THE REALITY OF HEAVEN
Passage: 2 Corinthians 5:5-8
Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
As a young boy, my first pet was a black poodle named Monty who followed me home. After we put up signs in the neighborhood, he was unclaimed. We quickly embraced our clever little dog and became very attached to him. He created many memories in our family including when he climbed onto the oven and ate a birthday cake that wasn’t for him. Have any of your pets ever done something like this? I’ll never forget, years later, as I watched, when a van drove down our street and collided with Monty. He survived for a few hours before the veterinarian put him to sleep. In tears, I started to realize what death meant. For both pets and people, this life is quite temporary.
Trusting God involves the past, the present, and the future. We are grateful now for what Jesus has already done, but we eagerly anticipate what He will still accomplish. In the passage of Scripture above, Paul uses the word “confident” twice because he knows that God is dependable. Currently, we live in a body that will perish, but we have a true home in heaven and will receive new eternal bodies too. Jesus promises that anyone who puts their trust in Him will be secure with their eternal destiny (John 3:16). It is not wishful thinking, but is already accomplished by God. The promise of eternal life with Jesus is not based on our performance but instead on the grace of God through the work of Jesus’ death and resurrection. The Holy Spirit is in every follower of Jesus and is a foretaste of a future destiny. The Bible tells us that Jesus wept at the funeral of his friend Lazarus. At that same funeral though, Jesus told everyone that with Him, there is life after death (John chapter eleven). Future grace allows us to savor our present blessings while at the same time look ahead to what God has promised.
The Bible Describes Heaven As: (2 Corinthians 5:1-5)
1) Permanent and real.
2) A gift from God, not earned.
3) A massive improvement from life here on earth.
4) Something we anticipate because it’s so good and perfect.
5) Guaranteed by the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ.
God’s Promise Of Heaven Gives Us: (2 Corinthians 5:6-10)
1) A peaceful assurance.
2) An energizing motivation.
3) A glorious focus.
Heaven Impacts Us By: (2 Corinthians 5:11-6:2)
1) Changing the way you love other people.
2) Influencing the way you view yourself.
3) Adding meaning to your daily endeavors.
4) Making you bolder than you would normally be.
“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world… If you read history you will find that the Christians who did the most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become too ineffective in this.” 13 C.S. Lewis
1) Can someone know that they will go to heaven?
2) What aspect of heaven do you look forward to the most?
3) Do you tell other people about heaven—why or why not?
4) How can you be heavenly minded yet effective on earth?
Revelation 21:1-5. God has prepared an eternal dwelling place for you.
Luke 23:39-43. God is actively inviting people to be with Him in heaven.
1 Corinthians 13:12. In heaven, we will see Jesus face to face.
2 Peter 3:11-15. Your real home is not on this earth; it is in heaven.
1 Corinthians 2:9. Heaven will be better than anything your mind can conceive.
Heavenly Father, I thank You for the gift of heaven. It is so much better than any words I could use to describe it. I thank You that it’s real and perfect. Thank You Jesus for dying for my sins so I will be with you in heaven. Please help me to tell as many people about heaven as I possibly can. Thank You again for Your trustworthy promises about heaven. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
For more from Pastor Jesse Bradley and Activate Media Ministries, visit www.activatelife.org