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
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.
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
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
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. In the last days our world will grow further away from belief in Jesus Christ and his return.
This includes those in the church.
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.
In our current context I would also group professing Christ, yet living your life for yourself as denying Christ imminent return.
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.
God wants everyone to come to repentance.
Notice Peter doesn’t say “everyone to believe”.
He stresses repentance which is the window to salvation.
Repentance of our sins.
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.
4. The Day is coming and we don’t know when, so it would be wise to live our lives worthy of the Gospel.
What Kind of People Ought We Be?
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.
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.
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.
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
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.