Summary: Heaven is going to be an extension of the relationship that is already started on earth.
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
CENTRAL CHRISTIAN, BROWNSVILLE, TX
A. I’ve decided to preach on the subject of heaven today. And I hope that it leaves you with a feeling about what God has done for us, & what we have to look forward to as Christians, when finally one day we’re with the Lord for all eternity. So my subject is "heaven."
But at the same time, I know that I’m going to fall short because words are just not adequate to describe what God has prepared. In fact, the apostle Paul expressed this same idea when he wrote, "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him" (1 Corinthians 2:9).
The apostle John, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, valiantly tries to describe the indescribable & express the inexpressible in the 21st chapter of the Book of Revelation where he talks about the new heavens & the new earth, about gates of pearl & streets of gold. But even he falls short in his ability to picture heaven’s glory & wonder.
ILL. By the way, that reminds me of a story about a wealthy Christian who somehow got obsessed with the idea of taking some of his wealth to heaven. Now he knew the Bible clearly teaches that you can’t take it with you. But so obsessed was he with this desire that he just prayed & prayed & prayed that God would give him permission to take some of his wealth to heaven with him.
Finally, his persistence in prayer paid off. God spoke to him & said, "Okay, enough all ready! You can take one suitcase with you into heaven."
Now folks, I trust you realize that this is just a made-up story. But I like it. So I’m telling it to you this morning. Well, the story continues with the man deep in thought, "What do I take? What are the most valuable things that I can put into my suitcase?"
Well, he finally decided, & filled his suitcase full. Then one day he died, & when next we see him, he is slowly approaching the pearly gates dragging his suitcase behind him.
St. Peter met him there at the gate & said, "Wait a minute. What do you think you’re doing? You’re not allowed to take anything into heaven." The man answered, "You don’t understand. I have special permission from God Himself to take this suitcase into heaven."
Peter rubbed his beard & said, "Well, that’s very unusual. I can’t imagine God letting you do that. Let me look inside your suitcase & see what’s there." So the man dragged the suitcase over, & Peter opened it to see that it was filled with gold bars & gold bricks & gold ingots.
Peter said, "Well, all right. If God said so, I suppose you can take that in if you want. But why in the world did you go to all this trouble just to bring more pavement into heaven?"
APPL. Values in heaven are different, aren’t they? Those things we consider so valuable here aren’t going to be valuable in heaven at all.
B. So as we begin this morning, turn with me to Revelation 21:1-7, & let’s listen to a little bit of what the apostle John has to say about heaven.
"Then I saw a new heaven & a new earth, for the first heaven & the first earth had passed away, & there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
"And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, `Now the dwelling of God is with men, & He will live with them. They will be His people, & God himself will be with them & be their God. 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.’
"He who was seated on the throne said, `I am making everything new!’ Then He said, `Write this down, for these words are trustworthy & true.’
"He said to me: `It is done. I am the Alpha & the Omega, the Beginning & the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, & I will be his God & he will be my son.’"
ILL. A Sunday School teacher asked her class of children, "Tell me what you think heaven will be like." She got all kinds of answers, but I especially like this one from a third grade boy who said, "Heaven is going to be the happiest part of my dead life."