SERIES: Topical Messages: Heaven
SETTING: North Kelso Baptist Church
SERVICE: Sunday AM (October 11, 2015)
SUBTITLE: Heaven: Our Heart & Our Home
SCRIPTURE: Selected Scriptures
SUBJECT: The program in Heaven
SUMMARY: Believers will be active in heaven
SCHEME: To prove that believers will be actively engaged in activity rather than sitting around on a cloud.
Our theme is: Believers will be active in heaven
Proposition: Heaven is comprised of engaging activity
Interrogatory Sentence: What will our life be like in heaven?
Transitional Sentence: There are at least four (4) activities that will occupy believer’s time in the eternal heaven
Believers will be active in heaven by:
• The Adoration of The King
• The Administration of the Kingdom
• The Action of the Kingdom
• The Absorption of the Kingdom
Heaven: Our Heart & Our Home
Selected Scriptures * Part 6
Huck Finn said that he thought heaven was a place where a person would "go around all day long with a harp and sing, forever and ever."
What will haven be like?
What will you do in heaven for eternity, forever?
The trouble is that there are a good number of wrong ideas about what believers are going to do in heaven. The reason here are so many wrong and bad ideas about what we will be doing in heaven is that we rarely mediate on heaven. Most believers have a distorted view of what heaven will be like.
We have a tendency to neglect to set our minds on heaven or to meditate on it.
I want to clear away the junk that affects our thinking about what heaven is like or what we will be doing in heaven that bombards us from cultural confusion.
I want us to think about some of the activity that we will participate in for eternity.
This morning I want to share with you what we can glean from the scriptures about what heaven will be like and what we will be doing.
Our theme is: Believers will be active in heaven
Proposition: I propose to you that heaven will be a place of bustling activity.
Interrogatory Sentence: What will we do in heaven?
Transitional Sentence: Well, There are at least four (4) activities that we can glean from Scripture that describes what will occupy the time of believers.
Believers will be engaged in the…
• Adoration of the eternal God
• Administration of the eternal Kingdom
• Action of the eternal earth
• Absorption of the Kingdom
[But before we dig in, let’s take a couple of minutes and…]
We are continuing in our series about heaven. It is called Heaven: Our Heart and our Hope.
Last week we looked at what our third major point in this series called, the perfection of heaven. We saw that heaven will be absolute perfection for at least three (3) reasons.
Heaven will be perfect…
1B Because of what heaven provides
We saw that heaven will provide at least four (4) things. Heaven will provide Radiant Happiness, Restored Health, Resolute Haven, and Robust Holidays
Secondly, we saw that heaven will be perfect…
2B Because of what heaven promotes
We looked last week and saw that heaven promoted at least four (4) things. Heaven will promote Perfect bonds (relationships,) Perfect bodies, perfect beliefs, and heaven will promote perfect beings.
Thirdly, we saw that heaven will be perfect because of what heaven promises…
Our study showed us that heaven promises at least four (4) things. Heaven promises perfection, transformation, glorification, and unification.
Even with very little being revealed bout Heaven, we do know that Heaven will absolutely perfect.
[Now let’s move to our…]
TRUTH FOR TODAY
4A The Program in Heaven
It is amazing to me that this particular topic can bring up so much discussion. And not only discussion, but some wild ideas ranging from the somewhat juvenile to even the negative.
Most of us have seen the pictures where an angelic looking individual is sitting on a cloud, sporting wings, strumming a harp. Sometimes a halo is thrown in.
The problem with this idea, not mentioning how incorrect it is, it gives the idea that heaven is going to be a very boring place with very little to do.
Friedrich Nietzsche, once said; “In heaven, all the interesting people are missing.”
Blaise Pascal wrote: “I would prefer an intelligent hell to a stupid paradise.”
Isaac Asimov offered his opinion when he said; “I don't believe in an afterlife, so I don't have to spend my whole life fearing hell, or fearing heaven even more. For whatever the tortures of hell, I think the boredom of heaven would be even worse.”
Tom Rosenthal wrote and recorded a song:
I don’t want to go to heaven if you will not be there
It would be boring without you , it would be boring
There’d be too many Christians there and
They’ll be trying to be nice, but it’s easy to be nice
It is easy
So what do I do, too many eyes are set on you
and I am just one man
I think hell would be alright
there’d be things to do at night
we could dance with evils types and their brothers
we wouldn’t be starting wars we’ll be the rebels
without a cause and our Gods wont need applause from anyone
That is probably the most dismal opinion of heaven I have come across.
Well, regardless of what people think and write many people do think heaven will be dull and unexciting. They think it will be a place of inactivity and uninteresting, and void of things to do.
Of course a good number of people think that all we will do in heaven is sing worship songs and have one eternal church service.
[So, what will we really be doing in heaven?]
The Bible doesn’t totally answer this question. It doesn’t give us a lot of details. But the bible does share some activities that we will do in eternity. Let me offer my opinion, looking at these activities I think heaven is going to be a fun and exciting place.
Heaven will be a place of constant activity…
We will be actively involved in…
1B The Adoration of the King
Rev 5:11-14 says, “Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousands times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice:
‘Worth is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing.’
And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying,
‘Blessing and honor and glory and power be to him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever”’
Then the four living creatures said, ‘Amen!’ And the twenty four elders fell down and worshipped Him who lives forever and ever.” (Rev 5:11-14, NKJV)
There is going to be active praise and worship – adoration of the triune for the indescribable salvation that God provided for us through the atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary.
Please don’t think that the only form of worship will be singing and praising in the sanctuary of the temple in the New Jerusalem. Those times will be magnified millions of times more than we can imagine now.
But there is going to be a different kind of worship. God created Adam and Eve and their descendants to subdue and rule over every living creature.
Nowhere in the Scriptures did God ever rescind that command. We will fulfill that command as we rule by and with Jesus Christ. Every act of service will be an act of worship to God.
Randy Alcorn wrote: “All that we do will be an act of worship. We’ll enjoy full and unbroken fellowship with Christ…We will overflow with gratitude and praise. We are created to worship God. There’s no higher pleasure.”
So, there seems to be times of formal worship and there seems to be times of worship through everyday activity in the eternal kingdom of God.
This, by the way, is the attitude that we should have now. Everything that we do, whether it is cooking a meal, painting a house, driving a car, working a 9-5 job – anything, is to be an act of worship to God.
This is why the things that the lost do are actually an abomination to the Lord. They are not done for His glory nor as an act of worship.
Heaven will be a place of constant activity.
The first activity that will keep us from boredom will be the worship of the adoration of the King.
Secondly, heaven will be a place of constant activity as we will be involved in…
2B The Administration of the Kingdom
We will rule or administrate in the kingdom of God. What does it mean to rule and administrate?
I think we can best answer this question by looking at the office of the President. Not mind you I didn’t say by looking at the President, just the office.
The president who is the “chief” ruler or administrator in America has a cabinet. It is obvious that he can’t do all of the jobs that need to be done.
• He has 39 cabinet members – we call them “Secretaries.”
• They are delegated authority & duties by the President
• They make decisions and rule under his authority
Many believers will be actively judging, even ruling, and administrating in the eternal heaven on the new earth. Listen to the Apostle Paul:
“Do you not know that saints will judge the world? Do you not now that we will judge angels? (1 Cor 6:2-3a)
Here a few more examples:
In 2 Timothy 2:12 we read, "If we endure, we will also reign with Him..."
In the book of Revelation we read we will be "priests of God and of Christ" and we will "reign with him for a thousand years" ..."over the nations" (Rev. 20:6; 2:26).
"Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end" (Isaiah 9:7).
"Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One..." (Daniel 7:27).
Read Luke 19:11-27, The Parable of the Minas
John MacArthur explains that to "judge" can also be translated to "govern." So we will be governing men on earth and angels from the heavenly realm during the Millennium (after the Tribulation period).
The bible tells that we will rule over:
+ Resurrected Old Testament saints
+ Resurrected Tribulation saints
+ Unbelieving adults & children who are Tribulation survivors
Famous Moody Church scholar and author Erwin Lutzer says,
“The discovery of the immensity of the universe does not diminish but actually magnifies man's role in the cosmos. For if Christ is to rule over all things and we are to reign with Him, then we will be ruling over all the galaxies, affirming Christ's Lordship over the whole universe.”
Suffering Produces Kingdom Leadership Traits
To that end we need to develop certain character traits - Kingdom leadership qualities - in order to rule effectively. After all, the final goal for all Christians is to gain Christ like qualities such that we may rule with Christ over the universe. We will become "partakers" or "companions" of Christ if we hold fast (Heb. 3:14). We will become "metochoi" or servant kings once we have endured suffering (Dillow 1990, 569).
Peter tells us we must be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for we were called for the very purpose that we might inherit a blessing (1 Pet. 3:8-9, ESV).
The apostle Paul says we are to "rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character"... (Romans 5:3-4, NASB).
The very reason for your suffering today may be to prepare you to be a ruler or administrator in the eternal heaven or the eternal kingdom of God.
Knowing that we will be given authority on the New Earth should help give us some perspective in our lives today. Though we may have hopes and dreams, and we may feel slighted by God when those hopes and dreams fall through, we must understand that God is preparing us now for our positions in Heaven. He is grooming us for something better. One day, we will dream greater dreams and we will get to live them out in eternity with Christ.
So, the first activity that will keep us from boredom will be the worship of the adoration of the King. And the second activity that will keep us from boredom will be the administration of the kingdom.
I still propose that:
Heaven will be a place of constant activity.
Thirdly, heaven will be a place of constant activity as we will be involved in…
3B The Action of the Kingdom
We will serve in heaven.
Rev 7:15 reads, “Therefore they are before the throne of God and serve Him day and night in His temple.” (Rev 7:15, NKJV)
The Bible also says that God will have work for us in heaven — and we ought to be glad for this! After all, if all we did in heaven was sit around with nothing to do, we’d get very bored. God will have work for us to do. The Bible says, “His servants will serve him” (Revelation 22:3).
In the future Kingdom there will be different positions and responsibilities.
So, the question is not, “Will we work in heaven,” but, “What will we be doing in our future life on earth?” The answer to this question can be found in the Word of God.
The Lord is going to make a new earth that will literally be an “Eden” or “Paradise” and, just as God gave Adam and Eve work to do in the Original Paradise, there will be work to do in the coming Paradise.
In fact, looking back at what God gave Adam and Eve to do in the Garden of Eden provides a prototype or a snapshot of what life will be like in the future Paradise. Genesis 2:15 speaks about two tasks that Adam and Eve had to perform. God put them in Eden “to  work it and  take care of it.”
The NASB says, “To cultivate it and keep it.” Like any farm or garden, Eden required work or “cultivation.” Adam and Eve had to cultivate the garden just as any farmer has to cultivate and work the soil and take care of the plants.
Eden was a garden with wonderful fruits and vegetables, and therefore the second part of Adam and Eve’s job was to “take care of” or “keep” it. The Hebrew word translated “take care of” is shamar, which means, “oversee, protect, keep, have charge of, tend (for flocks and herds), guard, watch, preserve.” The world was full of animals and, in the Original Paradise, all of them were plant eaters (Gen. 1:30). Part of Adam and Eve’s work was to guard the garden and keep the wild animals from grazing in the Garden of Eden.
Imagine Eve looking out the window of her house and shouting; “Adam, the lions are eating my favorite shrubbery. Adam! Get them away from my bushes!” Remember, lions will again eat plants in the future, so you may end up shooing them away from your bushes or your vegetable garden.
God gave Adam and Eve authority and responsibility in the Garden of Eden. He gave them work to do. It should, therefore, be no surprise that various types of work will be part of life on the new earth. The types or work mentioned below are almost always found in the context of the Millennial Kingdom, not the Everlasting Kingdom.
Some types of work are clearly stated, while others are only implied. Those that are clearly stated include:
1) Administration and ruler ship. Isa. 1:26; 32:1; Jer. 3:15; 23:4; Ezek. 44:24; Matt. 19:28; 1 Cor. 6:2 and 3; 2 Tim. 2:12; Rev. 2:26 and 27.
2) Builders. Isa. 54:12; 60:10; 61:4; Jer. 30:18; Ezek. 36:10 and 33; Amos 9:14.
3) Cleanup duties. Isa. 9:5; Ezek. 39:14 and 15.
4) Farmers. Isa. 30:23 and 24; 32:20; 61:5; 62:9; Jer. 31:5 and 12; Ezek. 36:9 and 34; 47:12; 48:19; Amos 9:13.
5) Fishermen. Ezek. 47:10.
6) Gravediggers. Ezek. 39:14 and 15.
7) Herdsmen. Isa. 30:23 and 24; 60:6 and 7; 61:5; Jer. 31:12.
8) Landscapers. Isa. 60:13.
9) Metalworkers. Isa. 2:4; 60:17; Micah 4:3.
10) Servants. Isa. 14:2.
11) Temple duties for those Levites who were not pure-hearted. Ezek. 44:10–14.
12) Temple duties for those Levites who stayed faithful. Ezek. 44:15 and 16.
13) Vinedressers. Isa. 25:6; 62:9; Jer. 31:12; Amos 9:13
14) Workers. Ezek. 48:19.
Types of work that are implied but not specifically mentioned include:
1) Cooks, butchers, and bakers. Isa. 25:6.
2) Musicians. Although everyone will sing and make merry, it seems there will be a need for specialists as there always has been. Isa. 35:10; 65:14; Jer. 30:19; 31:4.
3) Tentmakers. Isa. 54:2; Jer. 30:18.
4) Weavers, tailors, and seamstresses (clothes are worn in the Kingdom). Ezek. 44:17-19; Rev. 19:13, 14.
Even though we don’t have a lot of detail and some references are vague, we can come to the conclusion that there will be work, service, and activity or action during in the kingdom and in the eternal heaven.
It seems that the work began on earth in this life will continue in the eternal heaven here on earth.
Randy Alcorn wrote; “We’ll be a great community on the new earth. The gifts, skills, passions, and tasks that God grants each of us will not only be for his glory and our good but also for the good of our larger family. God will rejoice as we thrive together, interdependently, in the new earth’s continuously creative culture.”
I think there is at least one thing that we can safely conclude and agree upon – we will be totally fulfilled, working and serving God. We will delight in it and take great joy and pleasure from it.
So, the first activity that will keep us from boredom will be the worship of the adoration of the King. And the second activity that will keep us from boredom will be the administration of the kingdom. The third activity that will keep us from boredom will be the action or activity of the kingdom.
I still propose that:
Heaven will be a place of constant activity.
Fourthly, heaven will be a place of constant activity as we will be involved in…
4B The Absorption of the Kingdom
Benjamin Franklin formed a very close friendship with a Frenchwoman, who was 40 years younger than himself, when he was the American Minister in Paris. They wrote numerous letters to each other and though she refused all his proposals, she did finally agree to marry him in heaven, and live on roasted apples. If that was the best he could hope for, he wrote back and endorsed the plan. In the next world he said, they would eat the apples of paradise roasted with butter and nutmeg and they would pity those who were not dead.
A common question by many people is will there be food and eating in heaven? Yes there is food in heaven and we will eat.
We are going to feast and eat the Lord and his people.
Isaiah 25:6 says, “On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.”
It is interesting to note that when the Lord Jesus celebrated the Passover with His disciples shortly before His crucifixion, He referred to eating and drinking in the kingdom.
“Assuredly, I say to you, I will no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the Kingdom of God’” (Mark 14:25).
The earthly millennial kingdom is certainly in view here, and in that kingdom all who are His followers will have already received their resurrection bodies
Matthew 8:11 discusses that many will come to eat at the future feast with the Lord: "I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven." Here, it appears eating together with the Lord will take place even though food will not be required to sustain life. Luke 14:15 adds Jesus saying, "Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!"
Sixth, Revelation 19:9 states, "Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb." People eat at a marriage supper, so it would be reasonable to expect a celebration involving food with the Lord.
Two principles emerge from these and similar passages.
First, food will no longer be essential to sustain life in heaven. However, it is seems that people will eat together with the Lord in heaven. This is not simply to sustain life, but rather to enjoy fellowship and to celebrate together forever.
Secondly, eating together will be an act of giving glory to God, something commanded even for when we eat now: "So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31).
So, heaven will not be boring. We will not be sitting around on a cloud playing a harp sporting wings and a halo. We will be active.
[What do you say we wrap this up?]
Any further anticipation about what we shall do in God's eternal park, heaven, will be far surpassed when "the King shall say to those on His right hand, 'Come, blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world'" (Matthew 25:34).
Whatever we will be doing, we can be sure it will be wonderful beyond our imaginations! I can without fear guarantee that we will not be bored in heaven. The program of activities will keep us busy as we worship, serve, fellowship, and feast with the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords and all of his redeemed people.
So, What Should You Do? (Application)
Practice doing all that you do now for the glory of God, since you may be doing it for all of eternity.
Reckon, which is far more than just acknowledging that all that God directs or permits to happen to us in this life is preparation for our roles in eternity.
Learn to delight in God and his service now since we will enjoy him and delight in him for all of eternity in the eternal heaven on the new earth