First Baptist Church of Rockville

What actually happens in Heaven?

As Marco Polo, the famous Venetian traveler of the 13th century, lay dying, he was urged by his detractors to recant--to withdraw the stories he had told about China and the lands of the Far East. But he refused, saying, "I have not told half of what I saw."

Theme: “Paradise is restored in the eternal New Jerusalem. All that was lost in the fall is redeemed by the lamb. The picture of eternal life in these verses indicates that we will be busy serving God for all eternity. We will both serve Him and reign with Him. He will have infinite things for us to do as we reign there forever. Not only will we be busy for Jesus we will be granted an audience with Jesus on a regular basis.”

* We have been in a series on Heaven.  We have studied some interesting facts about heaven and this morning I want to address the question about what we will be doing Heaven.

* Seems to be a fair question and many people once again have great misunderstanding about what will really happen in heaven.

* Many today view God as a party pooper and Satan as the life of the party.  They have come to the conclusion that heaven must be a dull as watching paint dry, while hell is seen as the preferred destination full of great people and even better times.

* This morning, I would like to share with you what heaven will really be like in the hope of correcting some false impressions.

  1. Work is still God’s plan in Heaven.

Revelation 22:1-2, “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lambdown the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.”

* Beloved, I want you to notice the reference to the tree of life and the crops of fruit!  I don’t know if the tree of life is so large that the river of life flows between it or if there are two trees of life on each side.  I think it will be beautiful and can imagine the tree so large that the river runs through the middle of it.

* We see this tree in the book of Genesis.  So please turn with me to Genesis 2:15, “The LordGod took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”

* Man’s task was to work the garden and take care of it. Work has always been one of the original plans for man.  It sure looks like there will be the need for a lot of work in heaven. Taking care of the trees and collecting the fruit.

* There is nothing sadder to see than an apple tree with tons of rotten apples underneath it.

* As a pastor it amazes me just how many Christians err with this thing called work.  Some refuse to work and others can’t stop working.  God intended a balance with work and relaxation.  That is why He gave us the Sabbath.  He knew some of us would need to be reminded to enjoy life and our families.

*** A guy walked into the local welfare office to pick up his check.  He told the man behind the counter, “you know I just hate drawing welfare.  I’d really rather have a job.”  The social worker said, “your timing is excellent.  We just got a job opening from a very wealthy man. He needs someone to drive his beautiful daughter shopping and to appointments.  You will have to drive his Mercedes and the job comes with a furnished apartment and he pay is $200,000.00 a year.  The guy was so excited he said, “You’re kidding me!” The Social Worker said, “Yeah, well you started it!”

Ecclesiastes 5:18-19, “This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot.19 Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God.20 They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart.

* In the New Testament the Apostle Paul teaches us how we are to handle work and charity.  As believers we must master this!

Ephesians 4:28, “Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.”

  1. Worship is still God’s plan in Heaven.

Revelation 22:3-5, “No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.Theywill see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.

* The phrase, "they shall see his face," means we will be able to see Jesus on a regular basis.

* The greatest blessing of eternity is that we shall see His face. Throughout the Bible, we have been told you could not look upon the face of God and live.

* Even Moses, who was so close to God, wanted to see God, and God told him “no”. He put His hand over Moses and passed by Him. So Moses saw God’s back side.

* Oh, how exciting it will be to talk and walk with Jesus.

* In my mind I picture the earth like Lancaster PA.  Beautiful farms with no weeds or cars.  We want need them.

* The word “nations” refers to all the people in New Jerusalem. They originally came from all areas of the world.  They are the believers taken from the Nations of the old earth.

* I shared with you last week that we will have a Spiritual body.  You can think and be where ever you want to be.  Or better yet you can get an Uber Chariot.

2 Kings 6:17, “And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lordopened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fireall around Elisha.”

  1. Fulfillment is still God’s plan in Heaven.

Revelation 22:16-17, “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” 17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.”

* Come and let Me fulfill you!

* Benjamin Franklin formed a very close friendship with a Frenchwoman, who was 40 years younger than himself, when he was the American Minister in Paris. They wrote numerous letters to each other and though she refused all his proposals, she did finally agree to marry him in heaven, and live on roasted apples. If that was the best he could hope for, he wrote back and endorsed the plan. In the next world he said, they would eat the apples of paradise roasted with butter and nutmeg and they would pity those who were not dead.

* Even in New Jerusalem, we will drink water and eat food. 

* They claim the mountain water in Colorado is pure, but it cannot truly be pure.  City water systems still have to treat the water they pump from underground wells.

* Time and date keeping as we know it will exist no more. However, the words (“every month” in verse 2) suggest there will be some type of cycles in New Jerusalem. For those of you who love fall and spring you have something to look forward to.

* The tree of life bears fruit just like the one in the Garden of Eden. God told Adam and Eve they should not eat that fruit, but here in New Jerusalem this fruit can be eaten.

Revelation 22:14, “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.”

* The leaves of the tree provide “the healing of the nations”. We were previously told there is no sickness in New Jerusalem. So why are these leaves eaten? The word “healing” is translated from the Greek word for ‘therapeutic. So the leaves are eaten not to provide healing, but for therapeuticreasons. Perhaps they are like the vitamins we take. The leaves promote general good health.

* Today we’ve seen a description of New Jerusalem. I close today’s sermon with this question: If there was a place here on earth like we’ve had described, wouldn’t you do anything you could to go there?

There is an old legend of a swan and a crane. A beautiful swan alighted by the banks of the water in which a crane was wading about seeking snails. For a few moments the crane viewed the swan in stupid wonder and then inquired:  "Where do you come from?" "I come from heaven!" replied the swan. "And where is heaven?" asked the crane. "Heaven!" said the swan, "Heaven! have you never heard of heaven?" And the beautiful bird went on to describe the grandeur of the Eternal City. She told of streets of gold, and the gates and walls made of precious stones; of the river of life, pure as crystal, upon whose banks is the tree whose leaves shall be for the healing of the nations. In eloquent terms the swan sought to describe the hosts who live in the other world, but without arousing the slightest interest on the part of the crane.

Finally, the crane asked: "Are there any snails there?" "Snails!" repeated the swan; "No! Of course there are not." "Then," said the crane, as it continued its search along the slimy banks of the pool, "you can have your heaven. I want snails!"

This fable has a deep truth underlying it. How many a young person to whom God has granted the advantages of a Christian home, has turned his back upon it and searched for snails! How many a man will sacrifice his wife, his family, his all, for the snails of sin! How many a girl has deliberately turned from the love of parents and home to learn too late that heaven has been forfeited for snails! 

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