Summary: If we could see your future, what would this change about how you live in the present? For the next few moments, I want to speak to you about your future as Jesus teaches us about Heaven.
Many of us are familiar with Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. This instant bestseller has been adapted to film and stage productions. Most of you have either watched it or read the account of an 18th century Christmas Eve in London featuring Ebenezer Scrooge. All of us know his “Bah Humbug.” Scrooge is an uncharitable miser that all of us are familiar with. Scrooge’s business partner, Jacob Marley, has died seven years before the story. And the opening parts of the story focus on Scrooge’s miserly stinginess. He refuses to donate to the poor and only reluctantly allows his underpaid clerk, Bob Cratchit to take Christmas Eve off. The miserable and wealthy Scrooge is then visited by Marley’s ghost who is weighed down with chains of his own greed from a lifetime of selfishness. Marley says to Scrooge that he will be visited by three ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Future. It’s this last spirit that shows Scrooge a Christmas Day in his future his employee’s son, Tiny Tim’s grave. Tiny Tim dies as a result of his father not being able to afford the much-needed surgery for his son. It’s when Scrooge’s see his Christmas future that his behavior changes. After seeing Tiny Tim’s future, Scrooge bring “a prize Turkey” to their home on Christmas Day and gives Cratchit a raise. His view of his future makes him change his acts in the present. But the story spilled out into real life as well. In fact, Dickens’ A Christmas Carol challenge people in Great Britain to kindness, compassion and care for those who are poor, on the margins and struggling in society. During this time of the Industrial Revolution, many fathers were sent to debtor’s prison while their children were left feed and house themselves.
If we could see your future, what would this change about how you live in the present? For the next few moments, I want to speak to you about your future as Jesus teaches us about Heaven.
Find John 6 with me. Over the next few minutes, I want to share with you four scenes of Heaven from the lips of Jesus.
1. A Man from Heaven
When I was a child, Nike ran a commercial about superstar athlete Bo Jackson – Bo Knows. Well, I don’t know what Bo Know, but I do know what Jesus Knows. And Jesus knows Heaven.
Jesus described Heaven as a place where the angels stare at the very face of God: “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 18:10) And remember it was an angel from Heaven that strengthened Jesus at Gethsemane (Luke 22:43). It was a heavenly host that told the shepherds in the middle of the night about Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:13). Jesus taught us to pray to our Father in heaven for our lives to work like Heaven on earth (Matthew 6:9). And Jesus tells us there’s more joy in Heaven when one sinner repents of his sin or her sin (Luke 15:7).
Yes, Jesus knew Heaven. Jesus and Heaven had a constant stream of contact all throughout Jesus’ time walking on earth. And we discover the reason, Jesus knew so much about Heaven was because He came to earth from Heaven: “For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:38–40)
On one level, Jesus teaches us that He came from Heaven (verse 38). Yet on another level, Jesus will not lose anyone that the Father has given Him (verse 39). You may lose your keys, your glasses, or your homework, but Jesus will not lose anyone person that Father has entrusted to Him. One more layer to Jesus’ Heaven talk can be seen: everyone who looks to Jesus and believes in Jesus will have eternal life (verse 40). Everyone who looks to Jesus and believes in Jesus will be raised up on the last day (verse 40). Jesus came from Heaven to take people back to Heaven.
The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” 20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:17, 20). Jesus tells His disciples that there happy for the wrong reason. They’re happy that demons do what they tell them to do but they should be happy because their names are written in God’s book. You can understand why they are happy, can’t you? To see people oppressed by demons and to witness with your own eyes the complete reversal of emotional, psychological, and medical problems in people who have been plagued by Satanic spirits for years, maybe even decades …and to see this vanish away in a matter of moments – WOW! This would make nearly anyone happy! Jesus reminds them that their greatest blessing isn’t their power but their position. Don’t be happy in what you accomplish; be happy in what He’s accomplished for you. If you looked to Jesus and believed in Jesus, then Jesus will protect until the very day when He raises you at His return. If Jesus failed to protect anyone of His children on their route to Heaven, it would be to His everlasting shame!