If you want to continue using the old site, you still can here.
  • Favorites
  • Print
  • Rate Me

preaching article How to Preach About Heaven

How to Preach About Heaven

based on 7 ratings
Nov 15, 2012
Scripture: none
(Suggest Scripture)


Question from a reader:

I’m a pastor who has just read [your book] Heaven. It was terrific! Wow! What research! What reasoning! What insights! Why don’t we view heaven more accurately? Shouldn’t we be preaching more on this subject?

Answer from Randy Alcorn:

I just returned from San Luis Obispo, speaking to pastors about Heaven, preparing them for a community effort in which forty-plus evangelical churches are preaching on Heaven four weekends, using the same titles, starting Easter Sunday. (They’re taking out full page newspaper ads together, with all their church names listed and using the Heaven book as their primary resource.)

For years, as I’ve read over 150 books on Heaven (most long out of print), I have thought Satan has really pulled a fast one on us. He cons us into believing he thwarted God’s purpose for righteous mankind to rule the earth to God’s glory. So we read Genesis 1-2 about ruling over animals and earth and having dominion (and the implications about developing God-honoring culture, technology, art, music, sports and everything else) and we think, That may have been God’s original intention, but now it’s never going to happen.

So we think all we’ll ever see of human society is the bad stuff with glimmers of what might have been, if only Satan and man and woman hadn’t messed up God’s plan. And now, we imagine, the best God will manage to do is snatch our spirits out of this world to live in a disembodied realm made for angels, while the earth he made for us is flushed down the cosmic toilet. So Earth is little more than an ill-advised experiment that ends in failure.

But in fact, God never gave up His plan for us OR for earth. Romans 8 alone, even if we didn’t have countless other passages in the prophets and gospels and epistles, is emphatic on the fact that Christ’s redemptive work and the resurrection is not limited to us, but extends to the rest of His creation, which groans for the coming deliverance. As resurrected beings we will reign over a resurrected earth (with animals, culture, water, trees, fruit, buildings, etc.) with our resurrected Christ and each other for all eternity. As his stewards, and kings and queens under the King of Kings, we’ll never exhaust the wonders of a universe created by an infinitely fascinating God. And certainly we’ll never run out of things to do!

Yet the average Christian’s view of Heaven is pathetically dull, drab, disembodied and utterly unearthly. As I say in the book, we can no more develop an appetite for such a Heaven than we can develop an appetite for gravel. And among other things, consider what that does not only to thwart our joy but undermine our motive for evangelism. Why would we want to go out of our way to share Christ with people so that they too can spend eternity in a drab, boring, and tiresome place? (How Satan despises God’s plan for man to rule the earth he has tried to usurp.)

And when we fail to see that God made the earth to be our home, and still intends for a renewed earth to be our home forever, the things of earth seem unspiritual to us. When we look at the beauty of creation and say “I see you in that waterfall Lord, and it makes me love you more,” we feel a letdown. Because then we think, “My time in this world will soon be over; no more waterfalls, flowers, fruit trees and dogs; I feel like I was made to live here, but they tell me I’m really going to live in some nonphysical realm of angels ... I wish that excited me, but it just doesn’t.”

Yet all along God promises that we will live on a new earth in a new universe, reigning to His glory. Things to do, places to go, people to see, to God’s glory and our good. (This is so much better than the misguided guesswork behind Mitch Albom’s bestselling book, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, which is a sort of self-therapy heaven without God and which everyone goes to as their default destination. Even Christians are reading and recommending this book. If we fail to satisfy people’s curiosity about Heaven with the teaching of Scripture, they’ll continue to go to sources that aren’t trustworthy.)

So, brother, may you use the platform God has given you to help the body of Christ see that the purpose-driven life lasts forever, and the central purpose doesn’t change. God’s purpose for us and the Earth itself will not end but will be always going deeper and always spreading broader to the glory of God. We will behold wonders of God’s new creation beyond our wildest dreams. As his image-bearers we will shape Christ-centered civilization with astounding and delightful features. Forever delivered from the sin and death that once plagued us and our relationships, we will worship and work and rest and serve and laugh and feast and celebrate to God’s glory and our good.

For more information on this subject, see Randy Alcorn's book Heaven.



Randy Alcorn is the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries (EPM), a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching biblical truth and drawing attention to the needy and how to help them. Before starting EPM in 1990, Alcorn for 13 years co-pastored Good Shepherd Community Church outside Gresham, Oregon. He has ministered in many countries, including China, and is a popular teacher and conference speaker. Randy is a best-selling author of over 30 books including Heaven, The Treasure Principle, and the 2002 Gold Medallion winner, Safely Home. 

Talk about it...

Bill Williams avatar
Bill Williams
0 days ago
Haven't read the book yet, by from this article, I like where he's going with it so far.
James Bailey avatar
James Bailey
0 days ago
What a great idea! I ws curious--what were those Titles those preachers were going to use in their outreach? It occurs to me that there are some American churches that need to hear this information.
Liz Taylor avatar
Liz Taylor
0 days ago
My husband passed away suddenly one Sunday afternoon while preparing his message for the Sunday evening service. Randy's book, Heaven, was one of the first of many that I read It helped, inspired, and even in the middle of incredible grief, gave me so much hope and even joy. Every pastor and leader should read this well-researched and relevant book.
David Buffaloe avatar
David Buffaloe
0 days ago
"Heaven" was the most interesting book I've never finished reading. Well researched, but much is supposition, what if, and could be. An OK book, but really didn't set me on fire. sorry.

So, what did you think?


Thank you.