On April 15th, many of you know that a terrible event happened. Two bombs exploded at the Boston marathon. Three people were killed and hundreds of others gravely injured. But even since then, murders and deaths continue, not only here but all over the world. When I see all of the things that happen in this world, I think "How do we live in a world like this?"
I believe that there are three ways in which we can respond to this world: 1) depression - we just feel terrible about all that is going on and we feel stressed. It makes us live fearful and anxious lives. We feel overwhelmed. 2) denial/distraction - many people don't want to know what it going on in the world or keep up with the news. We distract ourselves from the brokenness of this world by focusing on just making our lives more comfortable. We can become addicted to food, media, shopping, even work and school can be something we use to distract us from the pain in the this world. 3) But a third way we can respond to this world is dependence upon Jesus Christ.
We need to confront the reality of suffering, we can mourn with those who mourn, we can pray for those in need because we know that there is a God who is totally in control. We live in dependence upon the truth and sovereignty of our God. And while there is much pain in this world, God tells us that it won't be forever.
It is in these times that I long for heaven. And it is important to understand the truth about what the Bible teaches us about heaven. To find out more about heaven we looked at Revelation 21:22-22:5 this past Sunday.
From this passage we learn that there are three things that won't be in heaven: a) there won't be a temple; b) there will be no night and no need for the sun and the moon; c) nothing impure will be there and no one who does what is shameful or deceitful.
But we also learn three things that will be there: a) the river of the water of life; b) the tree of life; and c) the throne of God and of the Lamb. This is the most important aspect of heaven . It isn't about being comfortable for eternity, but the joy of heaven is being with God forever and seeing His face!
Although heaven will be wonderful and something to look forward to, the question remains, "Will you be there?"
Revelation 21:27 tells us that "only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life" will enter heaven. How do you know if your name is in the book? This is the good news! Our name is written in the book of life because of Christ's goodness and not our own. There is nothing we can do that is good enough to get us in and nothing bad enough that we've done that will keep us out. Our dependence is wholly upon Christ.
Have you responded to the offer of forgiveness? Have you decided to turn from your sin and receive the abundance of mercy and grace that is ours in Christ?
Will you be there?