Heaven: That Better Place (Roger Campbell)

Rev. Jim Bogle, given January 28, 2007

Many of our senior citizens today are hurting; all of them physically, some of them emotionally, and a few have even dropped into a state of depression. As Martha and I visit our folks in the hospital, and in the nursing homes, we try to encourage them in the LORD, reminding them of His great promise of a new and eternal Kingdom to come, wherein there will be no more sickness, no more suffering, no more aging, and no more death.

Revelations 21:4

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.

John 14:1-6

1: Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

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 unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

4: And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.

5: Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?

6: Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Where was Christ going?  To Heaven!

Acts 1:6-11

6: When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?

The kingdom they are looking for is that great kingdom that Solomon reigned over after the death of his father, David. But David was the greatest King in the History of Israel. He was a warrior king.  It was David that subdued practically every enemy of Israel during his rule and reign over God’s people.

Yet the kingdom that Israel was looking for at the time of Christ was a vast and marvelous kingdom of peace, and joy, and happiness like that over which Solomon reigned in his early years, only with David on the throne.

My goodness…this is the kingdom we’re all looking for today. "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6:10)

And so the disciples ask Christ, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?

7: And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.

8: But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

9: And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.

10: And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;

11: Which also said, 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.

Dr. Roger Campbell once reported that the preaching of Heaven was a neglected subject in many churches throughout the land.

We preach about sin…

We preach about salvation.

We preach about hell (though it to is a subject that is neglected to a degree)

But Heaven is a subject seldom preached from the pulpit. Why? 

For one thing, the church is too comfortable right here at home. We’re not anxious to pack up and move to a place we’ve never been before. We want the blessings of God; joy, happiness, healing, and peace, but we’d rather have it all right here on planet Earth.

I’m reminded of Lot in the midst of Sodom. The angels came to take him out of the city because God was about to destroy it. And the Bible says:

Genesis 19:16

And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city.

Lot had treasures built up in Sodom. He wasn’t quite ready to walk away from all that he had.

Christ called the rich Farmer, who had worked so hard to store up for his retirement, a fool, because he had stored up treasurers for a future that was not going to come to pass. "…this night thy soul shall be required of thee.” (Luke 12:20)

In other words; though we may talk about one day going to Heaven and we may encourage others about heaven, the reality of our own personal experience is that our real treasures seem to be firmly planted right here on earth.

Lot didn’t want to be destroyed in the city. But even in the face of destruction he found himself caught up in the love of material things.

He was comfortable in Sodom.

He was at home in Sodom.

His family was in Sodom.

His work was in Sodom.

And, it seems apparent from his meeting with the angels at the very gate of the city, he held a position of honor and respect in the community. But the community was totally sold out to sin and immorality, completely engulfed in homosexuality, and God was fed up with their wickedness. And so, at the request of Abraham, the angels had come to Sodom to lead Lot and his family out (GRACE) before total destruction came.

We, like Lot, have found a certain comfortableness here on planet Earth. So much so, that one of these days God is going to send out His angels again, because of the Love of Christ, and gather us all away to be with Him, before he destroys this wayward world in which we have become so comfortable.

He’s going to come and carry us away into Heaven. Because, Heaven is real place. It’s a place that exists UP!

Jesus was caught up into heaven. The Bible says, God looks down from heaven (Psalm 33:13-14). Jacob in a dream saw the angels of heaven descending and ascending a great ladder that came down to earth from heaven (Genesis 28:12)!

And so Heaven is a real place!

John 14:1-3

1: Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

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 unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

Heaven is a prepared place. It’s a place prepared by the very same one that created all things in the very beginning.

John 1:1-3

1: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

2: The same was in the beginning with God.

3: All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

John 1:10-12

10: He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

11: He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

12: But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

His name is Jesus, and as he created all things in the beginning, He is now preparing a new and wonderful place for every believer.

And so heaven is a prepared place. And Heaven is a place where God looks down upon all the children of men.

Psalm 11:4

The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD's throne is in heaven: his eyes behold …the children of men.”

What kind of a place is Heaven?

o        A place of music and singing:

Revelation 5:9

And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;

Isaiah 55:12

For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

o        A place of praise:

Revelation 7:9-12

9: After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;

10: And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.

11: And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,

12: Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.

o        A place of service:

Revelation 7:13-15

13: And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?

14: And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

15: Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.

o        A place of comfort:

Revelation 7:16-17

16: They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.

17: For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

o        A place of rest:

Revelation 14:12-13

12: Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

13: And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours;

o        A place of beauty:

Revelation 21:10, 23

10: And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,

23: And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.

Heaven is a real place. It’s a prepared place.

It’s a place of worship,

a place of comfort,

a place of rest,

and a place of beauty!

And finally, it’s a place where, even today, you can lay up treasures.

Matthew 6:19-21

19: Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

20: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

21: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

How can we lay up treasures in heaven? We lay up treasure in heaven when we, unselfishly, serve the Lord Jesus Christ, and others.

How is your service lately? How much treasure have you laid up in heaven since you gave your lives to Christ?