Based on the book by John Burke, we have begun a series called Imagine Heaven at Gateway Church in Austin!
Work through the Next Steps for this message with your family or in a small group.
READ THE NOTES FROM THE MESSAGE HERE:
Now imagine this: what if the most beautiful places on this planet are just a glimpse of what is to come. What the scriptures have always told us, but we’ve failed to study and understand, or maybe failed to really imagine is that Heaven is going to be more beautiful and alive and exciting and Real than anything we’ve ever seen or done.
That’s what we’ve been hearing the past few weeks from the people interviewed and in the book Imagine Heaven includes 120 stories of people who had a Near Death Experience and returned from a life-changing experience where they caught a glimpse of the Afterlife. They are trying to describe in our dimensions this multidimensional wonder, the Bible has always described.
When we Imagine Heaven,
- We gain hope in the trials
- We discover a new motivation to love
- We fall in love with the God who is a good Father.
Now, I know some people will be skeptical even after hearing from Doctors, professors, commercial airline pilots and pastors. How can there be this invisible place called Heaven? But here’s the irony of it—often Heaven is rebuffed in the name of science—yet science is pointing toward Heaven’s probability more and more.
- In physics, Kaluza–Klein theory is a unified field theory of gravitation and electromagnetism built around the idea of an unseen fifth dimension.
- In The Elegant Universe, Brian Greene discusses how quantum mechanics and general relativity only reconcile if there are six more “hidden” dimensions to our universe.
- Cambridge and Princeton physicist James Jeans wrote, “The stream of knowledge is heading toward a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a machine.”-James Jeans
If there has to be an unseen reality to make sense of our scientific observations, then why can’t we conceive of Heaven existing in a higher dimensional space we can’t see?
Paul, who we believe had a near death vision of Heaven, says:
“‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.’ But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit.”
– 1 Corinthians 2:9
It’s better than you can imagine, but God HAS revealed to us by His Spirit that it is more wonderful than we can imagine, but not worse than we can imagine. Many of us have never considered that what we love about life now on earth will be present but with so much more to explore and experience.
When we see all the beauty, wonder of creation on earth and in the universe, it points to the beauty and wonder of the Creator. Why would we ever think God’s Kingdom, his world, is less real, less tangible, or less beautiful if it fully reflects his glory, where His will IS done?
Actually, the earth is the wounded, marred creation. Heaven is creation as it was meant to be. Paul explains:
“For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.
– Romans 8:19-22
The beauty of earth and all we enjoy points toward Heaven, but this earth labors under famine, disease, decay, death, and destruction. This is not the place to live for. There’s a place for us that is more real, more beautiful, more alive.
God is making things new. As we know they should be. God sent the Messiah, Jesus, who came to pay the price to lead us back to God and into harmony with all Creation. Amazingly, right after Isaiah paints this picture of Heaven’s harmony to come, he says “God will give all the nations a sign—a sign so we know this is the One True God.
Look what Isaiah says:
In that day the Root of Jesse [the Messiah] will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious. In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the surviving remnant of his people…. He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth. – Isaiah 11:10-12
The God who promises Heaven’s beauty and creation’s harmony and redemption, did this in 1948. In 1948, Israel was not a nation and had not been since 70AD when Jesus predicted they would be scattered to the nations. Yet in 1948, miraculously, Jews from around the globe returned and Israel became a nation overnight. Nothing like it has ever happened! God did it as a very clear, historically verifiable sign. God is real! Heaven is real, and He wants us to seek Him and come home!
Some of us miss God’s signs for us because we are too busy. Do you have a tendency to get sucked into all the temporary worries of this world?
Some of us miss miss God’s signs because we don’t want to see them! We have a closed heart and a closed mind.
- Are you seeking God?
- Do you realize Jesus made a way for all people to be forgiven, and welcomed home?
- Are you living for God?
- Are you living for the only life, the only beauty, the only country that will last?
In Hebrews 11, the author lists the people truly successful in God’s eyes. The Scriptures say:
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see…. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him…. All these people died still believing what God had promised them…. They were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. – Hebrews 11:1, 6, 13-16
Faith opens the door into a relationship with God. God does not force us to follow Him. We can search and find proof and evidence, but we will still need faith.
Consider the picture of heaven as described by the apostle John:
“After this I looked, and [people] from every nation, tribe, people and language . . . were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. . . . He will lead them to springs of life-giving water. . . . He took me in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and he showed me the holy city, Jerusalem. . . . It shone with the glory of God. . . . And [the angel] carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem. . . . It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall with twelve gates. . . . The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. . . . The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb [Jesus] is its lamp.” Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit.”
– Revelation 7:9, 17; 21:10-13, 19; 22:1–2
If this books comes out in an audio book, please notify me. I would love to get one!