On Easter Sunday, I asked the question, "Why did Jesus rise from the dead?" One of the reasons I gave is that Jesus rose from the dead to show us what is to come. Instead of the slogan YOLO (you only live once) our slogan should be L4E (live for eternity). But what does it mean to live for eternity? Do we even know what eternity is all about? This Sunday I chose to preach from Revelation 21:1-6, which tells us what the Bible says about heaven.
According to this passage, one aspect of heaven is that it will be new. In approaching the book of Revelation, I come with great humility knowing that there are many varied interpretations that are steadfastly held. Even this issue of newness is controversial. Some theologians believe that the old heavens and the old earth will be destroyed and a new heavens and earth created. Other theologians believe that what is destroyed is the evil and sin in the world, thus the old heavens and old earth will be so renewed without evil and sin that it will new in quality and character rather than in time.
But whichever you believe, we do know that it will be new - there will be no more crying or mourning or death or pain. Secondly, the Bible tells us that heaven will be like a city. The apostle John sees the New Jerusalem descend upon the new earth. This city represents the best of humanity's desire to reside together in perfect community and in perfect communion with God.
The third thing we learn about heaven is that God will be there. For now, the Holy Spirit dwells in those who believe in Christ, but at the end of the age, "God himself will be with them and will be their God." The most important aspect of heaven isn't about us -heaven isn't being in a place where all of our needs are met or all of our dreams fulfilled. Heaven is being with God forever and enjoying His presence on the new earth, having Him actually dwell among us again as He did with Adam and Eve in Eden.
How do we get to heaven? In Revelation 21:6 the voice from the throne says, "To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life." Those who are seeking God will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13) as they repent and receive the salvation that Jesus Christ offers freely. The good news is that there is nothing good enough we've done that gets us into heaven and nothing bad enough we've done to keep us out. But only by the free gift of Jesus Christ are we saved.
So how do we #L4E? How do we live now in light of eternity? Because we have the promise and assurance of heaven, we have hope. There is a bigger picture. We don't have to strive to have all of our needs met in this world but because we know that there is a better place we have perseverance. God is with us in the difficult and hard times and will give us strength. This gives us purpose. We are invited to live not only for ourselves but also for others. We have the hope that God can use our lives for His purpose in this world!
Will you live for eternity this week?