A story has been told of a dying man who asked his Christian doctor to tell him something about the place to which he was going. As the doctor fumbled for a reply, he heard a scratching at the door, and then he had his answer. "Do you hear that?" he asked his patient. "It's my dog. I left him downstairs, but he has grown impatient, and has come up and hears my voice. He has no idea of what is behind the door, but he knows that I am here. Isn't it the same with you? You don't know what lies beyond the Door, but you know that your Master is there."
Hence Paul said "I would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord"
We have been talking about Heaven for the last 2 weeks. It's a topic of great interest for many people. We have learned from God's word, our only source for what Heaven is like, that .
1. Those who are the committed followers of Jesus Christ that in Heaven we are going to get new, imperishable, perfect, eternal bodies. The ground of our assurance? The indwelling Holy Spirit who testifies to our hearts that we belong to God and that Heaven is our home.
2. Every Christian ought to be longing to be with Jesus. Jesus is the focal point of our heavenly hopes. Paul said "I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and be at home with the Lord"
3. In view of the blessings lavished on us now and promised to us for later we ought to live a life pleasing to God. If that doesn't motivate us, the fact that we will appear before the judgment seat of Christ should.
4. Judgement Day is coming. While it holds no terror for those who are the followers of Jesus, we who his servants will still be examined for we are accountable. On that day some will find themselves rewarded and commended by Jesus and others will find themselves in Heaven by the skin of their teeth I Cor. 3.
One of my goals in preaching this series on Heaven is that we all may be assured of its reality. There are some who deny that Heaven exists. There are some who mock it as being 'pie in the sky' thinking.
Is our hope for Heaven an empty one? Is it merely fanciful thinking? Is it nothing more than an invented bribe to make people 'live right'?
I am convinced this is not the case. I am convinced that Heaven is a reality. I am convinced that I am going there, that upon my death or the Lord's impending return that I will be with God in Heaven.
A CRISIS OF FAITH
At times the words and teachings of Jesus disturbed and agitated his disciples. In v.1 of our text we find out from Jesus that his disciples are in crisis. There faith is under pressure. There faith is being stretched. 3 years earlier, at the call of Jesus, they had left their jobs, homes, and families to follow Jesus. They had left everything. Jesus has just told them that he is leaving them and that where he goes they cannot follow. Jesus has just told them that Judas was going to betray him to death. Jesus has just told Peter that before the rooster crows the next morning that he will deny him 3 times. Jesus has just told them that he will shortly die.