BIG IDEA: Heaven had to be a part of God’s plan because he needed a new creation with the proper environment for Himself to dwell with His redeemed creation. The New Creation – “Heaven” – is not a place without choice, desire, or worship, BUT a place with the fullest and freest choice, desire, and worship. Those in Heaven have not lost the capacity to choose wrongly or the capacity to desire wrongly or the capacity to worship wrongly… it’s just that they now have gained the perspective necessary so that they might use their choice, desire, worship perfectly in God’s full presence.
SERIES: Heaven: We all have big questions about the topic of Heaven. Some say it’s escapist to spend time thinking about Heaven. That’s not true. It’s arrogant not to spend time thinking about our inevitable end and what might come afterwards. Instead of living in denial of death, the fear of death, we ought to embrace Jesus’ victory over death and dwell on what’s to come. Our lives are brief, and therefore the wise will consider the end and the after. Let us, like the wise, consider Heaven: the who, what, when, where, why, and how of it.
SCRIPTURE: Rev. 21:3-4
3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
- The Lead Story: life on this Earth is not the lead story. Heaven is the lead story.
- Defining Terms: When we talk about Heaven during this series, we’re talking about the Heaven which is to come, which is the New Creation that began with Jesus’ resurrection. Current Heaven is God’s home. Current Earth is our home. The merging of Heaven and Earth into one New Creation is the future home of both God and us.
- Why did God have to create a new creation? Why is it part of God’s plan? Look at v. 3. There is a way in which God wants to be with us, but because of the sin in the world, he cannot be with us in the way he originally intended. He wants to dwell with us fully, in the way that every tear will be wiped away.
- Why is Heaven necessary? Because we need a new environment which fits 1) God’s character, so that he might dwell within it and 2) which fits our new resurrected selves. This current environment that we live in does not fit God’s character or our new resurrected selves.
- Distinctives of the New Creation
- Heaven is a real place of creation: It’s not just a spiritual place. There will be nature, animals, matter, etc.
- Heaven is a place of holiness: Habakkuk 1:13 tells us that God is a perfect and holy being who cannot cohabitate with corruption and evil of any kind. It’s not enough for God to fix things as they break because sin will continue to corrupt. There are things and places that God has designed for us to experience that we cannot, in our current state, experience because of our imperfect holiness.
- Check out The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis: He compares Earth to a crack in the ground of Heaven.
- Heaven is a place of proper desire: 1 John 2:17 says that the desires of this world will pass away and be replaced by right desire and perfect passion without the stain of sin. Heaven equals proper affection met with proper reality. To have the greatest of things undesired is to spoil the greatness. Heaven is the perfect fulfillment of a perfect longing. In order to participate in that, we need new bodies, a new environment, new desires, etc. Without an entirely new creation, the corruptible will continue to corrupt.
- Heaven is a place of proper worship: Revelation 21:22 tells us that because God’s desire is for a place in which he dwells, we won’t need a temple for him to dwell in. Heaven is not a 24/7 worship service, but we will instead worship him perfectly in everything. Just as Jesus did.
- Jesus Embodied a Proper Life: He was fully man, but also fully God, and he showed us what it looked like to live with proper desire and proper worship.
- This world is not our home: Heaven was always God’s plan for us, and earth was never meant to be enough. We ache for our heavenly home.
- How do we live in light of the why of Heaven? It’s okay to be uncomfortable, unacquainted, and un-resigned to this world. It’s okay if you feel like you’re not experiencing everything to the fullest on Earth because there will be a wealth of beauty and riches to experience in Heaven.
- Long for, hope for, groan for Heaven: It’s what we’re meant to feel. With the knowledge of why Heaven exists, we are enabled to long for it.
- Learn to imagine: Without imagination, it’s hard to long for Heaven. It’s okay if you don’t imagine it 100% accurately. Don’t be afraid to dream of Heaven.
- Heaven starts right now: You begin right now to eat the fruit of Heaven even as you eat the fruit of this world. New holiness, new righteousness, proper desire, and worship should start emerging right now. Don’t hold it back.
- Start living like the citizens of Heaven that you are.
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