Saturday, December 10, 2011

Heaven


Heaven: What makes it so special? - Why will so "few" be there?

The Resurrected Christ promises to
return to take His disciples with Him.
Those who are still alive when Christ
returns a Second time will inhabit
heaven. Those found with no faith
will be cast into hell. Revelation 21:8 ;
2 Thessalonians 1:3-10
This last week I attended a Christian burial of a Bickel relative. After leaving the funeral and funeral meal, I stopped by a nursing care facility to visit my cousin's aunt. I walked into the room and found her asleep in her ride-around chair. I knew that she would welcome me again, as she always appreciates my visitations. So, I awoke her.

As we were conversing, I asked her how she liked her new residence, since after being hospitalized, she was placed in another facility. She responded: "I'd rather be in my own home." My cousin's aging aunt (who is in frail health) did not complain about her resident surroundings - even though it was not as lavish as her former care facility. She, further related that the perfect place for her, would be back in her own home. To that, I replied, that if it didn't work out for her to return to her own home, she had a special place in heaven prepared for her by the Lord Jesus, and that the future (eternal / permanent) residence would be far more preferable. After all, doesn't the Scripture say:?

"....But as it is written: 'Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.'” 1 Corinthians 2:9

"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 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. 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." [Christ's recorded Gospel words to His disciples] - John 14:1-3

When I mentioned "heaven" to my cousin's aunt, it was as if her whole countenance lit up. It was a joy to see her smiling face. She remarked: "I often think of heaven and wonder what it is going to be like, there."

The Scripture exhorts Christians to set their minds on "things that are above where Christ is." [Colossians 3:1] Certainly, my cousin's aging aunt was doing that. As a Christian, she was exercising her "eyes of faith." 2 Corinthians 5:7 ; 2 Corinthians 4:18 ; Hebrews 11:1-26 ; 1 Peter 1:8

A descriptive pic of heaven. It is more difficult to
depict than hell. Why? Because the Scripture says:
"Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have
entered into the heart of man, the things which
God hath prepared for them that love him."
1 Corinthians 2:9. See also: Romans 8:18 and
1 John 3:2 
Heaven is a genuine place [it is real] – Following, is an incomplete (brief) description
  • Heaven is spoken about, as being “far better country” and a “city.” Hebrews11:1
  • Heaven is designated by Christ, as His heavenly Father's abode (house / home). He tells His disciples that He goes to prepare a "place" (spot) for them. Christ further describes heaven as having many "mansions" (residences). John 14:2-3
  • Heaven is referred to, by Christ, (in His Gospel parables), as a “kingdom.” Matthew 25:1f
  • Heaven is “everlasting” (eternal - without, end). John 3:16 ; 1 John 2:25
  • Heaven is the destination “life,” of Christ’s believer / disciples. [1 John 5:13] Also, explained, is that this “life” is relational. 1 John 5:11 ; Job 19:25-27 ; Hebrews 5:9
  • Heaven is a spiritual environment to joyfully exist and live, (spiritually), with the Lord, Christ. It is described as “eternal ‘life.’” 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 ; 2 Corinthians 5:1 ; 1 John 5:11
  • Heaven’s residence is for Christ’s believer / disciples to enjoy the shedding of their bodily frames to enjoy the spiritual existence bliss of heaven’s glories. 1 Corinthians 15:1f ; 2 Corinthians 5:1-4
  • Heaven is a place of everlasting comfort and bliss. Luke 16:19-31 ; Psalm 16:11
  • Heaven’s perfection is bereft (minus) of all earthy stress, sorrows, troubles and woe. It is a place in which the Lord God provides everything needful for His saints. Revelation 7:15-17 ; Revelation 22:5
  • Heaven is the unfathomable and unspeakable experience of believers living with their great God and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Psalm 36:8 ; Psalm 17:15 ; Matthew 5:8 ; Acts 2:28 ; 1 Corinthians 13:12 ; 1 John 3:2 ; Jude 1:24

Heaven is a Perfect Place

The Scriptures depict heaven as a perfect place. Throughout the Bible, descriptions of heaven are minus, what we are all familiar with, here on earth. Matthew 22:23-30

First and foremost, heaven will be totally lacking sin and sinners:


Heaven, lacking sin and sinners, is what will make it perfect. God’s elect (his genuine believing disciples) will have been cleansed from their sinful earthy (and mortal) selves by the perfect sacrificial sin cleansing blood of Christ. [John 3:14-17 ; 1 Peter 1:18-25] Those in heaven will have been clothed with the righteousness (perfection) of Christ. [Romans 1:17 ; Romans 10:4 ; Philippians 3:9 ; Matthew 22:1-14] Once their bodies are joined to their heavenly spirits, following the resurrection of the dead, believers in Christ will take on a new and wonderful spiritual bodily existence in heaven. 1 Corinthians 15:1f

Those who will not live in heaven are those who continue to be living in their sinful (lifestyle) state. [1 Corinthians 6:9 ; Galatians 5:19-21 ; Ephesians 5:5 ; Revelation 21:27] At the Last Judgment, these unbelievers will be sentenced to a life of eternal damnation. [Matthew 25:31-46] They will be destined to a place of punishment horror (hell) for having neglected "so great of salvation.” Hebrews 2:3 ; Luke 16:19-31

Heaven is to be Inherited – Matthew 25:34-46 – Specifically, Matthew 25:34

The Hebrew and Christian Scriptures teach that heaven is the eternal perfection place, of which, (the believer's destination), is gifted from the mercy and love of the Triune God. That mercy and love was demonstrated in the person of the historical Christ, which entails and embodies the “grace of God, issuing the “gift” of God, which is received by faith, by the individual. [Ephesians 2:1-10] Believers in Christ, “inherit” this heavenly hereafter kingdom home of perfection. Ephesians 1:1f

Also, note: Some Scriptures that state that heaven is a reward for the righteous – (true) believers in Christ:

Romans 5:21 ; Romans 6:23 ; 2 Corinthians 4:17 ; Hebrews 5:9 ; 2 Timothy 4:8 ; James 2:5 ; 1 Peter 1:4-5 ; 1 Peter 3:9 ; Revelation 21:7

Unforgiven (unrighteous) sinners [non-believers]

One of the things which makes heaven
incomparable to hell is that heaven is a holy place
and a state lived with God, forevermore. Psalm
16:11. On the contrary, hell is both a place and
conscious state of loneliness, torment, suffering
and eternal regret, devoid of the holiness of God
and His heaven and all that is perfect.
You, who are unbelievers, - you who have not accepted by faith the Messiah Christ, who was born on your behalf, and who lived a perfect life and died a perfect sacrificial death on your behalf – and, who was raised from the dead, -- you sinners (unrighteous) will not experience heaven. You will forever be damned in your sins. You cannot earn your way into heaven by either being good or better than other people. The Scriptures say that your personal goodness is worthless before Almighty God:

Romans 3:23 ; Job 15:16 ; Psalm 14:3 ; Isaiah 64:6 ; Romans 1:18-32 ; Romans 6:23 ; Philippians 3:9

You sinners (unrighteous) will discover that you will have no place in heaven. [Psalm 1:1-6 ; Luke 16:19-31 ; Matthew 25:31-46] Without faith in Christ as your (only) Savior from your life’s sin and its eternal damning consequences, you are doomed to a hereafter of suffering destruction!


Heaven: What makes it so special? Why will so "few" be there?

Christ, Himself, (as quoted in the historical Gospel record), gives us a glimpse of heaven’s possession rarity:

.......Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them........... Matthew 7:13-20

…........“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’....... Matthew 7:21-23

Sinner – heed the words of Christ’s call:

“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

“But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.

And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes." Matthew 7:24-29

Sinner - may you realize the priceless worth of your dear soul! May you read and hear the Scriptures which are able to create faith within your soul! Romans 1:16 ; Romans 10:17 ; 2 Timothy 3:14-17 ; Acts 8: 26-39 ; James 1:18

May you be convicted of your sins before a holy God who will have no alternative than to punish you to the fullest extent according to His perfect Ten Commandment laws! Galatians 3:10-11 ; James 2:10 ; Romans 6:23 ; Romans 3:19-20

May you finally believe Scripture’s historical record and place faith in the promised Savior Christ, of the Hebrew and Christian prophecy packed and fulfilled, Scriptures. And, finally, may you be counted in heaven’s numbers! Revelation 5:9

Amen.

TLH - "The World Is Very Evil" - Verses 1 & 5 - CPH - (St. Louis; 1941)

The world is very evil, the times are waxing late. Be sober and keep vigil, the Judge is at the gate.The Judge that comes in mercy, the Judge that comes with might, to terminate the evil, to diadem the right.

O sweet and blessed country, the home of God's elect! O sweet and blessed country that eager hearts expect! Jesus, in mercy bring us to that dear land of rest, who art, with God the Father and Spirit, ever blest.


Above Message and Related Scriptures [below] -- Intended to be utilized in a simple worship format:

Also: For a couple of other (more formal) worship formats:
The Order of Morning Service
The Order of Matins



Related Scriptures To the Above Message

Scriptures:

Matthew 7:13-29 - Christ's Gospel recorded words about the Narrow Way and the wisdom of building one's life house upon the "Rock"

Luke 16:19-31 - Christ's parable about the rich man and Lazarus and heaven and hell

Matthew 25:1f - Christ's Gospel recorded words about the "kingdom of God," the end of the world and eternal judgment

John 10:1f - Christ's Gospel recorded words about Himself being the Door

John 14:6 - Christ's claim of exclusiveness

_____________________________

Of Whom Does the Prophet Speak" -- by Victor Buksbazen -- Isaiah 53:1-12 -- an in-depth view of and the prophecy of Christ, hundred of years before his birth. Isaiah 53:1-12 underscores the truthfulness of Divine Revelation as exemplified in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures.


Pastor (emeritus) Nathan Bickel
http://www.thechristianmessage.org/

Please also note:

The "Words in Season" topical messages and related worship format are not intended to discourage or replace the Christian worship and assembly of Christians at their particular places of church worship. As this website's author, it is my prayer and hope, that many souls will find the topical messages, related worship format and other material, a useful and valuable Christian resource.
2 -- How the saving (believing) process of the Christian Faith takes place
3 -- What are the tell-tale signs that a person has been “Saved” [is a Christian

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