Heaven is word that means great deal to ever Christian. It is the place that we are looking forward to going someday. We sing about and we wonder about it so I thought this morning we take a closer look at this place called heaven.
What is heaven?
Lets begin by look at some definition of the word to see if it will help understand the use of heaven in the Bible.
Webster 1. the expanse of space that seems to be over the earth like a dome
2. the dwelling place of the Deity and the joyful abode of the blessed dead b : a spiritual state of everlasting communion with God.
While these are pretty good definitions we can gain a greater understanding of what heaven is by looking a several scriptures. First of all I want to make it clear that heaven is a literal place and is not myth. In lesson I will increase your understanding of heaven however, we will never be able to learn from the written word exactly what it looks like† and everything it entails. The best place for us to begin is in the book of Revelation starting in 21:9. We need to understand that John does his best to give us a general idea of the wonderful beauty of heaven. However, his description will never do justice to what it really looks when we get to see it for the first time. Let me give you an example by way of a story.
Little girl canít see very well, but she can have a surgery at 12 years old to correct the problem. On their way to get surgery mom describes to her the mountain peek outside the hospital. When the bandages came off the daughter could see good for the first time and she began to cry when she saw the peek her mom described and she asked her why didnít you tell me how beautiful that mountain really was. She, told her tried to tell you but I just couldnít. Well this same this is true in what we are about to read as John describes heaven to us.
Revelation 21:9 Then
one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last
plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, "Come, I will show you the
bride, the Lamb's wife."† 10
And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed
me the great city, the holy
†John has done his
best to describe to us what he saw and put it terms that† we can understand. He paint a very beautiful
picture of heaven using precious gems stones to try to get us to contemplate the
beauty that he was seeing. I personal like how describe the road as being Gold
but looking like transparent glass. While we conjure up a picture of what this
may look like I think we will all be surprised at how far off our picture was
compared to the beauty of the real heaven. We learned from John that there is
no darkness there and that the light come from God. John even describes a river
that is clear as a
"Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in
Me.† 2 "In My Father's
house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told
you. I go to prepare a place for you.† 3
"And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive
you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.† 4 "And where I go you know,
and the way you know."† 5
Thomas said to Him, "Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can
we know the way?"† 6
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to
the Father except through Me.
Jesus had made us a promise that he is off preparing a place
in this wonderful place called heaven and when he comes back again he will take
us to that beautiful city of
Philippians 1:21 For to
me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.† 22 But if I live on in the
flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall
choose I cannot tell.† 23 For
I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with
Christ, which is far better.† 24
Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you.
I sure many Christians go
through this type of struggle in their life. On one hand they think it would be
great to die and go to heaven but on† the
other hand they start thinking about all they can still do on the earth to help
other people become closer to God. I also like what Paul says in,
2 Corinthians 5:1 For we
know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a
building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.† 2 For in this we groan, earnestly
desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven,† 3 if indeed, having been clothed,
we shall not be found naked.† 4
For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want
to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by
life.† 5 Now He who has
prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit
as a guarantee.† 6 So we
are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are
absent from the Lord.† 7 For
we walk by faith, not by sight.† 8
We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be
present with the Lord.† 9
Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to
Again we see Paul
contrasting being with the Lord and†
living here on the earth. Heaven is defiantly a wonderful that we want
to be but we need to make sure that we donít forget to do our best to encourage
others to long after heaven as well. We also learn from Paul in the passage
that we just looked at that heaven is eternal and it will never pass away.
Now that we have talked about the beauty of heaven and how much Paul wanted to be their lets answer the question,
Why we should we be interested in going to heaven? Do we just want to go because itís a beautiful place or because Paul wants to Go? Why wouldnít we just want to stay here on the earth?
In regards to these questions lets take a look a† several reason why we want to go to heaven for more than just its beauty.
First of what can living here on earth offer us. 1. Nothing is permanent here and when Jesus comes back this earth will be destroyed.
2 Peter 3:10† But the day of the Lord will come as a thief
in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the
elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in
it will be burned up.
of the material possession we have satisfy us for very long because we keep
looking for something new to bring up pleasure or comfort. Solomon was a man
who had it all and he concluded that was nothing new under the sun.† This life on earth is full of sorry, pain,
and death. We have to work and work and work†
some more. When you really think about if we all had was our life here
on earth it really isnít that grand. But now lets take a look at some
scriptures that talk about the wonderful benefits of heaven. Again, we are
going to go back to the book of Revelation.
Revelation 21:1 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.†
2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down
out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.† 3 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.† 4
"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."
Wow, John just gave us
six different reasons why we should be so interested in going to heaven. 1. He
says that God will be there and we can be with him. 2. God will wipe away ever
tear. What a comforting thought being in place where do not need to cry. 3.
There shall be no more death. Can you image never dieing living forever, well
heaven this is a reality because according to Paul in 1Corthians 15 we are
given a new body that will not perish. 4. There is no sorrow there. How
wonderful would that be nothing to worry about no heartaches only love, joy,
peace and happiness. 5. There will be no more crying. Obviously if there is no
death or sorrow their will never be a need to cry. Finally, 6 Their shall be no
more pain. Again, I say wow, can you imagine being in place where you no longer
have to deal with pain. No more headaches , no more diseases no more accidents.
These 6 reason by themselves should make ever person desire to go to heaven.
Ah, but there is more.
we get to heaven we will also get to rest from our labors and enjoy a direct
fellowship with God. Surely, we can see that heaven is the place to be. So far
we have just compared heaven and earth. But since the earth will be destroyed
when Jesus returns we have one other place we can choose to go and that is hell.
It doesnít take very long at to see that hell is place that you donít want to
be. Lets look at just a few scriptures that describe what will happen there.
of we need to realize that hell is literal place and it will last forever as
well. In Mat 25 Jesus describes who how the Christian and non-Christian will be
separated and one will go to heaven and the other hell. But notice what he says
"And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous
into eternal life."
Notice hell is described
as a place of everlasting punishment. Mark describes hell as place where the
worm does† not die and fire is
unquenchable Mk. 9:48. John has this to say about hell,
if this sounds like the place for you then you must not be playing with a full
deck. Hell is place reserved for the devil and his angels and for all of those
who choose not to seek after heaven.
surely can see that we should all be interested in going to heaven.
that we see that there is only 2 destinations heaven or hell I want to answer
the question, How can we make sure that we make it to heaven and avoid the
pits of hell?
answer this question lets take a look a several passages that make a contrast
between those who will be saved in heaven and those who be lost. Once again let
return back to book of Revelation in Chapter 21.
Revelation 21:6 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.† 7 "He who
overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My
son.† 8 "But the
cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers,
idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with
fire and brimstone, which is the second death."
First of all notice
everyone can obtain heaven if they want it but requires them to overcome the
sin of the world and remain pure† before
God. However, those who seek to please themselves will find their one way trip
Revelation 22:14 Blessed
are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the
tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.† 15 But outside are dogs and
sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves
and practices a lie.
John says if want to be
blessed, if you want to make it to heaven then you must do his commandments. I
love what John says in,
1 John 5:3 For this
is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not
Some people think keeping
Godís word is just to hard but John is telling us no there not because they are
not burdensome. So, this means that†
every single person is capable of living their life according to Godís
will. Those who choose not to will never be let into heaven. We could look a
several more passage that show this same pattern of how those who follow Godís
word will make in to heaven and those who do not will find themselves in hell.
I think John does a great job of summarizing this point in,
2 John 1:9 ††Whoever transgresses and does not abide in
the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of
Christ has both the Father and the Son.
So, if want to make to
that beautiful place called heaven we must obey Godís commands.
Now I have one last
thought I want to share with you this morning about heaven. First of I want you
to think about who is heaven right now. We know that God is there and the
angels are there. However the church also describe as Godís kingdom is not
there yet but it will be in the future when Jesus returns.
1 Corinthians 15:24 Then comes
the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an
end to all rule and all authority and power.
This is very important
for us to understand that if we are not part of Gods kingdom which means
belonging to the church then we will not find ourselves in heaven. We can also
see this from what Paul says in,
Ephesians 5:23 For the
husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is
the Savior of the body.
You see only those that
have been added to the church will be saved. Paul makes it very clear that we
are not added to the church until we obey the command to be baptized in the
name of Christ for the remission of our sins.
In order to make into the
one body which Jesus will save and take to heaven you must be baptized. We see
this happening at the birth of the church Acts 2. Peter and the other apostles
spoke a great message about Jesus death burial and resurrection and it made an
impact on the audience that day because they realized they had crucified their
Messiah. Lets pick up in verse 36.
Now watch the crowds
Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter
and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we
They wanted to know what
they should do so Peter answer them.
Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in
the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the
gift of the Holy Spirit.† 39
"For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar
off, as many as the Lord our God will call."† 40 And with many other words he
testified and exhorted them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse
generation."† 41 Then
those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three
thousand souls were added to them.
see those who gladly received Gods commands were baptized for the remission of
their sins and they were added they were added to the church that day and Acts
2:47 tells us that it is God that add us†
to the church when we choose to be saved.
Once we have become a
part of the church or Gods kingdom then we must keep pressing to the goal of
heaven by remaining faithful to God until the end of our life. When we do this
we are promised that heaven will be our home.
Revelation 2:10 †Be faithful until death, and I will give you
the crown of life.
I hope this lesson has
taught you how wonderful a place heaven really is and how important is for a
Christian to remain faithful to Lord so that you can see the beautiful city of