HeavenBro. David Chancellor
5/15/2005 11:00 AM
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
Jesus came to make heaven accessible to us. This is the hope of the righteous, the expectation of the child of God. Heaven is not something to mention only at funerals. It should give us hope and courage at other times in our lives. Jesus wanted his disciples to know that something was awaiting them. What we read about heaven isn’t just someone’s conjecture, but it is a reality and a first hand experience that was written about.
2 Corinthians 12:1-4
It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
Paul was referring to his own experience. He had seen a little bit of heaven. It influenced him as a person. When and where could this have happened?
And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead. Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.
Paul did go to heaven, but came back to finish his work. The disciples were no doubt praying for him. Paul got a taste of heaven, and it affected how he lived from that point on. When Paul spoke of heaven, it was very real to him.
2 Corinthians 5:1-9
For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.
"For we know …" He knew that heaven was real. He had gotten a taste of what was to come. The "we know" is under assault today. If we believe evolution - that we just happened - we give up our hope. Jesus said that he came to prepare a place for us. Paul, having had a taste of heaven, knew that there was something better than this world.
Funerals are a time of mourning usually, but there is nothing to mourn with a saint, except your loss. They’ve reached what they wanted. They have something better than what we have here. Paul always wanted to be ready for heaven. He had something to look forward to. We can have something to look forward to, also.
For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.
Paul described the struggle within. He wanted to go, but he knew that for their sakes he needed to stay a while longer. We mourn at a saint’s funeral because we have lost someone who helped and benefited us. We mourn someone who touched our lives and made it better. Paul didn’t want to leave before he was supposed to, because of the souls that needed God. Heaven is real, and our hearts should be drawn to the glory, benefit and blessing of it.
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
Paul suffered many things: persecution, bonds, etc. He says, "None of this (all he suffered) compares to what is waiting." It is worth all that you face to make it to heaven. Paul called his affliction "light" because it wasn’t worthy to be compared to what we have with God. Be careful not to trade the things of this life for your hope of heaven.
1 Corinthians 15:49, 19
And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
This chapter deals with resurrection. We have something beyond this life. We have hope of an eternity with God. We have a body waiting for us that can be forever with the Lord.
1 John 3:2-3
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
We don’t know all there is to know about heaven and the glorified body, but we know that it is there and we will be like Christ. As we have a hope of heaven, we need to get ready to go there. We often focus on trying to help people see and miss hell. It’s true that everyone won’t go to heaven, but this isn’t because God wouldn’t bring them there or doesn’t want them there. It is because they refuse to accept the sacrifice and prepare to be in heaven. If the only reason for seeking God is to miss hell, you probably won’t miss it. Get a taste of the promise of heaven. If you do, it will be very hard to turn you from it. The hope of heaven is a motivator to become more like Christ. It should cause us to seek after God and draw closer to him.
Paul didn’t want to miss heaven for anything. We don’t either. This hope should move us to seek God. The hope of heaven will help us to go through.
Don’t think that you can earn a place in heaven. It was bought for you by Christ. There is, however, preparation that needs to be made. Get ready so that you don’t miss heaven.