Summary: A short study of Heaven and why Christians should look forward to it.
We live in a world full of different ideas about Heaven. World religions have all kinds of forms of it - Hinduism teaches that it’s what happens for the person who finally escapes reincarnation. Mormonism teaches that we’ll all eventually become gods and each have our own planet to populate. Frisbeetarianism teaches that eventually everyone’s soul gets stuck on top of a roof somewhere (I just made that up). Books and movies have been handing us misguided and imaginary ideas about Heaven for centuries. I wonder where all those ideas about Heaven come from. It’s as if anyone’s guess is as good as another’s. But dig into Scripture, and you’ll find that God has given us a lot of information about Heaven. There’s a reason for that:
The Lord wants you to look forward to Heaven
It’s just hours before His arrest and trial. Jesus’ heart is troubled. He knows what’s coming. As He looks at his disciples, He sees that they’re struggling. He knows they’re about to face a most confusing and troubling time. So, He speaks the words we have in John 14 -
Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
Jesus gave them this reminder about Heaven to help them through the tough things they were going to face. He does it again in Revelation 20-21. There, Jesus gives the persecuted Christians of the 1st century a view of Heaven, to encourage them.
Put it all together, and you’ll see that God wants you and me to look forward to Heaven. This morning, in an effort to deal with some questions about Heaven, I hope to help us do that. Specifically, I want to answer the question, “How can Heaven be happy?” We need to answer that, because…
Satan wants you to think that Heaven is horrible
Understand that every bad view of Heaven has its roots in some lie that the devil has spread.
Being creatures bound by time, we find the whole concept of eternity hard to conceive. When was the last time you used the word “forever” and meant it in a positive way? We generally save that word for a way to describe something horrible that never seems to end - like the movie “Groundhog Day.”
Isaac Asimov was a professor and writer – “Whatever the tortures of hell, I think the boredom of Heaven would be even worse.”
So, let’s begin by observing something: many people think Heaven sounds boring.
Why might someone think such a thing?
1. We’ve bought a lie
The lie is that sin is exciting and godliness is boring; that sin makes life fuller, and that godliness shrinks it; that since life is that way now, that’s how Heaven is too.
In my lifetime, the US has passed through what was dubbed the “sexual revolution.” We’ve thrown off the shackles of prudishness, and declared our sexual freedom. How has that worked out for us? It hasn’t expanded life.
It has reduced something sacred and wonderful to a marketing tool, a substitute for real relationships, a cheap commodity. Does all of this supposed sexual freedom make us bigger and more fulfilled?
Ask the man who threw away his marriage because of pornography or the man who lost his family because of his unfaithfulness if he’s living a bigger life for it. Ask the child who grew up abused, or the woman who was used and thrown away. Ask the teenager sold into human trafficking.
The prostitute reduces you to a loaf of bread…
Paul tells the Philippians about people with a worldly mindset.
Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.
Just how big is their god? God the Creator is bigger than that – bigger than my impulses, bigger than my appetite that’s satisfied in minutes and then returns in a few hours, bigger than my emotions. Sin shrinks life; it doesn’t expand it. To believe otherwise means you’re buying a lie - a lie that also says Heaven is of no interest to you because it would be boring.
2. We live a lie - that is, we live a Christian life that’s boring!
Part of the reason for thinking that Heaven will be boring is the number of people who live their life in Jesus in boredom. I’m talking about the person who reduces following Jesus to 2 lists: a list of things you can’t do, and a list of things you have to do. That’s called legalism, instead of loving God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. And if that’s how you approach your life in Jesus, I can only imagine what you think Heaven will be like!