO Box 541027, Cincinnati, OH 45254].

Have you wondered, "Why did God Create Mankind? " or "Is There Hope for Human Survival? " You will find the transforming answers to these questions from God's Word and you can find it through the Bible Study Course.

Call right now—1-888-886-8632.

We've been talking about eternal life—living forever. Many people we talked with said that living forever as a human being isn't that attractive. Now fortunately, God has a greater plan—a greater purpose—a reason for faith and hope. It's beyond your imagination. God made you for an eternal purpose. And this purpose is either unknown, or misunderstood by most people, even many Christians!

Why do you think God created human beings? Well, here's how some people answered that question.

> Because He loves you. He wants you to have fun. And God thinks it's cool. Yeah, everything He made here, all this stuff, is He wanted you to enjoy this sun beating on your head right now. That's it.

>> To see if people can get along with people like themselves as well as people that are different, to see if people could be accepting.

> That's a good question. You have to know whether or not you believe in God, so...but you know I think a lot of this to me is evolution, and whether or not we were supposed to have evolved into this, I'm not sure. I don't think anybody knows.

>> He probably wanted to have some images of Himself in the world so that people could know that He exists, and that He is here to help and protect us as long as we abide by His rules...but mostly to take care of the earth environmentally and the animals that He created.

[Gary] What a wide array of ideas about the meaning of life. It's hard to find consistency in what people believe about God's purpose for all of us.

Well how many of us live a life centered in the immediate and whatever feels good? But, our God-given potential is so much more than that!

God's purpose for us is to eventually meet Him face-to-face. God's purpose for us is to be fundamentally in nature "like" Him. God's purpose for us is to be in His family, for eternity. That's your potential!

Is it possible for us to get a glimpse into the fantastic future God has planned for those who follow Him?

Well, let's take a sneak a peek at the end of the Book. Let's look at the how the plot concludes. Let's go to Revelation 21.

The apostle John is inspired by a vision from God and this is what he writes, "Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband" (Revelation:21:1-2).

John is given a vision of the future—a time when there is a new earth. But notice something very important—and this is quite different than what you will hear from many pulpits—the throne of God, heaven, is actually coming to earth.

Now John continued: "And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, 'Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away'" (Revelation:21:3-5).

In 1 Corinthians 15, the apostle Paul wrote that at the resurrection the followers of Jesus Christ will receive a—and this is what he calls it—"spiritual body" (1 Corinthians:15:44). Paul described us as becoming beings of eternal energy and minds filled with the power, love and sound mindedness of God's Spirit.

When Jesus, after His resurrection, appeared to His disciples, He walked through walls. He ate meals with them and then disappeared to return to the throne of God. And remember, we will be like Him.

You know, I've talked with people who fear that in the resurrection they won't know their relatives or friends. But notice: Jesus recognized His disciples and they recognized Him. We will remember and know each other as members of God's eternal family.

Now if you find this future inspiring, here is something you must know if you want this to be your future.

You can't enter into this glorious future "just the way you are." To realize this great purpose we must be convicted, we must be "converted." We must be changed and prepared by God. As a marred image of God, we must be restored to our original purpose. And this is the hope—the purpose—the driving motivation of what it actually means to be a Christian. God is "saving" those who turn their lives over to Him for an eternal purpose—an eternal meaning.

Now let's return to Revelation where John wrote, "And He said to me, 'It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit"—listen to this—"...inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son" (Revelation:21:6-7).

"He shall be My son." In one phrase, we have the meaning for all human life—your life, my life. God is creating children! His purpose for your life is a whole lot more important than the activities that take up most of your time. This is the purpose that must become so, so real to you that it motivates every day of your life!

It's interesting that most of the people that we interviewed didn't find eternal physical life that attractive. They feared growing old or enduring emotional suffering. But the life God is offering you is a life without aging, without growing old. Here in Revelation, God says that His children will "inherit all things" (Revelation:21:7).

Now what does it mean to inherit all things? I mean God promises to us—that's what it says—all things. In His wondrous universe what is it that He would hold back from His children? I guess the question is, what is not included in "all things?"

But not only has God offered you this incredible future, He is offering you everything you need to have so that you can have a relationship with Him right now, in the midst of your financial difficulties, your health problems, the anxieties you feel about your future and the world you live in.

God is offering you "all things" you need right now to fulfill His purpose. If you respond to Him what will He hold back from you? If He says, you are My child, what will He hold back from you? His love? His guidance? His wisdom? His solutions to your problems? His commandments that make life work? His mercy? The future that He wants for you?

The variable is us and our response to Him. You can live your life as a marred image of your Creator, or you can seize the incredible salvation of the Almighty God's personal reason for your life.

Now you can learn much more about what God would like to do in your life, and how you can build a closer relationship with Him, by taking our free Bible Study Course from Beyond Today .

"Why did God Create Mankind? ," "What is the Church? ," "The Calling of God ." These are just three of our 12 study lessons we will be happy to send you without cost or obligation.

You can read the Bible Study Course online at BeyondToday.tv or request your free copy to be sent to your home by calling: 1-888-886-8632. That's 1-888-886-8632.

And when you order the Bible Study Course we will also send you a free subscription to The Good News magazine . The Good News will help you make sense of today's perplexing news and events in the light of biblical prophecy.

In addition, I really encourage you to visit the Beyond Today website where you can find daily video commentaries on breaking news and important biblical topics .

Join us throughout the week for BT Daily and get additional analysis on prophecy, the Bible and God's plan and purpose for your life.

We've been looking at the meaning for your life and the incredible future God has planned for those who turn to Him. We're now joined by Darris McNeely and Steve Myers to discuss God's purpose for our lives.

You know, we talked to a lot of people out on the street about would they like to live forever. And I was a little surprised at the answers that so many people gave, that most people said they would not want to live forever. Why would you think...

[Steve] Well you could see why you wouldn't want to live forever in this kind of world. You think about what our world is like. It's not hard to get past all the difficulties, and try to think about what could be good about living forever. It's sickness. It's trouble. It's difficulties. Nuclear problems. All these things seem to add up and so if we are stuck in this same physical existence...

[Gary] Life loses meaning.

[Steve] Right, you wouldn't want that to go on forever.

[Darris] If all you've known is chronic pain, suffering, mental turmoil and distress, why would this be something you would want to perpetuate? And unfortunately that is what a lot of people have to think about. So what Steve says is true. You know, I've thought about this a lot through the years. You try to understand what is meant by eternity.

When I was a kid, one time I tried to... I set my mind to think about what it would be like to live forever. What would eternity be like? And certainly I had a very small frame of reference but I imagined my life as it was at that time over, and over, every day, over and over again forever—with no end. And at some point, in my thinking about it, it literally began to frighten me. I got scared. And I just kind of terminated it.

What, later on I realized I was kind of doing a Groundhog Day in advance—you know, one day over and over again. But that's all I could imagine about eternity and living forever, just doing the same thing that I was doing and that really scared me to death. I just had to kind of stop it and bring myself back into reality at that time.

I don't think people have heard a really thorough, sound, biblical, theological, explanation of eternity, and that clouds the issues is why in your interviews you saw that.

[Gary] Yeah I mean, physical life forever is not always that attractive, but God gives us a glimpse in the Scripture about eternal life the way He designed it to be lived. And He gives us that glimpse, He gives us that vision, but it's so hard for us to grab hold of it. Why is it so hard for us to grab hold of that vision?

[Steve] I think it's because we are physical beings. We see what is around, what we can touch, what we can feel, what we can really lay our hands on. And we're limited by that. And so when we talk about an almighty, all-powerful God who is in this spiritual realm, it's tough to really get a handle on that. Even the apostle Paul said, we look in a mirror dimly (1 Corinthians:13:12). And so, even for Christians it is hard to really get a grasp on things sometimes, and so I think we are limited by our physical perspective.

[Darris] Plus the fact that most people are just not taught what, again, eternity, eternal life is all about and that this life is a preparation for eternal life. And that what we do today, the character we build, the way we use our time, prepares us for a lifetime with God, with meaning and purpose, helping to expand the family of God and the plan of God throughout the universe. That's not understood and that too, just keeps it from being something that's real.

The ideas that people have of joining others in heaven or whatever again, it just is meant to perpetuate people's lives. I've heard people talk at funerals about the deceased being up singing in a heavenly choir with the family and their friends, and doing what they loved to do. In one case, it was someone who couldn't carry a note in a bucket.

[Steve] That would be a long eternity, wouldn't it?

[Darris] Yeah it would be along eternity.

[Gary] Well obviously, God is going to give us things we don't have. And this vision of being in the family of God and knowing each other, and having work and creativity and purpose... I've met a few people in my life—and probably you've had this experience as a pastor—where I've been at their death bed, holding their hand. And they've actually said, "would you please pray that God would go ahead and let me go to sleep, so that my next waking moment is in His family, because that's good. I look forward to that and I am worn out with this life." And I've seen people actually have that that deep. They're ready! The apostle Paul said he was ready to go.

Go ahead.

[Steve] Yeah, that's kind of an interesting thing when you think about the faith that that takes. What a difference from a physical perspective that we have to work ourselves out of to gain a spiritual perspective. And that means, I've got a relationship with God. And I begin to understand, well what is His purpose? And it's not about this physical world, that He's doing an awesome thing creating a spiritual family and that we can be a part of that family! And that changes our perspective to realize that there is an awesome future that God has in mind. And it's not the same old, same old, over and over and over again. God is an awesome Being who has eternity planned out for so many things to happen for us.

[Gary] And we will be like Him! I mean, we are going to be living life at a level that'll make this insignificant.

Now you believe this, I believe this. That's why we are here. That's why we do this, okay. How did understanding, coming to the understanding of this eternity being offered to you by God—your purpose—how has that changed your life?

[Steve] Well I think it changes your whole perspective. When you realize, this is not the reality that counts, this is just a temporary step in God's plan. That this physical existence is just the stepping stone to a spirit life—eternity with God. What a difference that makes! So, priorities change. What comes first in my life is no longer those physical kinds of things. It's my relationship with God. It's His plan. It's His purpose in my life. It just changes everything! It gives life meaning.

[Darris] It changes your view of the world, what some people call a worldview. Because when you understand that God is working out a purpose in this life and in history. History will have an end at some point—the human experience—when Christ does intervene, and there is going to be a time of intervention that will spare human life.

And, it keeps you from undo worry and concern over where this world is going, and the chaos and the confusion that people have. And it gives you a sense of serenity—the type you described with people who asked you to pray that God would take them when they are ready—because you know that your life then is not going to end until you are ready for eternity with God.

You know Gary, I've come back to thinking about this today, when I try to imagine eternity, I don't, I no longer get afraid like I did when I was a kid and I tried to imagine that. I know it's not just a cyclical, over and over again life like I have now. It will be an eternity of growth in the family of God as one of His glorious children. And that the growth will be unending and it is going to be something far beyond that. The fear is gone.

[Gary] Well you said growth. And a little bit ago, you said about preparing. We learn how to live physical life the way God created it to be lived, we can live for eternity the way He designed it to be lived. And believe me, it's a lot greater than anything we can think of!

Remember our free offers today. You'll want to order our free 12-lesson Bible Study Course and get a free subscription to The Good News magazine . Call toll free: 1-888-886-8632. That's 1-888-886-8632. Or, you can read both the Bible Study Course and The Good News magazine online at BeyondToday.tv .

"Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him."

Your purpose, your potential, your future is so much greater than you have imagined. God is creating a family. Welcome to the meaning of your life.

Join us next week on Beyond Today as we continue to discover the gospel of the Kingdom. We also invite you to join us in praying, "Thy Kingdom come." For Beyond Today I'm Gary Petty. Thanks for watching.

[Announcer] For the free literature offered on today's program, go online to BeyondToday.tv . Please join us again next week on Beyond Today !

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