Summary: Many Christians are more anxious to go to heaven than to remain here and work. Heaven is wonderful, but the Bible reveals why the Earth is still the focus of heaven's attention, and why most heavenly saints still probably wish they were down here!
A BETTER PLACE THAN HEAVEN
1 Jn. 2:28
1. Tom and Matt were best of friends, they played football once a week for 50 years.
2. When they were getting older, they had an argument about whether people play football in heaven. So they agreed that whoever died first would let the other one know what happened in heaven.
3. After Matt died, he came to Tom in a dream and told him, “You were right! They do play football up here and not only that, they have your name for starting quarterback!”
4. “Oh wow!!! That’s great!!!” Tom replied. “Well,” replies Matt, “Not that great -- they have you playing tomorrow night!”
1. Many of our favorite songs, like, “When We All Get To Heaven” capture our longing and desire to depart this life and be in heaven.
2. But tonight I want to challenge that longing. We’re going to look at what heaven is like, why Earth is the focus of attention, and why many heavenly Saints would rather be right down here with us, if they could.
3. The title of tonight’s message is, “A Better Place Than Heaven.”
I. WHAT WILL HEAVEN BE LIKE?
The Bible says, "To be absent from the body [is] to be present with the Lord" 2 Cor. 5:8.
A. WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT HEAVEN
1. It is called Paradise (Luke 23:43;2 Cor. 12:1-4; Rev. 2:7) and is God's dwelling place (Deut. 26:15;1 Kgs 8:30, 39, 43, 49). It has real cities (Heb. 11:10-15; 13:14; Rev. 21:2, 9-27) and streets (Rev. 22:1-3). It has mansions (John 14:1-3) mountains (Rev. 14:1; Heb. 12:22-23; Zech. 6:1) and trees (Rev. 2:7; 22:1-3). It has places of worship (Rev. 3:12; 7:15; 11:19; 14:17; 15:5; 16:1, 17; Isa. 6:1), wonderful smells (incense; Rev. 8:3-5), rainbows (Rev. 4:3, 10:1), Rivers of water (Rev. 22:1).
2. It has books (Lk. 10:20; Heb. 12:23; Rev. 5:1; 13:8; 20:11-15; 22:19), tables (Lk. 22:30), furniture (Heb. 8:5; 9:23; Ex. 25:40), Fountains of waters (Rev. 7:17), musical instruments (Rev. 4:8-11; 5:8-14; 7:7-17; 14:1-5; 15:2-4; 19:1-10), & clothing (Dan. 7:9; 10:5; Matt. 28:3; acts 1:10; Rev. 4:4; 6:9-11; 7:9-17; 6:6; 19:8).
3. It has feasts (Lk. 22:16, 30), food (Rev. 2:7, 17; 22:1-3), drinks (Lk. 22:18; Rev. 7:17), bread (Ps. 78:24-25; Ex. 16; John 6:31), roast lamb (Lk. 22:16), fruits (Rev. 2:7; 22:2), hidden manna (Rev. 2:17), and animals (2 Kgs. 2:11; 6:17; Zech. 1:8, 10; 6:1-5; Rev. 19:11, 14, 21).
B. WE’LL BE REAL, PHYSICAL PEOPLE
1. We will have real physical bodies, wear clothing; have duties to perform, books to read, activities to attend; we’ll enjoy running, jumping, dancing, relaxing, singing. 2. Men (Elijah & Enoch) were taken to heaven and have lived there in their natural bodies for thousands of years(Gen. 5:24; 2 Kings 2:11).
C. HEAVEN IS A PLACE OF GREAT BEAUTY
1. Heaven will be more beautiful than anything we’ve ever experienced; “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man what God has prepared for us.”
2. Streets of transparent gold, walls of precious stones, gates of pearl, rainbows, shekinah radiance, etc.,
3. But It will not be the pearly gates; nor the jasper walls, or the streets paved with gold, that will make it heaven to us.
D. TWO THINGS WILL MAKE HEAVEN “HEAVEN:”
1. OUR FAMILIES. There we’ll be reunited with our family members who’ve trusted Christ before us. Mothers, fathers, grandparents, sisters, brothers, children, great grandparents back to Adam. What a sweet reunion it will be! We’ll see our loved ones again!
2. PRESENCE OF GOD. But it won’t be the jasper walls and the pearly gates that will make heaven so sweet, BUT RATHER the presence of our wonderful Jesus Who loved us and gave Himself for us! And our heavenly Father who so loved us and gave up His only Son for us.
1. So what could possibly be better than going to heaven? Nothing I can think of! Paul said, “I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far” (Php. 1:23).
2. And YET THERE IS A BETTER PLACE, if you can accept it.
F. HUMOR: Qualifying for Heaven
1. Recently a teacher, a garbage collector, and a lawyer wound up together at the Pearly Gates. St. Peter informed them that in order to get into Heaven, they would each have to answer one question.
2. St. Peter addressed the teacher and asked, "What was the name of the ship that crashed into the iceberg? They made a movie about it."
3. The teacher answered quickly, "That would be the Titanic." St. Peter let him through the gate.
4. St. Peter turned to the garbage man and, figuring Heaven didn't *really* need all the odors that this guy would bring with him, decided to make the question a little harder: "How many people died on the ship?"