Summary: A Sermon describing attributes of people we’ll meet when we get to heaven.

Who You’ll Find in Heaven

Hebrews 11:8-16

A minister dies and is waiting in line at the Pearly Gates. Ahead of him is a man who’s dressed in sunglasses, a loud shirt, leather jacket and jeans.

Saint Peter turns to the first man and asks, "Who are you, so that I may know whether or not to admit you to the Kingdom of Heaven?"

"I’m Joe Jones, and I was a taxi driver in New York."

Saint Peter consults his list. He smiles and says to the man, "Take this silken robe and golden staff and enter into the Kingdom."

When it’s the minister’s turn, he stands erect and booms out, "I am Joseph Snow, pastor of New Covenant Tabernacle for the last 37 years."

Saint Peter consults his list. "Take this cotton robe and wooden staff and enter into the Kingdom," he says.

"Just a minute," says the minister. "That man was a taxi driver and he gets a silken robe and golden staff. How can this be?"

"Up here, we work by results," says Saint Peter. "While you preached, people slept; while he drove, people prayed."

In last week’s message about heaven there was a quote from John Newton that went like this:

“When I get to heaven, I shall see three wonders there: The first wonder will be to see many people there whom I did not expect to see; The second wonder will be to miss many people whom I did expect to see; the third and greatest of all will be to find myself there” (John Newton)

Those words set me thinking about what I’ve pictured heaven to be like. Who will be there? What will they be like? I have to admit that my visions of heaven have been a lot like my experiences here on earth. In other words, I’ve not generally imagined the folks I’ll find in heaven as looking anything different than you people here this morning.

But if we truly consider it we might find things different than what we have come to expect. After all, the very first missionaries and evangelists didn’t look exactly like us either.

Outward appearance is relative to our experience. In other words, if you’ve spent time living in close contact with people different than you, your picture of who you might find in heaven may likely be different. The truth is that appearance has nothing whatsoever to do with the question. But the Bible does give us some clues as to who we might find when we reach our heavenly destination someday. Let’s take a look at them.

Read Hebrews 11:8-16

The people we’ll find in heaven will be those who were…

1. Looking Forward to the City

Verse 8-10

Pastor Tim got a new toy this week. He probably doesn’t want me to talk about it because he’ll face some dire consequences. But I love to put his feet to the fire, so here we go.

There’s a part of Tim that’s directionally challenged. Just recently he was attempting to find a particular office in the suburbs of Chicago when he missed his turn. Had he been in possession of his recently purchased GPS device it could have given him directions to get back on track. Tim was looking forward to a city, but he just couldn’t find it!

Most of the times, if you’re going to find something you have to be looking for it. While many of us have had things fall into our lap through coincidence, dumb luck or God moments, that doesn’t often happen.

So it is with finding ourselves in heaven. In fact, I’d say that will absolutely be the rule. That’s a survey I’ll have an eternity to take: “Excuse me sir, but how did you find your way to heaven? You say you were looking for it? That’s what I thought.”

Don’t fool yourself for a moment. Not one person is going to spend an eternity in the presence of God just by dumb luck or against their own will. Except in the greatest instances of God’s grace where someone gets a moment or two just prior to death in which to make a quick confession, if you haven’t been looking for heaven prior to the end, you won’t suddenly find it after the end has come!

The writer of Hebrews said that Abraham was, “looking forward to the city.”

They tell me that the key to your retirement, in terms of being financially prepared – is looking ahead. The earlier you start the better position you’ll be in when retirement comes along.

Would it be safe to apply that principle here? Someone once said that the retirement plan for believers is “out of this world.” You could say that the earlier you begin your planning spiritually the better position you’ll be in when eternity comes.

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