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COLLEGE STUDENTS NEED TO HEAR ABOUT HEAVEN

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Fundamentalist Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, December 3, 2000

 

                                                 "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.
                                                 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again,
                                                 and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye
                                                 may be also" (John 14:2-3).

Most college-age young people seldom if ever think about Heaven. And yet Heaven is an extremely important subject that you need to deal with.
I believe there are two main reasons that most young people don't think about Heaven very much. First, because most preachers aim their sermons at those who are older. Foolishly, the average preacher is out to get working people and "families" into his church. He is only slightly interested in people age 16 to 25. After all, they aren't as stable and don't earn as much money as "families." So, as a result, our churches really don't add any new converts, because conversions come mostly from young people. Pollster George Barna points out:
There has been very little, if any, growth in the proportion of adults who were born again since 1982 (George Barna, The Index of Spiritual Indicators, Word, 1996, p. 76).

He also points out that "most evangelistic activity is geared toward adults, yet most of those who accept Christ as Savior do so during their youth" (ibid., p. 74). He says, "Six out of ten people…accept Christ before the age of eighteen" (ibid., p. 73). So sixty percent of all conversions happen before the age of eighteen. Thirty percent more accept Christ before the age of thirty. This means that only 10% (think of it - only ten percent!) of those who accept Christ do so after the age of thirty! Yet, almost all of the evangelistic effort of the churches goes toward reaching that measly ten percent! No wonder only a few churches are growing (largely by transfers), and, as James Dobson pointed out:

80 percent of church growth results from transfer of membership. These statistics tell us that evangelism is largely stagnant. Something is wrong with this picture (James Dobson, Ph.D., Focus on the Family Newsletter, August, 1998, p. 2).
Preachers will waste ten or more hours a week in going to "rest homes," to reach the elderly, without ever having a real convert that is willing to be picked up and brought easily to their local church. I say that most of this kind of ministry is a sinful waste of time - unless you have a vigorous college campus evangelistic ministry going first!
Preachers will waste their time going into the jails or to skid row, trying to win old drunks and criminals in their thirties and forties. I say that such a ministry is a sinful waste of time - unless you have a vigorous college campus evangelistic ministry going first.
But young, college-age people have been shamefully and foolishly neglected by the churches. Dr. Dobson says, "Evangelism is largely stagnant. Something is wrong…" He isn't sure what it is - but I am sure what is wrong. We have emphasized reaching old drunks and criminals, and in reaching hardened old sinners in rest homes - and we have forgotten America's young people!
If you think I'm wrong, ask yourself how many fundamental Baptist churches you know that have a systematic college campus evangelistic ministry - to get these kids into the local church. We throw our time away on reprobated people who have mostly committed the unpardonable sin, and we forget all about our precious high school and college students! God help us - we are blind leaders of the blind! No wonder "evangelism is stagnant," as Dr. Dobson pointed out.
And so, that's the first reason most young people don't think about Heaven. No one has told you about it. With the apostate, sleeping condition of our churches - no one cared enough to tell you about Heaven and how to get there.
Then, the second reason that you think little about Heaven is because there is a real Devil and real demons. And the Devil does not want you to think about Heaven. When you hear about it,
"Then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of (your) hearts, lest (you) should believe and be saved"
(Luke 8:12).
The Devil plucks the words you hear about Heaven out of your mind and heart. The Devil puts this thought in your head, "Hey, I'm young. I don't need to think about Heaven. That's for old people. I need to have fun and sex and parties. I don't need Heaven." So, the Devil puts these thoughts in your mind. Satan wants you to think about pornography and parties, not about eternity and Heaven. Why? Because he doesn't want you to become a Christian. Why does he do that? Satan knows that if you think very much about eternity and about Heaven you may want to go there! And Satan knows that if you start wanting to go to Heaven, you may become a Christian! That's why the Devil does everything in his power to keep a young person like you from thinking about Heaven!
And that's why you need to listen to me very carefully this morning. Don't let the Devil pluck these words out of your heart and mind. I want to say three simple things about Heaven in this sermon:

         

      1. Heaven is a place.
      2. Heaven is located in the New Jerusalem.
      3. Heaven is inhabited only by those who are born again.
      4.  

 I. Heaven is a place.

 

Look at our text again:
"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. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also"
(John 14:2-3).

Regarding those verses, Dr. W. A. Criswell said:

Twice Jesus calls heaven topos (Greek), meaning "a place." Here (in John 14:2-3) heaven is described as a real place… There are some who say heaven is "a state of mind," "a dream," "wishful thinking," "a sentiment." But, the Bible testifies that heaven is as real as the home in which you live and as the city in which you dwell" (W. A. Criswell, Heaven, Tyndale House, 1991, pp. 5-6).

Heaven is a place - a real place. Christ said, "I go to prepare a place for you." He didn't say it only once. Christ said it twice in our text:

"I go to prepare a place for you                               
I go to prepare a place for you."                                
Heaven is a place - a real place.
There are many "mansions" there. The Greek word for "mansions" is "monai." The new-evangelical MacArthur points out that this could describe "apartments (in modern terms). All are in the 'Father's house'" (MacArthur Study Bible, note on John 14:2).
We could describe what Jesus said in these modern terms:
"In God's Hotel there are many apartments."

That's not a translation, but it will give you the idea of what Jesus was saying. Heaven is a place. It is the place where God lives - and there are dwelling places there for each person who becomes a Christian.

Dr. Criswell says:
The word for "mansions" (monai, Greek) is found only here and in verse 23 and means "abodes" or "permanent dwelling places." Clearly, Jesus knew that the disciples anticipated some such heavenly abode. He assures them that He would have corrected the situation if it were not true. The place where Christians will abide (live) is a "prepared" place (Criswell Study Bible, note on John 14:2).
We know that Heaven is a definite place because that's where Jesus went when He ascended. The angels said:
"This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven…" (Acts 1:11).

Jesus was "taken up…into" this place! Also, we are told in Mark 16:19,

"So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God" (Mark 16:19).

He was "received up into heaven." He "sat on the right hand of God." This proves that Heaven is a place.

 

In Hebrews 10:12 we read,
"But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God" (Hebrews 10:12).

He sat down in a place - in Heaven. And we are told to have our affections and our minds focused on things in this place called Heaven:

"Seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth" (Colossians 3:1-2).

We are to have our minds and hearts focused on this place.

When I was a little boy, my aunt Myrtle promised to take me with her son, Johnny, to see the redwoods in northern California. I was about six years old, but I remember vividly my cousin Johnny telling me about the redwoods. He said, "Robert, they're the biggest trees in the world. There's nothing anywhere on earth that is as big as these trees." My heart ached and longed to see them. Later, when I found out that they went without me to see those trees, my heart was broken. They brought me back a little, small piece of a redwood, growing a leaf if you kept it in water. What a disappointment! I was expecting to see the biggest tree in the world. All I got was a piece of bark with one leaf on it. It was about twenty-eight years later before I got to see those big trees.
Remember that young girl who tied herself in the top of one of those trees? The tree was over a thousand years old. The lumber company spared the tree. But I read in the paper last week that some maniac took a chain saw and cut through the bark all the way around the tree. They killed it…for nothing. Oh, the madness and wickedness of man's twisted heart! Oh, the savage, monstrous nature of man!
It took twenty-eight years, but I finally got there to see those trees - one thousand, fifteen hundred, some two thousand years old! I stood and looked up into the top of those trees with tears streaming down my cheeks. I thought, "It took twenty-eight years to get here and see you, you beautiful, ancient things. But you were here all that time. You were in this place all that time - waiting for me."
And that is the way it is with Jesus Christ. He's there, in that place, in Heaven, waiting for you. Don't disappoint Him. Make sure that you get there - to that place - to Heaven.
 

 II. Heaven is located in the New Jerusalem.

 

Isaac Watts' great hymn, "Am I a Soldier of the Cross?" had a Sunday School chorus tacked onto it by an American singer. I don't usually like that, but this particular one is memorable:
And when the battle's over we shall wear a crown,                  
Yes, we shall wear a crown! Yes, we shall wear a crown!       
And when the battle's over, we shall wear a crown                  
In the New Jerusalem.                                    
                      (Arranged by William B. Blake).

It's true! A real Christian will wear a crown - in the New Jerusalem!

Heaven is located in the New Jerusalem. We know about this by reading Revelation, chapters twenty and twenty-one, in the New Testament:
"And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven" (Revelation 21:2).
Abraham looked forward to seeing this heavenly city:
"For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God" (Hebrews 11:10).
"And truly, if they (the patriarchs) had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city" (Hebrews 11:15-16).
What a wonderful promise! He has prepared for them a city! (Hebrews 11:16). So, the New Jerusalem, the city God has prepared, is the place where God is, where Christ is seated at the right side of God, where Christians go where they die - wonderful city of God!
My mother gave me a lot of money when she was still alive. I used it to buy a beautiful house for my family. But I wanted my mother to live with us. My wife invited her to come and live in a bedroom in our home. One day she suddenly appeared and brought her things with her. I loved having my mother with me. We talked every day. She was with me seven days a week. We had a wonderful time.
Then one day my mother said, "Robert, I've got to move out. I can't stay here any more." I said, "Oh, don't leave." She insisted that she had to go. She said, "I like living with you, but I have to move out." I strongly told her to stay with me. She listened and she didn't say any more about it after that. About a month later she suddenly went to the hospital, where she died a few weeks later.
Looking back, I think my mother somehow knew she had to make one last move. "Robert, I've got to move out. I can't stay here any more." I think she knew that she had to move out to her home in the New Jerusalem!
"One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple" (Psalm 27:4).
It is wonderful to be in church every Sunday, with friends we have known for many years. I hope you will come back and make lasting friends here. There is nothing better than being in church every Sunday. I know it isn't your habit to be in church, but this is a good habit to make!
People often say, "What do I have to do to become a Christian?" The first thing you have to do is be in this church every time the door is open. You can learn all kinds of doctrines and Bible verses, but if you don't learn to love being in your local church, you will not become a real, Bible Christian.
Heaven is church forever! If you don't love being in our church every Sunday here on earth, you cannot expect to love being in church forever in Heaven!
When you come to church on Sunday, it is a foretaste of being with loved ones and friends in Heaven!
Friends will be there I have loved long ago;                  
Joy like a river around me will flow;                  
Yet just a smile from my Saviour, I know,                  
Will through the ages be glory for me.                  
O that will be glory for me,                  
Glory for me, glory for me;                  
When by His grace I shall look on His face,                  
That will be glory, be glory for me.                  
          ("O That Will Be Glory," by Charles H. Gabriel, 1856-1932).

 III. Heaven is inhabited only by those who are born again.

 

You know, people who aren't born again can't even see Heaven, much less go there! Jesus said:
"Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3).
Simon Peter was thinking about that when he wrote that we are born again to a living hope (I Peter 1:3),
"To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you" (I Peter 1:4).

When you are born again, you have a new hope, you see Heaven by faith. It becomes a real place, where you are really going.

The reason Heaven is not real to you is that you are still lost. You have never been born again.
"But the natural man (the unconverted person) receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (I Corinthians 2:14).

It seems foolish and unreal to you when we talk about Heaven, because you are spiritually blind. Your sins have made the eyes of your soul blind. Your spiritual understanding is blinded by your sins. It's like somebody threw dirt in your eyes. It hurts! It burns! It makes me so I can't see! That's what sin does.

Every time you look at something dirty it is a sin. Every time you lie it is a sin. Every time you miss church it is a sin. Your nature is sinful. All of this sin in your heart makes you blind to the things of the spirit. You are too blinded by sin to realize that there is a Heaven you could go to - if you will come to Jesus Christ and have your sins washed away by His Blood! If you will come to Christ and be washed from sin, then Heaven will become real - by faith:
"We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal (temporary); but the things which are not seen are eternal. For we know…we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens" (II Corinthians 4:18-5:1).
Do you want to go to Heaven? Then you have to come back to church. Do you want Heaven? Then you must want church. Do you want to be in Heaven forever? Then you must be in church every time the door is open.
First, you come into the local church. Then, secondly, you will come to Jesus Christ. He died on the Cross to pay the penalty for your sins. He arose from the dead and is seated at the right side of God in Heaven. Come into the church. Come to Jesus Christ. Then you will be ready for Heaven!

 

Scripture Read Before Sermon: Revelation 21:9-22:8.

Solo by Benjamin Kincaid Griffith: "Never Grow Old"/"When We See Christ"

                                     You can tead Dr. Hymers' Sermons rach week on the Internet
                                     at
www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."

 

THE OUTLINE OF

COLLEGE STUDENTS NEED TO HEAR ABOUT HEAVEN

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

"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. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also" (John 14:2-3).

 

       

    1. Heaven is a place, John 14:2-3; Acts 1:11; Mark 16:19;
      Hebrews 10:12; Colossians 3:1-2.
    2. Heaven is located in the New Jerusalem, Revelation 21:2;
      Hebrews 11:10; Hebrews 11:15-16; Psalm 27:4.
    3. Heaven is inhabited only by those who are born again,
      John 3:3; I Peter 1:4; I Corinthians 2:14; II Corinthians 4:18-5:1.