Heaven is our home not this world
Preached in Quabbin Valley on 8/17/08
Philippians 3:20 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,
1. Have you ever wanted something so bad, just had to have it, you thought it was the best thing in the world and then when you received it, it wasn’t really all that good?
a. I recently ordered something off the internet that looked good and I thought I would love it. But when it came it was ok not that great and I ended up returning it. Those kinds of things sometimes happen. We often talk about heaven and we think and say all kinds of nice things about what it will be like but I wonder if we don’t sometimes tend to have a cautious attitude even if we don’t admit it.
b. Maybe it will be all it’s cracked up to be, maybe it will be like that thing you thought you wanted but once you got it, it was just ok but you would like to return it. Heaven is not going to be like that. We sometimes act like this world is all there will ever be and this life is the end all be all and heaven will be, at best, a second place prize not as good as this life here.
2. Have you ever had the opposite experience? You were going on a trip or you wanted a certain thing and when you got it, it was even better that you expected. It was even greater than you imagined it would be.
a. We recently bought a van because we need more room when traveling and we wanted certain things to be included and they were but when we got it home we found out that it had a whole lot more features then we though it did things we never even thought about. It was like a bonus.
b. Heaven is going to be like that in a greater sense. What do I mean, we cannot fathom what heaven is really going to be like but the fact is that when we get there we will be surprised by how wonderful it is. You will not be disappointed. You will not think about returning to this world and this life.
i. The good things in this life won’t compare to the glory in heaven.
ii. The struggles and trials won’t compare to the glory in heaven.
We might think or act sometimes like heaven is second place prize to this life, that this life is it. Now we may not say this but we can act as if this is the case when we care more about getting things than we do about giving or we spend more time worrying about how to make money than we do preaching about Christ or loving others as Christ loved us. We can focus on what others have or don’t have compared to us and forget about God’s love, Christ’s sacrifice and the heavenly dwelling we are promised.
This world has Pain and suffering to offer us. Sin has affected this world and we have all kinds of pain and suffering, now we saw a few weeks back that we can have joy in our sufferings and sorrows as we keep our eyes on Christ and remember that we are suffering for a reason but also to remember that we are not going to be here in this world forever we have a heavenly hope.
There will be no pain or suffering in heaven, no sickness or sin or evil in heaven. No more tears. Hopes, dreams, and lives will not be crushed or destroyed in heaven but goodness and life is waiting there.
1. Relationships will be what they were meant to be. I know some of you long for real intimate relationships with people and we do have a sample of what that will be like in the body of Christ but even in the church our relationships are not always what they should be.
2. We will have the most important relationship with God, Father, son, and Holy Spirit when we reach heaven. Not that we don’t already have that relationship, we do but we will experience it and see God in a personal way, face to face you might say. And we will have an intimate relationship with those who are with us in heaven in a way that this life could never come close to because of the effects of sin. There will be no more selfishness, people only calling you or coming by when they want something from you or vice verse. No more backstabbing or gossip, real relationships with real people in one with the God who made it all. Love that will never end, peace beyond what you can imagine.
3. The world offers joy and happiness and being filled but we end up empty and always wanting more. Nothing this world has to offer is lasting, filling, or will bring us lasting joy. Jesus alone brings us what we truly need and he alone gives us access to the Father, to God which is in the end heaven, the dwelling place of God and man. Our dwelling place with God will be filling, lasting, and joyful, full of love and real happiness.
a. Evil and wicked people will not be there in heaven, those who are in Christ will be. Heaven will be a sinless environment where those who love God and his people will live together, a place without sin.
i. Ephesians 5:5 5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
ii. Galatians 5:19-21 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
b. Not only will there be no more sin we will be changed and we will see Jesus. I don’t know how all the this is going to work out but I know it’s true because Jesus died on a cross and on the third day he rose to life and that tells me this is true.
i. 1 John 3:2 2 Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
1. What is heaven going to be like? We don’t know all the details and much of what we do know about heaven seems to be pictures to illustrate heaven and may not be in and of themselves what heaven is acutely going to be.
a. For example we hear of streets of gold in the book of Revelation describing the New Jerusalem and some think this is describing heaven, I am not sure that there will actually be streets made of gold but this is used to illustrate a point. How great and wonderful it will be and how much abundance there will be. If they pave the streets with gold then everyone will be taken care of.
4. We have images of houses or a house with many rooms.
a. Jesus says 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? 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.
b. Whether or not this is to be taken literally is beside the point. The point is that there will be fellowship and family, and a closeness that will be like living in a large mansion together.
2. We read of a banquet where Abraham and others will recline with us and whether or not there will be a banquet is again beside the point. There is fellowship and love and the idea or family and of course the idea of there being more than enough for the needs of those who are there. There will be security and rejoicing.
a. Our sister Lee has just found her long lost brother after years of prayer and searching. They are planning a banquet, a party and there will be talking, love, joy, lots of food, and songs and dancing and fellowship and more.
3. That is the image we are to have of heaven, we are going home, going to be united with our God and our family, the family of God. This is a time of joy and that is what the pictures are trying to bring to our minds.
4. You know there have been people who have traveled around the world on business or vacation and for some reason they were unable to come home. Whether they ran out of money or got in legal troubles whatever the reason they were stuck in a foreign land. They were away from home and their families sometimes for years. Often they work and go along as best they can to live a normal life, if they can. But they long to go home. When they finally depart for home are they sad? No, they are over joyed can’t wait to get home and be with family and have those sights and sounds and smells they used to have.
Those of us in Christ are journeying home, to heaven, to the place where we belong, with God. A time of joy, a place of joy.
We need to know that this world is passing away and is not where we want to be, with all the evil and suffering.
We need to be reminded and need to act like we are strangers here because we really are. We are just passing through, don’t get trapped into thinking that this world is not that bad and we might like to stay here forever. There will be a new heavens and a new earth, exactly what that means I’m not sure but it won’t be what this world looks like and what is found here. Free from sin, Satan, death, and all kinds of wickedness.
I want to encourage you to make good use of your time, talents, finances, and anything else you have, that God has given you in this life and always remember, you as a Christian are a citizen of heaven waiting to go home. Philippians 3:20 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, Heaven will not be a disappointment.
We who are Christians are going to participate in the supper, remembering the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, the one who died to give us life and hope, the one who has prepared a place for us to spend eternity with God.