Sermons

Summary: Heaven is REAL. Heaven is RIGHT: a right relationship with God, life made right, people made right. A simple message with some deep truths as well.

WHAT IS HEAVEN LIKE?—Revelation 21, Isaiah 65:17-25

Read Revelation 21.

***The couple were in their 80’s, in good health, largely due to the efforts of the wife, who carefully controlled their diet, and regularly nagged her husband to watch his weight and exercise.

For their 60th anniversary, they flew to Hawaii. Unfortunately, their plane crashed, and they died.

They reached the pearly gates, and St. Peter ushered them into a beautiful mansion. The house was huge, and the finishes were fantastic. The old man asked Peter how much a place like this would cost. Peter said, “Don’t worry; it’s all included.”

They opened a sliding door, and looked out from the deck over the most beautiful golf course. Peter told the old man he could play anytime he wanted, for free! The weather would always be perfect, and there would be no wait times.

Then Peter took them to the clubhouse, where they saw an elaborate buffet, with prime rib and seafood, rich desserts, and free-flowing beverages. The old man asked what it would cost to eat at the buffet, and Peter assured him that the buffet would always be available, at no charge.

The old man looked around and glanced nervously at his wife. He whispered to Peter, “Where are the low fat, low cholesterol foods? We have to watch our sugar too.”

Peter said, “That’s the best part. You can eat whatever you want, and you will never gain weight or get sick. This is heaven.”

The old man said, “Where is the gym, with the boring treadmills?”

Peter said, “I’ll show you later, if you want. But you don’t have to go, you know. This is heaven; you will always be in great health, and you will never be bored.”

The old man took a deep breath, turned to his wife, and said, “You and your bran muffins. We could have been here ten years ago.” (internet source unknown)**

What is heaven really like?

In the 1800’s, the dominant picture of heaven was a like Victorian garden. Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, in an 1868 novel that was a bestseller for decades, described a house built of curiously inlaid woods, with flowers, birds, and “a fine dog sunning himself on the steps.”

When Billy Graham started preaching in 1950, he described heaven by saying, “We are going to sit around the fireplace and have parties, and the angels will wait on us, and we’ll drive down the golden streets in a yellow Cadillac convertible.” He later regretted saying that.

In the 2011 best-seller, “Heaven Is for Real,” four-year-old Colton Burpo described his near-death vision of heaven as sitting on Jesus’ lap. For a toddler, maybe he wasn’t too far off.

The Apostle Paul was more reticent about trying to describe heaven. In 2 Corinthians 12:2-4, he said, “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows—was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell.”

What do we know about heaven?

HEAVEN IS REAL

Read Revelation 21:1-2.

The word “heaven” appears several times in these verses, and it can be a bit confusing. In John’s time, “heaven and earth” or “the heavens and the earth” referred to what we call the universe. So in Revelation 21:1, “the first heaven and the first earth” is the universe we live in. That universe will not last forever; it will “pass away.” Our eternal home is “a new heaven and a new earth,” created by God for us.

Our eternal home is not within the universe we presently know. Because of that, it is not bound by the physical laws of our universe; the new heaven and earth might have different laws! The possibilities are mind-blowing, beyond our comprehension, or even our imagination!

Our eternal home is real, and the exact nature of its reality is a mystery known only to God. As the Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2:9-10, “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived—the things God has prepared for those who love him—these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.”

All that we can know of our future home is what the Holy Spirit reveals, passed on to us in the Bible. The book of Revelation records a vision of heaven, given to John the Apostle.

John describes his vision that day in Revelation 21:2, “I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.” Here, “heaven” refers to the particular place in all of God’s REALITY where God is enthroned in power and glory. Psalm 103:19 explains, “The LORD has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.”

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