Summary: Get ready for the most amazing new heaven and new earth, more beautiful and bountiful than you can ever imagine. That’s where we’ll be living for eternity. And once you understand the things we’ll be doing in Heaven, there’s no way it can be boring.
This is the third message in the series “Heaven: An Insider’s Guide.”
Next Sunday, Joel Rosenberg will be here and he’ll be giving you more information about how to get to heaven. Then on Easter Sunday, two weeks from today, I’ll conclude this series with a message entitled, “Confirming Your Reservation in Heaven.”
Probably the best book about Heaven, besides the Bible, is Randy Alcorn’s book, Heaven. But if you’re looking for another great resource, I recommend Dan Schaeffer’s book, A Better Country: Preparing for Heaven. I’ll be quoting him today several times.
Before you make a trip, helps to know everything you can about your destination. That’s why we have travel guides. They tell you the best places to stay, the best places to eat, and a list of the activities that are available to you. If you know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, Heaven isn’t a vacation destination; it’s an eternal destination. It’s the hometown of Jesus and He’s there now. So, what will there be to do in Heaven?
Perhaps the biggest falsehood people have about heaven is that it will be boring. In 1977, when he was 28 years old, Billy Joel wrote a song entitled “Only the Good Die Young.” In it he wrote, “They say there’s a heaven for those who will wait; Some say it’s better, but I say it ain’t. I’d rather laugh with the sinners; Than cry with the saints; The sinners are much more fun. Only the good die young.” Well, Billy turns 65 in May, so he’s not so young anymore. But Billy, you got one thing right. People DO die—young and old alike. The Bible says, “It is appointed to man ONCE to die; and after that the judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27)
In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain has Huck make this observation about heaven: “She (Miss Watson) told me all about the good place. She said all a body would have to do there was to go around all day long with a harp and sing, forever and ever. I asked her if she reckoned Tom Sawyer would go there, and she said, not by a considerable sight. I was glad about that, because I wanted him and me to be together.”
And Ted Turner, who has been called “the Mouth of the South,” had these remarks to say about heaven when he spoke to the National Press Club a few years ago: “Remember, heaven is going to be perfect. And I don’t really want to be there. Those of us that go to hell, which will be most of us in this room; most journalists, are certainly going there. Who wants to go to a place that’s perfect? Boring. Boring.”
I like what C. S. Lewis had to say about people who don’t understand heaven: “There is no need to be worried by facetious people who try to make the Christian hope of heaven ridiculous by saying they do not want to ‘spend eternity playing harps.’ The answer to such people is that if they cannot understand books written for grown-ups they should not talk about them.” (Mere Christianity, p. 106)
I always enjoyed Gary Larson’s Far Side cartoons. He had one of a man sitting on a cloud in heaven with angel wings saying, “I wish I had brought a magazine.” Is heaven going to be boring? Are we going to sit on clouds and play harps for eternity? No way. The Apostle John described the new heaven and the new earth in Revelation 21:1-5:
“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. 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, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and 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 and true.’
Revelation 22:1-5. “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign forever and ever.”