Teaching Sermons For Pastors and Laymen, What The Bible Says About Heaven

 5-13-03

Title: What the Bible Says About Heaven

Text: “In my Father’s house are many mansions…” (John 14:2)

Scripture Reading: Revelation 21:1-4; 22:1-5

 

Introduction

All believers look forward to spending eternity in heaven.  It’s natural then for us to have a curiosity about what heaven is like.  Understandably, the scriptures are highly symbolic in their description of heaven.  This is true because the Bible must use “earthly” words to describe a celestial place.  Most of what the Bible says about heaven must be recognized in its symbolic and figurative setting. The writers under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit were simply using the most expressive language at their disposal to portray heaven.  Some concentrated on those characteristics of heaven that parallel the material and physical nature of earth, such as the “streets of gold,” “walls of jasper”, and “gates of pearl.” 

Heaven is a real place where spirit beings dwell; material things are of no significance there.  Thus, the purpose of this study is to emphasize the spiritual nature of heaven and not necessarily its “physical” properties. We are going to use a lot of scripture today, because we want to know what the Bible can tell us about heaven. 

The first passage is Revelation 21:1-4: “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.  And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

Next, I want to read Revelation 22:1-5: “And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.  In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.  And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.  And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.”

There are three things about heaven that I want you to see. 
First: The inhabitants of heaven.
Second: Things that will not be in heaven.
Third: The Characteristics of heaven.

Our study will give us a preview of heaven.  We may be lead to desire our heavenly home when we realize it is far better than anything that can be experienced in this life.

Let’s begin our study with the INHABITANTS OF HEAVEN.

God is there. 
The Bible says, “And may You hear the supplication of Your servant and of Your people Israel, when they pray toward this place. Hear in heaven Your dwelling place; and when You hear, forgive” (1 Kings 8:30).  This was King Solomon’s prayer for the Temple.  He prayed that God, from His dwelling place in heaven, would always keep his eyes turned toward this place of worship and prayer.

Christ is there.

The Bible says, “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us…For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us” (Hebrews 9:12, 24).  Christ, our High Priest has entered “the greater and more perfect tabernacle” that is in heaven.  He went into the presence of God, the Most Holy Place, and He offered His own blood.  He purchased our eternal redemption with His own blood.  He has gone to heaven, not only to enjoy the rest and receive the honor due to him, but to appear in the presence of God for us, to present our persons and our performances, to answer and rebuke our adversary and accuser-the devil, to secure our place in heaven, to help us when we need help, and to prepare a place for us.

The Holy Spirit is there. 

The Bible says, “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?  If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there” (Psalms 139:7-8).  We cannot escape the Spirit of God.  He is everywhere.  He fills all of creation.  Heaven is a vast large place, and yet there is no escaping God’s eye; in any corner or in any crowd.  That should be a great comfort to the child of God.

The angels are there. 

The Bible says, “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 18:10).  Jesus said it, so we can take Him at His word.  He came from heaven, so He is able to tell us what is done there by the world of angels. 

God’s people are there. 

The Bible says, “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect” (Hebrews 12:22-23).  Remember, this is an epistle to Hebrews.  Mount Zion was David’s place in Jerusalem.  His palace was located there and he was buried there.  Many of the Jewish believers had been going to Jerusalem for the feast days, but they were being persecuted.  And eventually, the Christians had been driven out of Jerusalem.  So he assures them that they have a Jerusalem in heaven.  Mount Zion is the heavenly city, the eternal city of the living God.  The book of Revelation calls it the New Jerusalem.  I can’t give you the number or the street name, but my future address is in the New Jerusalem.  This is what is coming to us by God’s grace. 

We have seen the inhabitants of heaven, so let’s consider next the THINGS THAT ARE NOT IN HEAVEN.

There will be no marriage, so apparently there will be no family unit relationships as we know them on earth. 

The Bible says, “For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven” (Matthew 22:30).  Jesus is not saying that they will be like angels.  And we will not be angels in heaven.  But we will be like angels in that we will not marry in heaven.  In other words, in heaven there will not be any necessity to continue the race by birth.  This does not mean that a husband and wife who were very close down here cannot be together in heaven.  If they want to be together, of course they can be together. 

There will be no death, no termination of existence and relationships. 

The Bible says, “Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection” (Luke 20:36).  Angels cannot be participants of either funerals or weddings. In the resurrection we shall be like them in these two respects.

There will be no “flesh and blood” bodies. 

The Bible says, “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption” (1 Corinthians 15:50).  Our old bodies are not going to heaven; I’m glad of that.  I would like to trade mine in.  God is not going to send these bodies into a repair shop.  Corruption cannot inherit incorruption.  This body must be put into the ground, like a seed.  It will come up a new body, a new tabernacle for us to live in.  It will not be identical to the old body, and yet it will be like the old body.  My friends, God made these bodies and He can definitely give us a new body which is like it.  But the new body will not get sick or hurt.  I’m looking forward to mine.

There will be no corruption; that is, nothing will deteriorate or pass away in heaven. 

The bible says, “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption” (1 Corinthians 15:42).  Burying the dead is like sowing seed.  Seed is put in the ground so that it will spring out as something new and different.  Our bodies, which are sown, are corruptible, and they will eventually crumble to dust.  But when we rise, we will be released from the power of the grave; our new bodies will not be subject to corruption.

There will be no weariness. 

Part of the curse connected with Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden was that he would toil to scratch out a living “by the sweat of his face.”  But heavens habitants will not grow tired.  The Bible says, “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.  For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.  Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.  Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight) we are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.  Wherefore we labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:1-10). 

The body is sometimes compared to a “house” in which the soul dwells and sometimes to a garment with which it is clothed.  Paul combined these two thoughts here.  He spoke of putting on a “house” as though it were a garment.  Paul longed for the day when his mortal, temporal body would be replaced by an immortal, imperishable, spiritual one. He certainly had experienced burdens of sorrow and suffering in his life. However, Paul groaned for heaven because his deepest desire was to be fully “present” with the Lord.

There will be no sorrow. 

The Bible says, “For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes” (Revelations 7:17).  On earth, we had sorrows and we shed tears on account of sin and hardships, but God Himself, with His own gentle and gracious hand, will wipe those tears away, and there will be no more tears forever.

There will be no pain. 

The Bible says, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelations 21:4).  There will be no pain in heaven.  Our new bodies will never feel pain because there is nothing in heaven that would cause pain.

There will be no night. 

The Bible says, “And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 22:5).  There will be no light source in heaven like the sun, and there will be no light reflectors like the moon.  God will light the universe by His presence, for God is light.

There will be no wicked people. 

The Bible says, “For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie” (Revelation 22:15).  There will be many excluded from heaven; all the wicked unrighteous persons, and particularly those who love to lie. 

There will be no end. 

The Bible says, “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal” (Matthew 25:46).  There is no death to put a period to life itself; there is no old age to put a period to the comfort of life; there is no sorrow to make life bitter.  We will live forever with our Savior who loves us and died for us.

Finally, let’s consider the CHARACTERISTICS OF HEAVEN.

Heaven is a place of unending joy. 

The Bible says, “Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth” (Luke 15:7).  The angels in heaven celebrate the salvation of men and women here on earth, and that shows that they are interested in our salvation, even though they don’t aid in it.  Our joy in heaven will come from being with our Savior and our God.

There is peace in heaven. 

The Bible says, “But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented” (Luke 16:25).  Heaven is a place of eternal bliss as opposed to hell, which is a place of eternal torment. 

Heaven is a place of rest. 

The Bible says, “And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord henceforth.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!” (Revelations 14:13).  There will be rest because there will be no more physical labor, but there will also be rest from all sin, temptation, sorrow, and persecution. 

Heaven is a place of righteousness. 

The Bible says, “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13).  There is no sin in heaven, therefore, heaven is a place of righteousness; it is a truly wonderful home for the children of God.

Heaven is a place of reward. 

The Bible says, “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.  Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Matthew 5:11-12).  Christians will be rewarded for their service and faithfulness.  God will commend those who have worked for Him here on earth and those who have been persecuted for their faith.

Heaven offers opportunity for service. 

The Bible says, “Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them” (Revelation 7:15).
Heaven is not a place of barren inactivity.  Its inhabitants do not “float around on a fleecy, white cloud, strumming a harp,” as heaven is so often depicted.  We will serve our Lord and worship Him for ever.

God’s people receive an inheritance in heaven. 

The Bible says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:3-5).  Our inheritance is “incorruptible”, meaning that it can’t be damaged in any way-no rust, no fire, no germ, no moth can touch it.  It is “undefiled”, meaning that it is not stained or defiled by anything.  “That fadeth not away” indicates that we won’t inherit it and later find out that it is worthless. “Reserved in heaven” means it is guarded.  God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are taking care of it for us.  We couldn’t have a better safety deposit box than that.

Conclusion

The scriptures give us a foretaste of heaven so that we will earnestly anticipate our heavenly home.  It will be a state of existence far superior to anything we could conceive on earth.  We should look for the coming of the new heavens and new earth, because it will be far better than now.If you are a child of God, rejoice, because you are going to spend eternity in heaven with the Savior.If you are not sure that you are a child of God, let me know, and I will show you how you can be sure.I don’t want anyone to miss going to heaven.

Amen.

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