11/13/08

Heaven

When you think about your future, is the primary thought about heaven or is it about your schooling, career, or family, or success? The main concern of our future should be about where we will spend eternity! For us believers, how come we don’t think about heaven very much? Is it because it is thought to be a place that all “good” people go to when they die? Is it some type of distant mystery? The bible teaches that it is a reality here in the present. If we would only read our bibles more and focus upon the reality of heaven, we wouldn’t set our hearts upon things down here, but would seek the imperishable things above.

The most important aspect about heaven is that Jesus will be there. The supreme desire of every believer should be to see their Lord. If that is not your ultimate motive, you need to analyze why you want to go to heaven. What if Jesus wasn’t there? Would you still want to go to heaven? John Piper says it best:
“Would you be happy in heaven if Christ were not there? The critical question for our generation—and for every generation— is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ were not there?

I agree with what D.L. Moody said, “What life on this earth is without health, life in heaven would be without the presence of God. God's presence will be the very light and life of the place.” When desiring to go to heaven, if the first and foremost motive of your heart does not involve God, then you have a wrong motive and a wrong view of God.

How Not To Get There:
A. By being a “good” person.
B. By purposely doing good deeds so you can earn your own way.
C. By having an internal belief with no external evidence.
D. By being baptized as a small infant or by saying a meaningless prayer.
E. By simply not wanting to go to hell; "fire insurance."

How To Get There:
A. By being in love with Jesus (1 Corinthians 16:22)
B. By having faith that produces external evidence (James 2:18).
C. Repenting (turning away from) sin and turning towards Jesus (Luke 13:3).

Simple Truths Regarding Heaven:
A. Death will not exist in heaven (Isaiah 25:8).
B. Only righteous people will enter heaven (Matthew 5:17-20).
C. Few people will enter heaven (Matthew 7:13-14).
D. Jesus is preparing heaven for his followers (John 14:2-3).
E. Our lives will not be complete until we enter heaven (2 Corinthians 5:2).
F. Heaven is much better than earth (Philippians 1:23).
G. Christians should look forward to heaven (Colossians 3:1-5).
H. Heaven is the home of righteousness (2 Peter 3:13).
I. God is the focus of attention in heaven (Revelation 7:17).
J. There will not be any sadness in heaven (Revelation 21:4).
K. People in heaven will walk with God (Revelation 22:5).

The Distant Future, Now:
A. We are to be heavenly minded (Colossians 3:3).
B. Our current citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20).
C. We are pilgrims, sojourners, foreigners, and aliens to this earth (1 Peter 2:11).
D. Our live is but a vapor here on this earth (James 4:14). E. Everlasting life is occupied in this lifetime (John 3:36).

First and foremost, the main reason why heaven sounds so enticing to me is because Jesus will be there. What a marvelous joy it will be to see Him face to face. When I think about heaven, I am reminded of the classic song by Mercy Me, “I Can Only Imagine.”

I can only imagine
What it will be like
When I walk
By Your side
I can only imagine
What my eyes will see
When Your face
Is before me
I can only imagine
[Chorus]:
Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel
Will I dance for You Jesus or in awe of You be still
Will I stand in Your presence or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine
I can only imagine
When that day comes
And I find myself
Standing in the Son
I can only imagine
When all I will do
Is forever
Forever worship You
I can only imagine


Being Heavenly Minded

Our life will be more focused as we fix out thoughts, time, energy, money, etc., upon the future instead of the present. We will not squander this life and let it pass us by when we focus upon the eternal. If we were going to be moving to a new location here upon this earth, we would research the new area and find out all the information about it. We need to do the same for our eternal destiny, but with much more urgency and priority.

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).

We must not focus upon this materialistic life. Everything will pass away and the more we put aside the things of this world, the closer our mindset will be towards heaven. To prove this point, here is a great illustration by D.L. Moody:

When a man is going up in a balloon, he takes in sand as ballast, and when he wants to mount a little higher, he throws out some of it, and then he will mount a little higher; he throws out a little more ballast, and he mounts still higher; and the more he throws out the higher he gets, and so the more we have to throw out of the things of this world the nearer we get to God.

Everybody wants to enjoy heaven after they die, but sadly, they don't want to be heavenly minded while they live here in this present age.

Jesus said that He is preparing a place for us in heaven. Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people. Here are a few examples that show how people are not ready:

• A little girl one day said to her mother, "Mamma, my Sunday-school teacher tells me that this world is only a place in which God lets us live a while, that we may prepare for a better world. But, mother, I do not see anybody preparing. I see you preparing to go into the country, and Aunt Eliza is preparing to come here; but I do not see anyone preparing to go there; why don't they try to get ready?"

• A certain gentleman in the South, before the war, had a pious slave, and when the master died they told him he had gone to heaven. The old slave shook his head, "I's 'fraid massa no gone there," he said. "But why, Ben?" he was asked. "Cos, when Massa go North, or go a journey to the Springs, he talk about it a long time, and get ready. I never hear him talk about going to heaven; never see him get ready to go there!"

So the question arises, are you prepared for heaven? Let the thought of heaven change our daily routines, our comforts in this life, and our view of people. Amen.



"Beyond the smiling and the weeping,
I shall be soon;
Beyond the waking and the sleeping,
Beyond the sowing and the reaping,
I shall be soon.
Love, rest, and home!
Sweet Home!
Lord, tarry not, but come.
"Beyond the rising and the setting,
I shall be soon;
Beyond the calming and the fretting,
Beyond remembering and forgetting,
I shall be soon.
Love, rest, and home!
Sweet Hope!
Lord, tarry not, but come."

1 comment:

Shaka said...

That's a great reminder! Earth is not our home...we are strangers on this earth. I can't wait to get to our real Home where our citizenship is!