(Excerpt from the Sermon)
Sermon Series: Pumped
There really is life after this life. Today, I want to let you know I'm pumped. I'm pumped because we have a hope as Christ followers, and that hope is in heaven. Because we have a hope in heaven, that we know where we're going to go one day, that should affect how we live every single day here on earth.
So I would love to share three scriptures about heaven. These are powerful passages all about heaven.
The first comes from John 14:1-6,
Jesus says, ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in Me. My Father's house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.’ Thomas said to Him, ‘Lord, we don't know where You are going, so how can we know the way?’ Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’
The next passage comes from Revelation 21:5,7. It says,
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, ‘Look! God's dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe away 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.’ He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ . . . Those who are victorious will inherit all of this, and I will be their God and they will be My children.’
And the last passage is probably my favorite verse when it comes to heaven. It's from Paul in 1 Corinthians 2:9 and says,
No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.
Now, here's what I've learned, whatever you can imagine, heaven is better. So I want to share with you some misconceptions that many of us have when it comes to heaven. I want to share with you the hope of heaven. Here's why I'm doing this: I never got to do a memorial for my mom. She passed away during the height of the pandemic. There were many people in my family who were health compromised. So we just never got to do this service. What I want to do is something that I would have done at her service. My mom loved Jesus and she taught me so, so much.
She taught me that the way up was down. It was through service. Nothing was beneath her. She worked at a fast food restaurant just so we could make ends meet. She was the kind of lady who would go into the church on Fridays and clean all the slobbered on nursery toys. Then she’d go sit with the old ladies and stuff the bulletins for the weekend. She was this amazing woman of God. I want to celebrate her, but I want to celebrate the hope that she had in heaven. So here's the first misconception that many of us have about heaven. It’s that heaven will be boring. Many of us think that heaven will be boring. If I were in Satan's marketing department, here's how I would paint a picture of heaven.
It'd be a whole bunch of fat, naked, bald babies on clouds playing harps and singing hymns. These fat, naked, bald angel babies are just living their best lives on these clouds. Now if that's your picture of heaven, I don't know about you, but I might consider the other place, right? But Satan, the Bible describes as a liar. He's a liar. He was one of three archangels – Michael, Gabriel, and then himself, Lucifer. He was the angel of worship. The only problem is that Lucifer wanted to be like God. He wanted God's position. So God said, nu-uh, that's not going to happen. So He had to cast him down. So what does Lucifer do? He paints these lies about heaven and about hell. He's got many people thinking that hell doesn't even really exist. And he's got a lot of people thinking that heaven is this weak place that you go.
It's just kind of this fluffy place that doesn't even sound at all fun or exciting. A lot of us, if we think about it too, sometimes our picture of heaven is that it is going to be boring because we kind of think God's boring. That He's some sort of cosmic killjoy. He's got all these rules and regulations He wants us to follow and then we're just going to live for eternity in this place with like golden gates and stuff. And that it's not all that exciting. But no, heaven is not boring. Do you want to know what heaven is? Heaven is the opposite of boredom. It's the absence of evil and it's the presence of God. I don't know if you know this, but everything that you enjoy, it comes from God. Your taste buds, the ability to see beauty, your capacity for joy, for laughter, and for love, it all comes from God. What you love and enjoy on earth, guess what, you're also going to love and enjoy in heaven. Except there will be no sin, no evil, and no pain.
Did you know that in heaven we will know one another. We will love and we will be loved. We will know one another, we'll know each other. That means you could be walking the streets of heaven and you could see some of your favorite Bible heroes. You could be walking on the street and there's Peter and you could stop him and say, Peter, dude, tell me about that time that you walked on water with Jesus. Oh, oh my goodness. There, there's David! David, man, the whole interaction with you and Goliath. I mean, was that all you or was that all God or was that some combination of both of you? I mean, what was that like? You could even be walking those golden streets and you could see Eve and you can go, girl, what were you thinking when you bit into that apple? Did you know all that would befall this world? Oh man, when you're walking the streets, you're going to see loved ones and you're going to be reunited with them.
Maybe you are like me and my wife. You lost a child, maybe to miscarriage or to stillbirth or something else horrific. In heaven, you're going to be reunited with them. How exciting is that? I have a good friend, John, who was so foundational in my faith growing up. He really was one of the guys who led me to Jesus. But at 18 years of age, he was driving his car over a mountain pass. He lost control, he crashed, and he died.
Do you want to know what I can't wait for? I can't wait for the day when I get to see John again. Some of you have lost a relative. Right after my girls were born, we left the hospital and we made a beeline for my parents' house. My parents were caring for my grandfather. He was well into his nineties and a World War II veteran. He was just an awesome grandfather, bought me my Letterman's jacket, took me to go get Dairy Queen all the time. But he had gotten a tumor on his spine and it was quickly taking his life. Just as my girls were born, we were able to run to the house and, before he passed away, we were able to introduce him to his great-granddaughters. He was so excited when we walked into that room. He grabbed their little toes with the last ounces of energy he had. He said, “So precious, so precious.” It was this beautiful scene. But, there was a problem. My grandfather had yet to give his life to Jesus. He always said, well, I just kind of believe in the monkeys. I think that was his way of saying that he believed in evolution and evolution and Christianity couldn't coexist in any form or fashion. So, he just didn't believe in God. But, that same night that he met my daughters, he was wrestling in his bed and my mom actually heard the wrestling and came into the living room where he was in his hospice bed. She came beside him and was actually able to lead him to the Lord. He said yes to Jesus. Even after 90 years of pushing Him to the side, he said yes.
It was a powerful moment. But what I get so excited for is that I'm going to be able to be reunited with my grandfather in heaven. How cool is that? That's our God. What does the Bible say about heaven? Not only is it not going to be boring, not only are we going to know one another, be loved, and love one another, but we're also going to encounter this place of unimaginable beauty. Heaven will be a place of unimaginable beauty. Paris. They call it the city of lights. It's got nothing on heaven. Victoria falls in all of its splendor. It's got nothing on heaven. Disneyland, on a non-crowded day when the churros are fresh and hot, it still has nothing on heaven.
1 Corinthians 2:9, once again, says,
No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.
We can infer from this passage as well as others that in heaven we're going to see new colors. There are going to be new sounds, new tastes, new sensations. The Bible says in John 14 that we're going to dwell with Jesus in mansions. In Hebrews 12 it says that we're going to see that heaven is going to be a city that's built for worship. We see in Revelations 7 that in heaven all nations, all tribes, all tongues are going to gather together to worship Him. Heaven, it is real. It is as real as New York, Chicago, or L.A. It is real.
I don't know if you can relate to this, but I'll never forget the day I watched my bride walk down the aisle. As she was walking down to the tune of Bittersweet Symphony, she came in her mermaid cut dress. She was beautiful. My jaw dropped. I just started to cry. Did you know that that's the same kind of response that we'll have when we see heaven?
We read this in Revelation 21:2,
I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
It will be jaw-droppingly beautiful. Did you know that in heaven you will see Jesus face-to-face? Now when I say this, your jaw actually should drop down to the floor. It's because most people don't understand what this means. But if you go throughout scripture, you'll recognize that you cannot be in the presence of God and live.
In the Old Testament Moses said, hey, can I just see You God? Can I get a little taste of Your glory? God says, no, you can't handle My glory. If you were to look upon Me, you would surely die. Moses says, no, let me see some of Your glory. And God says, okay, I'm going to give you just a little bit of the backside of Me. It absolutely overwhelmed Moses. I don't know if you know this too, but in the Old Testament, when the high priest would go into the Holy of Holies (where God's presence dwelt) they would actually tie a rope around the high priest's leg when they went in because they knew that if the high priest got too close to the presence of God, the man would just die. He would keel over and he would die, and they would have to pull him out. It's this powerful thing. But in heaven, you're actually going to see Jesus face-to-face. When you do, you are going to recognize that you never really truly lived.
You'll see the glory of God firsthand. You will see Jesus face-to-face.
Watch this Full Sermon