A Place for you – part two
“I go to prepare a place for you” John 14:2
I return today to my Sermon entitled “A PLACE FOR YOU”.
In part one, (last week) we looked at the place to which the Holy Spirit brings every believer, their place in God, and their place in History, – His Story.
Today I want to look at another place which has been prepared for the Children of God, the place which we call Heaven.
Amongst the last words spoken to His disciples, Jesus gave them a promise, that a place was to be prepared for them, and that He would come again to bring them into that place. Let me read to you exactly what our Lord said in John 14 … verses 1-3
“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.”
As I pointed out in part one, the Greek word that Jesus uses here for “place” is the word “topos” which not only means an inhabited place, but also means a place or passage in a story!
We can all have our place in History, His Story, and although we cannot possibly imagine what Heaven is like, the Bible does give us some very vital clues as to what we can expect there in the PLACE Jesus has gone to prepare for us. So then, let us consider some of those clues today as they are Spiritually revealed to us.
Heaven is a place of perfect Government, a place we can call Home, a place of enlarged service, a place of unhindered worship, a place of open or clear vision, a place of inheritance, a place without sin, sorrow, separation or sickness, a place of blessed reunion, a place of unlimited pleasures and a Holy Place!
Twelve weeks ago in my Sermon entitled “In My Fathers House” we focused on the words of the apostle Paul when He wrote:
“Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him;” quoting from 1 Corinthians 2:9 and the next verse—”But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 2:10.
So our focus today will be on those things which the Spirit has revealed through the word.
Firstly, Heaven is …
A PLACE OF PERFECT GOVERNMENT
Jesus taught in the Sermon on the mount that when we Pray we should ask that …”Gods will be done on earth as it is in Heaven” Matt 6:10 There is nothing done in Heaven that is not the will of God… nothing! This is why Satan fell like lightning when He attempted to thwart the purposes of God. Luke 10:18. God threw Him out for ever! God is in full control, He is the Sovereign Lord and He never leaves His throne, and never will. Of course we must remember that the “throne” is an office and not a chair. When the Queen goes to bed she has not “left the Throne” she continues in office in spite of her actual physical location in her bedroom. So too with God, He remains in office, as Sovereign, and will remain “King of Kings and Lord of Lords”. When God came down to meet with Moses on the top of Mount Sinai, giving him the Ten Commandments, Exodus 19:20 He still remained King, enthroned in Heaven. I believe that Gods will and purpose for this planet was that He might always be King – sovereign over all things. The Children of Israel murmured before Samuel the Prophet, and God who was their Sovereign, gave in and allowed a man, Saul, to become the first King over Israel, then David and then Solomon and so on. 1 Samuel 8:22 But this does not mean that God had wavered from His desire to be King of Love and King of Life crowned in every heart. History has recorded for us, and present day events also, the awful mess that men have made of Gods world. Even in Samuels day the people eventually realized their error, and saw that in asking for a King, they had committed a great evil. 1 Samuel 12:19
There has been no “perfect” Government in any part of this world in six thousand years of History. But there is perfect Government in Heaven, and Jesus himself will bring it here to earth for the 1000 years of His millennium reign, when the Kingdoms of this world will become the Kingdom of Christ, and He shall reign for Ever!
Secondly, Heaven is …
A PLACE WE CAN CALL HOME
In John 14.2. Jesus said; “In my Fathers House are many mansions, … I go to prepare a place for you” As I have indicated before in my sermons, the Greek word translated “mansions” here is the word “moné” meaning a “staying, abiding or dwelling place” but really gives no indication of any earthly grandeur, of the sort we commonly associate with a Mansion? Simply, its a place we will call HOME!
I think this is a wonderful promise … Jesus has gone to “prepare” a home for me? I have had the privilege of living in several homes during my life so far, and all of which have been places of great blessing to me. It was fun to make the plans and preparations for moving, and even more fun to decorate them to my liking and my pleasing. If you know me, you will know that not everyone would like the things I like, nor would they have in their living spaces, the things I enjoy having in mine. So when Jesus says that HE is preparing my PLACE, my Eternal Home, I get excited about what it might look like. Not that I could ever image it, but I know that He knows me, and that it will be perfectly suited to my taste and my liking. Praise God! I also know that I will be more than Happy to call it “Home” since it has been personally tailored for my living.
Yet in all of this excitement, I cannot help but think that there are many today who have no Home in the Glory, and no prospect of any home there, simply because they have made no preparation at all for their eternal well-being? You may be one of them? Jesus asks us to “lay up treasure in Heaven” and these treasures are the building blocks, the materials that He uses to prepare that place for us. If we are not investing our time, our talents, our energies and our resources in an eternal home and homeland, then whatever else we might have, it will pass away with time itself.
God has to change our “state” to give us our “estate”.
Thirdly, Heaven is …
A PLACE OF ENLARGED SERVICE
In the book of the Revelation, chapter 22. verse 3 we read … “his servants shall serve him”. Some imagine that heaven is a place where we sit on damp clouds all day and sing hymns? This idea is nonsense, divorced from any morsel of truth, and erroneous in the extreme. Heaven in a place of Service. Heaven is for Work and Worship. (and we shall consider the worship in a moment) First of all let us consider the work we might do in Heaven. The Bible declares “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours;
and their works do follow them”. Rev 14:13
Some might ask, “how can Heaven be a place of enlarged Service, since we rest from our labours”? Let me explain. There are two kinds of work. Kings and Presidents, Farmers and Financiers, You and I will all do both kinds, week in and week out. There is HARD work, that which is normally and naturally associated with the “sweat of the brow” and there is EASY work – work that demands little or no effort. For example for me, the preparation of the Sermon, is the Hard Work, while the delivery of it, in a Pulpit,
Platform, Studio or Sanctuary is the easy bit! It takes a lot of time to put together a sermon, from the time the Holy Spirit prompts me with a Scripture, to the time it is all typed or written up, usually takes me about three full days in any week. The delivery of it, takes about 20 or 25 minutes. I usually enjoy delivering it, and I invariably endure preparing it … yet both are essential.
The Work and Service in Heaven cannot be anything like work or service here, since it has not entered into our imagination the things prepared for us there. But I do know this, that we “rest from our labours” so, there can be no laborious tasks or work in Heaven. Everything we do, will always be a delight, and never a drudgery! Praise God. I have also said it is … “Enlarged” service, since we shall be occupied in it for all eternity.
Heaven also is …
A PLACE OF UNHINDERED WORSHIP
Again the book of the Revelation declares that in Heaven “day and night they never cease to sing” Rev 4:8. Now we know that in the absence of time, and in eternity, there is no such thing as Day & Night? The Sun does not rise and set there as it does here, for the Sun is not the source of the light there. Rather the phrase “day & night” implies an unending worship …. a worship without the hindrances of time, or the distraction of any other demands.
Many of us have experienced times of near “euphoria” in worship where the presence and power of God was as real as the air we breathed in. I remember a while ago being in a great Crusade Meeting in the Crystal Palace Stadium in London where American Evangelist Dr Billy Graham was speaking. Earlier in the day, together with a group of clergy from Northern Ireland, we had met Dr Graham, and had been given opportunity to speak with him.
The highlight of that meeting, was later in the day as the Crusade meeting got underway. I recon that there were over 25 Thousand people packed into that stadium that day, and as we stood to sing the opening Hymn, “How Great Thou Art”, the whole place was electrified with anticipation and worship. I couldn’t sing, I was so emotionally and spiritually moved thinking that the Great God Himself was right there with us. (for He inhabits our Praise)
Sadly, the worship ended, and the meeting too was brought to its conclusion. But this is not so regarding Heaven. Worship there (the Bible says) will never end, and there will be no silence; for if I stop singing, another will start. We will need no score or hymn-sheet, … for the words, in the language of Heaven,
will be written on our hearts.
Heaven too is …
A PLACE OF OPEN VISION
Here our vision of Heaven is blocked, we can see only a few things that the Spirit of God shows us in the word. The apostle John writes:
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be….” 1 John 3:2. – and the apostle Paul says:
“…now we see thru a glass darkly but then face to face” 1.Cor 13:12.
It is as if we peer through a darkened window into a darkened room, we can see a little, but not a lot. One day the light will be switched on, and all of Heaven will be revealed to us. The Hymn writer said:
“What a day that will be, when my Jesus I shall see, I shall look upon his face, the one who saved me by his grace,
When He takes me by the hand and leads me through the
promised land, what a day, glorious day, that will be!”
Then, Heaven is …
A PLACE OF INHERITANCE
In this regard the apostle Peter writes of our inheritance as
“imperishable and undefiled, kept in Heaven for you” 1 Peter 1:4.
Jesus said that what is laid up in Heaven “neither moth or rust does corrupt it, and thieves do not break through to steal it” Matt 6:19
What I have in Heaven, needs no security company to mind it.
It needs no Government to guarantee it, it needs no human identification to mark it, it needs no expert to invest it, it needs no calculator to count it, it needs no advance notice to withdraw from it, IT IS MINE, it will never fade or fly, it is mine for ever. God has put my name on it, and no-one else can ever or could ever claim it.
What have you invested in Eternity?
Then, and I am most glad of this, that Heaven is …
A PLACE WITHOUT A SIN …..not even the shadow or memory of SIN. Nothing that defiles will ever enter in. Unless every Man, Woman and Child listening to my voice today has settled the sin issue, there can be no heaven for them. I am regularly amazed at the understanding some have about sin and its seriousness. We will speak of “white lies” and “black lies” of “mortal sins” and “venial sins” of “half truths” and “whole truth” and have little or no respect for what God actually calls sin? The world happily accepts and embraces many of the things that God calls SIN, and have been doing so for centuries. But just because an Evil has been in office for a long time, it does not make it Good. Just because we may RENAME sin and call it a mistake, an error, or a failing, it is still sin.
Then… HEAVEN IS A PLACE WITHOUT SORROW,
“for the Lord Himself will wipe away all tears from their eyes
and there shall be no more sorrow nor crying….” Rev 21:4
Most of us know the acute sorrow that comes from the loss of loved ones. The sorrow of SEPARATION also shall have passed away. Never again will we know the wrench of parting from those
whom we love. A while ago my heart was broken as I watched the tearful parents of a teenager lay the coffin of their young girl into the earth. I think this must be one of the greatest of all heartaches and the saddest or all sorrows – to lose ones child. Yet in Heaven, such will be no more. There is no more SICKNESS there either. No longer will Satan be able to give us “thorns in the flesh” those messengers of evil to hurt and harm us. Heaven will have no hospitals, no homes for the poor or the elderly, no orphanages, no disabled facilities, no asylums, no prisons, no pain and no end. The writer to the Hebrews says in chapter 13, “here we have no continuing city, but we look for one to come” A Permanent Place of Peace & Rest ETERNAL in the Heavens. Aren’t you looking forward to it?
Among the first things we will notice about Heaven is that it is…
A PLACE OF BLESSED REUNION
Many have asked me if we will know one another in Heaven. To this question I have always given a resounding YES! In the Gospels, we read that on one occasion, just a little before His crucifixion, Jesus took Peter, James and John to what we commonly call the “Mount of Transfiguration” – where miraculously and supernaturally, Moses and Elijah were translated through hundreds of years to be with them, and, this is the point, they were still recognizable. Mark 9:4. Speaking of the rapture or calling away of the Church the apostle Paul writes “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first; 1 Thess. 4:16 and in verse 17, he adds “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord”
This catching away together (the living and the dead in Christ) will be a moment of transformation, for He adds: “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” 1 Cor 15:52
Although changed, and now in an incorruptible body, a resurrected body, as was the body of our resurrected Saviour, we will be recognisable although changed and perfected. Hallelujah!
In conclusion, Heaven is …
A PLACE OF UNLIMITED PLEASURES
The Psalmist writes …
“in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore”. Psalm 16:11
At the Fathers right hand are pleasures for evermore. I believe that those pleasures are not of this world, not “earthy” or “fleshy” not “worldly” or “sensual” – but Spiritual Pleasures, grasped and experienced by those who live at “his right hand, and in His presence.” Here and now we can know something of the joy of living in His presence, and yet such joy here is limited. In Heaven, we shall be in the nearer presence of God, which means that there will be unlimited pleasures. Pleasures of which we could not imagine. Pleasures that are unending and unequalled by anything we have ever known before. I cannot give you any insight, there is simply no earthly equivalent or example available. In the dwelling place of God, nothing is forbidden, nothing is impossible, and nothing is withheld!
NOW THIS FINAL WORD
Heaven is A HOLY PLACE .
The story is told of a woman in the North of England who hung out her washing and was so proud of its whiteness. She thought it glistened! Later that day the snow came making a beautiful blanket of white all around her clothes-line. Seeing her clothes and the snow contrasted side by side, she exclaimed, “What can a poor woman do against God’s almighty snow?” So, in the white radiance of God’s holiness, we are led to exclaim, “What can any man or woman do against the purity of God Almighty”?
Heaven is a Holy Place. It is the place of the Pure, and none of us, including this Preacher qualify for it. There was only ever one who lived and died without Sin, without any defilement – and that was the Lord Jesus, and if you’ve accepted him, then you’ve accepted Heaven.
The Hymn writer said:
“I have no other argument, I need no other plea
it is enough that Jesus died and that he died for me”
On that, I rest my case, and claim my PLACE!
You must do it too.