Heaven: the Light at the End of the Tunnel
WHAT IS HEAVEN?
The Bible tells us three things about heaven:
- Heaven is where God LIVES and rules.
Psalm 123:1 (TEV) Lord, I look up to You, up to heaven, where You rule.
- Heaven is a REAL place.
John 14:1 (NASB) "Do not let your heart be troubled; [you] believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3 If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.
Matthew 6:20 (NIV) But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
- Heaven was designed for US.
Matthew 25:34 (NIV) Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.”
Ephesians 1:5 (NLT) His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. And this gave Him great pleasure.
WHERE IS HEAVEN?
Psalm 53:2 (NLT) God looks down from heaven on the entire human race; He looks to see if anyone is truly wise, if anyone seeks God.
John 14:5 (NASB) Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
Romans 3:21 (NLT) But now God has shown us a way to be made right with Him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. 22 We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.
WHAT IS HEAVEN LIKE?
Job 11:7 (CEV) Can you understand the mysteries surrounding God All-Powerful? 8 They are higher than the heavens and deeper than the grave. So what can you do when you know so little, 9 and these mysteries outreach the earth and the ocean?
Here are some things you WON’T find:
- There is no SICKNESS in heaven.
1 Corinthians 15:40 (CEV) Everything in the heavens has a body, and so does everything on earth. But each one is very different from all the others. … 42 These bodies will die, but the bodies that are raised will live forever. 43 These ugly and weak bodies will become beautiful and strong.
1 Corinthians 15:49 (TLB) Just as each of us now has a body like Adam's [that means we have a human body], so we shall someday have a body like Christ's.
- There will be no SADNESS in heaven.
Revelation 21:4 (NIV) He [God] 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.
Psalm 56:8 (NASB) *You have taken account of my wanderings. Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book? *
- There is no SUFFERING.
Revelation 7:16 (NIV) Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat.
- There is no SIN.
Jude 1:24 (NLT) And now, all glory to God, who is able to keep you from stumbling, and who will bring you into His glorious presence innocent of sin and with great joy.
1 John 3:1 (NIV) How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see him as He is. 3 Everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
- There is no DEATH.
Revelation 21:4 “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.”
Here is a list of the things you WILL find in heaven.
- We will have a REUNION with other believers.
Hebrews 12:22 (NIV) But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, 24 to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant…
- We will receive REWARDS.
2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
Matthew 16:27 (NIV) For the Son of Man is going to come in His Father's glory with His angels, and then He will reward each person according to what he has done.
Romans 14:12 (NIV) So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.
Ephesians 6:8 (NLT) Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do, whether we are slaves or free.
- We will have RESPONSIBILITIES in heaven.
2 Timothy 2:12 (NLT) If we endure hardship, we will reign with Him.
Luke 16:10 (NIV) “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12 And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else's property, who will give you property of your own?”
- We will have REST (refreshment, renewal) in heaven.
Hebrews 4:9 (NIV) There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from His. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.
- We will have REJOICING in heaven.
Matthew 25:21 (NASB) “His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’”
HOW DO I GET TO HEAVEN?
Matthew 7:13 (NIV) “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
Romans 1:17 (NIV) For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."
Here’s how you put your trust in Christ:
Romans 10:9 (NLT) For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. 11 As the Scriptures tell us, "Anyone who believes in him will not be disappointed."
|A - I admit that I’m a sinner and need a savior.|
|B - I believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for me, to pay the penalty for my sins.|
|C - I confess that I want Jesus to call the shots in my life.|
|D - I depend on God’s promise.|
John 3:16 (NASB) “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
HOW DO I LIVE IF I’M GOING TO HEAVEN?
- Don’t be DISTRACTED by temptation.
1 Peter 2:11 (NIV) Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain [keep away] from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.
Hebrews 11:15 (TEV) They did not keep thinking about the country they had left; if they had, they would have had the chance to return. 16 Instead, it was a better country they longed for, the heavenly country. And so God is not ashamed for them to call him their God, because He has prepared a city for them.
Hebrews 12:1-2 (NIV) Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
- Don’t be DISCOURAGED by trouble.
2 Corinthians 4:1 (NLT) And so, since God in His mercy has given us this wonderful ministry, we never give up. … 17 For our present troubles are quite small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever! 18 So we don't look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see now will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever.
We know that all things to us, that all that happens to us, is working for our good, if we love God and we’re fitting into His plans. For from the very beginning God decided that those who came to Him, and all along He knew who would, should become like His Son.
- FOCUS my energy on what will last.
Matthew 6:20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
Philippians 3:14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
GAINING INSIGHT: What Did I Learn Today?
What was your first image or understanding of heaven? Where did you learn this?
Read John 14:1-6. What statements does Jesus make about heaven? Many people object to the so-called “narrow mindedness” of Christians on the question of how one reaches God. How does verse 6 answer that objection?
Read Revelation 21:1-4. What descriptions have John given about heaven in this passage? How might they be a source of encouragement to God’s people?
What does it look like to live in light of the fact that you will one day be with Jesus Christ in heaven?
For next time: Read Luke 1:26-32.
- With COVID-19 still running rampant, what do you expect Christmas to be like?
- Where do you find the concept of “fear” in this passage? Why was this included in this account?
- How did the angel assure Mary?
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