Bible Ballistics: Vol. 12 No. 02 What’s In Heaven???

 

There’s an old gospel song (written by Don Nix as best as I can determine) with a refrain that reflects the mentality of our world, “Everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die”! I want us to consider heaven in light of what scripture says in contrast to what popular culture has tried to make it. Jesus makes it really clear in his words to the disciples just before He went to the cross.

Let not your heart be troubled:

ye believe in God,

believe also in me.

2 In my Father’s house are many mansions:

if it were not so,

I would have told you.

I go to prepare a place for you.

3 And if I go

and prepare a place for you,

I will come again,

and receive you unto myself;

that where I am,

there ye may be also.

4 And whither I go

ye know,

and the way ye know.

5 Thomas saith unto him,

Lord,

we know not whither thou goest;

and how can we know the way?

6 Jesus saith unto him,

I am the way,

the truth,

and the life:

no man cometh unto the Father,

but by me.”   John 14:1-6

We live in a culture that has concluded that ‘nice’ people go to heaven and ‘bad’ people go to hell; but there are a few problems with that outlook—first they have taken on the authority to determine “who” is ‘nice’ and who is ‘bad’ by their own standard not God’s. Another problem is that many today have also created “heaven” in their own image—anything from party-time for eternity, to a never-ending rodeo, to a ‘nirvana’ for all, totally oblivious to the holiness and character of The Almighty God who sent His only son to save those who will believe!

Jesus told his disciples, and us, that the only way to heaven is through HIM—salvation through His blood on the cross—the substitutionary, atoning sacrifice for all who will repent and believe in/accept His sacrifice for sin. For our sin is the issue no matter what men may say—it is what separates us from God, and it will have no place in heaven—for heaven is where Jesus The Son, God The Father and The Holy Spirit have their eternal home. Heaven is also contains a place Jesus is preparing for His own. And it is a place where HE is worshipped. As I’ve often heard—“Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people, who have placed their faith in Jesus”, and are pleased to love and serve HIM who delivered their souls from hell.

And as Moses

lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,

even so must the Son of man

be lifted up:

15 That whosoever believeth in him

should not perish,

but have eternal life.

16 For God so loved the world,

that he gave

his only begotten Son,

that whosoever believeth in him

should not perish,

but have everlasting life.

17 For God sent not his Son

into the world

to condemn the world;

but that the world

through him

might be saved.

18 He that believeth on him

is not condemned:

but he that believeth not

is condemned already,

because he hath not believed

in the name

of the only begotten Son

of God.

19 And this is the condemnation,

that light is come into the world,

and men loved darkness

rather than light,

because their deeds were evil.”    John 3:14-19

While Jesus saves us by grace through faith, He also saves us and equips us for HIS service, a service of love given to the One who loves us, for His purpose, and His glory as well as our own good!

But God, who is rich in mercy,

for his great love

wherewith he loved us,

5 Even when we were dead

in sins,

hath quickened us together

with Christ,

(by grace ye are saved;)

6 And hath raised us up together,

and made us sit together

in heavenly places

in Christ Jesus:

7 That in the ages to come

he might shew the exceeding riches

of his grace

in his kindness

toward us

through Christ Jesus.

8 For by grace are ye saved

through faith;

and that not of yourselves:

it is the gift of God:

9 Not of works,

lest any man should boast.

10 For we are his workmanship,

created

in Christ Jesus

unto good works,

which God hath before ordained

that we should walk

in them.”   Ephesians 2:4-10

We are born again by the Holy Spirit of God, and being born again we become “his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works”, with heaven as our home, not just in eternity but even now—for our minds are to be set on our heavenly king–always. We have access into the throne-room in heaven by Jesus, our constant Savior and source.

For we have not an high priest

which cannot be touched

with the feeling of our infirmities;

but was in all points tempted

like as we are,

yet without sin.

16 Let us therefore come boldly

unto the throne of grace,

that we may obtain mercy,

and find grace to help

in time of need.” Hebrews 4:15-16

When Jesus puts us into His Kingdom service, we’re not on our own, but by His power we are empowered to continually pursue HIS mission for us (whatever that may be) by depending on His supply!

When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying,

Lord, wilt thou at this time

restore again the kingdom

to Israel?

7 And he said unto them,

It is not for you to know the times

or the seasons,

which the Father hath put

in his own power.

8 But ye shall receive power,

after that the Holy Ghost

is come upon you:

and ye shall be witnesses

unto me

both in Jerusalem,

and in all Judaea,

and in Samaria,

and unto the uttermost part

of the earth.”   Acts 1:6-8

His witnesses, but if you don’t know Him, you have nothing to witness to! Why would people who reject God want to go to heaven when it will be so full of GOD everywhere? In fact it saddens me that so many in Christendom today, are so eager to make the “church” palatable to the world, that they have made the church a place where everything is welcome except God’s Word and His Holy Spirit! The church was commissioned to be God’s witnesses—God’s way—not man’s.

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying,

All power is given unto me

in heaven

and in earth.

19 Go ye therefore,

and teach all nations,

baptizing them

in the name of the Father,

and of the Son,

and of the Holy Ghost:

20 Teaching them

to observe all things

whatsoever I have commanded you:

and, lo,

I am with you alway,

even unto the end of the world.

Amen.” Matthew 28:18-20

We are sent out in Jesus Name—but also HIS power “Go ye therefore”, not our own. What an amazing way God has—He never asks us to do anything that HE hasn’t already provided for. In fact Jesus told us that without Him (and His power) we can do nothing!

I am the vine,

ye are the branches:

He that abideth in me,

and I in him,

the same bringeth forth much fruit:

for without me ye can do nothing.”   John 15:5

What does all of this have to do with “heaven”? A lot really, for Jesus isWho” is in heaven, and “who” has provided the way to be there. So it ought to be Him that we desire to be with—yet it amazes me that people have made “heaven” something totally removed from Jesus and scripture—simply a place for “nice” people, with or without Jesus   To read the obituaries is to see that almost everyone has gone to heaven, regardless of whether they have a relationship with Jesus or not. Well, I’m sorry friends, scripture is clear, heaven is where God The Father, God The Son, and God The Holy Spirit are, and only those who belong to them will reside there (who also have their citizenship there when they are born again)! While this is not an easy, or popular thing to communicate, it is truth—God’s truth that never changes—it is life or death truth.

And he that sat upon the throne said,

Behold, I make all things new.

And he said unto me,

Write:

for these words are true and faithful.

6 And he said unto me,

It is done.

I am Alpha and Omega,

the beginning and the end.

I will give unto him that is athirst

of the fountain

of the water of life

freely.

7 He that overcometh

shall inherit all things;

and I will be his God,

and he shall be my son.

8 But the fearful,

and unbelieving,

and the abominable,

and murderers,

and whoremongers,

and sorcerers,

and idolaters,

and all liars,

shall have their part 

in the lake which burneth

with fire

and brimstone:

which is the second death.”    Revelation 21:5-8

Jesus died so that mankind—all who believe in HIM—won’t have to experience the “second death”, but can have life in and through HIM!

But now

being made free from sin,

and become servants to God,

ye have your fruit unto holiness,

and the end everlasting life.

23 For the wages of sin

is death;

but the gift of God

is eternal life

through Jesus Christ our Lord.”   Romans 6:22-23

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.”(The Doxology)!!! Amen and Amen. Heaven is the place where God is, and I want to be there with Him, and while many may make jokes about ‘going to hell to party with their friends’, Hell is no joke and Jesus tells us about a man who painted a picture of hell; and he didn’t’ reveal it as a “party hardy”, but as a place of torment; a place where he didn’t want his loved ones to come. You can read the entire account in Luke 16:19-31, while we’ll just look at portions:

…. the rich man also died, and was buried; 23

And in hell he lift up his eyes,

being in torments,

and seeth Abraham afar off,

and Lazarus in his bosom.

24 And he cried and said, ….

send Lazarus,

that he may dip the tip of his finger

in water,

and cool my tongue;

for I am tormented

in this flame.

25 ….. but now he is comforted,

and thou art tormented……..

27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father,

that thou wouldest send him

to my father’s house:

28 For I have five brethren;

that he may testify unto them,

lest they also come

into this place of torment.

29 Abraham saith unto him,

They have Moses

and the prophets;

let them hear them.

30 And he said,

Nay, father Abraham:

but if one went unto them from the dead,

they will repent.

31 And he said unto him,

If they hear not Moses

and the prophets,

neither will they be persuaded,

though one rose from the dead.”   Portions of Luke 16:22-31

Hell is a place of torment! But the part of this story that I don’t want us to miss is that when the man in hell (hades) asked to have the beggar, Lazarus, sent to testify to his brethren, the response is surprising– that if they wouldn’t believe Moses and the prophets, they wouldn’t believe even if one returned “from the dead”! I find it most interesting that as Jesus told this story (and I believe this is a true story not a parable, as Jesus didn’t’ call anyone by name in any of His parables), He knew He was going to the cross to die for our sin, be buried and rise from the dead—and that most wouldn’t believe this truth then, and still don’t today.

So my point is, what are you expecting heaven to be? A party where you’ll just keep on doing what you want in a Utopian paradise; or are you just wanting relief from you present consequences? Or are you in love with Jesus and want to spend time worshipping HIM forever—for that is what we’ll be doing in heaven—not experiencing our earthly passions to a higher degree!

And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within:

and they rest not day and night,

saying, Holy, holy, holy,

Lord God Almighty,

which was,

and is,

and is to come.

9 And when those beasts give

glory

and honour

and thanks

to him that sat on the throne,

who liveth for ever and ever,

10 The four and twenty elders

fall down before him that sat on the throne,

and worship him

that liveth for ever and ever,

and cast their crowns

before the throne,

saying,

11 Thou art worthy, O Lord,

to receive glory

and honour

and power:

for thou hast created all things,

and for thy pleasure

they are

and were

created.” Revelation 4:8-11

Total, perfect, complete, and continual worship from His creations in Heaven! It’s what we are to seek here and now, and what Jesus told us to pray for (and pursue) continually.

After this manner therefore pray ye:

Our Father

which art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy name.

10 Thy kingdom come.

Thy will be done

in earth,

as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:9-10

And while we’re on the subject, let me just say this—God’s Word reveals that “worship” is a life lived in yielded-ness to HIM and HIS will—not a 20 minute song service once a week. Worship is a 24/7 response to God’s authority and will in our lives—His Word and His Way, a heart that longs for heaven and the God who dwells there!

Yet we also need to consider that when believers face God, we will give an account of our stewardship of the life that HE gave us to use in service to Him. We will give an account to Jesus for our use of the resources that HE has blessed us with. So as we close, I want to share a passage with you, and simply say that “gold, silver and precious stones” are the things that are of God and His Spirit (man can’t produce them); and the “wood, hay and stubble” are the things that men/women do out of our own wisdom, strength and pride—that which is produced by ‘flesh’ not God! Do you have your foundation in Jesus? What are you building with on that foundation? Only One Way–Jesus—and heaven for those who are HIS own!!!

For other foundation can no man lay

than that is laid,

which is Jesus Christ.

12 Now if any man build upon this foundation

gold,

silver,

precious stones,

wood,

hay,

stubble;

13 Every man’s work

shall be made manifest:

for the day shall declare it,

because it shall be revealed by fire;

and the fire

shall try every man’s work

of what sort it is.

14 If any man’s work abide

which he hath built thereupon,

he shall receive a reward.

15 If any man’s work

shall be burned,

he shall suffer loss:

but he himself shall be saved;

yet so as by fire.”   1 Corinthians 3:11-15

Are you longing to worship God every day or just once a week? If heaven is all about the worship of God, will you be at home there, or are you worshipping the creature (see Ro. 1:25)?

Draw nigh to God,

and he will draw nigh to you.

Cleanse your hands,

ye sinners;

and purify your hearts,

ye double minded.” James 4:8

Amen and Amen!