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16924
“Heaven (excerpts)”
by H. Davidson   
July 29th, 2012

Today, I want you to think about heaven in ways you’ve never thought about it before, and my hope is, that you’ll not only get excited about where you’re going but you’ll also begin to anticipate the most wonderful place you can ever imagine and then be motivated enough to tell others where you’re going, so they too can look forward to all the good things God has waiting for us there.

After all, the apostles and hundreds of thousands of people down through the ages have literally given their lives for their faith and the reason they did this was because Jesus gave all believers the great commission which is a command to share the good news of salvation with the unsaved so they too can look forward to eternity in heaven.

Let me ask you a question. Do you think they gave their lives so they could spend eternity wearing oversized choir gowns and sitting on clouds with harps but never actually get around to playing them? No, that’s a lie the devil’s been telling us; because he knows more than anyone else that heaven is the most magnificent masterpiece of God’s creation and Satan’s goal is to get everyone to see heaven as some kind of a boring alternative to hell. In other words, he says, ‘Heavens all right if you like going to church a lot but it’s certainly not as much fun as the other place.’ But listen, he’s a liar and he doesn’t want anyone enjoying the very place he’s no longer welcome.

As a matter of fact in John 8:44 Jesus tells us that Satan is not only a liar but the father of lies, and I believe that some of his favorite lies are about heaven. In Revelation 13:6, we are told that Satan, “Opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to slander His name, and His tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.”

Satan likes to give us the impression that heaven is going to be boring, but its hell that’s going to be boring. In hell contrary to all the cartoons; there will be no friends, no celebrations, no parties, no booze and the only lake they’ll ever see is going to be the lake of fire.

And when it comes to Christians, Satan wants us to think that heaven is simply beyond our finite minds and that we shouldn’t even waste our time thinking about it. And if he can keep us thinking that heaven is beyond our understanding then we won’t be excited about it. And, unfortunately, he’s been doing a pretty good job.

And he has had a lot of famous representatives over the years down-playing the very idea of heaven. George Bernard Shaw once said, "Heaven, as conventionally conceived, is a place so inane, so dull, so useless and so miserable that nobody has ever tried to describe a whole day in heaven, though plenty of people have described a day at the seashore." And then Mark Twain sarcastically said, ‘In heaven, for twelve hours every day we’ll get to sing one hymn over and over and over again.’

But I like what C.S. Lewis said, ‘There is no need to be worried about flippant, silly people who try to make the Christian’s hope of heaven seem ridiculous by saying they don’t want to “spend eternity playing harps.” The answer to such people is; that if you can’t understand books that were written for grown-ups, you shouldn’t even talk about them.’

The problem we have is that when we think of heaven we really don’t spend an awful lot of time looking at what God has shown us in scripture because if we did then the things that are revealed would both shock and surprise us. Heaven is much more than angels and overweight men sitting on fluffy clouds.

I like where Oswald Sanders said: "God has not told us all we'd like to know, but He has told us all we need to know about where we’re going to spend eternity.”

 I want us to see what Scripture says about heaven because one of our problems is; that very few of us actually know what God has already told us and we assume that heaven is a very secretive place and that God is keeping everything hidden until we get there but the fact is; there’s an awful lot we’re told in scripture.

Please allow me to share some of my own speculation and thoughts about heaven. For instance, there are those who have said that we use 5 or 6% of our intellectual abilities while Albert Einstein who was considered a genius used 11% of his; but what if they were wrong. I mean, what if all of us use about one thousandth of one per cent of our mental capacity and the moment we arrive in heaven our minds are completely opened and we begin to think and remember with all of its ability. I mean, think of what this would mean. We would begin to understand life from the perspective of eternity and everything that doesn’t make sense now will be understood perfectly then.

And everyone who has ever suffered from old age, stroke damage, Alzheimer’s or any other kind of brain disorder will be instantly healed and not only will all of their memories be restored but they’ll also have the capacity to understand things they missed while they were alive on earth.

We’re told we all have five basic means of experiencing the world around us and these are our abilities to see, smell, hear, touch and taste. But, what if these were just the tip of the iceberg and as soon as we enter eternity all of our senses are totally unrestricted and we begin to experience things the way they were meant to be experienced before sin entered this world.

For instance, think about Adam and Eve before they sinned. They were male and female and yet there was no consciousness of sexuality but as soon as they sinned the very first thing they did was to cover themselves with fig leaves. So, there was a change in how they looked on each other. And when they ate, we assume they were vegetarians because all their food came from the garden and nothing had died before they sinned. And don’t forget that God gave Adam the responsibility of not only tending the garden but also had him name all the animals. So, life was not only different but the introduction of sin changed not only the world but also the way they saw and interacted with everything in it.

And since we have inherited their sin nature, sin has affected us too but as soon as we enter heaven; sin and all its affects will be gone and life will never be the same again.

There are five basic means of experiencing this world, the first one is sight and I believe our eyes are going to be opened in the sense that we’ll recognize not just the people we knew on earth here, but I think we’re going to know everyone.

Do you remember when Peter, James and John accompanied Jesus to the Mount of Transfiguration; it says they saw Moses and Elijah but it doesn’t tell us that anyone introduced them, and Moses and Elijah had been dead for thousands of years and yet; the disciples knew exactly who they were. And maybe, we’ll have the same experience with everyone else in heaven. After all, if our mental capacity is magnified and our normal abilities exceed what they do now; then knowing people on contact shouldn’t be too difficult.

We will be who we are now but we’ll be sinless and we’ll be recognized by who we were when we were in this body. And not only will we continue our relationships with believers we already know but everyone else who is there and every relationship is going to be better because everyone in heaven will be perfect.

Do you remember the rich man in Luke 16 who went to hell; the Bible says he not only knew who Abraham and Lazarus were but he also remembered and was very concerned about his five brothers who were still on earth, and listen, he was in hell. So, why wouldn’t we who are in heaven remember those we knew here when we get there. After all, we certainly aren’t going to be worse off than those who are in hell.

Also in heaven our understanding of the nature of God is going to be much better than it is now because as Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13, "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." Now get the last phrase where it says, ‘then shall I know even as also I am known.’ So, we are going to know God then, the way He knows us now. You say, ‘How is that possible?’ We’ll be sinless and nothing will inhibit our sight.

And when we join the heavenly chorus and sing praise to God; it won’t be because it’s song time but it’s going to be a natural reaction to the person and presence of God.

Our eyes will be opened like they never were before and we may even begin to see colors differently and colors may even have other properties like scents, sounds or sensations and they may even feel differently one from the other.

And then there are things like numbers, and people like me who stand in awe of those who do their own income tax, are going to be able to cope with mathematical equations that can baffle any genius alive today.

Then there are other things like water which today can appear in either liquid, frozen or gas form but remember when Jesus and then Peter at Jesus’ bidding were able to walk on water like it was paved stone; this gives us the impression Jesus is able to change the fundamental principles of matter at will, and maybe we’ll be able to do the same.

And then there’s our ability or lack of ability to hear and have you ever noticed the things Jesus could hear while He was on earth.

For instance in Luke 7:36-39 Jesus was having dinner with some Pharisees and it says, "And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat. And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, and stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner."

It says the Pharisee said to himself; and how do we know what he said to himself? Obviously, Jesus could hear his thoughts and told them to His disciples.

 God hears everything that’s said by anyone at any time and we may have the same ability when we receive our resurrected bodies. And that means we wouldn’t have to talk but we could simply think something and others will know what we mean. But, I’m sure some are thinking, well, I wouldn’t want everyone to know everything what’s going on in my head all the time; but you won’t have to worry because your sin nature will be gone and so will everyone else’s in heaven.

And then there’s the concept of smells that we associate certain foods, flowers or even with emotional moments in our lives like the smell of a home cooked meal but what if food was able to provoke other kinds of responses? Like eating or drinking something and not only experiencing the sensation of contentment but also a sense of emotional excitement that’s associated with what you ate.

And then there’s the area of touch and we’ll know how the touch of someone we love can be emotionally fulfilling but what if we were able to both convey and receive emotion by touching others.

And then there’s our sense of smell which not only affects our appetites but even our memories as we think about times or events that are triggered by certain scents or aromas.

And then finally, there’s the ability to taste and like other Christians, I don’t drink or smoke but I do enjoy sitting down to a great meal. Have you ever wondered what’s going to be on the menu at the great banquet in heaven? Most of us can think of great meals we’ve had in the past and assume it’s going to be something like that except ten thousand times better. Well, maybe it will; but imagine if you were ushered in and seated at this huge table in a very comfortable chair and all of a sudden you realized you were sitting next to John the Baptist. I mean, would you be excited or what? And then John reaches over to a snack bowl and you noticed it was crawling with grasshoppers and he dips one into a bowl of honey and eats it and then offers you the dish. Well, that would kind of put a damper on things wouldn’t it?

But listen; this is heaven and all of our appetites are going to be different and nothing is going to make us sick or disgusted but God who created us and everything else knows how to throw a banquet and everything is going to be enjoyed.

And there are other things like our ability to overcome simple obstacles. Do you remember when Jesus passed through the angry crowds and no one touched Him or when He entered the house after His resurrection by passing through locked door. Maybe, we’ll also have the same ability to go anywhere we want; whenever we want; simply by willing ourselves to go there. And then think of this; not only will space be a matter of will but there won’t be any time in heaven.

When the Bible says God will destroy this present universe; that also includes the dimension of time. So, when we arrive in heaven; we may enter with everyone who either went before us or who lived long after us which would not only include our ancestors but also our descendants and that means; you could be walking into heaven talking to your great, great, great, grandfather who had died long before you were born and run into your great, great, great, grandchild who hadn’t been born until a hundred years after you died but because of the absence of time, everything is going to happen at once.

So, how will things happen? Instantly, there will be no more waiting for anything and listen to this; everyone will be able to talk to Jesus anytime and at the same time just like we do now. These are a few of my ideas of heaven.

The question that begs to be answered is; how do we know for sure that we’re going to heaven? And the answer is both simple and difficult. It’s simple to understand but difficult to accept because we’re all sinners who want to go our own way and do our own thing.

 First - We need to acknowledge who we are and that as the Bible says, we are sinners who need to be saved. Romans 3:23 says, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." And all we’re doing is acknowledging a fact; that we’re lost and there’s nothing we can do to save ourselves.

Second - We need to receive Jesus’ death in our place as payment for our sin. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast." So, our faith is in Jesus death for us and not in ourselves.

Third - We need to tell someone else about our decision. Romans 10:9 and 10 tell us, "That 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 . For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."

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