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First Baptist Church of Rockville

Heaven, one word that paints a thousand pictures of God's home

 * There is so much confusion on Heaven.  It will be man’s final exploration!

Two men died and went to heaven. God greeted them and said, "I'm sorry, gentlemen, but your mansions aren't ready yet. Until they are, I can send you back to Earth as whatever you want to be."

"Great!" said the first guy, "I want to be an eagle soaring above beautiful scenery!" "No problem," replied God, and POOF! The guy was gone.

"And what do you want to be," God asked the other guy. "I'd like to be one cool stud!" was the reply. "Easy," replied God, and the other guy was gone.

After a few months, their mansions were finished, and God sent an angel to fetch them back. "You'll find them easily," he says... "One of them is soaring above the Grand Canyon, and the other one is on a snow tire somewhere in Detroit!"

Theme: “The Bible does not tell us everything we want to know about Heaven or the Kingdom of God. Maybe God understands that the full picture of Heaven would distract us from the important plans He has for us in this life. He gives us just enough information to catch our imagination and make us dream of that distant land. Heaven may be closer to us than we expect. We do not know the hour of our death. Therefore,  it makes good sense to spend some time thinking and preparing for our trip to Heaven.”

* This is the first sermon in a series on Heaven that I hope will better prepare all of us for the day we depart this world for our new eternal adventure.

*  The tickets have been purchased. The lodging has been secure.  All meals and incidentals are included and no tipping required. All preparations are complete we are just waiting for the day this vacation starts.

* Lynn and I love to watch the HGTV channel and see all the beautiful homes.  We especially, love to watch, “Are you going to love it or list it.” (new twist on the road runner and coyote cartoon)

* Beloved, I would like to suggest to you that God’s home is nothing we could prepare ourselves for.  It’s more that shiplap, backsplash, herringbone, walk-in showers, open concept live etc. 

* When Jesus talks about heaven, he is not concerned with what it will be like, but rather, how you can get in.  Heaven isn’t just a future hope. It is a present reality that begins when we live under the authority of Jesus Christ.

* This morning, I would like to share the following lessons with you.

  1. Thinking of Heaven reminds us that time in this life is short.

Matthew 5:1-3, “Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. He said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

* Here is a great spiritual truth.  The more we think about the next life to come the more effective we become in living this present life.

* Life is short and eternity is long. 

* When we read this portion of the sermon that Jesus is preaching please note He just mentions that their earthly condition may be poor but the significant true is that they have obtain a place in the kingdom of heaven.

James 4:13-17, “13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”

* Beloved, Jesus is teaching us that kingdom living starts here and now.  The life you are living today is preparing you for eternity.  I know some Christians who will not be ready for Heaven.

Matthew 6:33-34, “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

* Note that Jesus is talking about our daily concerns and it the middle of them we are commanded to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.

* This is not a future event but a daily exercise.  It has always amazed me that we want the kingdom but not his righteousness!

* Seeking God’s righteousness is just too hard. Give me heaven but don’t make me work for it.

Psalm 37:4-5, “Trust in the Lordand do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.”

Beloved, we should be showing God’s righteousness to all those we love and even to those we don’t.  Can Lynn see His righteousness in me? You can’t have the kingdom without the righteousness.

  1. Thinking of Heaven helps us prepare for eternity.

Matthew 6:31-34, “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

* Heaven is an actual place–not bodiless beings floating on clouds. It is the place where God lives and reigns.

* Heaven is a place of treasures. Again, from Matthew 6we learn that the treasures and rewards we store up in heaven now will never be taken from us and they will never cease to give joy.

* Jesus, actually tells us not to be in the business of storing up treasure here on earth. He makes sure we understand that it is not profitable.  Things can eat our stuff or they can rust away.  No matter how good your security system is they still can break in and steal your stuff.

* There are no thieves in heaven.  The pavement is made of gold.  If you need something just pull up a few pavers.

* The real issue is that Jesus wants our heart. Look again at verse 21, ‘for where your treasure is there your heart will be also.’ 

* Don’t treasure this world but instead treasure heaven.

  1. Thinking of Heaven changes our priorities.

* If you don’t prepare for eternity you will never make it to heaven.  No one has to do anything to end up in hell.  All a person needs to do is continue traveling in the same direction they have been traveling since birth.

Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

* Beloved, notice that there is a gate at the end of each road.  Notice as well that the road to Hell is wide and broad and many enter through it!

* Beloved the majority of this world are on the wrong road.  A person must make a spiritual U-turn.  The Bible calls this “Repentance”.   To change one’s mind.

2 Peter 3:10-13, “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. 11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.”

* Suffering in this life is momentary when compared with eternity.  Our afflictions however unbearable they may seem lesson when we compare them to eternity.

* The worst experience of this life just makes Heaven even better. Focusing on the hope of heaven doesn’t eliminate suffering in this world but it does help us put our suffering in perspective.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

* A lot of people say I look like Russel Crowe (Maximus Decimus Meridius).  I love the line in the movie Gladiator where he is speaking to his men before the final battle. 

* He tells his men, ‘What we do in life echoes in eternity.’

Psalm 139:16, “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

* C. S. Lewis said, “This life is only a prelude to eternity.”  In his final book of his Narnia series – The Last Battle, the children are involved in a terrible train wreck and are immediately transported back to Narnia. They fear that they will be sent back. Aslan assures them that they’ve finally come home.

“There was a real railway accident, said Aslan softy. Your father and mother and all of you are—as you used to call it in the Shadowlands—dead.  The term is over; the holidays have begun.  The dream is ended this is the morning.  And as He spoke, He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them.  And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after.  But for them it was only the beginning of the real story.  All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”  C. S. Lewis

 

 

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