As per, Star Inacay’s request, here’s the key thoughts on my message today.
What we believe about the future will determine how we live today.
How does my view of heaven affect how I live today?
1. What is heaven?
Heaven is the place where God most fully makes known His presence to bring blessing. (Wayne Grudem)
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. (Rev. 21:1)
Heaven is a place not just a state of mind.
Acts 1:11 tells us that Jesus went up to a literal place hidden behind the clouds.
When Stephen was being stoned to death, he saw heaven opened up in Acts 7 where Jesus was standing on the right hand of the Father.
Jesus said in John 14 that He was going to leave to prepare a place for us. It wasn’t just a condition or state, but a physical place.
I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. (Rev. 21:2)
It’s interesting that we refer to heaven when we die. But not only is it a place where we go, it also comes down to the new earth according to Revelation 21:2.
Because of sin at the Garden, the world as we know it has been subject to decay. But time will come that it will all change.
For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. (Romans 8:20-21)
Not only will our world change but even our bodies. We will have a newly upgraded resurrected body.
1 Cor. 15:51-53 tells us For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
Our earthly tent will be changed into something imperishable and immortal.
That’s why Paul exclaimed as if he was trashtalking death:
“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Cor. 15:54)
If you think earth is fun, wait till you get to heaven.
But more than the upgraded body, restored and renewed world, the one thing we will all be amazed is that God Himself will be our reward. Listen to what Augustine said.
“God himself, who is the Author of virtue, shall be our reward. As there is nothing greater or better than God himself, God has promised us himself. God shall be the end of all our desires, who will be seen without end, loved without cloy, and praised without weariness.”
2. Why heaven?
John was giving the church a living hope!
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.” (Rev. 21:4)
“… we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2:13)
The way we live now is completely controlled by what we believe about our future.
“Hope is the power of being cheerful in circumstances that we know to be desperate.” (G.K. Chesterton)
“The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.” (Tertullian)
3. How to get there?
“It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.” (Rev. 21:6)
When Jesus was on the cross, He said, “I thirst.” It was at the moment when God placed all our sin unto Him that He experienced the thirst we all should’ve experienced.
He said that those who will thirst will be given a drink without cost.
The living water is free but it came with a price – His death.
Jesus lost all hope so that we can receive the hope we long for.
The “shadow of death” is just our entrance into glory.