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Thinking Heavenly

Imagine Heaven  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  43:49
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Introduction

Heaven is not a focus in theology or our lives today. But the early church stressed the reality of heaven and hell as important to how we live today. It was central to their understanding of the Gospel.
This subject is often avoided because it has a good side and a bad side.
This subject is important. It is the hope Christians talk about is rooted in the doctrine of heaven. Eternal life given through faith in Jesus Christ.

Heaven and Hell are Real Places

1. Passages About Heaven
Genesis 1:1 NIV
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Matthew 3:16–17 NIV
As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
John 14:1–3 NIV
“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.
Passages About Hell/Hades
Matthew 25:46 NIV
“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
2 Thessalonians 1:8–9 NIV
He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might
One of the best ways to understand heaven and hell, and how they are separated:
Heaven is living with God in his direct presence.
Hell is the absence of God presence
The bible describes a window where those in Hades can see those in heaven, but are unable to cross over.
The Rich Man and Lazarus
Luke 16:19–31 NIV
“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ “ ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’ ”
The Bible speaks of Near Death Experiences
2 Corinthians 12:2–4 NIV
I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows—was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell.
2. The Bible talks about two different heavens

Current Heaven - Intermediate State

1. State of the human person after death and before resurrection.
2. Jesus used Exodus 3:6 as proof of the intermediate state. Matthew gives us this account.
Matthew 22:32 NIV
‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”
Ephesians 1:3 NIV
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
Paul talks about the heavenly realms in 6 different passages in Ephesians.

Heaven on Earth

Isaiah 65:17 NIV
“See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.
Revelation 21:1–4 NIV
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 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.”
1 Thessalonians 4:14 NIV
For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.
The bible describes an amazing place of eternal bliss, when I read about it I get a feeling of comfort and peace. So why do we avoid this topic?

Our Poor View of Heaven

If asked where you would rather be, heaven, or here, which would it be?
Many believe that heaven is like a big church service where we just worship God all day. This is not actually accurate.

“Heaven,” declared Ian Maclaren, “is not a Trappist monastery. Neither is it retirement on pension. No, it is a land of continual progress.”

3. Maybe our view of heaven is what keeps us from thinking and living with eternity in mind.
4. We Place more focus on things on this earth and we forget about heavenly things.Heaven is the Ultimate Place

Scripture is clear about where we actually belong. It’s heaven, with God.

Paul understands the tension between living on earth and wanting to be in heaven.
Philippians 1:21–24 NIV
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.
We were created to be with God, to live with Him in paradise.
Philippians 3:20 NIV
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,
Jesus warns us about thinking worldly instead of heavenly.
Matthew 6:19–20 NIV
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
Big Idea: Living with eternity in mind changes the way you think. We need to think and live more heavenly. Heaven should be our preferred destination, because it is living in the direct presence of God. This is what we were created for!
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