Summary: Trust Christ with your life, and let Him get you ready for that nice, new home He is building for you right now.
Andy Stanley, in his book, How Good Is Good Enough, tells the story of a Sunday school teacher who wanted to explain to the 6-year-olds in his class what someone had to do in order to go to heaven. However, he wanted to know what the kids already knew about the subject, so he asked a few questions.
“If I sold my house and my car, had a big garage sale, and gave all my money to the church,” he asked, “would that get me to heaven?”
“No!” the children answered, and the teacher was encouraged.
“If I cleaned the church every day, mowed the yard, and kept everything neat and tidy, would that get me to heaven?”
Again the answer was, “No!”
“Well then,” he said, “If I was kind to animals and gave candy to all the children and loved my wife, would that get me into heaven?”
Again they all shouted, “No!”
“Well then,” the teacher asked, looking out over his class, “how can I get to heaven?”
A boy in the back row stood up and shouted, “You gotta be dead!” (Andy Stanley, How Good Is Good Enough? Multnomah, 2003, p. 8; www.PreachingToday.com)
I’m not sure that was the answer the teacher was looking for, but it does make you think. What’s beyond the grave? And how can I be certain that heaven awaits me there? These are important questions; because when we are certain of our destiny, the trip is a lot more fun.
Christian author and philosopher, Peter Kreeft, put it this way: “Suppose God took you on a crystal ball trip into your future and you saw with indubitable certainty that despite everything – your sin, your smallness, your stupidity – you could have free for the asking your whole crazy heart's deepest desire: heaven, eternal joy. Would you not return fearless and singing? What can earth do to you, if you are guaranteed heaven? To fear the worst earthly loss would be like a millionaire fearing the loss of a penny – less, a scratch on a penny.” (Tullian Tchividjian, Glorious Ruin, David C. Cook, 2012, page 175; www.PreachingToday.com)
Well, the fact is, God HAS shown every believer that kind of a future in the last book of the Bible. So if you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Revelation 21, Revelation 21, where God describes our future home beyond the grave.
Revelation 21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. (ESV)
As believers in Jesus Christ, we…
LOOK FORWARD TO A NEW HOME.
We anticipate a place of unspoiled beauty, where everything is fresh & perfect.
It’s a place where there is no danger. Did you notice? The text says, “the sea was no more.” That’s significant, because in Bible days, people were afraid of the sea. It was a place where sea monsters lived. It was a place where people died, and it was a trap for Israel. If an enemy ever decided to invade their land, with the sea behind and the enemy in front, there was no place to run. But in heaven, in our new home, there is no more sea; there is no more danger; there is nothing to fear anymore.
More than that, in heaven, there is no death there, as well.
Revelation 21:2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (ESV)
The city is so beautiful, she looks like a bride on her wedding day.
Revelation 21:3-4 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (ESV)
The city is so blessed, because God Himself will be there. The psalmist said to the Lord, “In your presence there is fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11). And that’s exactly what we will find in our new city – fullness of joy and the absence of all sorrow, including death itself, because God is there!
The shortest complete story in English, supposedly written by Ernest Hemingway, is only six words long. It goes like this: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” (Gene C. Fant, Jr., God As Author, B & H Academic, 2010, p. 177; www.PreachingToday.com) This world is full of sorrow and heartache, but in heaven all of that will be gone!