Summary: 2nd part of a two part message on life after death - describing the place Jesus prepared for us as a hiding place, a dwelling place, and a resting place.
Life after death: Heaven
Introduction: Last week may have been gloomy but today is a cheerful day. Don Piper, the author of '90 minutes in heaven' said “heaven is a buffet for the senses. It is a sensory explosion.” I have great news for you this morning church. . . Heaven is for real! How many of you have read that book?
Colton Burpo captured America's attention when His father, Todd Burpo, a Nebraska Pastor, shared his incredible testimony of his son's breathtaking experience after he survived an emergency surgery for an infection caused by a burst appendix. Among many things that little Colton told his father, was that Jesus had markers. His father Todd asked “where are his markers?” then the 4 year old pointed at his hands and feet. He later said “Dad, you used to have a grandpa named Pop, didn't you?” His father was taken back and muttered “uh..ya” Colton then said: “He is really nice – you used to play with him as a kid and work with him on the farm and shoot stuff with him.” Todd then said, “How did you know that!?” “He told me” said young Colton. If that was enough, one of the more amazing parts of their testimony is when Sonja, Colton's mother was paying bills and managing the finances at the table when Colton kept saying “I have 2 sisters” “I have 2 sisters” he kept saying it over and over. Finally getting his mothers attention, she said “What do you mean you have 2 sisters” Colton said “You had a baby die in your tummy” Intrigued how he would know such a thing, Sonja inquired again “How do you know you have 2 sisters” “because she told me” Colton said plainly. He then informed his mother that his unborn sister kept hugging him in heaven and now she waits for her family to join her there.
Oh what great comfort we have in the hope of Heaven. There will be many children that died too soon, (at least too soon for us) that will greet their mother and father at the gates of Heaven never to be separated again. Picture a heart that was broken due to an untimely death, being mended in an instant, as that child in heaven picks a rose, a symbol of their memory that was carried on earth and although it was separated from the ground in heaven, it will never die, and as they bring it over, they say softly, “Welcome home. Welcome to the land . . . where the roses never fade.”
As we get older we realize we have more friends in heaven than we have on earth. We will see our loved ones again. Do you remember when you cried at the funeral home when they allowed you to view the body one last time? And at the funeral, how your mind was vexed? Remember the regret of “what could've been”, the pain of “what should've been” and the loss of “what would've been” grieved your soul, completely? Well take solace, because on your last day here, as you slip out of your temporal body and into eternity, when you stand before the Lord, you will be surrounded like a warm blanket by those familiar voices once again.
You have spent far too many days dwelling in an unwelcome land. Like someone who goes to a national convention from a small town or like ole' coach, who went to convention, from a small university, unknown and unappreciated, you feel as if 'everybody knows everybody, but nobody knows me'. But in Heaven, All God's children belong! We belong to one another! The Lord belongs to us! And (praise God) We belong to him! While on earth, we are indeed strangers in a strange land, but when we cross over to life after death, we will see the son that rose from the dead. One sweet day, you will know everyone and everyone will know you. Everyone will be a perfect friend, in perfect love, in perfect fellowship. O what a glorious day! If you say “That is pie in the sky!” Don't blame me. Look into your bible and then look into the sky and blame God because He is the one who put it in his word! Let me show you:
Scripture: “In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” -Jn 14:2
Transition: D.L. Moody once said “we talk about heaven being so far away. It is within speaking distance to those who belong there. Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people.” We read that Jesus goes to prepare “a place” for us. So let's see this morning, what kind of place it is.