Heaven

John 14:1-6: "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you.
I go to prepare a place for you.
If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself;
that where I am, there ye may be also.

And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me
."

This sermon should be one that thrills us more than any other subject known to man.
The Old Testament is filled with references to the land beyond called, "heaven".
However, there is little or no information as to what heaven really is until we come to the 14th chapter
of John's Gospel and of its description given to His disciples by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Jesus gave these words to his disciples who needed hope when they understood for the first time
that Jesus would be crucified by His enemies.
These disciples knew that Jesus was God, and as such, they did not believe that God could die.

They were well acquainted with Old Testament history.
They had read of the translation of Enoch and the prophet Elijah who passed up death,
went directly to heaven.
Three of the disciples had witnessed the transfiguration of Jesus, and they undoubtedly believed
that Jesus would not and could not taste of death.
They probably believed that He would be translated when He had succeeded in establishing
the earthly throne of David.

This was their ambition and belief concerning Jesus, and words could not express the awful despair
that gripped their hearts when they learned definitely that Jesus must die a death of humiliation on the cross.
In order to comfort them by reviving their hope, Jesus told him about heaven.

What Is Heaven?

I will attempt to answer some of the the questions that many would have about the future home
of the redeemed.
One of the first questions asked by those who are seeking information is, "What is heaven"?

According to our text, heaven is a place.
Jesus said, "I go to prepare a place for you." (John 14:2b)
It is just as definitely a place as the place where we are.

Heaven is a beautiful place.
It is indescribably beautiful.
It is beyond description and even in Revelation as John gave words of descriptive phrases of heaven,
they could never truly describe its beauty.
There are really no words to describe the beauties of heaven.

And in the 21st and 22nd chapters of Revelation John tried to describe the heaven which he saw,
and there we learn more of its celestial beauty than can be found anywhere else in the world.
Paul had a glimpse of it, and heard some of this language when he was miraculously saved,
and he said : "Eye had not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man,
the things which God hath prepared for them that love him
." (1 Corinthians 2:9)

"We read of a place that's called heaven,
It's made for the pure and the free;
These truths in God's Word He hath given,
How beautiful heaven must be.

Pure waters of life there are flowing,
And all who will drink may be free;
Rare jewels of splendor are glowing,
How beautiful heaven must be.

The angels so sweetly are singing,
Up there by the beautiful sea;
Sweet chords from their gold harps are ringing,
How beautiful heaven must be."

Chorus:
"How beautiful heaven must be,
Sweet home of the happy and free;
Fair haven of rest for the weary,
How beautiful heaven must be."
By Mrs. A. S. Bridgewater

Where Is Heaven?

The answer is -- we don't really know.
We do know that Elijah ascended up in a chariot of fire when he was translated and bypassed death
and went directly to heaven, and he was with the Father.
When Jesus ascended to heaven, he went back to the Father.
So we know wherever heaven is – that is where our heavenly Father is.

When Do We Go to Heaven?

This is an extremely important question.
When do we go to heaven?
We have heard so many theories regarding this question.
But we should be thankful for all the information which the Bible gives us.

To answer this question, I prefer to answer it with a clear Scripture passages from God's word.
In 2 Corinthians 5:8 Paul tells us, "To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord."
Any other answer that doesn't agree with that verse is not biblical.

That removes every doubt concerning the question, and assures us as Christians that our soul
– the real me, the real you, goes to heaven at the moment we die.

Another Scripture passage in 1 John 3:1-3 assures us of what happens when we see Jesus.
Remember, "absent from the body is to be present with the Lord."
That means that we immediately see Jesus.

And that Scripture passage also says:
"Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!
Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
Beloved, now we are children of God; and it is not yet been revealed what we shall be,
but we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
And everyone who has this hope in Him purify us himself, just as He is pure
."

Nothing could be clearer than that!
Anything that happens to the Christian at death must match those wonderful words from Paul and John.
Nothing could be added to that.
It is so simple that a child can understand that.

And it is something that Jesus said very clearly to the thief on the cross in Luke 23:42-43, when He said:
"And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise."
Paradise which means, "beautiful garden," is synonymous with heaven.

There is no question in my mind, when I close my eyes in death,
I will open them and see Jesus, and I shall be like Him and I still live with Jesus and all the saints
of God forever.

Shall We Know Each Other in Heaven?

We should be thankful that we can be certain of the answer to that question.
We do not have to speculate about that.
The Bible is full of information on this point.
When we mention anything concerning the future life, we must look to Jesus Christ,
and base our belief upon the words of Jesus.

And those who take John's Scripture in 1 John 3:2 as we quoted above to say that we shall be
like Jesus was exactly like Him after the resurrection.
That is not what John's is saying.
John means that we shall have a glorified body like our Lord, but that we shall retain our identity.

Here are some examples that we find concerning this truth.
Jesus was identified by Thomas after His resurrection because He retained not only His earthly appearance
in His glorified state, but His resurrected body even had the print of the nails in His hands,
and the scar left by the Roman spear was still in His side.

In John 20:27, 28 we read, "Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands;
and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side and be not faithless, but believing.
And Thomas answered and said unto him, 'My Lord and my God
.' "

At the Mount of Transfiguration, Moses and Elijah came down from heaven to talk to Jesus
about His crucifixion.
Elijah had been translated nine hundred years before this, and Moses had been in heaven
nearly fifteen hundred years, but they both retained their identity, and were still Moses and Elijah.

Paul gave a great statement on this truth in his discourse on the resurrection.
He settles the matter once and for all.
In 1 Corinthians 15:41, 42 he said: "For one star differeth from another star in glory."
So also is the resurrection of the dead
."

Any astronomer will tell you that no two stars in the heavens are like.
Of all miracles, the greatest is the human family.
There are millions and millions of people living today, and no two of them are exactly alike physically.
And Paul is saying neither will they be alike in heaven.
We retain our identity.

What Are The Conditions In Heaven?

John describes the conditions in his Book of Revelation, chapters twenty-one and twenty-two.
The description he makes of conditions up in heaven are the most unique in all literature.
He describes the state of the redeemed of the future Kingdom of God by taking up the curses
that sin has wrought on the earth and saying these will be "no more" in heaven.
More than any other prophetic promise in the Bible, his "no mores" in heaven stimulate
a jubilant hope in the Christian.

He says there will be no more sea.
John knew that terror of the sea.
He knew of storms and how that fathomless depths formed a prison wall about him that shut him off
from his beloved land and people, and held him as a prisoner in exile when he wrote the book.
Physical waters will never jeopardize the life of a saint in glory.

There will be no more tears, for God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
It is not that the redeemed will be incapable of weeping, but all causes for a sorrowing heart will be removed.

There will be no poverty in heaven, for they neither hunger nor thirst anymore.
What a wonderful land where there will be no more starving men, women, and little children.
Very few things moves our hearts to genuine compassion than that of a human being starving to death.
No one will be starving in heaven.

There will be no darkness in heaven – either spiritual or physical.
In heaven no sun is needed, not even the light of a candle because the Lord God is the light of heaven.
There will be no clouds to darken the day.

"O they tell me of a home far beyond the skies,
O they tell me of a home far away.
O they tell me of a home where no storm clouds rise;
O they tell me of and unclouded day."

Thank God, there will be no more death.
Of all the curses on man caused by Adam's sin, there is none so universal as death.
"It is appointed unto men once to die." (Hebrews 9:27)

We know that when our babies are given to us that someday they shall die.
We look at our mothers when we leave to go for a day, week, or year, without the knowledge
that we never see her again in this world.
We close our eyes and go to sleep, not knowing if we shall wake up for another day.
We are born to die, and death stalks us every day, but in heaven there will be no more death.

There will be no more nations, and only one language in heaven, for we shall be
like Adam and Eve were before the fall.
It was sin that caused more than one language to be spoken.
Man committed that sin at the building of the tower of Babel.
All nations will truly be of one language, and one blood and one color in heaven.

"In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was that the tree of life,
which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: in the leaves of the tree
were for the healing of the nations.
And there shall be no more curse ...
" (Revelation 22:2-3a}

Every curse known to the human race is removed in heaven by the power of God,
and the redeemed will all be brothers and sisters together,
and God shall be our Father and Christ our elder Brother and King.

How Does A Person Get To Heaven?

This is the most vital question concerning heaven.
If we could sum up its glory, its music, its beauty, its magnitude, and all of its nameless wonders together,
they could not amount to so much in their importance as this one great fact.

Miss heaven and you miss it all.

It is a fact that there is only one way to go to heaven.
Somehow, I feel that there is not one person living now, or who has ever lived, who is in his right mind,
but who does not want to go to heaven when he dies.
That was the longing of Thomas when Jesus told him of His Father's house of many mansions.

"Thomas said unto him, Lord, we know not whether but thou goest; and how can we know the way?"
"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me
."
(John 14:5, 6)

I would urge everyone here especially those without Jesus, please don't ever forget those words.
Jesus is the way into heaven – the only way!

"If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart
that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved
." (Romans 10:9)

I pray that the desire to witness to every lost person to Jesus Christ be the hunger, the longing,
the ambition and the aching throb of every Christian heart who hears these words.

"Sing the wondrous love of Jesus,
Sing His mercy and His grace;
In the mansions bright and blessed
He'll prepare for us a place.

While we walk the pilgrim pathway,
Clouds will overspread the sky;
But when trav'ling days are over,
Not a shadow, not a sigh.

Let us then be true and faithful,
Trusting, serving every day;
Just one glimpse of Him in glory
Will the toils of life repay.

Onward to the prize before us!
Soon His beauty we'll behold;
Soon the pearly gates will open;
We shall tread the streets of gold.

Chorus:
When we all get to heaven,
What a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
We'll sing and shout the victory!"
By Eliza E. Hewitt, pub.1898

Sermon adapted from several sources by Dr. Harold L. White