Tonight, I want to build off of our conversation from last week as we talked about eternity. The main point last week was that eternity is not only a future matter but that it also a present matter. Not only are we physical creations of God but we are also spiritual creations as well. Likewise, the world that we live in is not only physical but is filled with a spiritual reality as well. Heaven and Hell, or at least glimpses of them surround us as we make choices every day that affects our spiritual lives and the spiritual world that we are part of.
The question we posed last week was this: Eternity in Heaven and Hell are a present reality; which are you living in? Are you living in the Kingdom of Heaven, obeying God’s Word and living to be like Jesus? Or, are you filling your life with garbage, disobeying God, and displaying a Hell on Earth?
For our time tonight, I want to continue to look at this idea of eternity but instead of looking at the present reality, I want to look at the future reality. For most of our time we are going to be focusing on the future reality of Heaven but we will briefly touch on Hell towards the end. As we mentioned last week, and as some of your small groups talked about, there is a lot of interest in what the afterlife is going to be like and what is going to happen. Now, unfortunately, there are a lot of different opinions out there when it comes to trying to describe what Heaven will be like, even among those who have a relationship with Christ. To help get our minds going, let’s take a second to share what you have heard that Heaven is going to be like – whether it is from the Bible, from culture, or anywhere else.
***Let the youth share their thoughts***
There are definitely a lot of different opinions out there concerning what Heaven is going to be like. What is most important to remember as we think about what Heaven is going to be like is that at the foundation of any conversation needs to be the Bible. Even though most would agree that we can’t tell you exactly, with 100% certainty, what Heaven is going to be like, the Bible does offer us some glimpses that can begin our hopeful imaginations in the right direction. Our main passage for tonight is in Isaiah 65:17-25. Let’s open our Bibles there and open our hearts and minds to God’s picture of Heaven.
***Read Isaiah 65:17-25***
Last week, we started off by stating a big misconception that a lot of people buy into about the idea of eternity being only a future matter. Well, I want to point out another misconception concerning the final resting place in Heaven for those who have a relationship with Christ. Author and speaker Rob Bell, in a sermon last month for his church in Michigan said this about heaven. “You can’t find one verse in all of the Bible that says that people die and go to heaven somewhere else…No where does the Bible say that the final place of humans is somewhere else. It’s always here.”
Let me clarify this before we jump to conclusions. First off, the Bible does speak to the fact that right now, when someone dies, their soul goes off to be with God. This is generally what we understand as Heaven by the way we use the word. Anyone who has a relationship with Christ when they die will be with Him. So, I’m not saying that, if you die now you just rot in the ground or just sleep for a long time. If you die and you have a relationship with Christ, you will be with Him.