Anticipating Heaven

(Heaven Will Surely Be Worth It All)

1 Thess 4:13-18

13But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.  16For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18Wherefore comfort one another with these words. 

 

 

Recently while speaking to a man about his soul, I used the word "eternity." I noticed a quizzical expression come across his face, and picking up on that, I asked him if he understood what “eternal” meant. His reply was, "I'm not so sure that I do.”

Explaining to him that the word means “time without any beginning or ending,  God Is eternal,  without beginning without end…. We had a beginning but we will have no end.  Our souls are eternal”.

 

I wasn't prepared for his answer, when I finished telling him this:  He sort of tilted his head to one side, and rather softly said, "I never have thought about that."  I could not help but wonder just how many people he represented?   Countless millions most likely. The vast majority of people are "Earthly" in their viewpoints and lifestyles.

 

Their "treasures" are "the abundance of the things which he possesseth," never realizing that Jesus declared just the opposite to the real truth.

 

In stark contrast to this worldly perspective of life,  Christians are not to be of the world!    In Colossians 3:1-2

1If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.  3For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

 

Instead of being motivated by the accumulating earthly treasures, Christians must look beyond the temporal realm to the eternal.   And that is hard to do, for the world says "buy sell and get gain".   But we must take to heart the words of the Savior when He charged His disciples,  Matthew 6:19-21.

19Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.     

 

 When we place our "treasures" in heaven our affections are there  just as the apostle Paul admonished,   Col 1:1-2

1If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

 

Christians can be distracted, and side-tracked by the appeal of the world.  In the parable of the sower, Jesus spoke of the seed amidst the thorns, saying

14And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.                      Luke 8:14

 

It is all too easy for heaven to get "shelved" in our minds in the fast moving pace of earth's brief sojourn. Christians just must not let this happen.  We must do more than just sing an occasional song  in our assemblies about heaven. We need to think on it often, talk about it among ourselves!

18Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

1 Thess. 4:18

 

We need to generate enthusiasm and excitement within our own hearts as we  anticipate going there. Heaven is the living hope that sustains us!

19an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast,

Heb. 6:19

 

 Anticipating heaven ... what a glorious thought .. Just imagine the joy that shall fill the hearts of the righteous when they behold God in all His glory and majesty!  Do you ever just sit and think about that……. The Bible says that no man has SEEN God..  

 We gain some degree of insight into how wonderful that will be by reading John's account of the vision he saw of God on His throne, and the heavenly creatures praising Him:

Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come     Revelation 4:8.

And again in Rev 4:11

 

11Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created."

 

The anticipation of seeing the GREAT God.  Our minds, cannot begin to comprehend just how glorious it will be to be there before the throne of the great I AM! The very thought of it causes our hearts to beat faster with joy of expectation.  

 

 In  Psalms 33:6-9  

6By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. 7He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses. 8Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. 9For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.

 

These words should and do overwhelms us ! I for one want to go there, to see the Great King and all His glory.  Remember Isaiah's vision of the throne of God.  Isaiah Chapter Six beginning verse 1

1In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.  2Above it stood the seraphims:……. 3And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.   4And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke…… 6mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts

Surely We Don't Want To Miss Being There Someday!

 

Can you imagine the beauty, the awe and wonder  our eyes shall behold?   To ask that question is to answer it.     

 

We are incapable of realizing just how beautiful it will be. We can only try to imagine!  The Bible gives  us lots of pictures of heaven, but none not are complete.  

 

God has given us enough information about heaven to stir our hopes and motivate our desires to go there.  We long to see the eternal celestial city,  in many of our songs an attempt has been made to sing of what it will be like there.    One of my all time favorites is

"How Beautiful Heaven Must Be"

"Pure Waters of life there are flowing,

And all who drink may be free;

Rare jewels of splendor are glowing,

How beautiful heaven must be!"

 

While conscious of the fact that there are those who interpret Revelation 21 somewhat differently from me, yet it is my understanding that the vision John received is of the church glorified. In beautiful symbolic language, a word picture is drawn of that city which lies   "four square"  

 

Surely it is a picture patterned after the one which the hearts of man sing about and long longed,   In  Revelation 21:18-21 

18And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. 19And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. …….21And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass….25And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. 26And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. 27And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life..

 

These are symbolic terms, they are types of the real…. The amazing thing is that the Type is always inferior to the Real.  What Must Heaven Really Be Like?

     

The streets, and everything in this immense city made of pure gold ... that is mind boggling!    And situated in the midst of the city is the throne of God and of the Lamb. Proceeding from the throne is the river of life, bright as crystal! 

Revelation 22:1-2.

1And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

 

 I enjoy reading from this book, many times people tell me they don't like Revelation… It is too scary.. But this is beautiful beyond imagination! Indescribable! 

 

If the anticipation of going there to live forever in bliss doesn't motivate us, to get beyond this moment and this life there's something wrong with our hope.

 

Anticipating heaven... What will it really be like?

I think of being free from a world that is exceedingly wicked

 

If you want to talk about something SCARY, look at the world in which we live…. The newspapers write of murders, rapes, assaults, robberies, beatings, child abuse, and today, terrorism and war.

 

Untold numbers of people live in constant fear, barring themselves in their houses by night, and venturing out only in the daylight. Virtually prisoners in their own homes. Crime is rampant.

 

But in heaven, none of these things will be! People who choose to live their lives apart from God during earth life, pursuing pathways of iniquity, will not enter the eternal city of God,

 

 What was it we read a moment ago Revelation 21:27

27And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life..

All the things we are accustomed to seeing and hearing in this life will be absent in heaven…..

 

Neither will there be anymore troubles, trials, temptations,  discouragement, disappointments, heart aches, and cares! Such things will forever be behind us; they won't be in heaven! As long as we are on this earth, things like these will be a part of our existence.

 

Christians look forward to that realm where heartaches and cares of earth life will be no more. Because most of us have experienced the burdens and trials of this old world about all we can take. We anticipate, with a living hope, being released from such, and entering into the wonderful city of God where these will never again be known!

 

Anticipating heaven ...

Being with loved ones and friends we've known in our own lifetimes that have been true to God.

 

You talk about a family reunion!  I believe we are going to know and recognize our family and loved ones there.  Marshall Keeble says…"I'm going to see my mother, thank her for working hard, raising me right,  that I might enjoy this moment in heaven with God."

That one glorious thought ... going home to be with those of God's family in the Father's beautiful home should be incentive enough for everyone of us to live faithfully to Him.

 

 

In Revelation 22:14-15  we read the last Beatitude in the Holy Writings,  hear it

14Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. 15For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

 

I want to be a part of that grand reunion someday. I want to walk with Peter and Paul. I want to see again my loved ones who trusted in Jesus. And above all, I want to be with JESUS who loved me and washed me in HIS blood…

 

 Revelation 7:13-17

13And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? 14And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. 16They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. 17For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

 

 John 14:1-3

1Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2In 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. 3And 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.

 

A- There is every reason to "rejoice that your names is written in heaven"  Luke 10:20

 

Heaven is going to be wonderful beyond our most fantastic thoughts!  Let us be excited about it! Let us talk about it, and sing about it, and preach about it! Let's be preparing every day to go there! Let us NOT allow anything or anybody to deter us.

 

- Remember this ... that regardless of the problems we face, the heartaches and cares we experience, or whatever  may come our way while we live on this earth, be assured it will fade into complete nothingness

17For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 18While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

 

2 Corinthians 4:17-18

 

contact:

Ron Cope Minister churches of Christ

email:  RonCope@chestnutmtchurchofchrist.com

phone:  (678)617-9658