An exploration of heaven & life in eternity.

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City Church Christchurch

Introduction.

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1 September 2019
By Jeanette H

Someone once said, “Everyone wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die”.

I have a hunch that, like the quote says, ‘everyone wants to go to heaven’. The problem is that while we want to go to heaven, we can be so afraid to face death that heaven seems out of our reach. Perhaps we are afraid to die because we aren’t sure if we qualify for heaven or not.

Heaven is a place where God reigns in a realm that sits outside of time and space. In the Bible [a], God says, “Heaven is my throne.” Jesus came from heaven and He told many stories and parables to try to help people understand what heaven was like. He talked about the kingdom of heaven. Where there is a kingdom, there must be a king. God is that king. Jesus went back to heaven after dying and rising again [b] and He now sits reigning with God [c].

A man standing in a field of wheat looking at a stunning sunset

Becoming a citizen of heaven.

Jesus urged His followers to store up treasure for themselves in heaven, [d] implying that how they lived their earthly lives could be of benefit to them in eternity - a bit like putting away savings in a bank account for another time and place. He said He would give his followers the keys to the kingdom of heaven, indicating that the reality of heaven could be replicated in their day to day lives and communities [e].

When Jesus went back to heaven, He made it possible for His followers to become citizens of heaven and eventually to live there with Him [f]. As human beings, we have actually been made for heaven and our hearts are perfectly fashioned to receive and nurture the reality of heaven while we are here on earth [g]. In other words, we can begin to prepare for and experience heaven on this side of eternity before we die. Anyone who acknowledges the kingship of Jesus and asks Him to come and live within them becomes a citizen of heaven because, as we said earlier, heaven is where the King of Heaven (Jesus) reigns. And when we become a citizen of heaven, Jesus gives us access to all the spiritual blessings of heaven [h].

Before his death, Jesus told His friends, “I am going to prepare a place for you and I will come back to take you to be with me.” [i] When his friends asked Him the way to heaven, He said, “I AM the way”! In other words, God made us for heaven and Jesus alone can take us there. He does not want anyone to miss out on the benefits of heaven, neither now nor later. If we have given Jesus our life, then there is a place for us in heaven with Him.

After we ask Jesus to come and live within us, God then gives us His Holy Spirit as a guarantee that we will receive that place in heaven that He has promised [j]. The Holy Spirit’s presence fills us with love, reassures us with peace and gives us hope for the future. These wonderful realities give us a foretaste of what heaven is like, and the fear of death is overcome by a longing to see Jesus and to be with Him.

What is heaven really like?

Heaven is the place in eternity where God lives among his people forever! When we get there, we will find heaven to be exquisitely more wonderful than anything we have ever experienced on earth. There is no death or sorrow or crying or pain. Every evil thing has been completely and finally destroyed by the power and love of God. We will experience true peace and feel utterly known and loved beyond measure. Heaven is a place filled with pure joy, light and love that is sustained because God lives there [k].

When Jesus is our King, death is simply the gateway into the life in heaven that God always intended for us to enjoy [l].

Looking up at flying bird

Heaven is ready for you. Are you ready for heaven?

Today, take time to consider the fact that Jesus has made heaven for you and that He wants to take you there. It’s never too soon to start this journey given the amazing benefits that await you as you walk with Him through the course of your life and into eternity.

Footnotes.

a. Isaiah 66:1
b. Luke 24:6 & 24:51
c. Mark 16:19, Hebrews 8:1
d. Matthew 6:20
e. Matthew 16:19
f. Philippians 3:20
g. Ecclesiastes 3:11
h. Ephesians 1:3
i. John 14:2-3
j. 2 Corinthians 5:5
k. Revelation 21 & 22
l. Ephesians 1:4

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