Heavenly Relationships

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Heavenly Relationships MELVIN M. NEWLAND
http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermon.asp?SermonID=33563&Sermon%20Heavenly%20Relationships%20by%20MELVIN%20NEWLAND

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Heavenly Relationships

  1. 1. Heavenly Relationships <br />MELVIN M. NEWLAND<br />http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermon.asp?SermonID=33563&Sermon%20Heavenly%20Relationships%20by%20MELVIN%20NEWLAND<br />
  2. 2. I’ve decided to preach on the subject of heaven today. And I hope that it leaves you with a feeling about what God has done for us, & what we have to look forward to as Christians, when finally one day we’re with the Lord for all eternity. <br />
  3. 3. But at the same time, I know that I’m going to fall short because words are just not adequate to describe what God has prepared. In fact, the apostle Paul expressed this same idea when he wrote… <br />
  4. 4. 1 Corinthians 2:9 NET <br />But just as it is written, &quot;Things that no eye has seen, or ear heard, or mind imagined,are the things God has <br />prepared for those who love him.&quot;<br />
  5. 5. The apostle John, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, valiantly tries to describe the indescribable & express the inexpressible in the 21st chapter of the Book of Revelation where he talks about the new heavens & the new earth, about gates of pearl & streets of gold. But even he falls short in his ability to picture heaven’s glory & wonder.<br />
  6. 6. There is a story about a wealthy Christian who somehow got obsessed with the idea of taking some of his wealth to heaven. Now he knew the Bible clearly teaches that you can’t take it with you. But so obsessed was he with this desire that he just prayed & prayed & prayed that God would give him permission to take some of his wealth to heaven with him.<br />
  7. 7. Finally, his persistence in prayer paid off. God spoke to him & said, &quot;Okay, enough all ready! You can take one suitcase with you into heaven.&quot; Well, the story continues with the man deep in thought, &quot;What do I take? What are the most valuable things that I can put into my suitcase?&quot;<br />
  8. 8. Well, he finally decided, & filled his suitcase full. Then one day he died, & when next we see him, he is slowly approaching the pearly gates dragging his suitcase behind him. St. Peter met him there at the gate & said, &quot;Wait a minute. What do you think you’re doing? You’re not allowed to take anything into heaven.&quot;<br />
  9. 9. The man answered, &quot;You don’t understand. I have special permission from God Himself to take this suitcase into heaven.&quot;<br /> Peter rubbed his beard & said, &quot;Well, that’s very unusual. I can’t imagine God letting you do that. Let me look inside your suitcase & see what’s there.&quot;<br />
  10. 10. So the man dragged the suitcase over, & Peter opened it to see that it was filled with gold bars & gold bricks & gold ingots. Peter said, &quot;Well, all right. If God said so, I suppose you can take that in if you want. But why in the world did you go to all this trouble just to bring more pavement into heaven?&quot;<br />
  11. 11. Values in heaven are different, aren’t they? Those things we consider so valuable here aren’t going to be valuable in heaven at all.<br />So as we begin this morning, let’s listen to a little bit of what the apostle John has to say about heaven.<br />
  12. 12. Revelation 21:1 NET Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and earth had ceased to exist, and the sea existed no more. <br />2And I saw the holy city — the new Jerusalem — descending out of heaven from God, made ready like a bride adorned for her husband. <br />
  13. 13. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying: God himself will be with them. “Look! The residence of God is among human beings. He will live among them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them. 4He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death will not exist any more — or mourning, or crying, or pain, for the former things have ceased to exist.”<br />
  14. 14. 5And the one seated on the throne said: “Look! I am making all things new!” Then he said to me, “Write it down, because these words are reliable and true.” 6He also said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.<br />
  15. 15. To the one who is thirsty I will give water free of charge from the spring of the water of life. 7The one who conquers will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be my son.<br />
  16. 16. A Sunday School teacher asked her class of children, &quot;Tell me what you think heaven will be like.&quot; She got all kinds of answers, but I especially like this one from a third grade boy who said, &quot;Heaven is going to be the <br />happiest part of my dead life.&quot;<br />
  17. 17. Heaven - what will it be like? The subject itself offers great challenges because we’re a different culture - perhaps different than any other culture that has graced the pages of history.If you’ll look back & study the civilizations of the past, you’ll discover that virtually every culture has been concerned about the afterlife, about what happens to you after you die. <br />
  18. 18. The ancient Egyptians spent years building pyramids, using hundreds of thousands of laborers. They buried their loved ones in these pyramids, with abundant supplies of food, clothing, & other valuable articles buried with them - all because they believed in life after death. <br />
  19. 19. It doesn’t seem to make any difference what culture you study. It has always been true, <br />that is, until today. <br />We’re probably the first culture in history that seems to be more concerned with &quot;here & now&quot; than the future.<br />&quot;I want it all. I want it now. <br />Grab all the gusto you can get. <br />He who has the most toys when he dies, wins.&quot;<br />
  20. 20. This attitude can even affect the church. When we come to church, we expect the preacher to give us something that will help us today. &quot;I want to know how to solve my problems today, to heal my heart aches today.&quot; &quot;I want to know how to deal with issues in my life affecting me today.&quot;<br />
  21. 21. Well, we ought to be concerned about today. We ought to be concerned about the issues & how they affect our lives. Remember, Jesus said “I have come so that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.” John 10:10b NETBut there is more to life than that. The Bible teaches that what we do today is extremely important because it <br />determines where we will be tomorrow.<br />
  22. 22. Jesus asks, For what benefit is it for a person to gain the whole world, <br />yet forfeit his life? Mark 8:36 NET <br />So if we’re focusing all our efforts on gaining the world, but in the process of getting it, <br />we lose our soul, <br />WE’VE LOST EVERYTHING!<br />
  23. 23. Bill Hybles says that among his earliest memories of church was being in a children’s choir. <br />They dressed up in robes, & stood on risers, & practiced a lot. And he says that as a child he hated almost every minute of it. He hated putting that robe on, & he hated having to stand still for so long.<br />
  24. 24. &quot;To make matters even worse, the Choir director told me, `If you don’t like singing in the choir, you’re not going to enjoy heaven.’ So as a child, I thought of heaven as putting on a choir robe & standing on a riser & singing for all eternity. So I wasn’t really all that excited about going to heaven.&quot;<br />
  25. 25. Maybe some of you feel the same way. Maybe some of your images are mixed up, & you’re not sure what to expect of heaven, either. So what is heaven really going to be like? Now I could approach the subject from many different angles. I could talk about the physical portrayals of heaven, about streets of gold, & gates of pearl, about jasper walls, & the river of life, & the great white throne.<br />
  26. 26. But John, in Revelation 21, talks more about relationships. And that’s the part that I want us to look at this morning. It makes sense, doesn’t it? If the relationship we have with God is a real close personal relationship that spills out & causes us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, isn’t that what our God wants? <br />
  27. 27. Isn’t that why the Bible talks about us as a family, the family of God, & each one of us as sons & daughters of God? And if we’re a part of one great family of God, then it only stands to reason that heaven is going to be an extension of the relationship that is already started on earth. So I want you to understand why it is that John <br />speaks of heaven as a place of relationships.<br />
  28. 28. THINK ABOUT HEAVEN AS A PLACE WITH A NEW RELATIONSHIP<br />First off, John speaks of heaven as a place where there is a new relationship. Listen again to his words, Revelation 21:1 NET Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and earth had ceased to exist, and the sea existed no more. <br />
  29. 29. 2And I saw the holy city — the new Jerusalem — descending out of heaven from God… then in verse 5 he says, And the one seated on the throne said: “Look! I am making all things new!” You see, our relationship in heaven is going to be completely different from any relationship we’ve experienced on earth. It is going to be a brand new relationship.<br />
  30. 30. It has to be, doesn’t it? <br />Because all of the relationships here are imperfect. <br />But heaven will be perfect.For example, we’re going to live in a new place. Listen to what the writer says in Hebrews. He’s talking about Abraham, when he says, For he was looking forward to the city with firm foundations, whose architect and builder is God. Hebrews 11:10 NET<br />
  31. 31. We’re going to live in a city designed & built by God. Now, I don’t know about you, but that is exciting to me.Most of my life I’ve lived in older houses where somebody else has lived before. They’ve been nice enough, but I’ve always thought that it would be a lot nicer to live in a brand new house, my house, a special place that belongs to me.<br />
  32. 32. And what this passage says is that we’re going to have a new home in a new city, with a new heaven & a new earth. It’s all going to be brand new. We’re also going to live a completely new way of life. We’ll never have to worry about locking our doors, or about children being abused, or about crime in our neighborhood. It will be a community beyond our wildest dreams & imaginations - a place of peace that passes all understanding.<br />
  33. 33. We’ll receive comfort there, too. John says that God will wipe away all our tears. All the tears & sorrow & pain we’ve experienced as we traveled this dusty road of life will finally be gone. The hurts will be mended. The broken hearts will be whole. And God will be with us & be our Comforter.<br />
  34. 34. THE SECOND RELATIONSHIP IS AN INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP<br />The second relationship pictured here is that of an intimate relationship. Listen to what John says in verses2-3 And I saw the holy city — the new Jerusalem — descending out of heaven from God, made ready like a bride adorned for her husband.<br />
  35. 35. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying: &quot;Look! The residence of God is among human beings. He will live among them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them.<br />
  36. 36. You understand that in the book of Revelation, John deliberately uses symbolic language because he is having to find words to describe something that we don’t have human words to describe. So when he tries to describe the relationship that we’re going to have with God in heaven, the closest thing he can come up with is to compare it to a wedding. <br />
  37. 37. Now think about this wedding pictured in Revelation 21. How much preparation has gone into it? The Bible says that since before the foundation of the world, God has been preparing for this wedding.And the Bible goes on to tell us that when we stand before God, when the church becomes the bride of Christ, we will be dressed in white robes. <br />
  38. 38. Revelation 7:9 NET After these things I looked, and here was an enormous crowd that no one could count, made up of persons from every nation, tribe, people, and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb dressed in long white robes, and with palm branches in their hands.<br />
  39. 39. Revelation 7:13 NET Then one of the elders asked me, &quot;These dressed in long white robes — who are they and where have they come from?&quot; 14So I said to him, &quot;My lord, you know the answer.&quot; Then he said to me, &quot;These are the ones who have come out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in <br />the blood of the Lamb!<br />
  40. 40. It’s symbolic. <br />And what it symbolizes is purity. When finally we stand beside Jesus, our bridegroom, & we’re united with Him as the church, <br />His bride, we will be pure. <br />Our sins will have been forgiven & forgotten & gone forever. <br />Because of His love, we’ll stand before Him pure in His sight.<br />
  41. 41. THERE IS AN INDIVIDUAL RELATIONSHIP<br />Thirdly, in heaven there is a personal relationship. And this really appeals to me. Revelation 21:6 NET He also said to me, &quot;It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the one who is thirsty I will give water free of charge from the spring of the water of life.7The one who conquers will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be my son.<br />
  42. 42. Now notice the promises in these verses. God has made some wonderful promises about what will happen when we finally get to heaven.First of all, we’ll never have to be concerned about our salvation again. Nobody, nothing, can take that away from us. We’re secure in the Lord, & He gives us freely from the water of life. We’ll drink from it, & it doesn’t cost us anything.<br />
  43. 43. We’re not used to that. We’re used to working & paying our bills & making it on our own, & feeling like we’ve earned it & we deserve it.<br />But there we won’t earn it, & we won’t deserve it. But it will be ours as a gift. We have to accept the gift, obviously, before it becomes ours. But it is a free gift from a God who loves us.<br />
  44. 44. Secondly, there is strength there. Listen to what He says in verse 7aThe one who conquers will inherit these things, We’ll be conquerors, (overcomers in KJV) because we’ll have conquered,overcome, the problems, the <br />temptations, the sins, & the difficulties that we have faced here.<br />
  45. 45. How will we have overcome those things? We’ll have conquered them because of the strength given to us by a faithful, holy God. <br />And throughout eternity we’ll be conquerors in His sight.<br />
  46. 46. Finally, there’s the promise of sonship. And that’s really special. He says, in verse 7band I will be his God and he will be my son.Only God can accomplish that. Each one of us will have an individual personal relationship with God. I’ll be His son, & He’ll be my Father. You’ll be His daughter, & He’ll be your Father. He’ll take us in His arms & love us for all eternity. That’s what heaven is going to be like.<br />
  47. 47. You know what? Our presence here, as we meet together, ought to be a foretaste of heaven. Singing, praising God, & loving each other. You come into the room & you see someone who’s downcast, & you say something that builds them up. We bear each other’s burdens & become conquerors together. That’s what the church ought <br />to be.<br />
  48. 48. Have you seen Heaven in a different light today? <br />Aren’t those Heavenly Relationships worth giving all we have to Jesus? Giving our time, efforts, love & obedience in such a way as to help others enjoy those Heavenly Relationships also?<br />
  49. 49. This morning, if you’re not a Christian, you need to know God’s love is real, & He’s proved it by going to the cross & dying for your sins & mine. <br />He offers you a new relationship in His family that will last throughout all eternity.Will you accept it? <br />Will you come as we stand & as we sing?<br />

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