The yearned for.
Regarding the awareness of heaven in popular culture. In my research I found that there were over 250 songs with the word heaven in their titles. Google heaven and you will find over 235,000,000 hits. Food is described as being heavenly. There is even a brand of ice cream called heaven. Places are described as being heaven on earth or heavenly. Shops and businesses too tap into this awareness of heaven so therefore you have Cycle heaven , Fishing heaven, fashion heaven, even doggy heaven, heaven forbid. Probably the most prevalent and some what insidious use or misuse might be a better term of this awareness of heaven is in the context of romantic relation ships especially in novels songs and movies. It is not drawing too long a bow, I believe to make the statement that the Christian doctrine of heaven is the most widely known Christian doctrine in popular society. It is also the most misunderstood and misused of all Christian doctrines.
What does all this say? What is the meaning of all this heaven speak? Why is the doctrine of heaven so widely known yet so fundamentally misunderstood?
I believe that the answer can be summed up in one word Yearning. People the world over have an instinctual yearning for heaven this is why the concept of something heavenly is so wide spread. This is why the word heaven resonates with the public this is why the word heaven is so overused and stretched and abused to sell anything to people because advertisers know that this word resonates within peoples souls.
In fact this yearning for heaven lies at the heart of one of the most common objections to the Christian faith.
How could A God of Love allow pain and suffering?
If you stop to think about this question and think about what lies behind it. I think that you will find that it is a yearning for heaven. A yearning for a place where there is no more tears, no more separation from loved ones.
The posing of this question assume that if there was such a God such as you Christians talk about , then there would be no more pain no more suffering . they instinctually feel that something is amiss that things are not as they should be . They are yearning for heaven.
“Among these many drives or instincts that god has built into the human being is a belief in and a yearning for heaven, and these yearnings argue favorably for the existence of a literal real heaven.”
What he is saying is that we all have built in desires or yearnings such as food shelter companionship etc & God has provided means of satisfaction for those yearnings .Surely He has provided satisfaction for the yearnings for heaven.
This yearning for heaven for something greater than just this world lies at the heart of most of the religions of the world. Most not all but most of the world’s religions deal with some form of after life, some idea of a reward or punishment for the life lived here on earth.
It is this yearning for heaven that drives the Apostle Paul to write in 1st Philippians
21 For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which I prefer. 23 I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better; 24 but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you.
Christians more than any other people on the earth should have this yearning for heaven for Christians should know what the true heaven is really like but do they?
Christians are just passing through this world I am sure that many people here have been in an airport before. Do you want to stay and live at the airport? Yet it seems that many Christians especially in the affluent West want to do exactly that they have become comfortable and spend much of their time making a transit lounge pretty and comfortable that they have almost forgotten about the journey. Like a baby who has been given foreknowledge of what life will be like after he has been born, but decides that he will stay right where he is. Many Christians in the west are hoping to stay right where they are in preference to going to be with the Lord in Glory. Of course it goes without saying that this problem really doesn’t exist in many 3rd world countries or in countries where Christians are persecuted for they truly understand the transient nature of this life and are constantly looking to heaven
The Yearned For
Before we examine what the real and true heaven is like. Let’s quickly raise some common misconceptions of what heaven is like.
1) Heaven is what you make here on earth. You make your own heaven and indeed your own earth
2) Heaven is merely an extension of this life
3) Heaven is a place where you sit on fluffy clouds playing an harp
4) Heaven is a place of sensual pleasure.
So what is heaven like?
First thing we should say right of the bat is that there will be a new heaven and a new earth.
2 Pet 3:10–13:
10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.
11 Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire? 13 But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.
So this earth that we are standing on right now will be destroyed by fire and. then renewed. We will not only have a new heaven and a new earth but there will also be a new Jerusalem new city of god and its this that I would like dwell on and examine if I may . This city will be the dwelling place of God and us his people .
Read Rev 21 & 22.
Now this city is absolutely gargantuan
A perfect cube 2200 km wide X 2200 high x 2200 deep
4,840,000 km2 of area for each level
Assuming each level is 4 mts high 13 ft
55,000 levels 1000 times the number of stories in the rialto
25 times the height of everest
sticks 800 mts out into space
assuming 20 stairs a level 1,100,000 stairs
534,200,000,000 2per km2 Australia
61,492,200,000,000 231 km2 Great Britain
Not only is it huge but it is staggeringly beautiful
Many mansions not kidding
No lights for God is the light
No temple or church because God is the temple
And a tree lined river running through it of the purest water foget mt franklins perriers and your evians. the trees are the trees of life the leaves are healing, healing for the nations
Doesn’t this excite you
This is where we are going to spend etrenity
I just want to you read it to again let it soak in this is where we are going
You know what though it gets better for it is going to be a place of celebration the celebration of the wedding of the lamb. There will be feasting laughing dancing singing maybe even wedding cake.
There will be no more tears no pain no more suffering . God will wipe away every tear. All of us hear have gone through pain in their life perhaps with your health perhaps with the death of someone very dear to you. In heaven that pain will be washed away.
Heaven will be where we are Who god meant us to be
Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is (1 John 3:2).
This not only is our physical bodies
But our true identities
Our bodies will be resurrected and glorified we will be able to walk and run we will be full of strength and vigor. Our bodies will be the true fulfillment of what they were meant to be
In heaven Christ will come to welcome his people into his presence. we will be resurrected and transformed to be ‘with the Lord for ever’ (1 Thes. 4:13–18; 1 Cor. 15:35–57).
This then leads to the next section
How do you get to heaven?
In a word Christ
If you have been stirred by this description of heaven
You can’t get there by good works
You can’t get there by being a good person.
Romans 3: 19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For “no human being will be justified in his sight” by deeds prescribed by the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin.
Righteousness through Faith
21 But now, apart from law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, 23 since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; 24 they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith.
The only way to heaven
Is through Jesus
14 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And you know the way to the place where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you know me, you will know my Father also
What about those who don’t make it to heaven?
If you choose not to follow God then that choice will be ratified at the judgement day. Hell is a place of eternal separation from God. God does not send people to hell. They choose to be apart from him In the light of this fact, heaven is probably not the place that an unbeliever would enjoy very much. How would you like to spend an eternity with a Person that you have despised and rejected, and now He is supreme? How would you like to be forever worshipping Him and spending time with those who adore Him? Hell is where the unbeliever wants to be, apart from God, and so it will be (cf. 2 Thessalonians 1:9).
So if you have not yet chosen to follow Jesus
I urge you to make that choice for I want you to come and look me up when w get to heaven
Let us seek to be heavenly minded, to pursue the kingdom of God and to pray for its coming. Let us also seek to be faithful in the present, serving in society as salt and light, and striving to lead others to Him Who is Life and Peace and Blessing. And let us persevere in our trials, knowing that our faithfulness will be rewarded.
Finally John Newton the composer of Amazing Grace once said there would 3 surprises when we get to heaven, First that we are there, second the many people who are there, Third the many people who aren’t.