What’s Heaven Like?

Do you believe in Heaven?  I had the opportunity on Dec 30 to preach – something I rarely do (thankfully)!  I got to end our Advent series: Ancient-Future Christmas: Celebrating the Whole Story of God,  by preaching about Heaven, from Revelation 21 & 22.  I thought I would post a synopsis of the sermon here, as well as the audio and the sermon manuscript for anyone interested.

audio file

Where is Heaven?

Heaven is the dwelling place of God, and in the end, that place is on Earth (Rev. 21:1-4).  Heaven isn’t Heaven because of where it is, but because of who is there: God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  And we will be there, too – not wearing bathrobes, with wings and harps, floating on clouds, but on Earth, as physical beings, living with God.  It will literally be Heaven-on-Earth.

Who will be in Heaven?

Obviously God will be there (that’s what makes it Heaven).  But so will everyone whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life (Rev. 21:27).

Who won’t be in Heaven?

The cowardly, the unbelievers, the detestable, murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers (this could mean drug abusers), idolaters, liars, the unclean, evildoers, the filthy, the dogs (meaning people who aren’t part of the family of God), and everyone who loves and practices falsehood (Rev. 21:8, 27; 22:11, 15).  Obviously, this list isn’t exhaustive.  And, it can be summed up in a single sentence: If you don’t belong to Jesus, you won’t be in Heaven.

What will we do in Heaven?

Here’s what we won’t do: become angels, wear bathrobes, be permanently retired, float around on clouds, or be in a church service that lasts for eternity.  A biblical understanding of Heaven interprets the New Creation in light of the Old Creation; the Bible ends where it begins.  In Genesis, God created the heavens and the earth, and told us to go cultivate the world.  Build cities, plant gardens, work according to your giftedness, make babies, write books, make music, paint, draw, act, eat, and do it all for the glory of God.

In Revelation, God creates a new heaven and a new earth (Rev. 21:1), and I believe we will be doing the same kinds of things in the New Creation as God intended for us to do in the old.  God’s plan for Creation is restored.  We’ll still have jobs, build houses, plant gardens, make music and art, enjoy good food and friends – and we’ll do it with no sin to muck it up.  I believe there will be cities and even nations in Heaven, with Jesus ruling as King of Kings from the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:10) and with us reigning over cities and nations as His under-kings (Rev. 22:5).

How can I get to Heaven?

Come to Jesus (Rev. 22:17).  He has the water of life and you can drink from it freely.  Be washed in the blood of the Lamb who was slain to redeem men and women from sin and darkness and to purchase their place in glory.  If you’re not sure whether or not you’ll be in the New Creation, or if you’re a citizen of the Holy City, then simply come to Jesus and ask Him for help.  He’ll do the rest.  If He’s your God, then you’re His child (Rev. 21:7).

One Comment

  1. You did a fantastic job on the sermon, Andy! You were obviously well-prepared, well-studied, and passionate about your topic. 🙂 I think you created a bridge between preconceived ideas people may have about heaven and the interpretation of scholars with years of study. Your description of how the twelve-foot city described in Revelations matches the Old Testament Holy of Holies room in the tabernacle was also enlightening. You also mentioned that Christians can disagree about their ideas of heaven, but that all can find common ground about how to get there and with whom they’ll reign once they do. I loved it!!!

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