INTRO: “How might I ascertain the church’s official view of heaven & hell?" To which one notable clergyman in the Church of England offered this pithy one word reply- "Die."
Praise be to God that we do not have to wait until we "cross over the other side" to find out about heaven and hell. Everything we need to know about the future has been preserved in the Word of God. We do not need to read Charismatic books about alleged "out of body experiences" in order to shore up our understanding of the future. In his grace, God has revealed everything we need to know about life and life after death in the Bible (2 Timothy 3:15-17). Any books, testimonies, or articles about heaven and hell need to be evaluated against the perfect backdrop of Scripture.
(Christian) how much do you know about your eternal home? Is what you believe about heaven and hell truly biblical?
Why does the apostle John include so many details about the eternal state when writing to the persecuted church in the first century (see Revelation 21:7)? "Those who overcome (true believers) shall inherit all this!" The sights and sounds of heaven should compel us to "keep on keeping on" in the strength of the Lord!
(Three) Heavenly Incentives for Christian Perseverance:
On 10/28, we saw:
1) In heaven, _______________________________________________________________.
(Revelation 21:1; 4)
Last Sunday, we saw and heard this:
2) In heaven, _______________________________________________________________.
(Revelation 21:2-3; Psalm 16:8-11)
Richard Baxter- “Doubtless as God advances our senses and enlargens our capacity, so will He advance the happiness of those senses and fill up with Himself all that capacity…
We shall then have light without a candle, and perpetual day without the sun…”
Revelation 5:8-12, 22:14-17
How do the “sights and sounds of heaven” help us to lift our eyes off of our earthly struggles?
Next Sunday we will “see and hear” this:
3) In heaven, _______________________________________________________________.
Holy Spirit help me to be a heavenly-minded Christian and help us to be a heavenly-minded congregation! Use these glorious truths about eternity to bolster our faith and to get each one of us across the “finish line! For the glory of Christ we ask these things. Amen!”
For Further Reflection/Application: We must be doers of the Word and not merely hearers
God in His grace has told us everything we need to know about eternity in His Word? How is this an important and practical truth? Christian don’t fall prey to books like “Heaven is For Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back.” Sadly, many undiscerning believers undermine the sufficiency of Scripture when they promote this sort of charismatic/experience stuff. See Eph. 4:11-16.
How much do you really know about heaven and hell? Do you have any beliefs about the future/eternity that are sentimental, but not biblical? How do you know?
We should talk with non-Christians about important things like “life after death,” right? Hebrews 9:27; Acts 17:16-34. Name three things about heaven than unbelievers often believe that are not true.
A practical word of wisdom. Even some Christian authors are overly dogmatic about details related to heaven that are not clearly revealed in Scripture. “Be cautious of authoritative speculations into mysteries not yet revealed.”
When studying the subject of future things (including heaven), have you ever felt like a child at the beach? It’s like trying to capture the ocean in a sand bucket. Why should this encourage us rather then discourage us?
Just because you cannot understand something exhaustively does not mean that something is not true (or important or knowable). This is true of God (and of heaven and hell).
Every facet of glory that Jesus reveals to John in Revelation 21 and 22 is intended to strengthen your Christian faith (resolve). See Revelation 21:7.
The Christian life is a marathon not a sprint. How are heavenly promises used to help us cross the finish line? Provide a few biblical proof texts to support your answer.
Which of the three heavenly incentives for Christian perseverance resonates most with your soul because of what you’ve been going through lately? Talk about it with another Christian this week (encourage one another- 1 Thess. 4).
How often do you meditate on the glories of heaven? How often do we sing about eternity? What can we do to live more heaven-focused lives when we are not at church singing God’s praises and listening to sermons on Revelation 21-22?
Richard Baxter- “Doubtless as God advances our senses and enlargens our capacity, so will He advance the happiness of those senses and fill up with Himself all that capacity…We shall then have light w/o a candle, and perpetual day w/o the sun…”
Read Psalm 16:8-11. Memorize Psalm 16:11 and write down three of the practical implications of this verse. Revelation 4 and 5 provide a sneak peak of what heavenly worship looks like.
Heaven is not everyone’s final home. Do not lose sight of what we talked about in Revelation 20:11-15.
Related Praise Songs: Theology fuels Doxology! We dig deeply in order that we may go high!
One Day (When We All Get to Heaven)- Matt Redman
By Faith- Keith and Kristyn Getty
Glorious Day (Living He Love Me)
Is He Worthy- Andrew Peterson
Light of Heaven- Fernando Ortega
Beyond the Sky- Fernando Ortega
Hallelujah What A Savior- new lyrics by Austin Stone
When the Roll is Called Up Yonder
Great is Thy Faithfulness
All That Thrills My Soul is Jesus
A City Called Heaven- Jubilant Sykes
Majesty of Heaven- Chris Tomlin
This We Know- Kristian Stanfill
Eternal Praise- Enfield
Your Mercy is More- Matt Boswell and Boyce College Choir
It is Well with My Soul
Related Scripture Passages: Search the Scriptures to see if these things be so.
Revelation 21:1-4; 5:8-14; 20:10-15; 22:3, 14-17; Psalm 16:8-11; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18; 5:7-8; Hebrews 11; 1 John 3:2
All of our sermons can be downloaded for free on our website at www.lakecountrybible.org