Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Having a proper knowledge of Heaven can change the way we live our entire lives.

A bank in Binghamton, New York, sent some flowers to a competitor who had recently moved into a new building. There was a mix up at the flower shop, and the card sent with the arrangement read, "With our deepest sympathy." The florist, very embarrassed, apologized. But it was worse, because the other card, the one that was supposed to go to the bank, was attached to an arrangement sent to a funeral home in honor of someone who had died. That card said, "Congratulations on you new location!"

I want to congratulate you this morning, if you’re a follower of Jesus, on your future location! You have a great place in preparation right now. We don’t speak about it nearly enough. Heaven is an amazing topic.

When you consider how short, by comparison, the time that we’re going to live here is next to forever, what really is amazing is that we don’t spend a whole lot more time thinking about it and talking about it! I think there are 2 reasons:

1. We’re afraid

My wife doesn’t like talking to me about life insurance. She doesn’t like me joking about it. She doesn’t want to dwell on the idea of me dying, so she avoids it. I guess I should be glad about that! So, some people are afraid to think or talk about Heaven because it means…dying. That’s kind of scary to many people who would rather not dwell on such a scary thing.

But I think there’s something about the subject of Heaven that scares even more people: that it’s going to bore us. We’ve allowed false concepts about Heaven to shape the way we picture it, and we don’t want to dwell on something that’s going to be the greatest letdown in all of our experience. So, why look?

Clip from “All Dogs Go To Heaven” 16:04 – 17:38

The reason so many people hear we’re going to have a series on Heaven and yawn is because of this right here – not this movie, but because of the misconceptions people have about what Heaven is going to be like.

I’m wondering…

Who said we’re going to have wings?

Where does it say that we’re going to become angels?

Where does it say we’re going to sit around on clouds? And most importantly,

Where does the Bible say that Heaven is going to be boring?

It’s time to stop being ashamed of our great hope! It’s time to stop being afraid that we’re going to arrive at Heaven and have to act happy, when, in the back of our minds, we’re bored out of our skull! Having a right concept of Heaven will take away our fears about it.

2. We don’t understand a lot about it, so we don’t bother trying to think about it.

All of us have heard stories about someone whose heart has stopped, and they have an out-of-body experience, and then they’re brought back and they talk about what it was like. The problem is that the stories aren’t consistent, and that many of them are told by people who certainly weren’t in a right relationship with the Lord. It’s frustrating, isn’t it? We grow up, told that Heaven is going to be more amazing than we can possibly imagine.

Then, we read stories and see paintings and movies about it that plant all kinds of off-the wall ideas in our heads. Then, we read about it for ourselves in the Scriptures, and most of it’s in, you know, Revelation – that book that makes more people scratch their heads or argue more than any other. So, the whole quest to understand Heaven can be frustrating. Why bother?

Here’s why! Having a proper knowledge of Heaven can change the way we live our entire lives!

I understand Heaven to be what we’re really made for.

2 Corinthians 5:4-5

For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

As long as we’re here, as long as we’re in this body, we still haven’t made it to our purpose. We can live out God’s purposes for us in this temporary arrangement, but until we get past this, we haven’t made it to the purpose for which God made us. We’re still separated from Him in some way.

Ill – John Matters and I visited Ralph Drennan Thursday. You know, since he came back from WW2, Ralph has run a business of re-binding books. He’s in his 90’s now, so Ralph has cut his hours back a little. He still gets work sent to him from all across the US, because there aren’t many people who do what he does. And his work is excellent. He can take an old, battered, water-and-smoke-damaged mess and turn it into a brand-new looking book. And when I look at Ralph’s work, I think, here’s a guy who found something he enjoys, that he’s very good at, and that very few people can do. But you know what? That’s not Ralph Drennan’s ultimate purpose for being created by God, is it? Ralph gets winded real easily. Ralph’s joints hurt. Ralph has to take medicine every day. That’s not the purpose for which God made him either. God has something even better in mind! Now, if one day Ralph is binding books in Heaven, that would make perfect sense to me. But right now, as much as it suits him, there’s something more waiting for him.

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