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Focus on the Family Broadcast

Choose You This Day (Part 2 of 2)

Choose You This Day (Part 2 of 2)

Author and speaker Anne Graham Lotz discusses the choice each of us faces concerning where we will spend eternity, and explains why faith in Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven. (Part 2 of 2)
Original Air Date: March 24, 2010


Anne Graham Lotz: God himself is going to take your face in between his hands and wipe the tears from your cheeks. Listen, are you suffering today? One day, God is going to wipe away all tears and there’s going to be no more suffering, no more pain, no more death, and nothing that causes that.

Audience: (Clapping)

Anne: Praise God.

End of Preview

John Fuller: Well, what a great perspective on heaven from our featured speaker today on Focus on the Family, Anne Graham Lotz, as she continues to share how heaven is described in the Bible. Thanks for joining us today. Your host is Focus president, Jim Daly, and I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, we have so much to look forward to in heaven. And as Anne said on our last program, heaven is real. It’s a physical, perfect place. And if you miss part one of Anne’s presentation, please get in touch with us. Uh, we can send you the entire message on CD or audio download so that you can listen again or share it with a friend or get the Focus app for your smartphone.

John: You can get the CD and further details when you call 800-A-FAMILY or find those resources and links at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Anne is an award-winning author, speaker, and Bible teacher. And as I’m sure you’ve figured out, she is the daughter of the late Billy Graham and Ruth Bell Graham. She’s written over a dozen books, including one on this topic, it’s called Heaven: My Father’s House.

John: You can get a copy of that book from us here at Focus on the Family. Just give us a call or stop by the website. Here now is Anne Graham Lotz, and, uh, she’s been reading out of the New Testament, the Book of Revelation, chapter 21. That’s the account, uh, from the Apostle John of a vision he had of heaven. And this was recorded at a women’s conference, sponsored by Focus on the Family a number of years ago.

Anne: John said the streets were paved with gold transparent like glass. And, you know, I thought transparent like glass, it probably would act like a mirror so that when you would walk, every step you would take would be reflected. When I get to heaven, 1st John Chapter 2 or 3 says that, “I don’t know what I’m going to be like, but I know this, I’m going to be like Jesus.” And that means when I get to heaven, this old nature and all of this sin is going to drop off and I’m going to be like Christ. So every step I take and every move I make and every word I speak and every thought I have is going to be a reflection of his glory. Every single person having indwelt by the Holy Spirit, reflecting the glory of Jesus Christ. And every time we make a move, those streets of transparent gold reflect the glory of Christ throughout the universe. And for once and for all, forever and ever, Jesus Christ will be absolutely glorified in the universe through your life and through my life. What a day that’s going to be.

Audience: (Clapping)

Anne: Praise the Lord. But I think perhaps one of the most meaningful aspects of the physical characteristics of heaven are the gates because we’re told that the gates are made out of pearls. And in verse 12, it says that there are 12 gates. And then down in verse 21, the 12 gates were 12 pearls. Each gate was made of a single pearl. Now you think about it for a minute. Those pearly gates are hanging in walls that are 200 feet thick. Now, can you imagine how big one of those pearls is? And do you know how a pearl is formed? A pearl is formed when a grain of sand gets inside of an oyster and irritates it. And the oyster begins to cover that grain of sand with a layer of mother of pearl. And the oyster keeps covering that grain of sand with a layer of mother of pearl until it can no longer feel the irritation. And if these pearls are as, as big as gates, and hanging walls 200 feet thick, they’re covering, not just an irritation to the oyster, but gigantic suffering. And I think what those gates of pearl are representing as the suffering, the death, the blood, the cross of Jesus Christ. That every time we enter into heaven, every time we pass through those pearly gates, we’re going to be reminded that it cost Jesus Christ his very life to open heaven’s gates to us.

Audience: (Clapping)

Anne: Amen. Do you know somebody who says that there are other ways to God besides Jesus? Other ways to heaven besides the cross of Jesus Christ? That their good works outweigh their bad works, and God owes it to them to let them in. But every time we walk through those gates, the gates themselves remind you and me that the only way we could enter heaven is through the death and the blood and the cross of Jesus Christ.

Audience: (clapping)

Anne: And I don’t know about you, but whenever I pass those pearly gates, I’m going to be humbled and oh so grateful. And he was willing to pay the price for me. Heaven is a perfect place, it’s a prepared place, it’s a physical place, and it’s a populated place. Heaven is a place where people live. Heaven is the home of the Lord and the Lamb. Verse 22, “I didn’t see a temple in the city because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the word for temple is that word in the Old Testament that’s used for the Holy of Holies. You remember in the Old Testament, the tabernacle was divided into two places, there was the holy place and the most holy place was where God was said to live and dwell. And the only way you could get into that most holy place was once a year, the high priest would come and grasp a little lamb with both hands and confess the sin of the nation. And the sin and the guilt was conveyed to the little lamb, and then the lamb was slain and the blood was sprinkled on the alter to make ato-, atonement for sin. And then the high priest could go into that most holy place. He would take the blood of the Lamb into that most holy place to make atonement for man’s sin. But you and I, and everybody else couldn’t even go into the most holy place. We had no access into the presence of God at all. And then when Jesus Christ died on the cross, the gospels tell us that the veil that separated the most holy place from the holy place in the temple was went from top to bottom. And the divine hand of God tore apart that veil because through the blood of Jesus, we can enter right into God’s presence. We have access to His presence.

Audience: (clapping)

Anne: And we can come to Him by faith in prayer anytime we choose and walk right into that most holy place of His presence. And when we get to heaven it says that there’s no need for a temple because the Lord God Almighty, and the Lamb are the temple. And when I first read this, I was concerned that when I got to heaven (laughing), that I would have Jesus with me. You know, he would come for a cup of coffee and visit me in my mansion. Then he’d go across the street and have coffee with you and visit you in your mansion. Then you would go down the street and visit somebody else. And, and I thought when I got to heaven that I would have him for a little while, then you would have him for a little while, and I’d have to share him. And it was something of a crisis for me because even though this world is not perfect, I have Jesus Christ in the person of the Holy Spirit living inside of me, never to leave nor forsake me. And I didn’t want to give him up even five minutes to be with somebody else. And then when I read this verse, I thought, “You know, when I get to heaven, there’s no need for a temple. The Lord and the Lamb are the temple.” In His omnipresence, Jesus Christ is fully present with every single one of us in heaven. Living with me in my mansion all the time, fully present with me, never to leave nor forsake me. Fully present with you in your mansion, never to leave her forsake you. We live forever in the presence of Christ. And you know something, that’s what heaven is (laughs), it’s just being with Jesus.

Audience: (Clapping)

Anne: Amen. And not only is heaven the home of the Lord and the Lamb, but His loved ones live there. Look at verse 7, and it says, “He who overcomes will inherit all of this. And I will be her God and she will be my child.” And I want to know what it means to overcome because it says those who overcome will inherit all this. I want to inherit all of this. So what do I have to overcome to inherit all of this? And I think one of the things you and I have to overcome is our pride. Our pride that would say our good works are good enough to get us into heaven. That if I just do more good things than bad things, somehow I deserve to get into heaven and God will give it to me. Maybe we have to overcome doubts, doubting that Jesus is the way, the truth, the life that no one will ever get into heaven, except they come through him. Doubting that there is a heavenly home being prepared for you. Doubting that God loves you so much that he would send his son to die just for you. If no one else benefited from the death of Jesus, that God loves you so much, He would have sent Jesus to die for you and you’re doubting that. And you doubt that you can receive eternal life and know for sure that you’re going to heaven, and you have to overcome your doubts and overcome your pride and overcome that religiosity. And those who overcome and place their faith in Jesus Christ, and you come just sincerely and humbly by faith to the cross. You don’t have to understand everything. You don’t have to have answers to all the questions. You just know that you’re a sinner and you’re sorry for your sin, and you’re willing to turn away from it. And you ask Jesus to be your savior. You claim his death on the cross to make atonement for your sin. You open up your heart and you invite Jesus Christ to come live inside of you. And you surrender the control of your life to him. And when you do that and you overcome the doubts and the fears and the prides, then you inherit all of this. Heaven is your home. Heaven is a place that’s prepared for the Lord and the Lamb and His loved ones. But I want to tell you something, there are two places being prepared in the universe. One is heaven prepared for the Lord and the Lamb and His loved ones, and one is hell. Verse 8, “But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the adulterers, all liars. Their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur.” This is the second death. The first death is when you die physically and the second death is when you die spiritually and you go to hell. And the Bible talks as much about hell as it does about heaven. And I’m going to describe hell to you in contrast to heaven. Not because I want to be negative at the end of a wonderful day and not because I want to discourage or depress anybody, I just want you to understand the truth of what the Bible says. And I’m not going to take the time to give you the verses, but every description I give you of hell comes right straight from the Bible. As does the description of heaven. Heaven, as we’ve already seen, is a place where there’s no suffering, there’s no death, there’s no mourning, there’s no pain, there’s no crime. Hell, on the other hand, has been described as a place of gnashing of teeth. Now, the only time I gnashed my teeth was in childbirth (laughing). And I’m sorry, Eva, but it hurts (laughing). And about the end of all that labor and everything, and they couldn’t give me the medication I needed because of a blood pressure. And, and when that baby came, I was gnashing my teeth in pain. When it says that hell is a place of gnashing of teeth, it means that hell is a place of physical suffering and torments.

John: You are listening to Anne Graham Lotz today on Focus on the Family. And you can get her book, it’s called Heaven: My Father’s House, along with a CD of this broadcast to listen to again, or share with a friend when you call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY, (800) 232-6459. Or donate and request those at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Let’s return now to more from Anne Graham Lotz on Focus on the Family.

Anne: Heaven is described as a place that has high walls and gates. It’s absolutely safe and secure. Hell is described as a place of great insecurity. It’s a bottomless pit, the Bible says. And I can imagine if you and I fell into a bottomless pit, we would have the sensation of falling, falling, trying to grab onto something to break our fall and not being able to and just this tremendous insecurity. And heaven is described as a place that has 12 foundations, absolutely stable. Hell is described as a lake, unstable, always changing, fluctuating, moving, never the same. Heaven is described as a place where the glory of God gives it light, and there’s no night there. Hell is described as a place of great darkness. If you ever had somebody say they don’t want to go to heaven because all their friends are going to be in hell and they want to go to hell and have a big party down there with their friends. And, actually, had a writer tell this to my brother. And she said that she knew her grandmother and her family members had gone to hell. And so she didn’t want to go to heaven because she wanted to go to hell and be with her grandmother and her family. And do you know something? Your family may be in hell, and I pray to God they’re not, and I don’t mean to be rude, but I, I pray to God they’re not. But if they’re there and you go to hell, you’re not going to see them because hell is dark. And you may hear the screams and the gnashing of teeth, but you’re not going to see them. Don’t go to hell because somebody else is there, or because you want to be with somebody.

Audience: (Clapping)

Anne: And heaven is described as a place where the nations of the earth walk, where Kings bring their splendor. It’s a place of wonderful fellowship like this, and hell was described as a place of absolute isolation. You may hear the screams of other people but you’re all by yourself in your darkness and your sin and your guilt. And there’s no goodness, no kindness, no righteousness, no holiness, no beauty, no love. And you’re all by yourself in that kind of atmosphere in sin. And heaven is described as a place where there’s a river of water of life flowing from the throne. And hell is described as a place of fire, of intense dissatisfaction. Knowing you were created for something, and yet never being fulfilled in that. Always being dissatisfied, wanting something, never getting it. Like having a craving and never having that craving satisfied. And heaven is described as a place where we’re going to serve God and we’re going to see Him on face to face and His face will never be turned from us. And hell is the place where we’re going to be separated from God for all eternity. And the very one for whom you were created and the very one who loves you and gave himself for you, you will never see, never be with, separated from God forever and ever and ever. Listen to me, don’t ever tell somebody to go to hell. Number one, it’s not your decision (laughing). And when you begin to understand what hell is like, you don’t even want your enemies to go to hell. That’s why it says that God is so patient because He’s not willing for any to perish. He wants all to come to repentance. If you ever heard somebody say, “Well, a loving God would never send anyone to hell.” Listen to me, a loving God doesn’t send anyone to hell. That’s not His choice.

Audience: (Clapping)

Anne: God has offered salvation to you and me, and it’s our choice whether we receive the salvation that He’s offered and go to heaven, or our choice, whether we ignore a message like this in a day like this and shrug and walk off and say, “Well, that doesn’t mean me. And, you know, I’ll wait till another day.” And, and it’s your choice to refuse God’s gracious offer of salvation. But I want you to understand what the choice is. I want you to make an informed choice. You can choose to place your faith in Jesus Christ as your savior and go to heaven when you die, or you can choose to ignore this and reject this and just say you’ll wait for another day until it’s too late. And you can choose to spend eternity in hell. That’s your choice. And I believe it’s a choice that’s given to the whole world, it’s just that I wonder how many people around you, your family and your friends, do they even know that it’s their choice? When have you told them about the choice to go to heaven or hell? You and I have a moral, spiritual obligation and a privilege and a responsibility before Almighty God to tell the world that there are two places being prepared and it’s their choice as to where they spend eternity. Look at verse 27, “Nothing impure will ever enter heaven, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” And when we get to heaven and the books are open and He looks down the page and He comes to my name, Anne Graham Lotz, and He says, “Anne, welcome into your heavenly home. You placed your faith in my son as your savior when you were a young girl and you’ve recommitted yourself to me and welcome, welcome, this is your home.” And then I wonder if he looks on the next line, and the next line a name has been blotted out because I never told somebody about their choice to go to heaven or to go to hell, and they didn’t know they could receive Christ as savior. And they went out into all eternity lost because I didn’t tell them that they could be saved. And those of you, like myself, who know Jesus Christ, the savior, all listen to me, don’t leave it up to the professional evangelists or the pastor. That’s your glorious privilege to tell somebody else about Jesus.

Audience: (Clapping)

Anne: But I want to speak to those of you in this arena right now who know that you have never deliberately, with your adult conscious mind, placed your faith in Jesus as your savior. And I don’t know why you haven’t. Maybe you thought it wasn’t necessary. Maybe you’re one that thought you could get in by your good works. Maybe you thought just being religious or attending church was enough. And I want to tell you a little story. In London, England years ago, there was a little boy who just lived on the streets, a little homeless child. And he heard one day that DL Moody was coming to town to preach and he wanted to hear him preach. And the meeting was going to be across London, and so the day that DL Moody was to preach, the little boy set out and he ran through the gutters and he stole an apple here, and he dodged the carriages there. And pretty soon that evening he came to the church. It was up on a hill and he could hear the music. He saw the lights coming through the stained-glass windows. It looked like heaven to him, and he ran up the steps and he was so excited to go in the church and hear Dr. Moody preach preaching. Just about this time he got to the door to open the door, a big hand grabbed him and spun him around and said, “Where do you think you’re going?” And the little boy said, “Oh,” he said, “I’ve come to hear Dr. Moody preach. I’ve walked all the way across the city and I’ve worked hard to get here and, and I want to hear him preach.” And the man with a big hand said, “Not you, you’re too dirty to get inside. Be gone.” And the little boy just stuck his nose up in the air and thought, “Well, I’ll find another way in.” And he went around the church, but the windows were too high to crawl through and there was no other door. And so he came back to the steps and he sat down on the steps. He began to cry. He was so disappointed. About that time, a carriage pulled up to the foot of the steps and this man in a top hat and tails came out of the carriage and began to walk up the steps. And the little boy was intrigued, in spite of himself, and the man stopped and saw the grimy little boy with the tears coming down his cheeks. And he said, “Son, what’s wrong?” And the little boy said, “Oh,” he said, “I’ve worked so hard and I walked all the way across London and I’ve come to hear DL Moody preach. But now they say I’m too dirty to go inside.” And the big man looked at him for a moment and then he stretched out his hand and he said, “Put your hand in mine.” The little boy looked up at the big man and he thought, “Well,” and he put his little hand inside the big man’s hand and they walked together up the steps. When they came to the door that had been closed to the little boy, now the door was flung back. And the big man holding the little boy’s hand walked down the center aisle and they came to the front row and the big man put the little boy on that front row. And then he climbed up on the platform and the big man began to preach. And the big man was DL Moody.

Audience: (Clapping)

Anne: That’s a true story by the way. And it illustrates in a beautiful way that the only way you and I get into heaven is because we’re holding the hand of God’s son. I cannot get into heaven because I’m Billy Graham’s daughter. I can’t get into heaven because I’m a member of a church. I can’t get into heaven because I’ve done so many good things and they outweigh my bad things. The only way anyone gets into heaven, anyone gets into heaven is because they’ve put their hand in the hand of Jesus. And he extends his hand to you with the cross and he says, “Listen, I love you, I love you, I love you. And I love you so much I want you to spend eternity with me. In fact, for 2000 years, I’m preparing a home just for you. And I want you to come live with me forever, but you have to make the deliberate choice to receive Jesus Christ by faith as your savior.” And I’m going to invite you right now to do that. For those of you who do not know for sure that if you were to die today, you would go to heaven when you die. But you want to make sure, I’m going to invite you right now to get up out of your seat and you can come stand around this platform and I’m not going to embarrass anybody. I’m just going to have a word of prayer with you. We’re going to give you a little card so that you can receive a Bible study through the mail to help you begin to get to know Jesus. And then you can go back and join your friends. But I’m going to invite you right now. I’m going to ask, listen, Christians, sitting there in the, the arena do not leave. I want you to sit there and just be praying. And if you see somebody coming forward to accept Christ, and you want to encourage them, you just applaud as the angels of heaven applaud. And those of you who want to receive Christ by faith as your savior, you come. And I’m going to ask the holy spirit to work in your heart and bring you forward to make this decision right now. You come to Jesus now.

Audience: (Clapping)

John: This is Focus on the Family, and just picture an audience of almost 20,000 women awestruck as Anne Graham Lotz was sharing. And, at this point, all across the arena, women are standing up, walking forward to accept that invitation she gave saying, “Yes, I want to give my life to Jesus Christ. I want to spend eternity in heaven.” Jim, that must’ve been a really (laughs) powerful moment.”

Jim: Yes, there were so many people that step forward that day to accept the Lord. And maybe you’ve been touched by Ann’s message as well. And you’ve stopped whatever you’re doing to talk with God. Uh, can I encourage you to pray this prayer with me? Lord Jesus Christ, I need you. I know that I’m a sinner. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I repent and turn away from them. I open the door of my life and receive you as my savior and Lord. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person you want me to be. Amen.

John: Amen. And, uh, if you prayed that prayer with Jim, let us know so we can help you with some follow-up materials and get you on the road to a growing vibrant faith.

Jim: Yes, and, uh, we have a free eBook called Coming Home, and it will explain some of the next steps you should take, uh, in deepening your relationship with the Lord. And, you know, John, when I was in college, it dawned on me that although I had accepted Christ at 15, I had not really studied the Bible in any detail. And it occurred to me that my eternal soul, uh, depends on what’s written in that book. I better know what it says, and I would put that challenge to everyone. And that motivated me to blaze through the New Testament. And, boy, that really was a faith builder. So let me encourage you, no matter where you’re at in your faith, read your Bible. At least read the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and see what Jesus said. And that way you can evaluate it for yourself. And then, uh, find a Bible believing church in your neighborhood. Get in there, meet some of the leadership. And if you have questions, ask, that’s how you build a walk of faith. And here’s one other key. Keep listening to Focus on the Family, we’ll help build your faith and give you helpful advice for your marriage and for your parenting journey. We’re in this together, and if you prayed that prayer with us, let me say welcome to the family of God. Well done.

John: Well, indeed, you’ve made a great decision for eternity and, uh, please reach out to us. If you’d like some follow-up materials, we’ll have some articles online and, uh, we do, of course, recommend the book by our guest today and Graham Lotz, Heaven: My Father’s House. Uh, we’re making that available to you when you make a donation of any amount to the Ministry of Focus on the Family today. Uh, donate as you can. Uh, when you call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY, 800-232-6459, or connect with us and get Anne’s book at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Next time you’ll hear about someone in your community who really needs your help, and it’s your pastor.


Marshall Eizenga: Pastors are really first responders, and as people pour their hearts out to the pastor, the pastor hears a lot of things, carries a lot of weight. And that, that’s a tremendous burden at times to carry.

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