Heavenly Relationships MELVIN M. NEWLANDhttp://www.sermoncentral.com/sermon.asp?SermonID=33563&Sermon%20Heavenly%20Relationships%20by%20MELVIN%20NEWLAND
- 1. Heavenly Relationships
MELVIN M. NEWLAND
2. Ive decided to preach on the subject of heaven today. And I hope that it leaves you with a feeling about what God has done for us, & what we have to look forward to as Christians, when finally one day were with the Lord for all eternity.
3. But at the same time, I know that Im going to fall short because words are just not adequate to describe what God has prepared. In fact, the apostle Paul expressed this same idea when he wrote
4. 1 Corinthians 2:9 NET
But just as it is written, "Things that no eye has seen, or ear heard, or mind imagined,are the things God has
prepared for those who love him."
5. The apostle John, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, valiantly tries to describe the indescribable & express the inexpressible in the 21st chapter of the Book of Revelation where he talks about the new heavens & the new earth, about gates of pearl & streets of gold. But even he falls short in his ability to picture heavens glory & wonder.
6. There is a story about a wealthy Christian who somehow got obsessed with the idea of taking some of his wealth to heaven. Now he knew the Bible clearly teaches that you cant take it with you. But so obsessed was he with this desire that he just prayed & prayed & prayed that God would give him permission to take some of his wealth to heaven with him.
7. Finally, his persistence in prayer paid off. God spoke to him & said, "Okay, enough all ready! You can take one suitcase with you into heaven." Well, the story continues with the man deep in thought, "What do I take? What are the most valuable things that I can put into my suitcase?"
8. Well, he finally decided, & filled his suitcase full. Then one day he died, & when next we see him, he is slowly approaching the pearly gates dragging his suitcase behind him. St. Peter met him there at the gate & said, "Wait a minute. What do you think youre doing? Youre not allowed to take anything into heaven."
9. The man answered, "You dont understand. I have special permission from God Himself to take this suitcase into heaven."
Peter rubbed his beard & said, "Well, thats very unusual. I cant imagine God letting you do that. Let me look inside your suitcase & see whats there."
10. So the man dragged the suitcase over, & Peter opened it to see that it was filled with gold bars & gold bricks & gold ingots. Peter said, "Well, all right. If God said so, I suppose you can take that in if you want. But why in the world did you go to all this trouble just to bring more pavement into heaven?"
11. Values in heaven are different, arent they? Those things we consider so valuable here arent going to be valuable in heaven at all.
So as we begin this morning, lets listen to a little bit of what the apostle John has to say about heaven.
12. Revelation 21:1 NET Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and earth had ceased to exist, and the sea existed no more.
2And I saw the holy city the new Jerusalem descending out of heaven from God, made ready like a bride adorned for her husband.
13. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying: God himself will be with them. Look! The residence of God is among human beings. He will live among them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them. 4He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death will not exist any more or mourning, or crying, or pain, for the former things have ceased to exist.
14. 5And the one seated on the throne said: Look! I am making all things new! Then he said to me, Write it down, because these words are reliable and true. 6He also said to me, It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.
15. To the one who is thirsty I will give water free of charge from the spring of the water of life. 7The one who conquers will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be my son.
16. A Sunday School teacher asked her class of children, "Tell me what you think heaven will be like." She got all kinds of answers, but I especially like this one from a third grade boy who said, "Heaven is going to be the
happiest part of my dead life."
17. Heaven - what will it be like? The subject itself offers great challenges because were a different culture - perhaps different than any other culture that has graced the pages of history.If youll look back & study the civilizations of the past, youll discover that virtually every culture has been concerned about the afterlife, about what happens to you after you die.
18. The ancient Egyptians spent years building pyramids, using hundreds of thousands of laborers. They buried their loved ones in these pyramids, with abundant supplies of food, clothing, & other valuable articles buried with them - all because they believed in life after death.
19. It doesnt seem to make any difference what culture you study. It has always been true,
that is, until today.
Were probably the first culture in history that seems to be more concerned with "here & now" than the future.
"I want it all. I want it now.
Grab all the gusto you can get.
He who has the most toys when he dies, wins."
20. This attitude can even affect the church. When we come to church, we expect the preacher to give us something that will help us today. "I want to know how to solve my problems today, to heal my heart aches today." "I want to know how to deal with issues in my life affecting me today."
21. Well, we ought to be concerned about today. We ought to be concerned about the issues & how they affect our lives. Remember, Jesus said I have come so that they may have life, and may have it abundantly. John 10:10b NETBut there is more to life than that. The Bible teaches that what we do today is extremely important because it
determines where we will be tomorrow.
22. Jesus asks, For what benefit is it for a person to gain the whole world,
yet forfeit his life? Mark 8:36 NET
So if were focusing all our efforts on gaining the world, but in the process of getting it,
we lose our soul,
WEVE LOST EVERYTHING!
23. Bill Hybles says that among his earliest memories of church was being in a childrens choir.
They dressed up in robes, & stood on risers, & practiced a lot. And he says that as a child he hated almost every minute of it. He hated putting that robe on, & he hated having to stand still for so long.
24. "To make matters even worse, the Choir director told me, `If you dont like singing in the choir, youre not going to enjoy heaven. So as a child, I thought of heaven as putting on a choir robe & standing on a riser & singing for all eternity. So I wasnt really all that excited about going to heaven."
25. Maybe some of you feel the same way. Maybe some of your images are mixed up, & youre not sure what to expect of heaven, either. So what is heaven really going to be like? Now I could approach the subject from many different angles. I could talk about the physical portrayals of heaven, about streets of gold, & gates of pearl, about jasper walls, & the river of life, & the great white throne.
26. But John, in Revelation 21, talks more about relationships. And thats the part that I want us to look at this morning. It makes sense, doesnt it? If the relationship we have with God is a real close personal relationship that spills out & causes us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, isnt that what our God wants?
27. Isnt that why the Bible talks about us as a family, the family of God, & each one of us as sons & daughters of God? And if were a part of one great family of God, then it only stands to reason that heaven is going to be an extension of the relationship that is already started on earth. So I want you to understand why it is that John
speaks of heaven as a place of relationships.
28. THINK ABOUT HEAVEN AS A PLACE WITH A NEW RELATIONSHIP
First off, John speaks of heaven as a place where there is a new relationship. Listen again to his words, Revelation 21:1 NET Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and earth had ceased to exist, and the sea existed no more.
29. 2And I saw the holy city the new Jerusalem descending out of heaven from God then in verse 5 he says, And the one seated on the throne said: Look! I am making all things new! You see, our relationship in heaven is going to be completely different from any relationship weve experienced on earth. It is going to be a brand new relationship.
30. It has to be, doesnt it?
Because all of the relationships here are imperfect.
But heaven will be perfect.For example, were going to live in a new place. Listen to what the writer says in Hebrews. Hes talking about Abraham, when he says, For he was looking forward to the city with firm foundations, whose architect and builder is God. Hebrews 11:10 NET
31. Were going to live in a city designed & built by God. Now, I dont know about you, but that is exciting to me.Most of my life Ive lived in older houses where somebody else has lived before. Theyve been nice enough, but Ive always thought that it would be a lot nicer to live in a brand new house, my house, a special place that belongs to me.
32. And what this passage says is that were going to have a new home in a new city, with a new heaven & a new earth. Its all going to be brand new. Were also going to live a completely new way of life. Well never have to wo