Our pastor preached the second half of his message on Saturday called Heaven. This was a wonderful message. I had a dream last year that I went to Heaven and saw my dad. He lived in a house and he was asleep. This was a comforting dream to me just to see him again. We talked for hours but in the dream I did not know what we talked about. I pray this message will inspire you too.
Heaven and Hell – Part 2
What do you think about Heaven? What do you think it’s going to be like? Have you ever given any deep thought to that? Very few people know what heaven is really like. Most people think of people and angels just kind of floating around in space or in the clouds, not really having anything to do. It sounds pretty boring. The truth is that there’s quite a bit more to Heaven than that. Most people don’t have a clue just how good heaven will be.
When I started studying Heaven, it was probably the most difficult, but fascinating study I’ve ever done on the Bible. The topic is so vast, that it is impossible to answer every question in a short space, but I would like to answer a few of the key questions. Then, I want to leave it up to you to dive deeper into the subject. (To help you in your own study, let me highly recommend one of the most thorough books on the subject: Heaven by Randy Alcorn.)
The Bible has a lot to say on the subject and that’s where we need to go first to find answers about Heaven. First, take a look at Philippians 1:21-23. Among other things, Paul says that Heaven is “far better” than anything we’ll ever experience here on earth. Think about some of the best experiences you’ve ever had in the earth, or the most beautiful places you’ve ever seen. According to Paul, Heaven will be far better.
God’s Word also talks about two heavens. First, there is the present heaven, where believers go when they die and which is described as paradise and a place of transition. (See Luke 16:9-26) When we die on the earth, our bodies return to the earth, and we pass into this temporary heaven in the form of soul and spirit.
Then there is the eternal Heaven, or second Heaven. The Apostle John describes this in the Book of Revelation (21:1-8). At the end of time, the old heaven and earth will be destroyed and there will be a new heaven and earth. Heaven will come down to the earth and we will live on the earth, but it will also be Heaven. It will be more beautiful than anything we can imagine. In fact, the earthly beauty that we see even now is only a vague, shadowy reflection of the splendor that will be. In this new Heaven, there will be no more death, sickness, suffering, sorrow, pain or any other evil thing brought about by sin and the curse. We’ll have new bodies in which we’ll be able to do things we can’t do now. Can you imagine that? It’s true! And, not only that, but we will be in God’s presence all the time, ruling with Him, learning, discovering and rejoicing! I want to go, don’t you?!
Here’s what we have to understand: after we die, we will all face two judgments. The first, which will determine whether we spend eternity in Heaven or Hell, is not based on works (what we have done) but on our faith. It is only if we believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths that Jesus Christ is Lord that we will gain entrance into Heaven.
The second judgment, concerning our works, determines how we will experience eternity – what rewards we are given. Again, we are not saved by our works. BUT, our works give evidence to our salvation. If we truly have faith, we will do good works. Like the Apostle James said, “Faith without works is dead.” All of us will stand before the judgment seat to have our works judged and be given rewards. Therefore, it matters what we do.
Heaven is going to be unimaginably awesome! Don’t you want to go there? Certainly you don’t want to trade that for a little earthly pleasure now and an eternity of torment. I urge you, if you haven’t already done so, turn to Christ right now. God loves us so much. He doesn’t want any of us to perish. So, turn away from doing life on your own. Stop living only for yourself and surrender to Jesus. Don’t get all religious; just start walking in relationship with Christ, and tell someone about it who can help you continue to grow. If you will do that, all the splendor of Heaven awaits you!