This week Pastor Chris continued in our series on Heaven, seeking to answer what Heaven looks like in the present day. There are important, Biblical truths about those who have gone before us and are in Heaven now. At the same time, God’s Word continuously exhorts those still on Earth to set our minds on things above. The truth is this: what we think and know about Heaven matters. The reality of the Gospel is that our response to Jesus will dictate where we will spend eternity. The most important question to answer about Heaven is how you know you’re going there.
1 Corinthians 2:9 (ESV)
9 But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”
1 Corinthians 2:9–10 (ESV)
9 But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”— 10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.
Setting Our Hearts and Minds on Heaven
Colossians 3:1 (NIV84)
1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
Colossians 3:2 (NIV84)
2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
Hebrews 11:16 (NIV84)
16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
Romans 8:22–23 (ESV)
22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
“Diligently, actively, single-mindedly pursue the things above” (Heaven)
What happens to people who die before Jesus returns?
2 Corinthians 5:8 (ESV)
8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
Philippians 1:21–23 (ESV)
21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.
“Soon you will read in the newspaper that I am dead. Don’t believe it for a moment. I will be more alive than ever before.” D.L. Moody
Revelation 21:1 (ESV)
1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.
Revelation 20:14–15 (ESV)
14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
Acts 7:55–56 (ESV)
55 But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
Revelation 6:9–11 (ESV)
9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. 10 They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.
Observations on those who go to the present Heaven:
- They’re relocated to Heaven (v. 9).
- They’re not different people (v. 9).
- They’re remembered for their lives on Earth (v. 9).
- They’re expressive (v. 10).
- They’re communicative (v. 10).
- They’re unified (v. 10).
- They are fully Aware (v. 10).
- They desire Intervention (v. 10).
- They are with God (v. 10).
- They know what’s happening on Earth (v. 10).
- They remember their earthly lives (v. 10).
- They see God’s Attributes (v. 10).
- They’re distinct Individuals (v. 11).
- They appear to have Physical Forms (v. 11).
- They’re still learning (v. 11).
- They have anticipation (v. 11).
- They understand time (w. 10-11).
- They grasp that we’re one Family (v. 11).
John 5:28–29 (ESV)
28 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29 and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.
Evidence That Neither Prove nor Disprove One’s Faith or Salvation:
- Visible Morality (Matt 19:16-21)
- Intellectual Knowledge (Romans 1:21)
- Religious Involvement (Matt 25:1-10)
- Active Ministry (Matt 7:21-24)
- Conviction of Sin (Acts 24:25)
- Time of Decision (Luke 8:13-14)
Evidence and Fruit of Authentic Christianity & Salvation:
- Love for God (Luke 10:27)
- Repentance from Sin (1 John 1:8-10)
- Genuine Humility (James 4:6,9)
- Selfless Love (1 John 2:9)
- Separation from the World (1 John 2:15-17)
- Spiritual Growth (Luke 8:15)
- Obedient Living (1 John 2:3-5)
- Pastor Chris said we are created to fix our gaze on Jesus. Do you find it easy or difficult to do this?
- How does one set their heart on something? What does this look like practically?
- Chris said our thoughts and words reveal our heart. What do you find yourself thinking about most often? What do you talk about most?
- Everything on this earth fights against us fixing our eyes on Heaven. How can we guard ourselves against putting our hope and expectation in this world?
- What does present Heaven look like, according to Pastor Chris? How do these Biblical truths encourage us who have lost loved ones?
- Answer honestly this week what you would say if Jesus Christ asked you today, “Why should I let you into my Heaven?”
- Look through the list of fruit that shows an authentic Christian. Are you lacking in any of this fruit? Share your answer with a friend or mentor this week.
- What have you been doing daily to set your eyes on things above? What do you need to start doing in order to focus your gaze on what’s eternal? Write down your answers this week.