Summary: A sermon on heaven (adapted from Philip Keller in his book, "A Layman Looks at the Lord’s Prayer")
Evening Service for 8/16/2009
Our Father in heaven- Matthew 6:9
What do you think you will enjoy most about heaven?
I. In the Jewish mind, there are three heavens:
1. The first heaven is the earth’s atmosphere.
2. The next heaven is used to describe outer space.
3. The third heaven referred to in the NT is the realm of God.
II. Our Father in heaven. Does this then mean He can be in the earth’s atmosphere? Yes. Does it imply that He can occupy outer space? Yes. Does He inhabit the realm of the righteous? Yes. God is everywhere at all times.
III. He speaks to me everywhere. This is my Father’s World.
IV. It is easier for us to think of these first two heavens than the highest heaven. We have a point of reference but for this one it is more difficult.
V. Still our spirits long to comprehend just a little of this realm. We have to search the Scriptures and find out for ourselves what we can discover and understand.
VI. Phillip Keller says, “It was roughly seven years ago that my first wife, my companion of more than 20 years, was admitted to a cancer clinic. After her operation, the specialists called me in privately. They informed me she was stricken with the most aggressive form of cancer known at that time. In a few months her beautiful body and perhaps her mind would be destroyed. There was no known way to counteract this condition. The best I could do was to take her home and endeavor to make her final days as comfortable and easy as possible. Being Christians and with death camping on our doorstep, we set out to search the Scriptures to see for ourselves what this third heaven was really like. After all, she would soon step through death’s door to be home with the Lord. What we discovered is shared with you. In doing so, no attempt is being made to be dogmatic. We are aware that others may have quite different views to which they are fully entitled.
VII. Mr. Keller gives 21 aspects of heaven that we are going to look at tonight. 14 of these are discussing difficulties that we have here on earth that will not be in heaven. 7 more are conditions present in heaven that are not known here.
Thesis: Let’s discuss these 21 briefly.
1. Satan will not be there.
(Rev 20:10 NIV) And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
2. Release from the strain of separation.
Heaven is a long hello.
3. Free from anguish, despair and frustration.
C.S. Lewis said in the Problem of Pain, life carries with it more pain than pleasure.
4. No more death.
No graves on the hillsides of glory.
Death is still an enemy today. Pass on quietly in our sleep.
5. Deliverance from regrets, remorse and guilt
We are forgiven through Christ, yes, but the remembrance and the consequences still linger. In heaven we will be fully forgiven.
6. No tears in heaven
All will be glory in that land; There’ll be no sadness, all will be gladness, when we shall join that happy band.
7. Deliverance from pain
Freedom from physical suffering, freedom from spiritual agony. Those conditions that plague our days and make of our nights a nightmare will have no place there.
8. No temple, no church, no sanctuary.
(Rev 21:22 NIV) I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.
Gone are the formal barriers and doctrinal divisions that divide us down here.
9. No sun or moon- time will be no more.
(Rev 21:23 NIV) The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.
We are tied up with time. Gone will be the desperate urgency of being crowded by the calendar, of being threatened by time. An unhurried life!
10. No night
(Rev 21:25 NIV) On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there.
In Alaska there is little night in the summer. However, this implies even more than that.
With new spiritual bodies, no need for restoration of this sort.
11. No more misunderstandings
A lot of our problems are caused by misunderstandings. We do not understand each other and we do not understand our Father in heaven.
(1 Cor 13:12 NIV) Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.