At a Wednesday evening church meeting a very wealthy man rose to give his testimony. “I’m a millionaire,” he said, “and I attribute it all to the rich blessings of God in my life. I can still remember the turning point in my faith, like it was yesterday:
I had just earned my first dollar and I went to a church meeting that night. The speaker was a missionary who told about his work. I knew that I only had a dollar bill and had to either give it all to God’s work or nothing at all. So at that moment I decided to give my whole dollar to God. I believe that God blessed that decision, and that is why I am a rich man today.”
As he finished it was clear that everyone had been moved by this man’s story. But, as he took his seat, a little old lady sitting in the same pew leaned over and said: “Wonderful story! I dare you to do it again!”
The Bible does teach about storing up treasurers in Heaven (Matthew 6:20), so if we are storing our treasurers there, what is it like?
I remember in high school taking a photography class and learning to develop film. It was really fun. Remember the old “one step” cameras? We would take the picture and then watch as it developed. Today, I wish to develop the picture of Heaven.
My theme today is: Heaven is for real. As you look forward to Heaven, use your imagination, grounded with the Bible.
Let’s read Rev. 21:1-4:
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
We have talked about:
1) Heaven is for real.
a. The Bible talks about Heaven in many places.
b. Isaiah 65; John 14:1-6 as well as Revelation chapters 21-22 are all about Heaven.
2) Present Heaven versus future Heaven
a. We talked about the Heaven we enter right away and the Heaven for all eternity.
b. It is encouraging that there is no soul sleep. We go straight to Heaven when we die. (2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:21)
c. We can read about this in the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) as well as Rev. 6:9-11.
3) Will we have homes in Heaven?
a. In John 14:1-6 as well as Isaiah 65:17-23 we read about homes in Heaven.
b. But we read about more than homes in Heaven, we read about whole estates.
c. We read about farms and orchards and land and much more.
d. In Revelation chapters 21-22 we read about a city and a garden.
4) Will Time exist in Heaven?
a. We know that we will not be God, only God is God.
b. There are many references to time in Heaven.
5) Will Heaven be boring?
a. Remember that we will have resurrected bodies (see 1 Cor. 15)
b. We will have purpose.
c. We will have jobs and hobbies; Heaven will not be boring.
6) Will we know everything in Heaven?
a. It seems that we will not know everything.
b. Only God is omniscient.
c. We talked about 1 Cor. 13:8-13 and knowledge. It seems that the gift of knowledge will no longer be needed. This is more about a spiritual gift having to do with knowledge. The spiritual gifts will no longer be needed.
d. If we knew everything, maybe Heaven would be boring, but we won’t.
e. I was at the Turnaround Pastors’ program a few years ago when one of the leaders suggested that I likely have the spiritual gift of knowledge. For me knowledge is like a drug. To me, it is addictive. I get a thrill out of studying and learning new things. It is as if something clicks in my brain when I learn new things.
f. Is seems evident that we will continue to learn.
7) Do dogs and animals go to Heaven?
a. We do see descriptions of animals in Heaven and Psalm 104:30 references animals being restored.
Now, take a moment and imagine Heaven. There is nothing wrong with that. In chapter 2 of Randy Alcorn’s book titled, “Heaven” he writes about imagination. We must be careful of thinking that Heaven will be whatever you imagine it to be, but we can use our imagination. God loves us and does want to lavish blessings upon us in all of eternity.
Randy Alcorn writes:
We cannot anticipate or desire what we cannot imagine. That’s why, I believe, God has given us glimpses of Heaven in the Bible— to fire up our imagination and kindle a desire for Heaven in our hearts. And that’s why Satan will always discourage our imagination— or misdirect it to ethereal notions that violate Scripture. As long as the resurrected universe remains either undesirable or unimaginable, Satan succeeds in sabotaging our love for Heaven.
As C. S. Lewis said,
“While reason is the natural organ of truth, imagination is the organ of meaning.” In the words of Francis Schaeffer, “The Christian is the really free man— he is free to have imagination. This too is our heritage. The Christian is the one whose imagination should fly beyond the stars.”
Schaeffer always started with God’s revealed truth. But he exhorted us to let that truth fuel our imagination. Imagination should not fly away from the truth but fly upon the truth.
We have looked at Scripture, now let’s imagine:
Ask the following as questions of the congregation:
1) What is your dream house? Do you want to live on a farm or in a city?
2) What is your dream job? We will work in Heaven?
3) What is your favorite hobby? If you could do anything in the world what would it be? Golf? Motorcycle riding? Running? Fishing? Hunting? Woodworking? Cooking? Bird watching?
4) What are your interests? History? Geography? Sports? News? Politics? Science? Philosophy? Art? Music?
5) What is the most beautiful things or place you have ever seen?
6) Other thoughts on Heaven?
Schaeffer always started with God’s revealed truth. But he exhorted us to let that truth fuel our imagination. Imagination should not fly away from the truth but fly upon the truth. If you’re a Christian suffering with great pains and losses, Jesus says, “Be of good cheer” (John 16: 33, NKJV). The new house is nearly ready for you. Moving day is coming. The dark winter is about to be magically transformed into spring. One day soon you will be home— for the first time. Until then, I encourage you to meditate on the Bible’s truths about Heaven. May your imagination soar and your heart rejoice.
I hope you can now picture Heaven, at least a little better.
Do you know Christ?
God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)
Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)
Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)
Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)
Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)
Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)