My subject today is Heaven. The reason for writing on this theme is fourfold.
1) I want you to know the way to heaven
2) I want you to prepare for heaven
3) I want you to know the terrible consequences if you miss heaven
4) I want to give the Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God, praise, honour and glory for He is worthy.
I. HEAVEN IS HOME FOR THE PEOPLE OF GOD
While visiting at the hospital a few days ago one of our church members said to me. “Oh, how I wish that the Lord would take me home.” She was longing for that home in the better land. When the Lord Jesus Christ revealed to His disciples that He was about to leave them, what words of comfort did He give them?
“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest: and how can we know the way?
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:1-6
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27
Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people.
The Lord Jesus, the Son of God lived in heaven and shared the glory of His Father before ever coming to this earth to redeem His people.
I saw an elderly gentleman standing outside the hospital door as I was going in. I greeted him. He never spoke a word, but his hand shot out to me with a little piece of paper. There was a hand written message in it. When I unfolded the paper this is what I read: “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven.” Acts 1:11
The Son of God came from heaven. He returned to heaven and is coming again. Are you: “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ”? Titus 2:13
Face to face with Christ, my Saviour,
Face to face – what will it be?
When with rapture I behold Him,
Jesus Christ, who died for me.
Face to face I shall behold Him,
Far beyond the starry sky;
Face to face in all His glory,
I shall see Him by and by
II. THINGS NOT FOUND IN HEAVEN
There will be no more sea. John wrote:
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.” Revelation 21:1.
In Revelation 21:4 we read:
“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying; neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
What a difference from here! No more death, no more sorrow; no more crying, no more pain – all covered in one verse.
In Revelation 22:3 something else will not be found there:
“And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him.” Revelation 22:3. In Genesis 3 we read of the fall of man and the curse that accompanied the Fall. But the curse is not found in heaven. “And there shall be no more curse.”
In Revelation 22:5 we read “And there shall be no night there.”
Things not found in heaven: no more sea, no more death, no more sorrow, no more crying, no more pain, no more curse and no more night. They will not be found there.
III. THE WAY TO HEAVEN
Let us consider the way to heaven first of all from a negative standpoint:
a) The way to Heaven is not through the Church. The church is not able to save anyone. The Church’s responsibility is to point men and women to the Lord Jesus Christ.
b) The way to Heaven is not through ordinances or through sacraments. One may be baptized and observe the Lord’s Supper, but still be unsaved without sins forgiven or peace with God.
c) The way to Heaven is not through our good works. To the Ephesians, Paul wrote: “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. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
And to Titus Paul wrote: Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy, he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” Titus 3:5
d) The way to Heaven is not through a lodge. If a lodge could give salvation to anyone, the Lord Jesus Christ would never have needed to be sent from Heaven by His Father to ransom sinners.
e) The way to Heaven is not through being born into a Christian Family. We need a spiritual birth as well as a physical birth. The Lord Jesus said to Nicodemus : “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” John 3:7
Now let us consider the Way to Heaven from a positive standpoint.
a) The Lord Jesus Christ said: “I am the Way.” When Thomas asked the question “How can we know the way? ” The Lord Jesus answered: “I am the Way.” The Lord Jesus didn’t say “I am a way, or I am one of the ways.” He said: “I am the Way.” And to dispel any doubts from minds He added: “No man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
b) Christ is the Way to Heaven because He had the only perfect sacrifice that was acceptable to God who is Just, who is Holy, who is Righteous.
c) Christ is the Way to Heaven because He was the only One who could satisfy the demands of Divine Justice. God’s penalty for sin is death. “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” “The wages of sin is death.” God requires the penalty of death for sin. Because we are all sinners we have no acceptable sacrifice to offer to meet God’s just demands. The Lord Jesus Christ was without sin. He could meet God’s just demands. “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”
Mary the Mother of Jesus while still a virgin saw in the Lord Jesus her Saviour. “And Mary said, “My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.” Luke 1:46 & 47. She spoke those words before the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus and before she gave birth to the other members of her family, listed in Matthew 13:55 and 56 where we read :
“Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?”
By Divine inspiration Mark shares the same truths with us in Mark 6. Hear the first four verses of Mark chapter six:
“And He went out from thence, and came into His own country: and His disciples followed Him. And when the Sabbath day was come, He began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing Him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? And what wisdom is this which is given unto Him, that even such mighty works are wrought by His hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us? And they were offended at him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.” Mark 6:1-4
Other Bible characters clearly show that salvation is through Christ and He is the only way to Heaven.
John the Baptist said:
“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life: but the wrath of God abideth on him”.
The Apostle Peter said of the Lord Jesus:
“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:12
The Apostle Paul wrote:
“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” I Timothy 2:5
The Writer to the Hebrews gives us:
“And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till His enemies He made his footstool. For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” Hebrews 10:11-14
The Apostle John wrote:
“And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” I John 5:11-12
Jesus Christ is the only way to Heaven.
IV. BARRIERS TO HEAVEN
Unbelief is one of the barriers to Heaven. Unbelief barred the way to Canaan for the rebellious children of Israel. We read in Hebrews 3:19: “So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.”
Unbelief also blocks the way to Heaven. The Lord Jesus said in John 8:24: “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins.”
Hear the words of the Lord Jesus on this point:
“He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but He that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God”. John 3:18
Rejection of the Lord Jesus Christ is another barrier to Heaven. The Lord Jesus Christ said:
“He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day”. John 12:48
“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death”. Revelation 21:8
“And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” Revelation 21:27
Is my name written there, on the page white and fair
In the book of thy Kingdom, is my name written there?
Pride is a barrier to Heaven. When the disciples asked the Lord Jesus. “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?” How did the Lord Jesus respond? –
“And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:2-4
We read in Proverbs 16:18 these words: “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”
I was reminded of the words penned by Micah:
“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.” Micah 6:8
Unbelief, rejection of Jesus Christ and pride are all barriers to Heaven.
V. THE ONLY ALTERNATIVE TO HEAVEN
There are only two eternal destinies. There is a heaven to gain and there is a hell to shun. In heaven we have a place of everlasting bliss. In hell we have a place of everlasting punishment. In heaven, God’s people are forever with the Lord. In hell, Christ’ rejectors are in eternal suffering.
To the redeemed the Lord Jesus says:
“Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Matther 25:34b
To the unbelieving Christ rejectors the Lord Jesus says:
“Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” Matthew 25:41b
“The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” Psalm 9:17
The only alternative to heaven is Hell.
VI. PREPARATION FOR HEAVEN
If we want to go to heaven and escape Hell now is the time to prepare. This is not a matter to treat with indifference. This is not a matter to banish from your thoughts. This is an issue of great importance. It is a matter where there is great danger if you procrastinate. Do you remember the words of the Lord Jesus?
“For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Matthew 16:26
God calls through Isaiah:
“Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him: and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.” Isaiah 55:6-7
“Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.” Proverbs 27:1
“He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.” Proverbs 29:1
We read in II Corinthians 6:2b:
“…behold, now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation.”
To prepare for heaven we need to humble ourselves before the eternal God who is holy and righteous. We need to acknowledge our sin to Him. We need to recognize that we cannot save ourselves, so seek forgiveness from the Lord. We need to meet God on His terms – and here are His terms:
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9
God forgives the sinner who repents of his sin, on the grounds of the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ who dies to save his people from their sin.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
When you see your lost condition in the light of the word of God, accept and respond to the glorious invitation of the Lord Jesus Christ:
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
In preparing for heaven, Trust the Saviour, Repent of your sin, deal with your pride and self righteousness and find in Christ your all in all.
This Gospel Message is being reproduced, with illustrations, as a Gospel booklet. Requests for copies may be made to FAR EASTERN BEACON.