Summary: Death is a one-way door to give your entrance into a personal welcome of tremendous joy or the first wave of gloom and regret. Hell is your default destination and getting to Heaven is a choice. For those who follow Jesus Christ, Heaven maybe as near as your next week.
One day an older man was speaking to a student about his future plans. He asked the young man, “Tell me, what are your plans after you graduate from law school?” The young man said, “I would like to get a job with a good firm and start making some money.” The older man said, “Sounds good. Then what?” “Well, then I would like to get married?” “Sounds good. Then what?” “I would like to start a family, have some children, put my kids in good schools, and have enough money to eventually get a second home.” “Okay. Then what?” “After I have worked for a while, maybe I could come to a point where I could retire. Then, if my health were good, my wife and I could travel around the world.” “Then what?” “Maybe we have some grandchildren. I’ve heard grandchildren are fun.” “Then what?” “I would pass my money down to my children, hoping that they will have as comfortable life as I have had.” “Then what?” And the young man was puzzled.
Most of us don’t think this far ahead unless the doctor tells us we have only months to live. Have you ever thoughts about what’s next for you after this life? William Shatner has thought about his death. In fact, a Philadelphia Inquirer article from 2004, spoke of the famed actor from Star Trek. Reflecting on the death of legendary actor Marlon Brando, Shatner said he began to really think about death: “I’m so not ready to die. It petrifies me. I go alone. I go to a place I don’t know. It might be the end. My thought is that it is the end. I become nameless and I spent a lifetime being known.” It’s amazing how celebrities influence us even when they offer no special insight into a topic.
This morning I want to speak to you on, “What is Heaven Like?” Disclaimer: I have NOT been to Heaven. And, there’s a great deal I don’t know about Heaven. Heaven speaks to the need we all have for ultimate hope.
1. Look Forward to Heaven
Death is a one-way door to give your entrance into a personal welcome of tremendous joy or the first wave of gloom and regret. Hell is your default destination and getting to Heaven is a choice. For those who follow Jesus Christ, Heaven maybe as near as your next week.
Some of you maybe with the angels of Heaven before the sun sets this evening.
1.1 Christ Followers Go to Heaven
If you follow Jesus Christ by embracing His Son’s death & resurrection on the cross, all of this is true for you. Our citizenship is in Heaven: “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ…” (Philippians 3:20) Our names are written in Heaven: already: “Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20). Our treasures are stored in Heaven: “but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:20) Out eternal homes will be in Heaven: “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?” (John 14:2) You have an inheritance in Heaven: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you…” (1 Peter 1:3–4) People from every nation will be in Heaven: “And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation…” (Revelation 5:9)
1.2 Seeing the Face of God
But the best thing about Heaven is that we will see God. Many of us know the name of Neil Armstrong because he was the first man to walk on the moon in July 1969. At his funeral service in September 2012, Eugene Cernan said of Armstrong, “As you soar through the heavens beyond even where eagles dare to go, you can now finally put out your hand and touch the face of God.” You don’t have to be an astronaut to see the face of God, only a Christ-follower.
“And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, 27 whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me” (Job 19:26–27)! Job says, “My own eyes will see Him.” After worms have eaten Job’s skin, he will see God. This is the beatific vision is here - the Vision of God. Remember, Moses could not look at the face of God and live. But now, His people will bask in the presence of God Himself.