Faithlife
Faithlife

The Hope of Heaven

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Introduction

·        Turn to John 14

·        Have you ever opened a new product and read those safety labels? They seem to be getting more and more bizarre, to warn against every conceivable risk to avoid a lawsuit.

·         An organization in MI actually holds an annual contest called “The Wacky Warning Label Contest.” Here are some of the contestants for 2007:

-         A letter opener had these instructions: “Caution: Safety goggles recommended”

-         A baby-stroller featured a small storage pouch that warns, "Do not put child in bag."

-         An iron-on T-shirt transfer had a label that warns: "Do not iron while wearing shirt."

-         2007 grand prize winner: A small tractor (like a bobcat) has a label with an image of the driver falling out the front of the vehicle and the shovel landing on his head. The label had these words written on the side, "Danger: Avoid Death."

·        That’s pretty obvious, but the fact is, none of us can truly "Avoid Death." We may not know when or how we are going to die, but death is an undeniable reality. We may not be able to avoid it, but we can prepare for it.

·        Jn 14:1-6 teaches us about the return of Christ, but prepares us for death and heaven as well (Read and pray)

·        Three points that prepare us for heaven:

Trust in the God of heaven (1)

·        Jesus predicted one would betray (13:21), then He announced He would be departing (13:33)

·        Result: hearts were troubled, inner turmoil, turbulence, confusion, terrified.

·        Response: three commands, all present continuous (v. 1) – stop letting, keep trusting

·        Many Christians live with a  strange contradiction. We are terrified at the thought of cancer, of heart attack, of stroke, of diabetes, of a violent or tragic death. Yet we know that the Bible says ‘to die is gain.’ I think we’re afraid of death because we don’t think about heaven enough, and because so much of heaven is a mystery to us. Cancer is real. I can see the test results. I can feel its effects on my body. But heaven is just a haze.

·        There is a connection between fear and trust. When we focus on our circumstances, our eyes drift away from God and our heart becomes troubles. But when we get our eyes off our circumstances and keep them on God, our troubles begin to fade away.

·        He is our Father. He is our Shepherd.

Psalm 22:4-5 [David writes] In You our fathers trusted; They trusted and You delivered them. To You they cried out and were delivered; In You they trusted and were not disappointed.

·        Summary: In times of trial, or abandonment, or threats, trust in God.

Anticipate the joy of heaven (2-3)

·        A place of rest (2). Dwelling places (2) – KJV ‘mansions,’ which gives the connotation of maids and butlers, an indoor pool and home theater, putting greens, elaborate us the impression heaven is going to be like PS or Beverly Hills. But that’s not at all what Jesus was saying. ‘Mansion’ comes from a root meaning to dwell, remain, and originally meant a dwelling, an abode, somewhere you would remain or stay. The idea is one of permanence. We are transient people, and are aliens in this life, but in heaven, we will finally be at home.

·        In the presence of Jesus (v. 3). The most joyful promise of all.

Lk 23:43 Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.

·        Driving through Tehachapi yesterday: Dylan “What’s that house?” Natalie “Someone lives there.” Dylan “Jesus?” Natalie: “No, where does Jesus live?” Dylan “In the sky.” Basically, Dylan thought we were traveling up into the sky, so that must be Jesus' house!

·        This event from John 14 seems to speak of rapture: note imminence, going up to heaven, comfort and deliverance rather than judgment

·        Summary: Anticipate the joy of heaven – rest, fellowship with Christ

Know the way to heaven (4-6)

·        Then, Jesus makes this statement in v. 4. Rd. v. 4. The disciples knew, but they didn’t realize they knew. They weren’t even sure where He was going, let alone how to get there! Rd. v. 5. One of most important verses in Bible…

·        6th “I Am” statement (bread, light, shepherd, door, resurrection and life); a reference to Deity.

·        Way – means of access to something or someone; Jesus is the door (Jn. 10:9). How is He the way? By faith in His death. Evangelism is pointing the way to heaven; not “a way.” Early Christians were even called “the Way.” (Ac. 9:2; 19:9, etc)

·        Truth – we live in a day when truth is up for grabs, subject to interpretation; truth is whatever you want it to be, whatever feels good; politics - whatever the people want to hear; journalism – whatever sells and generates controversy; opinions and feelings; Not only did He speak truth, He defines truth. He and His Word are completely reliable, esp. related to the gospel.

·        Life – He gives life to all and is the source of eternal life. Apart from Him, there is no life. (see ch. 15)

·        Do YOU know the way? Have you taken it?

Conclusion

·        Ps. 90:12 So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom. To number acknowledge they are limited. Death is inevitable, but Jesus is the answer.

·        Trust, anticipate, know

·        Thomas A Kempis: “Follow Me. I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Without the Way, there is no going. Without the Truth, there is no knowing. Without the Life, there is no living. I am the Way which you must follow, the Truth which you must believe, the Life for which you must hope. I am the inviolable Way, the infallible Truth, the unending Life. I am the Way that is straight, the supreme Truth, the Life that is true, the blessed, the uncreated Life. If you abide in My Way you shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free, and you shall attain life everlasting.”

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