6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: Do you really mean it when you say, “Thy kingdom come?

Later on this morning we are all going to say together some very familiar words. We are going to say, “Thy kingdom come“. But I want to ask you to stop and think. Do we really mean it? Do YOU really mean it? I was recently talking to a friend I’ll call Tina who confessed to having said something very embarrassing at a funeral. What Tina blurted out, without stopping to think how people would take it, was “I really envy her. I can`t wait to see the Lord face to face.“ Now not only did the grieving family think this was totally insensitive, most of the rest of the mourners thought she was just plain nuts. Because most people, even the ones who say they believe in heaven, really aren’t sure they want to go there.

How many of you have heard people say something to the effect that all the fun people ore going to the other place? Or that they’re not sure about harps and clouds and sitting around singing Bach and Handel all day long? Especially when each day in eternity is more like a thousand. Or they don’t want to go if they can’t have chocolate or their favorite pet or hobby or video games or - you fill in the blanks. What is your view of heaven?

There’s a wonderful story making its rounds on the internet of a man who can’t imagine leaving earth without at least SOME of the possessions he’s worked all his life to amass. So finally he gets permission to bring one suitcase full. After debating for some time about what would hold its value no matter what things were like on the other side, he filled a suitcase with gold coins and bars. When the time came, off he went, dragging the suitcase behind him - with some difficulty, since of course as you know gold is very heavy - and soon he arrives at the pearly gates. St. Peter stops him at the metal detector saying, “You can’t bring that in here, didn’t you read the regulations?“ The man replied “Well, yes, but I got a waiver.“ Peter checks the paperwork and begins to wave him on

through, but then stops him and says, “I’ve got to see what you thought was so important you couldn’t bring yourself to leave it behind.“ So the man obligingly opens the lid and shows Peter the stacks of gold. Instead of being impressed, Peter just shakes his head and says, “You went to all that trouble just to bring in a load of paving stones?“

So think again. Think about the things in your life that you don’t like. Think about rude salespeople and unfair bosses and inadequate paychecks. Think about trips to the dentist and the heating bill, washing the dishes and taking out the garbage. Think about broken relationships and hurtful words and lost opportunities. Think about hungry children and broken promises and unfulfilled dreams. And then imagine a place where none of that exists.

The Bible is full of promises, but perhaps the most wonderful of all is this: "What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived ... God has prepared for those who love him." [1 Cor 2:9]

Obviously we cannot know what heaven will be like, because our eyes haven’t seen the beauty, our ears haven’t heard the music, our hearts haven’t felt the joy. But one thing we can be sure of is that heaven will dazzle our senses and fulfill all our longings. And probably the first thing to point out is that heaven won’t be boring. It is not going to be some ethereal existence where we float about as spirits without bodies. Why would God take the trouble to create a new earth if there wasn’t going to be anyone to live on it? Why would we be given new bodies if we were not going to live in a material world? We were originally created to live in bodies on a material world. In the Old Testament, the perfect place was imagined as garden... in the NT it is imagined as a dazzling city. And so whether heaven will be Eden restored or a new Jerusalem, it is not going to be

a sort of fuzzy floating dream, but vividly alive, vibrantly real, vital and challenging existence. We know this not only from this passage of Revelation but from other passages as well. "For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God." [Rom 8:19-21]

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