Summary: 18th in a series of messages exploring the wonder of God as our loving Father. This message continues a discussion of our heavenly inheritance.
“The Reward & Inheritance Factor” Pt 4
(The Fatherhood of God Message 18)
X. The Reward and Inheritance Factor
We inherit our Dad’s riches and resources
A. PRESENT AND FUTURE REWARD
God rewards faithful service. Sometimes the reward is now. Sometimes the reward comes later.
With our Heavenly Father, no good deed goes unrewarded.
Recognition, responsibility, riches
B. FUTURE INHERITANCE
Children of God are heirs to all that the Father possesses. This inheritance depends on relationship not works.
C. FUTURE ETERNAL HOME
Every human being enters this word with a longing for a place to call home. Our heavenly Father promises every child a place. We will live eternally in a place specially prepared for us as children and as individuals.
1. The original creation – the original home
2. Present polluted or fallen earth
3. Present Heaven or intermediate heaven
Much of the confusion and fog related to heaven has to do with confusing images. There are some things related to the present Heaven and there are some things related to the future new heavens and new earth and some things common to both. The first thing we need to settle is the difference between the present Heaven and the new heaven and earth. Both old and new Testaments use the word heaven to indicate God’s dwelling place. God does not need a place to live. He existed before creation outside of creation. He chooses to manifest His presence in a particular location called heaven.
There are actually three heaven's referred to in Scripture.
1. There is the heaven in which the birds fly or our atmosphere.
2. There is a heaven of outer space.
3. Then there is the heaven in which God currently manifests His presence.
a) Who lives there?
Of course God is there in all of his glory. The resurrected Christ in His resurrected glorified physical body is there. The Holy Spirit is a permanent resident. Myriads of Angels with various responsibilities inhabit operated out of heaven. Old Testament followers of God as well as those adopted into God’s family through faith in Christ presently reside in this wonderful place.
Heaven is the intermediate dwelling place for all those awaiting the eternal establishment of the new heavens and a new earth. Hebrews 12 draws attention to all of heaven’s inhabitants in one passage. Writing to encourage believers to keep faithful and not loose heart in the midst of hardship and persecution, the writer of Hebrews contrasts the frightening Mount Sinai experience with the present reality of God’s chosen habitation. Hebrews 12:22-24
Someone has very well said: "At three things I shall wonder in heaven: first, that I shall not find many there of whom I was certain; second, that I shall find many there whom I was sure I wouldn't find; but lastly, and most wonderful of all, that I am actually there myself."—Bible Illustrations
b) What is it like?
The present heaven is mostly of a spiritual nature with definite physical elements. Plato taught that all matter is evil, only spirit is good; rejecting all thought of a physical world. His philosophy influenced human thinking for centuries; including Christianity. We somehow think that even though the Bible uses physical imagery that heaven is more an intangible and unfamiliar “spiritual” environment. The present Heaven contains many physical characteristics.
I believe that paradise, the garden of God, presently resides in heaven. The tree of life currently finds its resting place in heaven. The New Jerusalem, God capital city is located in heaven and will come down out of heaven to earth. Jacob got a glimpse of the gateway to the present heaven. Genesis 28:12-13
Was this real or just a dream? Jacob felt the reality of this experience even after he “woke up.”
Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, "Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it."
He was afraid and said, "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven." Genesis 28:16-17 He even named the place “Bethel” meaning “house of God”.
God took the Apostle Paul up to the third heaven although he admitted he didn't know whether it was in the body or in the spirit. Paul’s glimpse of the present heaven was so glorious he was not able describe any detail. 2 Corinthians 12:2-4
John described many physical aspects from his visions of the present and ultimate heaven.
He described followers of Christ who were martyred for their faith wearing white robes. They must have had some kind of body in order to wear robes. They have sorrow and indignation as they ask God how long will it be until there blood is avenged. All will have an eternal perspective however which enables them to wait for the ultimate redemption. This also indicates an awareness of time in the present heaven. “How long?” He talked about rest from their labors. (Rev 14:13) Hebrews promises an ultimate Sabbath rest for believers.