Whatever Happened to Heaven?


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Whatever Happened to Heaven?


1. Whatever Happened to Heaven?

Pastor Ron Swanson
Aug. 13, 2018

 

When I came to Christ (back in the late 70’s), the number one accusation leveled against the Church was that we were “too heavenly minded to be any earthly good”.  We took that criticism to heart and made adjustments, but we adjusted too far.  In the decades that followed, the Body of Christ focused almost exclusively on this life.  Rarely did we hear a sermon on Heaven or sing about the Age to Come, as we had in time past. Instead, our focus became temporal blessings and living our best life now! Heaven, at best, was an afterthought.

 

Don’t misunderstand me.  I believe God is interested in our present lives.  Yet, if we’re only mindful of this life, we run the risk of losing our eternal perspective.  If we’re too “earthly minded”, we’ll be tempted to pursue only what benefits us here on earth.  The truth is, when we hold Heaven in our hearts, and keep “the big picture” in mind, I believe we’ll do more “earthly good” than anyone!

 

For the last several years, I’ve been conducting an informal survey of people’s attitude toward Heaven.  Among young people, especially, one of the greatest fears is that Heaven will be boring.  Let me give you five reasons why it won’t be.

 

1.       God Isn’t Boring

 

Think about it:  God is the author of everything we find enjoyable – music, humor, adventure, love, etc.

In this life, we’ve only scratched the surface of His creativity.  At the very end of the Book of Revelation, (speaking of the age to come) Jesus says, “Behold, I make all things new” (Rev. 21:5).  In the Greek (the Bible’s original language), it reads, “Behold, I make things perpetually new.   In other words, things won’t remain static in eternity.  Just when you think you “have a handle” on your new environment, God’s going to come up with something you’ve never thought of before!  You won’t be bored with your surroundings, because things will be ever-changing!  There’s no limit to the creativity of God.

Heaven Isn't Boring


Heaven Isn't Boring


2. Heaven Isn't Boring

Pastor Ron Swanson
Aug.20, 2018

 

We’ve been discussing why Heaven won’t be boring.  First of all, God isn’t boring.  In eternity, we’ll see the fulness of His wonderful creativity.  Secondly, we’ll meet people from every age, culture and generation.  (Just imagine the stories!)

 

1.        All Your Stuff Will Be There

 

What you have on this earth is not your “stuff”.  (You don’t get to keep any of this.)  However, we’re told that there’s an inheritance in Heaven that’s being reserved for each one of us (1 Pet. 1:3-4).  So, your “stuff” will be there, and so will your mansion!  Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions … I go to prepare a place for you (John 14:2).   The operative words in that verse are the words “for you”.  It’s custom-designed with “you” in mind.  Your Father knows exactly what you’ll enjoy!

 

2.        Heaven is a Place of Wonderful Diversity

 

When I first got saved, I pictured Heaven as a never-ending church service.  (I had help believing that – mostly from worship leaders.)  I’ve seen worship leaders stop in the middle of their set to rebuke the congregation:  “You people might as well get used to this!” they’d say.  “It’s all you’ll be doing in eternity!” As a youth, I remember thinking, “That’s all?  Just this?  For eternity?”.  (Needless to say, I wasn’t impressed.) 

 

Our worship leader wasn’t alone in that thought, however.  One popular song speaks of imagining a time “when all I will do, is forever, forever worship you”.  But, is it true? Is worship the only thing we’ll be doing?  Certainly not!  God didn’t create us to be one-dimensional here, and we won’t be one-dimensional there!

 

Yes, there will be times of worship.  Isaiah 66:23-24 speaks of those times:  “Everyone will come to worship Me.  They will come every Sabbath and every first day of the month.  And as they leave …”  Did you see it?  We don’t stay in the Throne Room forever!  We “leave” to go and do other things!  Heaven is more than a Throne-Room.  It’s a City with trees, and rivers, and streets, and mountains, and gates, and buildings, and gardens!  (Jesus and Paul both mention the “Paradise of God”. The word “paradise” refers to an “enclosed garden”.)  In my family, I’m the “city person”, and my wife enjoys the country.  Our forever home will be the best of both worlds, with a beautiful City and a lush countryside to enjoy.  Heaven will be far from boring.

What's Heaven Like?


What's Heaven Like?


3. What's Heaven Like?

Pastor Ron Swanson
Aug.27, 2018

 

We’ve been discussing why Heaven won’t be boring.  First, God isn’t boring.  He’ll continue to create throughout eternity.  Secondly, you and your friends won’t be boring.  There will be people from every race and generation!  Thirdly, our mansion and inheritance will be there.  And, fourthly, there will be much to do.  Heaven isn’t just “one long church service”.  We’ll visit each other’s mansions and we’ll continue to work for the Lord.

 

1.       We’ll Meet Our Loved Ones in Heaven

 

The Bible speaks of Heaven as being a grand reunion.  When Abraham “took his final breath”, he “joined the members of his family who had already died” (Gen. 25:8 NIRV).  There are several Scriptures that indicate that we’ll know each other in Heaven and we’ll be incredibly happy to be reunited.  In Luke 6:21, Jesus spoke of joy and laughter in Heaven.

 

 

What’s Heaven Like? 

 

Although we don’t know everything about the nature of Heaven, the Bible does give us small glimpses into what it’s going to be like.  As I’ve already mentioned, Heaven is a real place; not a spiritual dimension.  Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2).  People don’t “float” there!  They “live” there! 

 

How Big Is Heaven?

I guess that depends on what you mean by the term.  Up to now, I’ve been using the word “Heaven” generically.  But specifically, we’ll be living in the New Jerusalem.  According to Revelation 21:16, the City is going to be 1500 miles square.  (Notice how that’s phrased.  He didn’t say it’s “fifteen hundred square miles”; he said it’s “fifteen hundred miles square”.)  The City stretches fifteen hundred miles in every direction, including “up”.  (That means it either has a really high ceiling, or there are several “levels” in the city.  Personally, I’d have to assume that there are levels.)  In terms of “square mileage”, the City will be two-and-a-quarter million square miles, per level.  

 

I won’t go into a lengthy description of the City.  But, one thing is worth mentioning.  John spoke of a 216-foot high wall made of “jasper”.  According to Thayer’s Lexicon, that Greek word may have been translated better as “diamond”.  If Thayer is correct, can you imagine the colors as the Glory of God shines through the streets of transparent gold, and reflects off that huge diamond wall?  Heaven is going to be a beautiful place!  Don’t miss it for the world.  Accept Jesus as your Savior today.

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