Summary: You know isn’t it kind of fun to think about, to imagine what Heaven might really be like? You know there’s been many different movies similar to the clip that we’ve just seen that have tried to portray a picture of what Heaven is going to be like. I’m ki
Series: Christianity Uncensored
Message #6: Destination Uncensored
By: Mark Whelchel
Well, good morning. I do hope you had a great Thanksgiving. It’s sure good to be with you this morning.
You know isn’t it kind of fun to think about, to imagine what Heaven might really be like? You know there’s been many different movies similar to the clip that we’ve just seen that have tried to portray a picture of what Heaven is going to be like. I’m kind of hoping that this picture wasn’t quite accurate, I have a different vision in mind for Heaven.
You know, as you look through the pages of the Bible we get some good descriptions of what Heaven is like. But it seems to me as I read those pages that God has given us just enough information to really whet our appetites but He hasn’t completely given away the surprise. You know, a lot of people have written about Heaven as well. Songs have been written about Heaven, books have been written about heaven, there’s people who have had near death experiences and they come back and describe what they have seen; and some of those descriptions are pretty elaborate, and others are more simple, like a great white light and a feeling of peace. And then there’s some people like Shirley MacLaine who claim to travel back and forth to Heaven on a pretty regular basis, has kind of a frequent flyer mile thing going, or something.
But you know, the main message of the Bible, the overall story of the Bible, is that God has bridged the gap between Heaven and earth, that God is moving closer to you, and He’s moving closer to me. And I think one of the great pieces of art that depict this truth is this painting by Michelangelo that we find on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Take a look at this picture with me for a moment. What I love about this painting is that while Adam seems to be rather lackadaisical on the one side, if you look at this picture of God it’s like He’s stretched out every tendon, every muscle reaching out to man. And all Adam has to do is move just a little bit, just even raise the tip of his finger and he can make contact with God. But God, in this picture is giving it His all. And again, that is the central story of the Bible, God is giving it his all to bridge the gap between Heaven and earth to be with you, to be with me.
You know, when Jesus came to the earth He was given the title Emmanuel, which means what? “God with us,” right? God with us. Look at this passage with me from II Corinthians. Great passage. It says, “For we are now the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will live with them and walk among them, I will be their God, and they will be my people.’” Jesus said in John fifteen, “I no longer call you servants, instead I have called you my friends.” So the central story of the Bible is that God is with us each day. He resides within us through His spirit. He considers us His friend. He desires to have a relationship with us. His arm in essence is stretched out towards us. You know, God is not content to sit on the sidelines in Heaven and wait. He wants to be a part of our days right now.
Let me give you this example. Way back, years ago when I asked my wife, Christy, to marry me, I asked her, it was early in the summer, kind of like late May early June, and she set our wedding date for like nine, ten months later…February fifteenth. I think she was building in plenty of time that she could back out if she wanted to. So we had a long engagement time - nine, ten months. How do you think Christy would respond if on the night that she set our wedding date, if I said to her, “You know I love you. I can’t wait to be your husband, I can’t wait to live my life with you. And so, you know, I give you complete permission, plan the wedding any way you want and I promise I’ll see you on February fifteenth at what, two o’clock, right?” How would she respond if for nine or ten months I didn’t spend any time with her, didn’t call her, we didn’t talk, basically lived my life as though, you know, we weren’t even engaged? Well, I can tell you for sure, she would not be content to sit on the sidelines and wait. In fact if I were to do something so foolish as that and show up at the church on February fifteenth at two o’clock I could guarantee you I would be the only person there, just me and the crickets, that would be it. And in a similar way, God does not want us to commit our life to Him and tell Him, “Man, I cannot wait to spend eternity with you in Heaven,” but then live our life, go through our days as though He doesn’t exist. To live like we really don’t know each other, to live like we’re not really friends.