October 13, 2013   Revelation 21   Heaven  

     Heaven is real.  Heaven is mentioned 51 of the 66 books of the bible.   It is mentioned; 37 times in Deuteronomy, 38 times in Psalms, 73 times in Matthew and as some of you might be guessing it is mentioned a lot in Revelation 56 times.    I counted 73 times in Matthew which means that Jesus spoke of it a lot.  Since Jesus spoke of it a lot it behooves us to think about it and for preachers to talk about it also.     I hope you are looking forward to heaven.   Jesus said to keep looking for and expecting him to come.  I hope your greatest desire is to see Jesus in heaven.   I hope you are encouraged in your life day by day when at times we ask ourselves why and is it worth it.    Your labor is not in vain in Jesus.  I find that the thoughts of heaven are comforting.  Before you can imagine it we will be with him and what a blessing that will be.   We cannot even imagine how great it will be.   The mind of man cannot conceive of the wonder of heaven.   God is lavish and not cheap and it will be greater than anything down here.    

    The Jews had an eye on heaven.  They knew that there was more than just life on earth.  Our homes compared to eternity will just last for a second or so.   Scripture says our life span is like a quick breath on cold day.   Now you see it now you don’t.  The Jews I have heard would leave a corner of their house unfinished to remind them that this was not their final home.  Can you imagine going into a home and seeing a corner of the house with no paint or wall paper and no sheet rock, just 2 by 4 or 2 by 6’s and insulation?   This home is not my real home.  This home and this life is not forever.   This home reminds me of my real home in heaven.   There is a home that is available to all that want to go there. There is a better home, than this home. There is a better life than this life. 

     In talking of the great people of faith, the author of Hebrews wrote, “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance.   And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own.   If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return.   Instead, they were longing for a better country — a heavenly one.  Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them” (Hebrews 11).   Jesus said I am going to prepare a place for you and he said I will come back so you may be with me.  God spoke and created all these galaxies and I don’t think it is a big deal for him to make us a place.    He is preparing a place and he is the master builder.   Jesus has not forgotten you.   If you know Him and love him He is working on your room, your mansion your place in heaven.  

       Most people do not have their eyes fixed on heaven.   They are into this world and the here and now as the following illustration reveals.     Several years ago Dave Galloway told of a soldier who returned from Viet Nam.  His parents were socialites, very well to do.    It was near Christmas, and they were getting ready to go out to the first of the round of parties of the Christmas season.  Just then the phone rang, and it was their son on the phone. "Mom," he said, "I’m back in the States." She said, "That’s wonderful!  Where are you?    Will you be home for Christmas?    Can you get here in time for the parties?  Everybody will just love to see you."    He answered, "Yes, I can be home for Christmas, but I want to ask you something first." "What is it?" she asked. "Well, I have a friend with me from Viet Nam.   Can he come?"     Oh, of course," she answered.   "Bring him along.   He’ll enjoy the parties, too." "Wait a moment, mom," he said, "I need to explain something about him.   He was terribly wounded, and lost both legs and one arm. His face is disfigured, too."  

       There was silence on the phone for awhile.   Then the mother said, "That’s all right.  Bring him home for a few days." "No, mom, you don’t understand.   He has nowhere to live.   He has no one else.   I want to bring him home and to let our home be his home."   The mother was quiet again. Then she said, "Son that just wouldn’t do.   What you’re asking would be very unfair to us.  Why, it would disrupt all our lives.   I’m sure there are government agencies that would be more than glad to take charge of him.   Look, just you hurry home for Christmas now and then maybe you can visit him once in a while."  "Darling, I’m sorry, but we’ve got to rush or we’ll be late for the party.   Call us again as soon as you know when you’ll be home.   Goodbye."   When the parents returned home from the party that night, there was an urgent message from the California police asking them to call.   They telephoned, and the officer said, "I’m very sorry to have to call you, but we have just found a young soldier dead in a motel room.   His face is disfigured, and he has lost both legs & one arm. From the documents on him it would appear that he is your son." 

     This man wanted and needed a new body.    Have you ever wanted something new?   God is going to make everything new.   What would like to be made new?    What do you want changed?    Do you wish you had the body that you had when you were 19 or 20?    Ever wish you had a new car?   My dad used to say take the radiator cap off and just drive a new car under it.   Ever want a new home?    Some of us wish for a new world and not a new world order.   Many of us want a new government or something new from government.   God says in this passage I am going to make everything new.   I do not know if that is a true story or not but that kind of scenario has been played out over and over again.   Someone is not wanted.  We have experienced it and we probably at times have been the one who put up the not welcome sign.  But that is not true of God if we receive his son.    No one will be rejected in heaven.

     I like Matthew 22 where the kingdom of heaven is likened to a king who prepare a wedding feast and sent servants to invite those to the wedding feast but they refused to come.   The king sent more servants and invited people to come.  The king tells them I have all kinds of food and everything is ready and they still would not come.  They paid no attention at all and some went out into their fields and some of the servants were mistreated and some were even killed.  Since they rejected the king the king sends his army and destroys them and then sends his servants out into the streets and to get anybody who will come.   Invite the good and the bad.   The king wanted to fill the wedding hall with guests.   Paul tells us that not many noble are called.   None of us are worthy but it is one place where everybody will be loved and wanted.   It will be more wonderful than any dreams or thoughts of what home is like.  We will all fit in and no one will feel not wanted or out of place.   I think that is awesome.  

     God says I am going to make everything new.   In Genesis 1:1 God created the heavens and the earth.   In Revelation 21:1 there is a new heaven and anew earth.   In Genesis1:16 God created the sun and in Revelation 21 there is no need for the sun.  In Genesis 1:5 the night is established and in Genesis 22:5 we learn that there will be no night in heaven.   In Genesis 1:10 the seas were created and in Revelation 21:1 there is no longer a sea.   In Genesis 3:14 – 17 after Adam and Eve sinned a curse was pronounced and in Revelation 22:3 there will no longer be any curse.   In Genesis 3:19 death enters into God’s creation and in Revelation 21:4 there is no more death.   In Genesis 3:24 man is driven from paradise and in 22:14 paradise is restored.   Thos who have washed their robes are invited in.   Sorrow and pain are introduced in Genesis 3:17 and in Revelation 21:4 there will be no more death, mourning, crying and pain.  God will make all things new.   There will be some wacked bodies there.   Jesus resurrected body showed the scars from his torture and the nail wounds were visible but it won’t matter.  Those scars will not be negative anymore.  The missing arms and legs will not matter.  The eyes that can’t physically see will see and those without legs will get around as easily as those with legs I believe. Those deformities that were caused by our testimony for Jesus will be points of honor.   It will be sweet beyond belief.    Flesh and blood does no inherit the heaven.  This mortality will put immortality.  

    “Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind” (Isaiah 65:17).    We will be healed of all sin and pain.   All our brokenness will be healed.   Our relationship with God will no longer be marred by sin.   Heaven will no longer be veiled.   There will be free communication with our Lord.   We will have the intimate relationship with “God that we have wanted for so long.   We are the bride of Christ and this marriage will be pure and clean and free.  There won’t be any spot or wrinkle in our relationship with Jesus.   We will not be running from God nor hiding from God any more.   Man has been running from God since Adam sinned.      Our longing to be in his presence and experience him will be fulfilled.   Our longing and desire to see Jesus face to face will be realized.   Wee will experience him in ways we never have before because we will be like him and we will see him as he is.  God said I am making all things new.  

    Heaven is pictured a lot of different ways by people.   Some see heaven as a place where we sit on clouds and pay our harp.  For many people that would not be even desirable.   For those that really do not understand God and know the bible heaven may seem boring to them.   Some do not like heaven because sin is the reason for living.   People love and want their idols.    Those are the things that fill their life.   But Christians have a different perspective on heaven.    God has told us we will rule with Jesus.   Some have fought their whole lives to rule and to be on top.   There will be no more struggles and fighting there.  If we suffer with Him we will reign with him.  Some that have wasted their life with sin and bad choices will finally have peace.   All of us have labored against sin and sin will be gone.  There will be no desires for evil.   We will be released.   For those that wanted to be rich there will be abundance.      For those that have labored their whole lives just to put bread on the table will be filled with abundance.   The sorrows that we bear will be gone.  The pain we have in our bodies will be gone.   No longer will we be paying heat bills to keep warm and we will not suffer being too hot.   Everything will always be just right.   For those who have struggled with a spouse all their life there will be peace.   For some their spouses will be lost but there will be peace.   Folks will not irritate one another anymore and Satan will be gone.  

   Many want to go to heaven to see loved ones that have passed away.  I believe that Jesus is the most precious and the greatest reason to be in heaven.  Jesus is what will make heaven, heaven.   I want my cup to over flow with Jesus.  It will be nice to see the Squires and other saints that we have known and love that are there.    It will be great to see the bible characters.     It will be great to talk to Noah, Adam, Moses, David, the disciples of Jesus and Paul.  

   I read an illustration that said long ago, in a kingdom far, far away, a rich king hired a "fool" to entertain him and make him laugh when he was sad.  He gave the fool a golden scepter and told him that when he met a greater fool than he, to pass the golden scepter to that person.  Years passed and one day the king grew very ill.   As he neared death, the king called for his "fool" wanting to be made to laugh one last time. "I'm going on a very long journey," said the king to the fool.   "Have you made preparations and arranged for accommodations at your destination?" asked the fool.   "No," answered the king. "I've been too busy and I didn't think I would be leaving so soon."   The fool handed the king his golden scepter and said, "Sire, you are a greater fool than me since you have made no plans for your long journey."

    When D. L. Moody, the great evangelist, was dying, his last words were, "Earth is receding, heaven is approaching; this is my crowning day."   Is your crowning day coming or does this seem a like an unknown to you?  For many Christians every day that passes brings us closer to our crowning day.