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Summary: Did Christ die for all or only for the Elect? Did Christ die for the many or the few? Without going into deep theological matters, do you have the assurance that you are going to have a place at the Wedding Banquet of the Lamb? Have you the assurance o

Matthew 22: 1-14

The Wedding Banquet, the Glory of Paradise, or Heaven

There are two ways of reading Luke 23:42

because there are no commas in Koine Greek:

‘I tell you the truth - comma – TODAY you will be with me in paradise’,

or ‘I tell you the truth today –comma – you will be with me in paradise’

i.e. after the Day of Judgement.

It might worry theologians, but most people are not concerned with the WHEN,

or even the WHAT – what is Heaven like,

but WHO will be allowed to enter it.

This leads to verse 14: ‘Many are called but few are chosen’ and questions about election and predestination.

Does God give everyone the possibility of salvation, or only the elect?

Did Jesus die for everyone, or only for the elect?

For the most part, Heaven is an abstract concept, a realm foreign to us.

Christians accept by faith the reality of this spiritual realm,

but it’s difficult to imagine what Heaven must be like.

The Bible only gives us hints about it

and the descriptions we have appear in the form of poetry and metaphor.

The glories of Heaven far surpass our perception.

Heaven is a real place, and the reality will exceed all images and symbols.

Galileo is on record as saying, “The intention of the Holy Spirit

is not to teach us how Heaven goes,

but how one goes to Heaven.”

Heaven is a reality unreachable to any of our senses.

It’s like explaining how to drive to a baby (like Sophie).

Sin resulted in our expulsion from a garden, the Garden of Eden,

but Jesus’ death and burial in the Garden of Gethsemane

assures believers of salvation in Paradise.

While we don’t know what Heaven or Paradise will be like,

we know what it will NOT be like.

There will be no death, no pain, no sin, no curse, no tears, no war, no disease.

God declares through the prophet Jeremiah:

“I will turn their mourning into gladness, their weeping into laughter” in Jeremiah 31:13.

Heaven is a place, the only place, where the Lord’s Prayer is fulfilled;

where God’s Name is hallowed, His Kingdom is come, and His will is done, 100%.

Heaven’ has been called “a prepared place for prepared people”

because Jesus said He was going to prepare a place for His people in His Father’s house (John 14:1-4).

Only those who have embraced Jesus will be happy living with Him for eternity.

Think for a moment about the purity and sin-LESS-ness of Heaven;

an unconverted sinner would not be able to stand the place!

For people who haven’t been saved and transformed by God,

Heaven would not be inviting or attractive,

it would be totally unsuitable for those who are comfortable with sin.

C.S. Lewis wrote a book called The Great Divorce,

in which a group of people in Hell get a free bus ride to heaven, and a guided tour.

In fact, they’re given an offer: if they want, they can stay.

They look around at heaven’s goodness and cleanliness and feel very uncomfortable.

They can’t wait to get back on the bus and return to Hell.

Lewis wasn’t claiming that people will be given a “second chance” after death;

he was saying that heaven would NOT be an enjoyable place for everyone.

And just as sinners wouldn’t feel comfortable in heaven,

Christian believers don’t feel at ease on earth,

especially when they hear people MIS-use the name of Christ.

C.S. Lewis also wrote, “If nothing in this world satisfies me,

perhaps it is because I was made for another world.”

If Christians are uncomfortable here, it’s because they are not at home here.

Although not physical or material, Christians believe heaven is a real place.

We picture it as clouds in the sky, less solid than terra firma,

but heaven is more substantive, more solid, more real than life on earth.

The author of Hebrews describes Heaven as a

“city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (11:10).

I had a good home with my parents,

and after getting married in April 1974, my first wife, Maureen, and I

bought a home of our own.

When she died, I coped,

and since marrying Anne she has made me a lovely home,

but, along with all other Christians, I would say

that no matter how nice, clean and comfortable our home is,

our best home is yet to come.

Heaven has been described as a place of fellowship and reunion,

because believers will be re-united with loved ones,

and meet all saints who have ever died since the beginning of history.

A lady called Linda Demaz wrote a comforting book for women who had miscarried

or who had lost children, entitled ‘Mommy, Please Don’t Cry’.

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