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Sermon notes of a series on “Heaven” by Ovi Petrascu

Part 1

John 14:1-3 “Do no let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

The sense that we will live forever somewhere has shaped every civilization in human history. Although the depictions of the afterlife differ, the unifying testimony of the human heart throughout history is belief in life after death. Anthropological evidence suggests that every culture has a God-given, innate (unconditioned, unlearned) sense of the eternal- that this world is not all there is.

Early Christians’ preoccupation with heaven

The Roman catacombs, where the bodies of many martyred Christians were buried, contain tombs with inscriptions such as these:

  • One who lives with God.
  • He was taken up into his eternal home
  • In Christ, Alexander is not dead, but lives.

These early Christians’ perspectives sound almost foreign today, don’t they?

But their belief were rooted in the Scriptures, where the apostle Paul writes in Philippians 1:21, 23 “To me, to live is Christ and to die is gain…I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far.”
He also writes in 2 Corinthians 5:6, 8 “As long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord…We…would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord

A Physical Place

This place is not an ethereal realm, or celestial kingdom, of disembodied spirits, because human beings are not suited for such a realm. A place is by nature physical (we are also spiritual). What we are suited for, what we’ve been designed for is a place like the one God made for us: Earth. An exiting and strangely neglected truth in the Bible is that God never gave up on his original plan for human beings to dwell on Earth. In fact, the climax of history will be the creation of a new Heavens and a new Earth, a resurrected universe inhabited by resurrected people living with the resurrected Jesus. (Revelation 21:1-4)

Our Terminal Disease

As human beings we have a terminal disease called mortality. The current death rate is 100%. Unless Christ returns soon, we’re all going to die. We don’t like to think about death, yet worldwide:

  • 3 people die every second
  • 180 every minute
  • and nearly 11,000 every hour
  • if the Bible is right about what happens to us after life, it means that more than 250,000 people every day go either to Heaven or Hell.

What will it mean to see God?

If we were dealing with aspects of Heaven in their order of importance, you have to begin with God and our eternal relationship with him. There are a few things that we need to know before we move on speaking about this because we will have a skewed assumption of the nature of the afterlife. If we don’t base our prospective of Heaven on a clear understanding of our coming bodily resurrection and the truth about the physical nature of the New Earth, our concept of being with God will be more like that of Eastern mysticism than of biblical Christianity.

My main focus in this series is to explain the importance that heaven is a place for people who love God not for people who fear hell.

More on “What will it mean to see God” in the next blog.

Sources: Heaven by Randy Alcorn

Categories: Heaven
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