Summary: This message focuses on the beauty of heaven as described in Revelation 21. It ia real place that God has prepared for those who love Him.
"I Can Only Imagine”
The famous explorer Marco Polo after completing his journeys went back to his home in Venice. When he got back to his home he began to describe some of the things he had seen. But his close friends thought he had gone made. He told then about black stones that you could actually set on fire and they would provide heat for you. But they could not imagine what he was talking about .... they had never heard of charcoal. He told them about a piece of cloth that as hard as he tried he could not set it on fire. But they could not imagine what he was talking about ... they had never heard of asbestos. He told them about large animals that were almost 20 feet long. Had jaws large enough to swallow a man but they could not imagine what he was talking about .. they had never seen a crocodile. Then he told them of a substance that came spewing out of the ground that if you lit it, it would catch on fire and actually provide light but they could not imagine because they had never heard of crude oil. Years later when Marco Polo was lying on his death bed one of the few men who actually believed him was there and he sais tell me al of those stories again. I want to hear them again. But he refused and simply said it’s all true ... every bit of it. In fact i have not told you ½ of what I saw.
In AD 90 John the apostle was sent to an island called Patmos. He was sent as punishment to live in isolation because of his witness for Christ. It was while he was there that he was given a vision and he wrote down the book of Revelation. I believe if John could speak to us today that he would tell us that he has not told us ½ of what he saw. When Paul was caught up into the 3rd heaven he said that he heard inexpressible things; things that man is not permitted to tell.
1. Heaven is a perfect place. Listen to how John describes it. Revelation 21:1-4. For most of us when we see something for the first which was what John was doing ... it’s what Paul was doing as well we want to describe everything we can possibly remember and sometimes after all of that we then share what that place didn’t have. We go to a place sometimes that is owned by some family friends in Arkansas. It is a cabin/house that sits on spring river. It’s beautiful but the first time I went there I remember i described it afterwards by what it didn’t have. It doesn’t have a phone. No TV. No radio. No pavement on the road. No AC. Doesn’t need it. It’s in the mountains. It’s a great place to go to get away from it all.
This is a bit of the way that John describes what John describes heaven. He begins by telling us that there are some thing we will not see in heaven and it these very things that help us make it a perfect place.
A. There will be no more sea. Now John is not telling us that there will be no water in heaven because in the very next chapter he describes the river of life– clear as crystal. Remember John has been exiled to an island and he is separated from the people he loves and the thing that separates him is the sea that surrounds the island. Everywhere that John looks he sees water and it separates him from those he loves. But he says this, in heaven there will be no more separation from those we love who are in Christ.
B. There will be no more tears. Tears are necessary to help us grieve. I often say to families who are experiencing grief/this terrible loss that at that time we deeply need 3 things. 1. Time. We all grieve in different ways so don’t rush it. We also need 2. Talk. We need to share with other people. 3. We need tears. Tears help cleanse the spirit. But in heaven we will won’t need them because we will not ever grieve again. There will be no more hunger, no more hurt feelings, no more abuse. Why? Because Heaven is a perfect place.
2. It is also a physical place. Too many times when we talk about spiritual things we think in terms of things we cannot see and as a result it just doesn’t seem real. But heaven is a real physical place. And the Bible gives us a physical description. Listen. Vv. 10-14.