Nov 04, 2018 | Lee Becknell

Heaven is a real place not a state of mind.

 

A survey conducted some years past revealed that over eighty-five percent of Americans assume they will go to Heaven at death. Everyone goes to Heaven, in the popular mythology. No doubt the most of those who responded to the survey are seriously self-deceived.

* You have perhaps heard someone say, “My good deeds will outweigh my bad deeds and that will be enough to satisfy God.” Scripture tell us that our good works can never get us to heaven.

Theme: “God wants us to know about heaven. He wants us to go there. He wants us to enjoy it forever. Peter tells us that: "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." (2. Peter 3:9)

* Heaven in the Scripture is a kingdom and a city.

* This morning, I would like to share with you the following lessons.

 

  1. The city of Heaven (New Jerusalem) is described as the bride of Christ.

Revelation 21:1-2, “Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.

* We begin our study this morning with the scripture teaching us that there will be a new heaven and new earth.  We also see a new city in verse 2 called the New Jerusalem.

* Throughout Scripture we see the city of Man which is in opposition to the city of God.  We see the sinful nature of man in opposition to the holy nature of God. Praise the Lord the old nature and old city will pass away.

* In the city of God are the people of God.  In the city of man are found stubborn and sinful men and women that are destined to pass away.

* The city of God is destined to rule the world.  This doctrine is completely rejected.  Our Colleges and Halls of Academia teach the greatness of man and never mentions or acknowledge the city of God.

* I would suggest to you today that if you spoke with professors of our most honored and scholarly schools of learning they would know nothing of the kingdom or the city of Heaven.

* Man in his proud defiance continues to build their cities. If they had their way, the city of God would end up looking like the city of man.

* The old hymn of the faith become increasingly comforting to me as I enter the twilight years of my appointed time: “O, come angel band, come and around me stand, Bear me away on your snowy wings, to my celestial home. Bear on away on your snowy wings, to my celestial home.”

* Beloved did you notice that in this New Heaven and New Earth there will be no more sea (verse 2)? 

* John uses the analogy of a bride being beautifully dressed for her husband.

Revelation 21:9-10, “One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”10And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.

* Beloved, this is not what the Garden of Eden was.  Remember God would only come and visit with Adam and Eve in the cool of the evening.

Genesis 2:8, “Now the LordGod had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.”

Genesis 3:8, “Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LordGod as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LordGod among the trees of the garden.”

Revelation 21:5-7, “He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children

  1. Heaven is a City of Gates and Walls and wonderful Mansions.

Revelation 21:15-21, “The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls.16 The city was laid out like a square,as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long.17 The angel measured the wall using human measurement, and it was 144 cubits thick.18 The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass.19 The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald,20 the fifth onyx, the sixth ruby, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth turquoise, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.21 The twelve gateswere twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass.”

* The city of heaven is shaped like a cube.  Reminds me of the Borgs in Star Trek. 

* The city is 1,380 miles on each side, including height, with a wall that is 72 yards thick.  It has been calculated that even if only 25% of the space were used for dwelling, 20 billion people could be accommodated spaciously inside the walls.

Beloved, notice with me that there are 12 gates made out of 12 pearls.  They must have large clams in heaven!  And at each Gate you will find an Angel.

Revelation 21:11-14, “It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.12 It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel.13 There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west.14 The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

* There are 12 levels to the city of Heaven and each level is named after the 12 apostles.  I wonder which level we might live on?  Peter street, John Way, James Lane?  Imagine an elevator with the names of the Apostles for your destination!

  1. Heaven is the dwelling place of God Almighty.

Revelation 21:22-26, “I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.23 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.24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there.26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it.

* There is a story of the little girl who was being taunted by an agnostic about her faith. She was asked, “If you believe in heaven, can you tell me just where it is?’ She replied, “I can’t tell you where it is but I do know that Jesus will be there, and that will be heaven enough for me!”

* The Lord God Almighty and Jesus are its temple.  I love the phrase that God’s glory gives it light and that the nations on the earth will walk by its light. 

* There is no worry about the Gates shutting or night coming on.

* Beloved did you notice there are no gate crashers and skeptics in heaven.

* This week I saw these bumper stickers on a car in front of me. “I’m atheist and I vote”.  “My religion is nature”.

* There will be no Christ rejecters or blasphemers in heaven. There will be no one there to laugh and make fun of God's simple folk.

* We will not hear the taunting cry of the atheist, agnostic or the arrogant intellectual. There will be no violent sinners to spoil the celebration of God's people as they praise and worship the Lamb of God.

* Theirs will be another fate: Revelation 21:8, “But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

* Closing: Story of Mother and her daughter speaking of heaven:

You see, this mom and her daughter, Julianna, were talking about death. because this sweet little girl has a severe neuromuscular disease that will eventually kill her and for which there is no cure. And so, I just had to share this sweet exchange between mother and child in the hope that this little girl’s spirit would inspire you too.

Julianna:I’m scared about dying.Mom: That’s normal, Julianna. You’re just like me — everyone is afraid of dying. Julianna, are we talking about heaven too much? J:No. I like heaven. J:Mom, can you tell me about the angels? M:What about them? J: Will the angels take me to heaven? M:Yes, I think so.

J: Why does God send angels? M:I think He sends them so we’re not scared. Did you know God loves you even more than Daddy and me? You know how we said you’ll never be alone? God is the same way — you will not be alone, and you will not be scared. I know this is true.

J:Will you miss me? M:Yes. I will miss you so much. I’ll be really sad. But I’ll come join you one day. J:Will I die in heaven? M:No, we only die once. We get to live in heaven forever. J:Good. I won’t die in heaven. When you die, will I come to get you? M:I don’t really know how it works, Julianna. But I think you will be the first person I see when I get to heaven. And I’ll be so happy. J:Do you want me to stand in front of the house, and in front of all the people so you can see me first? M:Yes. I’ll be so happy to see you. J:Will you run to me? M:Yes. And I think you will run to me too. J: I’ll run fast! (then she shook her head back and forth to show me how fast she will run). M:Yes, I think you will run so fast.

  * As we get older, we start to overcomplicate the idea of heaven and death by trying to figure out all of the how’s and the why’s. It’s all of the unknowns that make death so scary. But I think God wants us to have childlike faith like that of little Julianna. Our Heavenly Father has prepared a place for us, and when we get there, it will not be a time of sorrow, but a time of rejoicing!

 John 14:1-3, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”

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