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Heaven—The Place of Eternal Reward

Christ Will Judge All Men in Righteousness

“God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment. The righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.”

The Baptist Faith and Message 2000
Article X, Last Things

“I’ve heard of a land that is wondrously fair;
They say that its splendor is far beyond compare…”
Lanny Wolfe

Heaven—the eternal home of every believer in Jesus Christ. It is where Jesus is now exalted on His throne. It’s the everlasting abode of myriads of angels, as well as all the people who have been redeemed by Christ. Jesus is preparing heaven exclusively for His followers. Everyone will live forever in either heaven or hell based on what they do with Jesus Christ during their short life on earth.

A few years ago, our youngest daughter ran a half marathon. My wife and I waited for her at the finish line. As the runners crossed, their names were called out and their loved ones cheered. I told my wife, “This must be what heaven is like. Christians die, their souls ascend to heaven, and their loved ones and Jesus are there to greet them and welcome them home!”

Jesus spoke the greatest words in the Bible regarding heaven:

“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:1–6, NASB)

Here’s what Jesus had to say about heaven:

Heaven Is Encouraging to the Soul

 

“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.”

 

Jesus was about to die on the cross. His disciples were struggling with that even though He had spoken often with them about His impending death.

The disciples viewed the cross from a temporal perspective. Jesus viewed it from an eternal perspective. They saw it as defeat. Jesus saw it as the victorious way that mankind could be reconciled to God.

In the midst of the disciples’ sorrow, Jesus encouraged them by saying, Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. He knew that thoughts of heaven are encouraging to the soul.

When someone you love dies, the cares of this world really don’t matter. The only thing that brings hope is the subject of heaven.

The Apostle Paul talked about the comfort of heaven when he said in 2 Corinthians 5:8: We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord (NKJV).

When a Christian dies, his soul and spirit go immediately to be with Jesus! Now that is encouraging!

Heaven Is Erected for the Saints

 

“In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”

 

“Home” is not just a physical place on earth. Home is where your loved ones are. Jesus described heaven as His “Father’s house” which had “many dwelling places.” Jesus ascended to heaven to prepare that place for His children. The carpenter of Nazareth is the architect and builder of heaven!

When our son was young, I built a tree house for him. I bought the best lumber, leveled each board, and used huge anchor screws to stabilize that tree house. Why would I construct it so meticulously? Because it was for my son!

The Bible says in Revelation 21–22 that heaven has gates of pearl, walls of jasper, streets of gold, a crystal clear river running through it, and trees that bear fruit perennially. Jesus is the everlasting light that illumines that city, and He’s building all of that for His children.

Christian, rejoice today in the fact that Heaven Is Erected for the Saints.

Heaven Is Entered through the Savior

 

“And you know the way where I am going.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

 

Jesus is the only way to heaven. Salvation is found exclusively in Him. When Thomas asked, “How can we know the way if we don’t know where You’re going?” Jesus answered, “I’m going to heaven, and I am the only way anyone will ever get there!”

The Apostle Peter affirmed that when he said in Acts 4:12: And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved (NASB).

Likewise, the Apostle Paul spoke the same truth in 1 Timothy 2:5: For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (NASB).

Jesus alone can give salvation to someone because only He was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died a sacrificial, atoning death, and was raised bodily, victoriously, and eternally from the grave. Jesus Christ offers eternal life to all people. In order to receive that eternal life and go to heaven, you must repent of your sin, believe that Jesus died for you and rose from the grave, and willfully receive Him as Savior and Lord by calling on His name.

Neither Mohammed, nor Buddha, nor Joseph Smith, nor your good works can save you. Only Jesus can. He is THE way, THE truth and THE life!

Saint and sinner alike, this message is for you: Heaven Is Entered through the Savior.

Conclusion

Sinner, give your heart to Jesus before it is too late! He will walk with you on earth, and then when you die, He will take you to a glorious place called heaven!

“Heaven for me,
It will be Heaven for me;
Jesus will be what makes it Heaven for me.
All its beauty and wonder I’m longing to see,
But Jesus will be what makes it Heaven for me.”
Lanny Wolfe

 


Steve Gaines is pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tennessee, and is president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

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September 2016 Edition
Volume 25, Issue 1
September 2016