Destined for Heaven
Intro- Can you imagine standing with the disciples in Acts chapter 1, gazing up into heaven? Would the magnitude of the moment bring you to your knees? Even after all you have witnessed, and all you have experienced, you are told that it is not over yet. He’s coming back.
Why are you here today?
(Not on this earth, but in this building. Why? Why show up to a building on a Sunday morning and participate in things that don’t make sense to the world?)
What is it that moves you forward when everything else has failed you? ()
What is it that makes sacrifices worth it in the end?
11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
I want us to spend some time this morning in talking together, and really, dreaming together about that day. Often times when we talk about the coming of Jesus, Judgement day, we have such an ominous tone about us. Let’s not think that way today, and let’s focus on what Paul commanded the church to focus on.
In Paul commands the church to encourage each other in two ways, and I want to focus on those with you today.
We will be reunited with those who have gone before us in the Lord.
13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
The church here had been troubled. They had some concerns for those that they loved who had died. They are hearing about the return of the Lord, and they think, that is great! but, what about my dad? my wife? My child?
We think about King David in - “He will not return to me, but I will go to him”
We understand that our ultimate longing and reward is to be with the Lord. But we would be missing one of the sweetest portions of the reward if we ignore what God is providing. A reunion.
Likely, every one of us have that person, or dozens of persons who have died in the Lord and our hearts ache because we want to see them again. We will. We will!
There is coming a day when that voice that you haven’t heard in years will greet you, and you will just melt in overwhelming love and peace, You will embrace, you will dwell together with the Lord forever.
We are NOT destined for wrath.
I spoke earlier about the fact that often times when we teach and preach about that Day, it has a tendency to feel a little ominous. A little dark.
Paul made clear in his writings in
That judgement day is going to take some by surprise and they will be destined for a fate that they cannot escape. I want you to notice that this is not the way Paul addressed the church.
9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
There are several things that I want us to understand
God did not destine us for wrath (Hell)
He destined us for salvation
(One note about this)- Christ has not predetermined who will be in heaven, rather He has “laid aside a place” for a group of people.
Christ died so that, whether we are still living on this earth or have passed years before, we will live with Jesus.
Christ died for you, because he wants to live with you.
- Jesus told His disciples that he was going to prepare a place so that he could come and get them. He did all that He did, because of His desire is to live with you.
Pause a minute… Does it bring emotions up within you, to dream about Heaven? Are you too busy to think about it? Is it a daily thought of yours, that you are ready to go to your home?
I want to tell you that I love my life. I am truly blessed to work amongst some of the finest people this world has ever seen. I love what I do. I have been fortunate enough to teach, to preach, to lead in Bible study, to council marriages, to be accountability partners for people, to share burdens, and I find it fulfilling because I know that it is right, and it is the Lord’s work. It has been said by many preachers, “If I had 1,000 lives to live I would be a preacher in everyone”- I wholeheartedly agree with that statement.
However, can I just tell you that there are so many days, I want to be able to take the armor off in this spiritual battle that we all fight, and stop and just rest with my king.
I dream, and I would invite you to dream with me, what will that moment be like when you hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant?”
Conclusion- We would be remiss if we failed to point out that these encouragements are not meant for everyone.
4 But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. 5 For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.
Those who are destined for salvation are those who are not living in darkness.
We cannot live our lives in the dark, and expect to share in the light.