Summary: The message addresses the key relationships we will have with others in heaven.
Glimpsing Eternity: The Hope of Heaven
What About Our Relationships in Heaven?
Text: Matthew 22:23-32
Introduction: A pastor had asked a deacon to do some rewiring in the sanctuary. The only way to reach it was to enter the attic above the altar and crawl over the ceiling by balancing on the rafters. Working some 20-25 feet above the floor, his wife watched anxiously from one of the pews. As she sat there gazing upward a visitor entered the foyer of the church. He noticed the woman sitting alone, her face turned toward heaven. Not seeing anyone else in the room the man made the logical assumption that the woman was in earnest prayer. Meanwhile the deacon’s wife, now more worried than ever that her husband might come crashing down at any moment, inquired, "Sweetheart, are you up there?" Did you make it okay?" The visitor blushed assuming that he had accidentally intruded on a very personal moment of grief. As he sat quietly, he was startled to hear the woman’s husband respond, "Yes, dear. I’m just fine, but if that preacher ever wants something like this to happen again, he’ll have to do it himself." Don’t you wish heaven was kind of like that? Wouldn’t it be great if we could continue to carry on conversations with those who have preceded us in death? Think of all the great questions we could ask! What’s it like there? Can you see God? Have you run into your grandmother? Are there any great golf courses in heaven?
Well, obviously, the Lord has not provided us with this sort of opportunity. He has, however, taken some steps to address some of these same issues in the Bible so that we will not be ignorant of what to expect. In our third message from the series entitled Glimpsing Eternity: the Hope of Heaven, we’re going to spend the next 25 minutes looking at what the Scriptures say about the relationships that we will have with others in heaven.
I. Our relationship with God. The Psalmist says that to desire heaven is to desire God (See Psalm 73:25). What will make it so special for us is the opportunity to dwell in His very presence (See Revelation 21:3)!
A. In heaven, we will see God face to face (See Revelation 22:3b-4). Once sin was introduced into the world, mankind was no longer able to look at the face of God (Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God--Matthew 5:8). You may remember that when Moses asked to see the glory of Yahweh, he was only permitted to look at the back of God as He passed by (See Exodus 33:18-23). The Apostle Paul reminds us that God lives in unapproachable light (See 1 Timothy 6:15b-16a). While in this body, we are not able to gaze upon His beauty lest we die. But in heaven we will look upon Him and instantly think to ourselves that we have never seen anyone or anything that was so absolutely breathtaking.
B. In heaven we will see Jesus in all His glory (See 1 John 3:2). We should not take this lightly. When Jesus took on human flesh, he set aside his glory and entered the world in the most humble of circumstances, a baby forced to be born in a manger. He grew up in a family that had few resources and worked as a carpenter. Even in His earthly ministry Jesus did not receive the honor that was His due (See John 1:10-11). He died the death of a criminal and was placed in a borrowed tomb. Yet, later when John the Apostle saw Christ in a vision, He was completely overwhelmed so that "he fell at His feet as though dead." (See Revelation 1:12-17a)." The glory that was Christ’s before His incarnation was restored following His ascension and glorification (See John 17:5). We, too, will see Jesus the way John saw Him. When we do, we will never think of Him the same way again..
C. In heaven we will be presented to Christ as His bride (See Revelation 19:6-9). In biblical times, a marriage involved two major events, the betrothal (or engagement) and the wedding. These were normally separated by a period of time (For an example consider Joseph and Mary -- Matthew 1:18-24). The same is true for us as believers. Christians have been betrothed to Christ by faith, yet we anticipate that some day in the future we will be presented to Him as a pure and holy bride. Application: Make no mistake, what makes heaven so appealing is not the absence of tears or pain or death or sorrow. It is the presence of God the Father and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ and the opportunity to gaze upon their majesty! When I went to Washington, D. C. I had the opportunity to stand perhaps eight feet from the President for just a few moments. For this to happen, I had to receive an invitation, undergo a background search, be personally searched by a Secret Service Agent, and wait for at least a couple of hours outside the White House. All for the chance to come with in a few feet of the most powerful man in the world. You know what? I’d do it again. It was a special moment for me. Yet it pales in comparison to the knowledge that I will some day see God face to face and His Son, my Lord, in the fullness of His glory.