Summary: The greatest thing about heaven does not concern what is there, but rather who is there. Do you thirst for God’s presence?
An elderly couple passed away and found themselves at the pearly gates. Peter was there to welcome them. First he showed them their mansion. The man overwhelmed by the sheer luxury of it all asked, "How much does this place cost per night?" Peter replied, "Sir, this is Heaven, it doesn’t cost anything." Then Peter took them to the dining room where table upon table was piled high with the most delicious foods you could imagine. Again overwhelmed by the glory of it all the man asked, "How much for the meals?" Peter said, "You forget, this is Heaven, it’s free." Peter then took them out back where they saw a fantastically beautiful golf course. As the man stood there open-mouthed Peter said, "Now before you ask, there are no greens fees, this is Heaven, everything is free." The man looked at his wife and said, "You and your confounded bran muffins, I could have been here 10 years ago!" Sometimes when people think of heaven they think of it as dull and boring. This joke however captures the promise of eternal life - a place of unbelievable beauty and delight. [SermonCentral]
But the best thing about heaven is not where we are, but who we are with.
The verses that we are looking at today are the Seventh of the seven Last Things described in the book of Revelation. They are about heaven!
REV 21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.
2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
REV 21:5 He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."
REV 21:6 He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. (NIV)
I. There is a real heaven.
Scripture is clear to us that there is a real heaven. Every description of it draws a picture of perfection, be it numbers, or be it dimensions, whatever the descriptions are in the book of Revelation, we find perfection.
This earth is not our rest.
Try to fill the vessel in any way you want with the things of earth and you will still not find the fullness of heaven. The apostle Paul said that if this life is all that there is, then we as Christians should be pitied above all people.
Great prophets proclaimed their frailties of this world. Elijah requested that he might die, so did Jonah and so did Jeremiah saying, cursed be the day that I was born. Though there is joy in following and serving the Lord here on this earth, the curse is still here.
People who have had all sorts of wealth, Solomon, saying, it is all vanity. Heaven is not something that we can build here on earth. Heaven is the work of God.
How many of you all want to go to heaven? I recall the story of a preacher asking that question to his congregation one Sunday morning, and everyone but one older lady in the back raised their hands. After the service he asked the woman why she didn’t raise her hand. “Don’t you want to go to heaven,” he inquired? She said, “just how soon were you aiming to make this trip?”
The unknown is scary to us. In Scripture we have some glimpses of heaven, but ultimately the same Scripture says that “ear has not heard, nor eye seen what God has in store for us.” It is good beyond what we can even begin to imagine.
John saw a new heaven and earth.
REV 21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. (NIV)
Some believe in heaven as an earthly paradise, and in some ways it is, but the old earth is gone. It is a brand new creation. In the midst of this new creation John says: