Imagine Heaven - Part 6

SO WHAT?

There are a lot of things you know to be true that make no difference in your life.

What if the ultimate question isn't, "So what if it's true?"

What if the ultimate question is, "So what are you going to do?"

Knowledge without application has zero value.

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave[a] his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.  God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.  And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.  All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed.  But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.”  John 3:16-21 NLT

Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”  John 4:10 NLT

Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb.  It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations. No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him.  And they will see his face, and his name will be written on their foreheads.  And there will be no night there—no need for lamps or sun—for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever. Then the angel said to me, “Everything you have heard and seen is trustworthy and true. The Lord God, who inspires his prophets, has sent his angel to tell his servants what will happen soon.” “Look, I am coming soon! Blessed are those who obey the words of prophecy written in this book.”  Revelation 22:1-7 NLT

“Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” Blessed are those who wash their robes. They will be permitted to enter through the gates of the city and eat the fruit from the tree of life.  Outside the city are the dogs—the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idol worshipers, and all who love to live a lie. “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this message for the churches. I am both the source of David and the heir to his throne. I am the bright morning star.” The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” Let anyone who hears this say, “Come.” Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life.  Revelation 22:12-17 NLT

The decision you make for Jesus today echoes forever.

Imagine Heaven - Part 5

JUDGEMENT DAY

How do you end up in heaven?

What role do your deeds play?

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.  Romans 3:23-26 NLT

We are saved when we place our trust in Jesus Christ.

If we are saved by faith, why do our actions even matter?

We don’t do good things in order to be loved by Jesus, we do good things because we are loved by Jesus.

How then do our actions matter?

Christians will be judged in heaven according to their works.                             

Judged = rewarded

Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.  1 Corinthians 3:12-15 NLT

Those who are fruitful with a little will be entrusted with more.

Matthew 25:14-30 NLT

The decisions you make now form the foundation of your life forever.

And I saw a great white throne and the one sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from his presence, but they found no place to hide. I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books.  The sea gave up its dead, and death and the grave gave up their dead. And all were judged according to their deeds.  Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.  Revelation 20:7-15 NLT

Hell is not God’s decision to live without you, it’s your decision to live without God.

Imagine Heaven - Part 4

The Highlight of Heaven

Will the highlights of heaven be anything like our highlights on earth?

So what’s the highlight of heaven?

The being (Jesus) that a person meets doesn't change with ethnicity or religious background.

I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.”  And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.  Revelation 21:3-7 NLT

Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb.  It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations.  Revelation 22:1-3 NLT

No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him.  And they will see his face, and his name will be written on their foreheads.  And there will be no night there—no need for lamps or sun—for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever.  Revelation 22:4-5 NLT

Jesus addresses a tension you have wrestled with all your life.

I don’t want anyone to completely know me because if they did they wouldn’t love me.

Jesus completely knows you & completely loves you.

“My Father has entrusted everything to me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”  Matthew 11:27-30

So what’s keeping you from fully trusting Jesus?

 

Imagine Heaven - Part 3

Love You (to the moon & back)

What about the people you love? Matthew 22:23-33

“Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies without children, his brother should marry the widow and have a child who will carry on the brother’s name.’ Well, suppose there were seven brothers. The oldest one married and then died without children, so his brother married the widow. But the second brother also died, and the third brother married her. This continued with all seven of them.  Last of all, the woman also died. So tell us, whose wife will she be in the resurrection? For all seven were married to her.”  Matthew 22:24-28 NLT

Jesus replied, “Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God. For when the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage. In this respect they will be like the angels in heaven. “But now, as to whether there will be a resurrection of the dead—haven’t you ever read about this in the Scriptures? Long after Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had died, God said, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ So he is the God of the living, not the dead.”  Matthew 22:29-32 NLT

So God doesn’t care about people?

Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”  Matthew 22:37-40 NLT

The depth of your love for God is demonstrated by how deeply you love people. 1 John 4:7-20

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.  1 John 4:7-11 NLT

Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. We love each other because he loved us first. If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? 1 John 4:18-20 NLT

How are you treating the people God loves?

The questions you want to ask raise other questions you need to ask.

Who is going to be in heaven because of you?

If the depth of your love for God is shown in how deeply you love others, how deep would you say your love for God is?

 

Imagine Heaven - Part 2

EVERYTHING NEW

What happens after you die?

So what is heaven like?

What you can see on earth foreshadows the beauty of what you can’t yet see in heaven.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone.  And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.”  And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life.  All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children. “But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars—their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”  Revelation 21:1-8 NLT

There’s a tension... 
   *Life is a mixture of exceptional beauty & deep dissatisfaction. 
    *Eternity separates the two
    *Our experience becomes pure.

Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb.  It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations. No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him. And they will see his face, and his name will be written on their foreheads. And there will be no night there—no need for lamps or sun—for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever. Then the angel said to me, “Everything you have heard and seen is trustworthy and true. The Lord God, who inspires his prophets, has sent his angel to tell his servants what will happen soon.” “Look, I am coming soon! Blessed are those who obey the words of prophecy written in this book.” I, John, am the one who heard and saw all these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me. But he said, “No, don’t worship me. I am a servant of God, just like you and your brothers the prophets, as well as all who obey what is written in this book. Worship only God!”  Revelation 22:1-9 NLT

In the meantime - What should you do? You have a choice: you can find fault or you can find grace. 

For what area of your life will you need to look harder to find grace?

 

Imagine Heaven - Part 1

Confessions Of A Pastor

Most people have a better plan for their next vacation than they do for eternity.

Five Misconceptions About Heaven:
1. It's only sort of real...
2. It's boring...if church is boring than heaven must be really boring.
3. What you read about in the Bible is mostly metaphor...
4. You can't know that much about heaven...
5. I would be more interested in heaven if someone came back from the dead and told me about it.

This boasting will do no good, but I must go on. I will reluctantly tell about visions and revelations from the Lord.  I was caught up to the third heaven fourteen years ago. Whether I was in my body or out of my body, I don’t know—only God knows.  Yes, only God knows whether I was in my body or outside my body. But I do knowthat I was caught up to paradise and heard things so astounding that they cannot be expressed in words, things no human is allowed to tell.  2 Corinthians 12:1-4 NLT

Near death experiences show common conditions & characteristics:
* clinical death
* third person vantage point
* dark tunnel
* bright light
* welcoming committee
* city of light
* being of light
* threshold
* return to earth

But someone may ask, “How will the dead be raised? What kind of bodies will they have?”  What a foolish question! When you put a seed into the ground, it doesn’t grow into a plant unless it dies first.  And what you put in the ground is not the plant that will grow, but only a bare seed of wheat or whatever you are planting.  1 Corinthians 15:35-37 NLT

It is the same way with the resurrection of the dead. Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever.  Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength.  They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies.  1 Corinthians 15:42-44 NLT

What you believe about heaven changes the way you live on earth.