Summary: A sermon to debunk the boring ideas people have about Heaven and to instill in them a biblically based anticipation about what Heaven is going to really be like.
I Thes 4:13-18
Intro: “Groundhog Day.” It’s the story of a weather man who goes to Punxsutawney, PA to cover the groundhog festivities on Feb. 2. But, when he wakes up on what should be Feb. 3, he finds himself starting the same day over again – Feb. 2. In fact, no matter what he does, every morning, when he wakes up, it’s Groundhog Day all over again – same people, same events, all exactly the same. At first it scares him. Then, he tries to use it to take advantage of people. Then, he gets desperate. No matter what happens to him, every morning, he wakes up exactly like the day before. Nothing he tries will stop the monotony of that alarm going off at 6 am every morning day after day. He can’t escape his personal eternity, and it begins to drive him crazy, until he resolves to use it for good – to develop himself, and to use his days to help others.
What would you do? What will we do for forever?
When was the last time you used the word “forever” and you meant it as a positive thing?
Isaac Asimov – “Whatever the tortures of hell, I think the boredom of Heaven would be even worse.” So, let’s begin with an important acknowledgment this morning: many people think Heaven sounds boring.
Why might we think Heaven will be boring?
1. We’ve bought into a lie: sin is exciting and righteousness is boring; sin expands life and righteousness shrinks it.
Really? So we get the sexual revolution. No more of this restrictive, prudish stuff. Let’s declare our sexual freedom. How has it worked out? It hasn’t expanded life. It has reduced something sacred and wonderful to a marketing tool, a substitute for real relationships, a cheap commodity. Does faithfulness to part of God’s plan for marriage really reduce us? I read in
The prostitute reduces you to a loaf of bread…
Paul tells the Philippians about people with a worldly mindset. He says,
Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.
How big is their god if it’s their stomach? God the Creator is bigger than that – bigger than my impulses, bigger than my appetite that’s satisfied in minutes and then returns in a few hours, bigger than my emotions. Sin shrinks life; it doesn’t expand it.
John describes the great beast that comes out of the sea…
He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven.
Satan wants you convinced that Heaven is boring. Don’t buy into the lie. The idea that Heaven is boring is a lie from the devil, and I intend to prove this morning that it isn’t!
2. We live a Christian life that’s boring!
Part of the problem with accepting that Heaven won’t be boring is the number of people who live their life in Christ in boredom. If you’ve reduced Christianity to just a list of things you can’t do and another list of things you have to do, then imagine how much that will be multiplied in Heaven! If you can’t have fun now, then Heaven’s got to be 10X worse! If the list of things you can’t do now is strict, imagine how much stricter it will be in Heaven!
You see, if that’s the way you approach your relationship to Jesus, your rehearsal for Heaven is already boring.
There are some Christians who defy this idea – who travel to foreign lands and risk their lives in order to preach; who dare to go against the flow in their schools, even though it’s tough; who dig into God’s word with seriousness to learn and apply it; who actually pray and then watch for God to answer; who stick their necks out at work or in their community, because they’re counting on God to back them. Bored? Hardly! But if you’re living your Christian life in a boring way now, no wonder you expect Heaven to bore you!
3. We haven’t considered closely enough what will and won’t be in Heaven
That’s why, for these past weeks, we’ve been taking a more detailed look at what we can know and understand about Heaven now. I want for every one of us to put away any wrong ideas we have about Heaven being a boring place. Instead, I’d like to see us get chills up and down our spines whenever we talk about it.
Bilbo Baggins, at the end of “The Return of the King,” is a Hobbit now old and decrepit. But he has been granted a special invitation by the elves to voyage from Middle Earth to Veldinor. Suddenly, his face gets a glimmer, his step quickens, and he heads to the ship to leave, “I think I’m quite ready for another adventure.”