Faithlife Sermons

Our Present and Future Hope

Imagine Heaven  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  46:30
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Introduction

Heaven and Hell are real places, not just figurative or make believe places. They are real and we will one day be there.
The present heaven (Intermediate State) is in the direct presence of God. It is temporary but has many traits that the new heaven and new earth will one day have.
The New Heaven and New Earth is when our bodies will be literally resurrected in perfect form, to live with Jesus for eternity. There is no more presence of evil, we can live in perfect peace in God’s presence.
Our life on this earth is temporary, it’s not our proper home. We belong with Jesus
Philippians 3:20 NIV
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,

Near Death Experiences

Near Death Experiences are best sellers. They grab our interest, but are they biblical?
The Bible tells us of a few people who have been given visions of heaven. But there is no evidence that anyone has ever been to heaven and returned.
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.
There are common pieces to peoples visions of heaven.
The feeling of peace, that everything was going to be ok.
Vision of some sort of light, which brought a deep feeling of love.
We don’t really know if near death experiences are literal or not. But I do think we can draw from some of what we are told. Heaven is a place where we will experience peace, and love in a way they we have never experienced here on earth.
I wonder if NDE’s are God’s way of waking someone up to the reality of heaven?

We Often Need a Wake Up Call

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.
The apostle Peter gives us his view of what the day of the Lord will be. He also discusses what our lives should be focused on while we are waiting for Jesus to return.

The Day of the Lord

2 Peter 3:1–2 NIV
Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.
Wholesome Thinking
Right away Peter ties in how we think to Jesus’ return and our posture while waiting for his return.
Peter then draws us to remember the things we have been told, and the commands we have been given.
In other words there is a right way to live and a right focus to have in this life. These things are guided by living God’s commands, and thinking wholesome.
2 Peter 3:3–7 NIV
Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
2. In the last days our world will grow further away from belief in Jesus Christ and his return. This includes those in the church.
a. This is what is already happening when Peter wrote his letter, addressing the false teaching. They were teaching that we can do whatever we want, because Jesus is not coming back.
b. In our current context I would also group professing Christ, yet living your life for yourself as denying Christ imminent return.
2 Peter 3:8–9 NIV
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
3. We forget that our timing is not God’s timing. God is not bound by time like we are.
a. God has been patient with us, because He doesn’t want anyone to perish.
b. God wants everyone to come to repentance.
c. Notice Peter doesn’t say “everyone to believe”. He stresses repentance which is the window to salvation. Repentance of our sins.
d. If you live your life without recognizing your a sinner, and don’t repent of your state as a sinner, you have not met Jesus. You just attend church.
2 Peter 3:10 NIV
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.
4. The Day is coming and we don’t know when, so it would be wise to live our lives worthy of the Gospel.
Philippians 1:27 NIV
Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel

What Kind of People Ought We Be?

2 Peter 3:11–13 NIV
Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
Peter calls us to live lives that are holy and godly, but also lives that look forward to the Lords return.
We live our lives in the hope of Jesus Christ, not the hope of our world, which is status and stuff.
We have an eternal hope, that one day there will be no more sin, no more evil, no more temptation.
The Holy Spirit empowers us to live our lives holy and godly.
Philippians 2:14–15 NIV
Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky
2 Peter 3:14–16 NIV
So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
God is patient with us, but we are called to a life of holiness.
Peter also points us to Paul’s writings
They are difficult to understand at times, but he is writing about the same things as Peter.
Many have distorted Paul’s teachings
This is very true in our day as well.
The liberal’s ignore Paul saying he has an agenda that they don’t like.
The conservative’s distort Paul as well using his writings to judge others. They also use Paul in twisted ways when it comes to household codes, and slavery and war.
2 Peter 3:17–18 NIV
Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.
We have been warned, so we should be on our guard for these things.
Don’t fall into the trap of distorted teaching.
Live in the hope of Christ, which shows love and compassion for all people.
Grow!!!!
Peter calls on us to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ.
Paul in his final instructions to the Thessalonians points out God’s will for our lives
1 Thessalonians 5:16–22 NIV
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.
Big Idea: We live our Christian lives with the hope of Jesus Christ returning one day. That hope motivates us to holiness, which means we live with eternity in mind at all times. Eternity drives our lives, not worldly desires.
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