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HEAVEN IS A PLACE!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills,
California on Saturday Afternoon, August 18, 2007

“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” (John 14:2).


There are many people who think we don’t know anything about Heaven. But that is not true. God has revealed a great deal about Heaven in the Bible. And what God has unveiled to us in the Scriptures is very encouraging, and ought to cause every one of us to want to go there when we die.

If we thought more about Heaven we would be able to prepare for it more wisely. Thoughts of Heaven would help us to be delivered from the power of greed and lust that binds us to this passing life. Thoughts of Heaven would make us more cheerful, happy people.

Shallow people tell us to keep our minds fixed on what we can get out of this world, and let the future take care of itself. That is as foolish as telling a young boy that he should think only about having fun today, without making any plans about what he will do when he grows up. A young person should prepare to be an adult. If he does not study well as a youth he will not have a good career in the future. Preparation for the life to come is even more important. That is what Jesus was talking about when He said,

“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”
      (John 14:2).

Notice that Jesus said Heaven is “a place.” “I go there to prepare a place for you.”

Heaven is a place of incomparable beauty and glory. It will be even better than the Garden of Eden before the Fall. Dr. Henry M. Morris said,

“The holy city, new Jerusalem,” is the place that Christ has been preparing for His own ever since He returned there after His resurrection (John 14:2, 3). It is that city “which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:10), that “Jerusalem which is above,” Galatians 4:26… (Henry M. Morris, Ph.D., The Defender’s Study Bible, World Bible Publishers, 1995, p. 1465; note on Revelation 21:2).

Dr. Joseph Stowell of the Moody Bible Institute said,

Heaven is the inevitable reality that is coming which gives us not only something to live for but also something to live toward in the midst of [earthly] realities that so often disappoint and defeat us. Heaven is the reality that someday we will escape the grip of our adversary and the defeating blows of this fallen world for a place that is far better…forever! (Joseph Stowell, D.D., Tim LaHaye Prophecy Study Bible, AMG Publishers, 2000, p. 1271).

Then also, Heaven is a place of wonderful companionships. As an old gospel song put it,

Friends will be there I have loved long ago;
Joy like a river around me shall flow;
Yet, just a smile from my Saviour, I know,
Will through the ages be glory for me…
   (“O That Will Be Glory” by Charles H. Gabriel, 1856-1932).

“Friends will be there I have loved long ago.” Yes, we will know each other in Heaven!

The night before he died, the Great Reformer Martin Luther was reasonably well, and sat with some of his friends at the dining room table. They were discussing whether we will know each other in Heaven. Luther said we would. One reason he gave was that Adam, as soon as he saw Eve, knew who she was “by Divine revelation”; so shall we know each other in the life to come.

Luther’s argument is strengthened by the fact that Peter knew Moses and Elijah when they appeared with Christ on the Mountain of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:3-4). Moses and Elijah had died hundreds of years earlier, but Peter knew who they were when he saw them on that mountain! We will see Moses, and know him. We will see Elijah, and know him. We will see Peter and Paul, and know them. I will see my mother, and know her. We will see our loved ones, and know them. “Friends will be there I have loved long ago; Joy like a river around me shall flow.”

Finally, Heaven is a place where we will be free from all the trouble and sickness and sorrow of this life. Dr. R. A. Torrey said,

Heaven will be a place that is free from everything that curses or mars our life here. There will be no sin. There will be no… grinding toil. There will be no sickness or pain (R. A. Torrey, D.D., How to Work for Christ, Fleming H. Revell Company, n.d., p. 485).

The Bible says,

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

These are only a few poor human words. Surely, what I have said only touches the edge of what Heaven is like. The Apostle Paul said,

“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” (I Corinthians 2:9).

Jesus said, “I go [there] to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2). One of the Disciples named Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?” (John 14:5). Jesus answered him,

“I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

Jesus Christ is the way to Heaven! He took our sins upon Himself on the Cross. The Apostle Peter said,

“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God” (I Peter 3:18).

But Christ did not remain dead. He arose bodily from the tomb, triumphant over sin, Hell and the grave. The risen Christ has ascended, back to the right hand of God. He is there for you right now. The Apostle Paul made clear what you should do when he said,

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” 
      (Acts 16:31).

May you come to Christ by faith. May you enter into His love, who died in your place, to pay the full penalty for your sin. That is the message of the Bible. That is the way to Heaven. That is our prayer and our Gospel.

There’s a land beyond the river,
   That we call the sweet forever,
And we only reach that shore by faith’s decree;
   One by one we’ll gain the portals,
There to dwell with the immortals,
   When they ring the golden bells for you and me.
(“When They Ring The Golden Bells” by Dion De Marbelle, 1818-1903).

And another old song says,

Out of the fear and dread of the tomb,
   Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into the joy and light of Thy home,
   Jesus, I come to Thee;
Out of the depths of ruin untold,
   Into the peace of Thy sheltering fold,
Ever Thy glorious face to behold,
   Jesus, I come to Thee.
(“Jesus, I Come” by William T. Sleeper, 1819-1904).

It is our prayer that the words of that song will soon be a reality in your life. Amen.

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.realconversion.com. Click on “Sermon Manuscripts.”

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: John 14:1-6.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“When They Ring The Golden Bells” (by Dion De Marbelle, 1818-1903).