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Summary: Despite what it looks like, heaven will be a place of unbelievable beauty and delight, something wonderful to look forward to. Today I want us to look towards our heavenly home

Heaven: What to Expect

Hebrews 11:13-16

Have you ever imagined what heaven will be like? When people come to me and ask that question, I always responded by telling them to think of the most beautiful place they have ever seen. When they ask me what I think it will be like, I usually say that I hope heaven will have long wide fairways, beautiful greens and open tee times and free greens fees. But seriously, we can think of the most beautiful place in the world and it will pale in comparison to heaven.

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 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!" Despite what it looks like, heaven will be a place of unbelievable beauty and delight, something wonderful to look forward to.

Today I want us to look towards our heavenly home. Though we may only see it from a distance, I hope it will encourage you. I can’t wait to get to heaven. It’s going to be a blast. What can you expect when you get to heaven? First, we get a new home. John 14:2 “In my Father’s house are many rooms…” Now the King James Version says, “In my Father’s house are many mansions.” I think that speaks of something more than the 9 x 15 room I lived in the fraternity house with a roommate, no less or the small 2 room apartment I lived in seminary. I dreamed of buying a house and saved every penny so that the first thing I bought when I moved back to New Orleans was a double shotgun home. Have you ever dreamed of living in a bigger place or maybe even a mansion? I know there are many here who live in small apartments or houses. I want to say to those of you who struggle with your earthly home today, your heavenly home will be wonderful! May it give you hope to survive the cramped conditions because it is only temporary and you will be inheriting a mansion in the Father’s house.

Second, we get a new body. Can I get an amen to that? As I get older and there are more creaks and pains and things stop working as well as they used to, but hear the good news: 2 Corinthians 5:1 says, “Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling.” In heaven, we will get a new body that will be perfect, no more sickness or pains or creaks or illness or disabilities. Joni Eareckson who became a quadriplegic as a result of a diving accident nearly 30 years ago writes, “Heaven has become my heart’s home, the place where I will finally belong. The place where I will get a brand new body… In the world’s finale something so glorious is going to happen that it will atone for every single tear we’ve ever cried…..Heaven is going to be a place of no more disappointment, no more grief but joy. Heaven’s joy.”

Third, we get new friends. Think of all the people that you’re going to get a chance to meet in heaven. Who is it that you are looking forward to sitting down and having a conversation with? Is it to ask Moses what parting the Red Sea was really like or Daniel to explain what it was like hanging out in the lion’s den or Paul to ask what that thorn in his side really was? Or maybe it’s the myriad of normal people whose lives were radically saved and transformed by Jesus and hearing how how they lived their lives in honor and glory of him. Or is it a loved one you’ve been separated from in this life: your grandmother, grandfather, your mom or dad, a brother or sister or even a close friend. This I know: heaven is going to be a great family reunion. And what’s so amazing about heaven is that you’ll never have to say goodbye mand you’ll be able to spend eternity with them. When Bishop Philip Brooks, author of the hymn “O, Little Town of Bethlehem,” was seriously ill, he requested no friends come to see him. But when an acquaintance of his named Robert Ingersoll, a famous anti-Christian propagandist, came to see him, he allowed him to come in right away. Ingersoll said, “I appreciate this very much. Especially when you aren’t letting any of your close friends see you.” Bishop Brooks responded, “Oh, I’m confident of seeing them in the next world, but this may be my last chance to see you.”

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