Last Sunday I preached about what the Bible says about Hell. It is a heart wrenching topic. To balance that heavy subject, this week I want to think about Heaven. The great struggle in modern Christianity is that both of these great teachings of the Bible are minimized in our pulpits. We need to embrace both again.
Jesus said in John 14:2-3, 2 “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?[a] 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” (ESV)
Now, for the purposes of this blog, we are going to be thinking together about our eternal home without separating Heaven from our eternal state in the new Heaven and new Earth. We can, at a future date think about those wonders; but the focus of our time now is the reality that future rather than the details of it.
Why focus on the reality of Heaven? Two reasons. First, the reality of the future that Jesus promises us is directly connected to His character. In other words, do we believe that Jesus is trustworthy? The passage above begins with these words, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God;[a] believe also in me.” (John 14:1 ESV) Jesus asks his disciples (and us) to trust his testimony of the future just like we trust God. So, living with the confidence of Heaven is directly related to how much we believe we can trust the character of Jesus.
I heard Josh McDowell give this illustration. He was waiting at the airport for his family to pick him up. A passerby began talking with him. The passerby teased him that maybe his family wasn’t coming. Maybe they had forgotten him. With confidence, Josh replied that he knew they were coming. He had no worries. That is Jesus to us. He has given us his promise. We know that he can be trusted.
This leads to the second reason we need to embrace the reality of Heaven. Such a promise should change how we face each day. Sacrifice is easier when one knows that reward is coming. Even death has less of a sting due to this reality. Paul declares, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55) When a person has a sure promise of blessing, it changes how they see their present. Likewise, if that promise is unsure or unknown then their perception of the struggles of life is different. Without Heaven, everything is harder. With Heaven, it isn’t that everything is easy – it is that the sacrifices and struggles we face are worth it.
Is Heaven real to us? Do we know enough about the promise Jesus gives to be excited about it? For centuries, the promise of Heaven has given missionaries and struggling believers (which is all of us) a bigger perspective on their struggles. It will do the same for us. Let’s think deeply upon what God’s truth says to us about our future with him. May we let it change us and how we think about each day.
Something to think about.