Summary: This series, entitled Heaven Is Our Home, is intended to help you think more about Heaven, order your personal life with Heaven in mind, and stir up a heart for evangelism.
9By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. Hebrews 11:9-10
21For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Philippians 1:21
8think about such things… Philippians 4:8c
“Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and enjoy Him forever.”-Westminster Catechism
Let me start this series with the most important question you will ever be asked: “Where will you be standing ten minutes after you die?” Each of us has an appointment with death (Should the Lord tarry. Come quickly Lord Jesus).
Pastor Erwin Lutzer tells of a cemetery in Indiana that reminds us of this truth:1
Pause, Stranger, when you pass me by
As you are now, so once was I
As I am now, so you will be
So prepare for death and follow me
An unknown passerby read those words and underneath scratched the following reply:
To follow you I’m not content
Until I know which way you went
The response of millions Catholics around the world to the Pope’s death in April 2005 was clear:
To follow you I am content,
I know which way you went
This attitude was underscored by the words of Undersecretary of State Archbishop Leonardi Sandri who told a crowd of 70,000 gathered in St. Peter’s Square below the Pope’s still-lighted apartment windows: “We are like orphans this evening.”
At one point church officials asked those in the square to stay silent so they might “accompany the Pope in his first steps into heaven.”2
With 20/20 vision, the eyes of the world were fixed on the papal apartment, home and hospice to Pope John Paul II, age 84. His last days followed an early Easter in 2005. His passing took place at 9:37 PM, Saturday, April 2nd in his private apartment in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace overlooking St. Peter’s Square.
“Our most beloved Holy Father has returned to the house of the Father,” Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, a senior Vatican official, told pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square.
The Pope’s death brought an end to the Roman Catholic Church’s third longest papacy. Millions of Catholics, Protestants, and unsaved prayed for John Paul’s peaceful home going. The day after his death, headlines around the world read:
“Pope at peace” Everett Herald, April 3, 2005
“John Paul II dies; Catholics and world mourn end of an epic life” Chicago Tribune, April 3, 2005
“Pope John Paul II Dies” Los Angeles Times, April 3, 2005
“Pope John Paul II: 1920-2005 – ‘Don’t weep for me’” The Sunday Times, Britain, April 3, 2005
I don’t know of any event in the modern era that has stirred more interest in Heaven and the life beyond than the passing of Pope John Paul II. I believe his passing is causing many people to come to grips with their need to prepare for an afterlife. The Pope’s passing is stirring a greater interest in eternity, the role of suffering in dying, learning how to face death, and many other related topics. This series, entitled Heaven Is Our Home, is intended to help you think more about Heaven, order your personal life with Heaven in mind, and stir up a heart for evangelism.
If we end up in Heaven it will be because we have admitted our sinfulness. Mankind’s only hope for eternal life in Heaven is to receive Christ as Savior and have their sins forgiven. Author Eugene Peterson spells it out very clearly in the Message Bible in Romans 3:9-26. Read the passage when you get a chance. We are all in the same sinking boat of sin. Only God through Christ can rescue us.
He did it all. We can receive it all.
We add nothing. He leaves out nothing.
He loves us so much that He couldn’t bear to live in eternity without us.
We love him so little that the thought to make God a priority in our lives seldom crosses our minds.
We are in a boat that is sinking, or we are in an Ark that is sailing.
He has done the work. We have to make the choice.
However incredible Heaven will be, we Christians give it too little thought. Guilty as charged! Isn’t it odd that even though we know for a fact we will spend eternity in an awesome place called Heaven, that thoughts of Heaven seldom cross our mind? Heaven gets about as much attention as our awareness of what dictionary words went obsolete this year. So we need a motivation, or reason, to bring Heaven to the front burner of our thinking.
Before you know it, one day your appointed time will come; you will die and your eternal journey will begin. You will live with God the Father who would rather die than live without your fellowship and friendship.