September 2018  
SMTWTFS
      1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30    
Bible Search
Heaven’s Activity Guide 2/19/2017

Heaven’s Activity Guide  2/19/2017

Intro

People think of what we’ll be doing in heaven in a lot of different ways. Some picture it as a beach where we just lay around all day, some as an eternal worship service, others as a huge concert.

Billy Joel, in 1977, wrote “Only the good die young.”  In it he wrote “They say there’s a heaven for those who will wait; Some say its better, but I say it ain’t. I’d rather laugh with the sinners; Than cry with the saints; The sinners are much more fun. Only the good die young.”

Billy got one thing right in this song, people do die- young and old alike. The Bible says “It is appointed to man once to die; and after that the judgment.”

In the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain has Huck make this observation about heaven ““She (Miss Watson) told me all about the good place. She said all a body would have to do there was to go around all day long with a harp and sing, forever and ever. I asked her if she reckoned Tom Sawyer would go there, and she said, not by a considerable sight. I was glad about that, because I wanted him and me to be together.”

The mouth of the south, Ted Turner said this about heaven at the national press club a few years ago “Remember, heaven is going to be perfect. And I don’t really want to be there. Those of us that go to hell, which will be most of us in this room; most journalists, are certainly going there. Who wants to go to a place that’s perfect? Boring. Boring.”

CS Lewis had some things to say about those who don’t understand heaven, ““There is no need to be worried by facetious people who try to make the Christian hope of heaven ridiculous by saying they do not want to ‘spend eternity playing harps.’ The answer to such people is that if they cannot understand books written for grown-ups they should not talk about them.” (Mere Christianity, p. 106)

In Gary Larson’s the Far Side cartoon he has one of a man sitting on a cloud in heaven with angel wings saying, “I wish I had brought a magazine.” So will heaven be boring? Monotonous? Are we just going to sit around playing harps all day?

  •  Rev 21:1-5 ‘ Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I 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 the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place[a] of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people,[b] and God himself will be with them as their God.[c] 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
  • 5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
  • Rev 22:1-5  Then the angel[a] showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life[b] with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
  • As we learned last week when a believer dies today, he or she goes to paradise, to be with Jesus. But, that is not the final heaven. God is going to create a new heaven and a new earth. He will redeem and resurrect this old earth.
  • Randy Alcorn writes in Heaven ““It is no coincidence that the first two chapters of the Bible begin with the creation of the heavens and the earth and the last two chapters begin with the re-creation of the heavens and the earth. All that was lost at the beginning will be restored at the end—and far more will be added besides. The power of Christ’s resurrection is enough not only to remake us, but also to remake every inch of the universe—mountains, rivers, plants, animals, stars, quasars, and galaxies.” (Heaven, p. 126)
  • Let me give you 5 reasons why Heaven can’t be boring

 

I. We’ll be Exploring It’s Infinite Beauty

  1. Rev 22:1-2 ‘Then the angel[a] showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life[b] with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

            We are all natural explorers.

             Henry David Thoreau said ““We need the tonic of wildness...At the same time that we are earnest to   explore and learn all                    things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land   and  sea be indefinitely    wild, unsurveyed and               unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never  have    enough of nature.”

  1. Stop and think of the most beautiful place that you’ve ever been. I’ve been to the Grand Canyon, Smoky Mountains, Rocky Mountains, Southern California, New York, Virginia, the Great Wall of China.
  2. For me the mountains are the most beautiful place that I’ve been.
  3. What about you? Compared to the beauty of the New Heaven and New Earth the mountains will look like a garbage dump.
  4. The New Heaven and New Earth won’t just be a large city. There’ll be new planets and galaxies to explore. We’ve always had the urge to explore. That’s what drove the Europeans to travel across the ocean and find the New World by mistake.
  5. The beginning lines of Star Trek are “Space the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. It’s continuing mission: To explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before.”
  6. Well the real final frontier is Heaven. And we won’t need a starship to explore it.
  7. Dan Schaeffer writes ““God has made us to explore and discover with great delight. We use spaceships and submarines because we need them, because our bodies are not perfectly fitted to explore our world without them. But Jesus, in His glorified body, which is the prototype of ours, was able to ignore the physical obstructions of our planet, like walls, gravity, density, and other things. Though physical Himself, He vanished and reappeared. He passed through solid walls. He floated up into heaven defying gravity. Our new bodies will be made perfectly to explore the new heaven and earth. We have heard the phrase in history, ‘the golden age of exploration.’ In reality, that age lies ahead of us, not behind us.” (A Better Country: Preparing for Heaven, p. 72)

 

         II.  We’ll be Enriched by Meeting New Friends

  1. Rev 7:9 is how John described the people he saw in heaven
  2. “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,”
  3. This describes a specific coronation event in Heaven, we’ll not always be wearing robes and carrying around palm branches
  4. Notice the multitude though, they come from every nation, tribe, and language. These will be our fellow citizens in Heaven. You’ll get to ask David how big Goliath was. You’ll get to meet a tax collector named Zaccheus.
  5. You’ll get to meet Eve and Sarah and ask them ‘what were you thinking?’
  6. You’ll be able to ask Daniel what it was like in the Lion’s Den, ask Peter what it was like to walk on water. In heaven that won’t be a challenge anymore.
  7. You’ll know your family members there, and get this, you’ll know them even better than you knew them here But you’ll know everyone in heaven better than you know your closest friends and family now.
  8. And your great great grandparents, whom you never met, you’ll know them, and they won’t seem old to you and you won’t seem young to them.
  9. Babies who have died in the womb, you’ll know them too. You’ll know them in fullness of their potential and energy.  Jesus took children in His arms and received them and blessed them.
  10. When King David’s infant son died he said “I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” (2 Sam 12:23) According to Heb 11:32 David is in heaven, so he knows his son now.
  11. In this life we all have a sin-influenced heart that drives us to isolate ourselves. We’re shy and withdrawn at times because we are afraid of hurting someone or being hurt.
  12. There won’t be any annoying, obnoxious people in heaven because they’ll be like Jesus just like you and I.
  13. In this life we only know a few people intimately, but can you imagine what it will be like to truly know and love all of the redeemed from all of the ages?
  14. David Schaeffer writes ““Heaven will be a city of new people—regenerated, renewed and perfect. Imagine upon arriving in heaven that you discovered to your delight, that the first person you met loved you so dearly and deeply that it fairly took your breath away and that this expression of love neither embarrassed you nor made you feel strange. You were able to receive this person’s love as easily as he or she was able to give it. Then imagine the next person you met loved you with an equivalent, but unique, perfect love as well…On earth, all our love is sininfected and sin-affected. The best of our loves has to struggle with resentment, envy, jealousy, pride, anger, and other sinful ingredients. In heaven, each person will be a new ‘best friend.’” (A Better Country: Preparing for Heaven, p. 90)
  15. Have you ever met a celebrity of sports star? Remember how thrilling it was? It’ll be that way with every person you meet in heaven!

III.We’ll be Engulfed in a Symphony of Praise

  1. Rev 5: 11-12 “Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice,

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,

to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might

and honor and glory and blessing!”

  1. This is a specific event where the Lamb of God, Jesus comes forward and opens the scroll to announce the final chapter of the world’s drama.
  2. I love to be here on Sunday, I love to see all of you and to hear your stories. For a lot of people though the most enjoyable part of Sunday morning is leaving. Worship is over, their cars are strategically parked for the fastest getaway.
  3. So for many the idea of heaven being an eternal church service is not fun.
  4. Isaac Asimov said “I don't believe in an afterlife, so I don't have to spend my whole life fearing hell, or fearing heaven even more. For whatever the tortures of hell, I think the boredom of heaven would be even worse.”
  5. But John Eldredge has this idea ““We have settled on an image of the never-ending sing-along in the sky; one great hymn after another, forever and ever, amen. And our heart sinks. Forever and ever? That’s it? That’s the good news? And then we sigh and feel guilty that we are not more ‘spiritual.’ We lose heart, and we turn once more to the present to find what life we can.” (The Journey of Desire, p. 111)
  6. But Heaven isn’t going to be 6000 verses of our favorite choruses. It’s not going to be a sermon that last’s 40 yrs.
  7. Rather I think praise and worship will be the very atmosphere of heaven. Kind of like the soundtrack of a great movie. You’re not really aware of it, but it’s moving you and making the experience better.
  8. Just like you listen to your ipod when you’re working or relaxing, the symphony of praise will surround you.
  9. I think there’ll be times when you are serving the Lord where you’ll just break out and sing along with the praise of Heaven. And in Heaven you’ll sing great!
  10. I’m a prisoner singer, a few bars behind and can’t find the right key. So if you can’t sing now, don’t worry in Heaven you’ll have a beautiful voice. So right now just keep making a joyful noise!

IV.We’ll be Energized by Serving the Lord

  1.  Rev 22:3 “No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve Him.”
  2. In heaven we won’t just be floating along the clouds. We’ll be working. We’ll be serving the Lord,  we’ll be ruling and reigning with Christ.
  3. The parable of the faithful servants is about how we use our gifts and abilities here. If we’re faithful here, He will give us more responsibilities in heaven.
  4. The best translation of 1 Cor 6:2-3 says “Do you not know that the saints will govern the world? Do you not know that we are to govern angels?”
  5. We’ll be serving the Lord but we won’t get tired, weary or frustrated. Instead we’ll be energized and fulfilled. I think that you’ll be doing something so amazing that you’ll be filled with euphoria.
  6. Imagine the way you felt when you really accomplished something you worked hard for like finishing a job, graduating from college, getting a promotion.
  7. Extend that sense of fulfillment to eternity, what’s what it’s going to be like working in heaven.
  8. Dan Schaeffer had written: “God did not create me for a short seventy-to-eighty-year life span. I was created for eternity. The gifts, passions, and abilities that God has given and revealed to you are, and will remain for your entire earthly existence only in the embryo stage…And those gifts will be yours forever, a part of you that God always had in mind to bloom in your forever. None of us, even the most accomplished among us, has ever experienced anything but the barebudding of our God-given talents and gifts.” (A Better Country: Preparing for Heaven, p. 120)

 

V.We’ll be Enjoying the Presence of Jesus

  1. The best thing about Heaven is this. We’ll see Jesus.
  2. The Bible says, “They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.” (Revelation 22:4) Paul wrote, “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.” (1 Corinthians 13:12).
  3. Paul says we look through a picture that’s out of focus or we look into a mirror that’s fogged up.  We see Jesus’ face dimly with our eyes of faith but one day we’ll look straight into His face.
  4. When it says that His name will be on our foreheads it means that He’ll be foremost in our minds and thoughts.
  5. We’ll be married to Jesus, the Church is the Bride of Christ.

                              Dan Schaeffer writes: “Human marriage was always meant to be but a foreshadow of the things

                              to come. Human marriage is an exclusive relationship between one man and one woman. We

                              desire this exclusive love, this special feeling of being the single and only romantic love of the

                              other. In Heaven, in His presence forever, we will finally eat the banquet for which all human

                              marriages and loves were but hors d’oeuvres. We will not miss having the one human

                              relationship through which we find our life and fulfillment, for we shall finally experience the

                              real thing with our Lord.” (A Better Country: Preparing for Heaven, p. 114)

        When you see His face, your deepest need for acceptance and love will be fulfilled. In Heaven all    relationships will be eclipsed by a powerful love of Jesus. What a glorious day that will be!

 

VI.Conclusion

               All of us, one day are going to see Jesus face to face. Either when we die or when He returns.

               500 yrs ago John Donne said “No man ever saw God and lived. And yet, I shall not live till I see God.”

               9 years ago Randy Alcorn wrote “The day I die will be the best day I ever lived.”

               In 1923 Nettie Dudley Washington wrote a song that was pretty much ignored for 60 years. But the Gaither vocal band                          discovered it and recorded it in 1993. Now the words are familiar to most of us.

               “As I entered the gates of that city, My loved ones all knew me well; They took me down the streets of Heaven;   Such scenes               were too many to tell; I saw Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Talked with Mark and Timothy. But I said, “I        want to see Jesus,                     ‘Cause He’s the One who died for me.” Then I bowed on my knees and cried, “Holy, Holy,  Holy.” I clapped my hands  and                        sang, “Glory, Glory, Glory.” I sang, “Glory to the Son of God.”