CS Lewis said that “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.” I've never been to Heaven. The preacher has never been to Heaven. There are books about people who claim to have gone to Heaven, but we are going to get our ideas of Heaven from the Bible. So let's look at five pictures of Heaven from Revelation 21-22.
Renewal (Revelation 21:1-2).... The new Heaven and Earth will have all the good from the current Heaven and Earth but without sin. There will be no curse. Think about how the Earth was before sin, before the curse.
Reunion (Revelation 21:3).... We will be with God and with our family of believers, including those who died before us.. We will be ecstatic to be reunited with loved ones, but the greatest reunion we will experience is the one with Jesus.
Release (Revelation 21:4).... There will be no more pain, depression, sickness, cancer, crime, or even tax forms. There will be no more sin and we will all have pure hearts…. Will we forget all the pain we suffered on Earth? In Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, upon realizing he and his friends were still alive, Samwise Gamgee asked “is everything sad going to come untrue?” That’s a great question that has apparently inspired several sermons (do a quick search and you’ll find some good ones). What does it mean for all sad things to come untrue? It doesn't mean that we forget them or that they cease to have existed, but that they become unimportant with an eternal perspective. After all, we will be with our beloved brothers and sisters in Christ.
Reassignment (Revelation 22:3).... We will serve God. Work was part of the original plan in Eden, but it wasn't supposed to be difficult like it became after sin entered Earth.
Reign (Revelation 22:5).... We don't know who we will reign over, but we do know we are royalty, sons and daughters of the King.
How do we apply these future realities to our present circumstances?
Put away your bucket list…. The new Heaven and Earth will have the best of everything from the old Earth and Heaven…… If you need a bucket list, there is one thing that we can do now that we can't do in Heaven: share the Gospel with the lost.
Stop being depressed about aging…. In the new Heaven and Earth, we will get a new, glorified body.
Let's teach our children these things…. The reality of Heaven should change how we parent and raise our kids.
Understand what you are longing for…. CS Lewis says that having a longing for something is a pretty good indication that it exists. We all long for something that this world can't provide and can only be fulfilled by God.