1. One morning, 4-year-old Kevin & his grandpa went out to get donuts.
2. Grandpa wanted to make sure Kevin’s parents had been teaching him about God, so as they climbed into the car he asked, “Kevin, which way is heaven?” The 4 year old pointed up.
3. Grandpa asked, “Which way is hell?” Kevin pointed down.
4. Grandpa continued, “And where are you going?"
6. Kevin gives us a good handle on where most people’s heads are at today.
a. Whether heaven & hell are real or not isn’t important.
b. What is, is the here & now.
c. Why bother about eternity when there’s enough concern about how you’re going to get through today?
7. Because of this, sermons on heaven have fallen out of favor.
a. Pastors are told to stay away from the topic of eternity because no one’s interested.
b. Listening to some of the experts, you’d conclude the greatest error a modern preacher can make is being irrelevant –
c. Of talking about things people don’t want to hear about.
d. And today, what people want to know is how to be successful in this life.
e. “Speak to the times!” we’re told. “Be relevant.”
1) Tell people how to be successful in business, in their marriage, in raising their kids.
2) Show them how to be happy while single.
3) Explain how faith effects the environment, the economy, politics.
h. But don’t bore or waste the time of those who give up an hour of their Sunday mornings with the irrelevancy of the afterlife.
1. Well, if that’s your position, I’m about to waste an hour of your time because I’m going to talk about heaven. I’m going to because Jesus did.
3. Here’s the setting: Jesus & the disciples have come to the end of the Last Supper.
a. In just a few minutes, they’ll leave the room
where they’d shared it & head out to one of Jesus’ favorite places – the
b. Over the last few days, Jesus had repeatedly told them He was leaving.
c. During dinner, He’d made it clear the time had now come for Him to depart.
d. As we come to our text, Judas has gone on his
way to go meet up with the temple police, he will lead back to
e. Jesus’ words about leaving have not been received well; the disciples were seriously bummed.
f. Over the last 3 years they’d come to the conclusion Jesus was the Messiah.
g. They expected HIm would take the throne of
h. So Jesus’ talk about being betrayed, arrested, & executed confused & troubled them.
5. This is why Jesus said . . .
1“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.
1. Picture it: You’re one of the disciples sitting at the table.
2. Besides hearing that Jesus was about to be arrested & executed,
a. He’s said the broken bread of the Passover meal represented His broken body; the wine, His blood soon to be spilled on your behalf.
b. In a staggering reversal of etiquette, Jesus has just gone round the table & washed everyone’s feet.
c. He’s said that one of you is going to betray Him that night.
d. Then, Peter, the most courageous of you all, has just been told that before the dawn of the next day, he’ll have denied even knowing Jesus, not once, but 3 times!
3. No wonder they were troubled – these were all deeply troubling words.
4. Yet Jesus gives them a strong word of command – these things were NOT to shake them.
5. Let me update the language. When Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled” we ought to see it this way . . .
a. “Don’t wig out boys.”
b. “Don’t freak. Don’t trip.”
c. “I know what I’ve said is heavy, but it’s not to cause you to worry.”
6. But Jesus doesn’t just sing them a little song, “Don’t worry. Be happy.”
7. The cure to their worry lies in this – “You believe in God, believe also in Me.”
a. Both parts of this are imperatives, commands.
b. We ought to read it this way, “You! – Believe in God & in Me.”
c. He’s saying, “You who find yourself worried, distressed, anxious about the trouble coming down – your solace, your comfort lies in trusting God, Who’s revealed in Me.”
8. There’s an epidemic of worry today.
a. Anxiety is the #1 mental health disorder.
b. Anti-anxiety medications are one of the largest selling prescription drugs.
c. The majority of psychotherapy is aimed at alleviating people’s fears.
d. Jesus said that in the last days people’s hearts would fail them for fear of the things they see coming to pass.
9. In our time, world events, coupled with our lifestyles, have combined to put the squeeze on many, they can’t cope with.
10. Something’s gotta’ give – & where it gives is into worry, anxiety attacks, nervous breakdowns, & coping diversions like drugs, alcohol, sex, materialism; whatever people latch on to, to distract them from their fears.
11. Jesus gives us the prescription for worry – Trust God!
a. The words are literally “Believe INTO God.”
b. Here’s the picture these words paint . . .
1) A father is standing in a swimming pool with water up to his waist.
2) The air is 115° degrees, the cement deck around the pool is blisteringly hot, but the water is a refreshing 85°.
3) Standing at the edge of the pool is the father’s 6 year old daughter.
4) She’s doing a little dance because it’s so hot while he stands in the pool 4 ft. in front of her beckoning her to jump to him.
5) But she stays put, doing her little tortured dance.
6) Her daddy wants her to be gellin’ with him in the pool, but an irrational fear keeps her stuck to the deck.
7) That father loves his daughter, but knows she’s afraid of the water. If he tries to grab her she’ll back away out of reach.
8) If he tricks her & takes her in against her will, it’ll damager her trust in him.
9) So we waits patiently & encourages her to quit her misery on the burning cement & jump to him.
10) The only reason she doesn’t jump is because of her fear of the water.
11) The end to both her current misery & fear of the pool is to get her eyes off the thing she fears & onto her father whose reassuring face & outstretched arms say it all.
12. I have a personal confession to make – I’m bad.
a. You see, I played that pool game with my kids.
b. I stood in the water while they stood on the deck.
c. I told them to jump but there were times when I didn’t catch them.
d. I let them flounder & thrash about a bit before I picked them up.
e. Other times I’d catch them but then immediately dunk them.
f. They’d come up sputtering, wiping the water out of their eyes, terrified!
g. I thought what I was doing was getting them used to the water, helping them conquer their fear by having them face it.
h. All I was doing was making sure they’d never jump to me again.
13. God never does that! He never tricks us. He never makes a promise He doesn’t keep.
14. He will never stretch out His arms to us, then pull them away once we commit. NEVER!
16. Jesus goes on & elaborates on what we can believe God for.
2 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. 3 And 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.
1. Until just a hundred years ago, most people were greatly concerned about the afterlife.
2. The question that consumed them was, “Where will I spend eternity & does what I do now determine that?”
3. But secular humanism has taught modern men & women to forget that question.
4. John Lennon sang, Imagine there's no Heaven - It's easy if you try.
No hell below us - Above us only sky.
Imagine all the people -- Living for today.
This is a perfect summary of what secularism stands for.
5. Okay, let’s imagine it. What would a society that didn’t believe in heaven look like? As Jon Courson has so aptly observed . . .
a. There would be a fascination with youth because people would put off old age & dying as far as possible.
1) Youth would determine fashion, defining what’s cool & hip.
2) Anti-wrinkle creams & lotions would be big sellers.
3) Hair color to cover the gray would be a hit.
4) They’d develop medicines to combat baldness, another sign of aging.
b. They’d build special places for exercise to maintain a youthful figure & add years to their lives.
c. They’d spend lots & lots of money on life-saving medical equipment aimed at keeping the critically ill alive as long as possible.
d. They’d freeze the ill so they could be brought back later when a cure for their diseases had been discovered.
e. If there’s no heaven, & this life is all there is, they’d go through life doing what they want, when they want, how they want, to whom they want;
1) So crime would be rampant – requiring large police forces, & lots of prisons,
2) And people carrying pepper spray because they never know when they’re going to be the victim of a crime.
6. Thank goodness this doesn’t describe our society, huh?
7. According to recent polls – 78% of Americans say they believe in heaven.
a. They don’t sing Lennon’s song.
8. Jesus said heaven is real. If it isn’t, then He was wrong, & what are we doing here?
9. The Apostle Paul said that if this life is all there is, if there’s no heaven to come, then of all people Christians are the most to be pitied, because we lives our lives with heaven as our goal.
10. If heaven is just a fiction told to makes kids be nice, then the Gospel is the biggest scam in all History.
11. But heaven IS real. How do we know that? Because of what Jesus says, & because He rose from the dead to prove the fact that He is God & what He said is absolutely trust-worthy.
12. So look at what He said . . .
a. Heaven is God’s home.
b. While God is present throughout all creation, it’s in Heaven that we can have most intimate contact with Him.
c. In heaven were God lives, are many places for others to live too.
1) In the NKJV they’re called “mansions.”
2) The Greek word refers to the place where a person dwells.
3) We’d call it home.
a) What makes a house a home is not how long you’ve lived there.
b) It’s not the furniture, or lawn, or arrangement of the rooms.
c) What makes a house home is the relationships with others you enjoy there.
d) Heaven is our only true home because ultimately we were created for fellowship with God & heaven is the place where that will be most perfectly realized.
4) A century ago an American tourist paid a visit to the renowned Polish rabbi, Hofetz Chaim.
a) He was astonished to see that the rabbi's home was only a simple room filled with books, a table & a cot.
b) The tourist asked, “Rabbi, where’s your furniture?”
c) Rabbi Chaim replied, “Where’s yours?”
d) The puzzled American said, “Mine? This isn’t my home; I'm only passing through.”
e) The rabbi replied, “As am I.”
13. When I first came to Christ in the 70’s, there was a phrase we used a lot.
a. It was on bumper stickers, posters, & T-shirts.
b. It said, “Just passin’ through.”
c. Another popular saying was, “This world is not our home so keep on truckin’.”
14. This world isn’t our home. It’s a temporary stop on our way to our eternal destination.
a. It’s a bus stop from which 2 routes run; 1 goes to heaven, the other to a less pleasant end.
15. Heaven is a wonderful place – filled of glory & grace. We’re gonna see our Savior’s face, ‘cause heaven is a wonderful place. I want to go there.
17. Please don’t think of heaven as endless cloud-sitting, harp-strumming, white-robe wearing, pink-lined winged, pipe-cleaner haloed, shoeless boredom.
18. There’s no elevator music in heaven.
19. Because heaven is our home where we’ll encounter God in His fullness, boredom & monotony will be forever banished.
a. Because God is infinite, every moment will be a delightful discovery of something new.
b. All your deepest & truest desires, the things God built into you as part of your uniqueness, will be brought out, fulfilled, developed, & put to use.
c. Have you ever stood on the beach & looked at the waves crashing on the sand & felt something stir inside you that couldn’t put it into words?
d. Have you ever been in the desert at night, looked up into the sky & felt something that had been sleeping, wake up & stretch like a cat rising from a nap?
e. Have you ever been in the mountains & watched the moon rise behind a ridge, & it was like something inside you heart kicked against your ribs?
f. Have you ever been listening to a piece of music, when something inside your soul rises up & begins to soar? It’s like an inner, deeper music, the one you’re hearing with your ears is only an echo of.
g. Have you ever tasted a new dish that was so delicious, instead of satisfying you, it stirred up a hunger & longing no food could satisfy.
20. We’ve all experienced these things because they’re longings & desires God has placed within us to help us realize this world is not our real home.
a. They’re soul longings that will only be satisfied in heaven.
b. C. S. Lewis said, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”
22. A little girl was taking an evening walk with her father.
a. As she looked up at the stars she said,
23. Some people get tripped up by the Book of Revelation’s description of heaven.
a. They don’t realize John was using human language to describe things that are so glorious they defy description.
b. When John says that the streets of heaven are made of gold, skeptics scoff & say that’s ridiculous.
c. What John means is that what’s accounted as most precious on earth is the asphalt, the common building material of heaven.
d. Heaven is so wonderful – it’s just that – Full of Wonder.
24. A carnival came to a small farming town. For most of the children it was the first carnival they’d ever been too.
a. Everything was a wonder: the rides, the cotton candy, caramel corn, the games, & clowns presented a spectacle they couldn’t get over.
b. Leaving the carnival one 6 year old boy leaned over & whispered into his 2 year old brother’s ear, “This is what heaven is like—except it's free!”
25. Jesus said heaven was real & that it was filled with places for us to live with Him forever.
26. Then using words reminiscent of a Jewish wedding ceremony, He said He was going to go & get things ready for us.
a. Once a Jewish man was engaged to his fiancé, he returned to his father’s house & built a new room where he & his bride would live.
b. Once the room was finished, he returned to her village, gathered her into his arms, & returned to his village to be wed.
c. That’s exactly the imagery Jesus uses here.
27. We’re His betrothed Bride. He’s returned to heaven to get our room ready. When the time is right – He’ll come again & take us to our new home.
28. That’s His promise. Does Jesus keep His promises?
4 And where I go you know, and the way you know.” 5 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
1. Ten’s of thousands of sermons, may be more, have been taught on these words.
2. I want to ask you to consider them this morning in connection to vs. 1-3.
3. Jesus told them not to worry but to trust in Him as God.
4. He was going to leave for a while to get things ready, & when the time was right He’d come back & get them.
5. Then He said, “You guys already know about heaven & how to get there.”
a. Now, the fact of the matter was – they DID!
b. As good, Bible believing Jewish boys, they believed in heaven.
c. And because they’d come to faith in Jesus as the Son of God they knew the route to heaven.
d. The problem is, they didn’t know they knew.
6. Even though Jesus made it clear where He was going, because it didn’t fit their expectations for Him, Thomas speaks up & says, “We don’t know what You’re talking about. Where are you going & what’s the way there?”
7. In v. 6, Jesus simply repeats Himself.
a. He’s returning to the Father from where He’d originally come.
b. Anyone else who wants to go to heaven can get there only one way – through Him.
1. The followers of Jesus are often accused of being narrow-minded.
2. In this multicultural, anything goes, politically-correct, post-modern environment, it’s considered arrogant to say that there’s just one way to heaven.
3. Listen – there’s no excuse for arrogance in someone who’s born again.
a. To be proud is to be blind for no one saves him/herself.
b. What we have & who we are is only & all by the work of God.
c. We can claim nothing but that we’re sinners who needed to be rescued.
4. But let’s make something clear: When Christians say Jesus is the only way to heaven, they aren’t being arrogant; they’re being consistent.
a. They’re being who they say they are – the faithful followers of Jesus –
b. Who Himself said “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
1) He’s not A way, A truth, A life;
2) He’s IT – THE way, truth, & life.
5. If that sounds like exclusivism to you, take it up with Him.
a. Go stand at the foot of the cross where He’s pinned, bleeding to pay for your sins & say to Him, “I don’t need that.”
b. “I’ll find my own way to heaven.”
6. For all the outrage some people express about “narrow-minded Christians,” when they climb on an airplane to fly to a vacation in Hawaii, they’re hoping their pilot is very precise about the route he’s flying.
a. That’s a big ocean and those are very tiny islands.
b. There’s only so much gas in those tanks.
c. How would they feel about a pilot who said, “Let’s just take off & head West & hope we run in to Hawaii.”
d. They’d say that’s insane because that pilot is risking the lives of hundreds of people.
e. EXACTLY! If you reject what the Bible says about how to get to heaven, you’re risking your eternal life. That’s insane!
f. Why do people think getting to heaven would be any less exacting that getting to Hawaii?
7. Heaven is real. The only way there is through Jesus.
1. Has it been a waste of our time to consider these things today?
2. Not when we realize the truth that it’s only by considering the end of a thing that we really know it.
a. The caterpillar’s destiny is to be a butterfly.
b. The tadpole’s true identity is a frog.
c. The apprentice’s destiny is to be a master craftsman.
d. The novice’s destiny is to be a professional.
e. The prince’s destiny is to be king.
f. Your destiny, my destiny as earth-bound, mortal, flesh-wrapped men & women is to be heavenly, immortal, glorious eternal companions of God.
3. Because of what Jesus has done, that’s who we really are.
4. And because that’s who we really are – Why worry?
 Luke 21:26