Heaven Matters (Part 2)

101 5pm church update headerBaby you’re all that I want
When you’re lyin’ here in my arms

I’m findin’ it hard to believe
We’re in heaven
And love is all that I need

And I found it there in your heart
It isn’t too hard to see
We’re in heaven

So sings Bryan Adams (Yes I know it was right back in 1984, but tell me you don’t know the song!).

It would have been good if he had read his Bible! Or maybe got his eyes checked – heaven is not in his arms nor is it in her heart!

Last week we looked at six reasons why the doctrine of heaven is neglected.  This week four reasons why Heaven should really matter to us.

  • We are deluded

First, we are deluded! Or to explain a little – we are deluded if we think that anyone is going to heaven without Christ.

When people grasp hold of something that is untrue and unfounded, they hold to a false hope. False hopes never deliver regardless of how much they promise.

We must make sure that we prevent people from buying the lie.

I went to a High School in Sydney called Scots College. It is a fairly well-to-do school. In fact the next door neighbour at the time was Kerry Packer. When I got to Year 12 muck-up day (where we ran riot in a controlled and polite fashion that would not bring disgrace upon the school!!), my year group thought it would be funny to put the school up for sale. So we didn’t just put a sign out the front that said ‘For Sale’, we organised an ad in the real estate section of the City Paper. (Boys with too much money, and no sense, do stupid things!)

It received mild attention – mostly for humour value. But funnily enough there was no serious interest despite the fact that the price we put on the place was an absolute bargain. Why? Because people could spot the lie!

So why don’t people spot the lie that not all people go to heaven? Because we have been deluded by a master deceiver. And Satan is giggling himself silly about it.

  • There are many popular notions

Second, there are many popular notions about the life to come – and they are just that. Notions!

Hollywood does not help in the ways that it portrays heaven – but why should it.

There are faulty, or incomplete, or baseless, or popular illustrations of heaven that leave us with a poor shadow of the reality that is there. Just ask Brian Adams!

When the Bible is quoted – it is often quoted incorrectly and so the picture is wrong

There are mixed messages coming out of the melting pot of different religions which each have some picture of a heaven-type place. And sadly, these notions do not always come from our pagan world – they are painted by well-meaning Christians who may have just got some part of the picture wrong.

  • We are limited by the world

Third – we are often limited by the world rather than being heaven-orientated.

There are a lot of Christian and Secular books out there which fall into the self-help kind of category. You know the kind of titles I mean:

– ‘Finding the inner you!’

– ‘Realising your full potential’

– ‘Giving to gain’

– ‘What men really want’ (I thought that was obvious! – a short book I suspect)

– ‘What women really want’ (well that would have to be a very large book!)

And my personal favourite ‘Put your hand up if you want to be a leader!’

These books or this kind of thinking limits us to the world – to this world. They make promises that bring what really is a promise for the future into our experience today. It doesn’t matter if they don’t come true – you just have to think that they are possible.

But the problem with that is that God has already said things are possible – in fact he has promised us many good things, but he has said that those things will be part of heaven – part of the next order of things rather than the now order of things.

  • For our own sake

The last reason why heaven matters is a selfish reason really – but it still counts.

Heaven matters for our own sake – for our own spiritual growth sake – for our own effectiveness in service sake. Leave out heaven and we as believers are poorer, and weaker, and more troubled.

Most of the teaching in the Bible about Heaven is there to comfort us – to encourage us – to strengthen us. Heaven shines a light on the now – it shines a beacon of hope on today – in order to help us see what is better then. It offers comfort when things are tough or desperate. It helps us to hope when things seems hopeless.

We cheat ourselves if we do not make the most of what the Bible teaches about heaven.

Okay – so let’s not cheat ourselves. What does the Bible say about heaven?

Look at the picture promised in Revelation of the coming heaven:

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. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:1-4 NIV)

Bring it on, I say!!   This is the parting picture that the Bible leaves us with. It is a good picture.

Brian (you man of Adam!),

It is God that we want.

No not in your arms, in his.

I am not finding it hard to believe – God told us so.

I am not in heaven – but I know it is coming.

Love is all that I need – when it comes to God’s love.

And I didn’t find it, he found me.

Yes it is easy to see.

We’re in Heaven with Jesus not you!

 

Next week – we’ll look further at the way ‘heaven’ is talked about in the Bible. Please keep reading with me.

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