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Summary: Heaven is a real place and we need to understand what lies within our future. Our perspective or vision of Heaven should influence our daily lives and choices.

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Series: Breath of Heaven 2011

Sermon: Heaven? pt1

Subject: What is Heaven Like?

Open With Video Clip: Heaven and Hell

The video reveals how diverse the views of Heaven are but what does the Bible say about Heaven?

Thesis: Heaven is a real place and we need to understand what lies within our future. Our perspective or vision of Heaven should influence our daily lives and choices.

Introduction:

Dwight L. Moody said the following about the subject of Heaven:

"Surely it is not wrong for us to think and talk about Heaven. I like to find out all I can about it. I expect to live there through all eternity. If I were going to dwell in any place in this country, if I were going to make it my home, I would inquire about its climate, about the neighbors I would have -- about everything, in fact, that I could learn concerning it. If soon you were going to emigrate, that is the way you would feel. Well, we are all going to emigrate in a very little while. We are going to spend eternity in another world. … Is it not natural that we should look and listen and try to find out who is already there and what is the route to take?”

The topic of Heaven has been around for 1,000 of years:

Throughout the centuries many people have come up with what they think Heaven will be like? One thing that seems consistent across every culture and time frame is everyone believes in an innate sense of something beyond this world, a place which is eternal, and that this world is not all there is to life.

There have been many portraits of Heaven promoted over time: Let’s reflect and summarize a few:

Following summaries from Heaven by Alcorn and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heaven

Ancient Egyptian faith: Their belief in an afterlife is much more stressed than in ancient Judaism. Heaven was a physical place far above the Earth in a "dark area" of space where there were no stars, basically beyond the Universe.

Babylonian belief: The Gilgamesh epic, an ancient Babylonia legend, refers to a resting place of heroes and hints at a tree of life.

Hittite myths: Believed Heaven is the abode of the gods.

Romans: Believed that the righteous would picnic in the Elysian fields while their horses grazed nearby forever.

Bahá’í Faith: Regards the conventional description of heaven (and hell) as a specific place as symbolic. The Bahá’í writings describe heaven as a "spiritual condition" where closeness to God is defined as heaven; conversely hell is seen as a state of remoteness from God. Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Bahá’í Faith, has stated that the nature of the life of the soul in the afterlife is beyond comprehension in the physical plane.

Buddhism: They believe there are several heavens, all of which are still part of samsara (illusionary reality). Those who accumulate good karma may be reborn in one of them. However, their stay in the heaven is not eternal—eventually they will use up their good karma and will undergo a different rebirth into another realm, as humans, animals or other beings. Because heaven is temporary and part of samsara, Buddhists focus more on escaping the cycle of rebirth and reaching enlightenment (Nirvana).


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