Summary: Will discuss where Heaven is - the new earth, and the New Jerusalem and why we look forward to that.
When we first moved to Hillsboro, OH, the church owned a couple of old houses that were on the same corner as the church building. One of them was destroyed. The other, an old 2-storey house, would be our dwelling place until we could find a house. So, for a few months, we lived in a piece of Hillsboro history, complete with creaky floors, musty basement, and bats. We were grateful – we had a place to live, at least. But it came with some challenges.
Then, we found a house – or rather, a house that was being finished. It was out of town, small, and just what we were looking for. We even got in on it soon enough to be able to pick some carpet colors and things. Carl, the builder, let us in to do some wallpapering and painting. So, just a few months after settling in, we got ready to move, again, to a brand new house out on Mad River Road. That was a happy day! I had a happy wife, a happy 4 yr. old daughter, and a house without bats!
We were OK living in that old house, because we knew that it wasn’t permanent. We knew that we were going to a different address. Even before we knew where it was, and before we knew much about it, we were glad that one day we’d be moving to that different location. Our home was going to be somewhere else.
I don’t know everyone’s story this morning. I know that some of you have had fairly transient lives – you’ve moved around a bunch and have never really become overly attached to one place, so, the idea of one more relocation isn’t as challenging to you. And others of you have actually been in Joplin your whole life or most of your life. Regardless of that past, I can assure you of one thing: Your address is going to change at least one more time. Regardless of where you’re going, you’re not yet where you’re going to be forever.
The observant person has figured out by now that he is going to leave this life. Everyone accepts that. That’s a universal experience ever since Genesis 3. What I want us to land on this morning is that we’re not just moving out from this place. We’re also going to be moving into another place. We’re going to leave behind an old address, but what’s our new address going to be?
Where is Heaven? Or, is Heaven even a place? I want to tell you this morning where Heaven is, where it’s going to be, and where you can look forward to living if Heaven truly is your home.
Let’s start here:
I. We’re Looking Forward to a Place
Ill - Bishop Fulton Sheen in his autobiography, Treasure in Clay wrote about an experience he had when he was traveling around preaching, "I stopped to ask a few boys for directions to the Town Hall where I was giving a lecture. They told me where the Town Hall was and then asked, "What are you going to do there?" "I’m giving a lecture on heaven and how to get there. Would you like to come and find out?" "You’re kidding," one boy said. "You don’t even know the way to the Town Hall."
Well, we at least know where Hell is. It’s a town in south Michigan…
Hell also sponsors a running event called "Run Thru Hell 10 Mile and 4.8 Mile Race." Each participant is given a T-shirt that says "I Ran Thru Hell."
There’s also a wedding chapel, so you can have a marriage from Hell.
You can visit there in the summer and talk about your vacation in Hell.
And, it actually does get cold there...in Hell, MI. But there is no Heaven, MI.
One answer to the question of Heaven’s location spiritualizes the whole concept of Heaven. In other words, Heaven is a condition, not a place. Some suggest that you make your own Heaven or hell on earth by the way you live right now. Others say Heaven is where God is, and since God is everywhere, so is “Heaven.” But Heaven is a place.
Just like a city or a country is a place
We talk about going to a city or a country. Three years ago, as we were driving back with the guys’ group from Canada, we stopped off in the little community of Wawa, Ontario. They had a T-shirt for sale there that said, “New York, Tokyo, Paris, Wawa.” It’s a place.
Hebrews 13:14 - For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.
For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.