Sunday, December 27, 2009

Heaven : Part 3 - Heaven's Occupants

Part 3 - HEAVEN

Heaven’s Occupants

Pastor Bruce A. Shields

House of Faith Church | www.PS127.org | www.TruthDigest.org

INTRODUCTION

Who is in heaven right now, and who isn’t?

We’ve talked about where heaven is, and what it looks like.

We have also talked about the difference between heaven and the thousand year reign of Christ, and that there is going to be a NEW heaven.

Today we are going to look at who is in heaven right now and who isn’t.

We have already established that God is in heaven, though He is by no means limited (or confined) to one place.

We have also read scripture which tells us that Jesus is there, seated at the right hand of God to make intercessions for believers.

Last week we also talked about the cherubim and seraphim that are worshipping and praising God continually around the throne.

But we haven’t talked about a few others that are there.

I. THE SAINTS OF GOD ARE THERE

II Corinthians 5:1-10 1Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, 3because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

6Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7We live by faith, not by sight. 8We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

a. When believers are absent from their bodies, they are at home with Christ, whom we know currently sits at the right hand of God in the third heaven.

b. Revelation 14:13 13Then I heard a voice from heaven say, "Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on."
"Yes," says the Spirit, "they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them."

c. All those who die in the Lord (saved by His blood, and have accepted His covenant) are in heaven right now. As the scripture says in Revelation, they are resting, they are blessed, they are happy.

They are awaiting the glorious first resurrection... (The rapture) When the dead in Christ (Those who died belonging to Him and waiting in heaven) will be raised incorruptible and the saints who are still living will be changed and caught up in glorified bodies to meet Jesus in the air, to dwell with Him forever.

There will be no more sorrow, no more heartache, no more disappointments, no farewells, no more pain, and no more death.

There will just be one eternal day of peace and joy in the presence of Jesus and all of the redeemed.

II. ANGELIC HOSTS ARE THERE

a. Hebrews 12:21-24 21The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, "I am trembling with fear."

22But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, 24to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

b. Angels are messengers of heaven. Angels leave paradise to come to earth on special missions. And although there has been a wall put up between our world and the spiritual that prevent us from seeing these angels, the Word of God makes it clear that they are here on earth from heaven.

c. Psalm 34:7 7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them.

d. Angels are sent forth to earth to minister to those who are born again. Hebrews 1:14 14Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?

e. We see in the scriptures numerous examples of the Angels bringing messages to earth.

i. Genesis 21:17 to encourage Hagar

ii. Genesis 18 to tell Abraham we would have Isaac

iii. Genesis 19 they visited Lot

iv. Galatians 3:19 Paul tells us it was angels that put the law into Moses’ hand on Mount Sinai

There are dozens of more examples through the scriptures, in Old and New Testaments showing messages from God being brought to earth by angels from heaven.

III. WHO WILL NOT BE THERE?

We know that not all are going to this beautiful place that Jesus has gone to prepare for us.

Not everyone will spend eternity in bliss and perfect peace with Jesus.

In Thomas Gray's poem, Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College (1742):

He says; "Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise."

Ignorance is bliss...but there is coming a day when all will have understanding.

I Corinthians 13:11-12

11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

There are some who insist on living childishly, thinking that they will be exempt from the disciplines and judgments of God if they somehow claim ignorance to what God has commanded them.

When the scripture say, “Be like a child”, they refer to a perfect trust in the Father, not behaving in an immature manner, trying to remain ignorant of the truth and responsibility of scripture.

When you stand before the Lord on judgment day, there will be no excuse.

James 1:22 22Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

Have you deceived yourself?

Have you tried to remain ignorant of God’s Word in hopes of bypassing the coming judgment?

II Corinthians 5:10

10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

You may fool some of the people on earth, especially those who are not walking in the Spirit, and you may fool yourself, the scripture says you can, but you are not fooling God.

Matthew 10:32-33

32"Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.

Jesus sitting at the right hand of God as an intercessor for us, acknowledging us, or disowning us to God.

Do you acknowledge Jesus?

Admit, recognize, and accept?

How about concede, allow or grant?

Acknowledging is more than saying, “Yeah, there’s a Jesus”

James 2:19-20

19You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. 20You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?

James tells us, here is you evidence that believing without acting is useless...even the demons believe.

Or, maybe you have disowned Jesus?

You may say, “I would never!”

That is the same thing Peter said to Jesus, just before he disowned him three times.

Disown can be better described as “turning your back on”.

How do you turn your back on Jesus?

One way is to live in sin.

Are you living with a sin right now that you know is sin, yet you continue to live in it?

The scriptures tell us you cannot serve two masters.

So, are you a slave to sin, or a slave to Christ?

You cannot be both.

Revelation 21:7-8

6He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death."

These, will not be in heaven saith the Lord.

Revelation 21:27

27Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.

Regardless of how “good” a person is, or how “good” their intensions, regardless of how high their moral standards are, regardless of how honest they were, if your name is not written in the Lambs Book of Life you will not be entering into the beautiful place that Jesus has gone to prepare for those who belong to Him.

The place He is preparing for those He is coming back for.

Those who have made Him first in their lives, acknowledging Him to others, submitting to everything He has commanded, having their names in His Book of Life.

CLOSING

You too can have your name in the Lamb’s Book of Life, simply be confessing that you are a sinner, and you need Jesus to be your Lord.

Then repent of that sin, and submit to God’s Word, and Jesus will change you from the inside out, and you will have a claim in the coming Kingdom.