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Heaven 

The Most Important Thing

By Pastor Anton Bosch

Most people, whether Christians or not, have some ideas about a future life that could be called heaven. Many of those ideas are misguided or plain wrong and, sadly, even reasonably well taught Christians may have wrong ideas of what heaven is all about.

In a recent Time magazine article, the author said that many Christians are beginning to understand that heaven really is about making this earth a better place. I think he is right – that is what many people believe. But they are wrong. We cannot make this earth into heaven. Unfortunately, that is the agenda of much of the church today. They believe that the purpose of the church is to create heaven on earth and they work very hard to change the various structures of this world.

This world is simply too corrupt, sinful and contaminated to ever become heaven. People who are trying to save the planet and change governments to create God’s Kingdom on this earth are wasting their time. Yes, one day Heaven will be back on this earth, but in order for that to happen, God will completely destroy the present heavens (sky) and earth (Revelation 21:1, 2Peter 3:10-13). In fact, the process by which He will do that can be described as “uncreating” – He will reverse the whole process of creation and the present creation will cease to exist. He will then create a “New heavens and a new earth” and then the New Jerusalem will descend out of heaven and be located back on the New Earth (Revelation 21:3, 10).

So what will heaven be like? Modern Gospel songs do not sing about heaven because their writers are looking for heaven in this creation. But if I have to believe the old Gospel songs, then heaven will be about streets of gold, a mansion over the hilltop, crowns and an eternity of comfort. That is actually how most Christians see heaven and of course those ideas are actually based on the Scriptures.

But there is one problem. All these ideas about heaven miss the most important part of heaven – The Lord Jesus Christ!

We have missed the point regarding the purpose of the church. We believe church is about worship, preaching, fellowship, evangelization, meetings and so on. Most churches have forgotten that all those things we do every week is secondary and that it should really all be about Jesus Christ. Paul put it this way: “And He is the head of the body, the church… that in all things He may have the preeminence.” (Colossians 1:18). Thus church has become a whole bunch of activities and Jesus finds Himself outside His own church (Revelation 3:20).

In the same way we have created a Heaven in which Jesus is simply a curiosity. Just like when you go to Paris, you have to see the Eiffel Tower and when we go to heaven, we will get to see Jesus. But we are really more interested in the big mansion and wonder if we will have air conditioning, a big screen TV in the living room and a barbeque in the back yard. We wonder if our crown will be bigger than our neighbor’s and if my mansion will be the grandest on the block.

Because of our materialistic worldview we have turned heaven into a place of things, houses and streets. Because of our sinful pride we have re-created heaven into a place where I will be the big deal, with the big crown and mansion and where I will eventually be vindicated.

Heaven is not about you or me, or even about Paul or Peter – it is about Jesus. He is the center, the focus and the purpose. We will spend eternity simply being in His presence and worshipping and serving Him. And here’s the problem. For the majority of Christians that is not very exciting. If God told us that heaven would be a squatter camp but Jesus would be there, would you still want to go? If Jesus is what your life is about you would agree with the hymn writer:

Oh, hallelujah, yes, ’tis Heav’n,
’Tis Heav’n to know my sins forgiv’n;
On land or sea, what matters where?—
Where Jesus is, ’tis Heaven there.

The same Christians who say they long for heaven complain when the service goes five minutes too long or the pews are too hard. Friend, if you find an extra five minutes in the Lord’s presence a challenge or if you cannot sit through a one hour service without checking your cell phone, I have news for you. Heaven will be a long hell for you!

Do you find that shocking? Well, it is supposed to be because it’s the truth. If you cannot wait to get out of the prayer meeting, or don’t even bother to go to the prayer meeting, or wonder why the hymn could not have a few less verses, I seriously doubt that you will enjoy heaven. If you find reading the Bible or attending the Bible study boring, you will be very uncomfortable in heaven.

If Jesus is not the real center of your life – I mean that everything you do and think, revolves around Him, then heaven really has nothing to offer you. Heaven is not about streets, mansions and crowns. It is about simply being in the presence of Jesus for ever and ever. If you find that idea scary, I am concerned that you will be disappointed with heaven. Actually, you won’t even see heaven because heaven is only for those who love Him with all their hearts and whose lives revolve totally around Him.

Be honest now: Are you looking forward to heaven because you are tired of this life or because of the secondary attractions of heaven, or is it simply that you want more of Him? If your answer is anything except you want to see Him face to face and be in his presence forever, then you need to check your birth certificate.

If, on the other hand, you enjoy this life so much that you hope Jesus will not come too soon, you also have a serious problem. You are probably not fit for heaven either.

Paul said: “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain… having a desire to depart and be with Christ… is far better.” (Philippians 1:21, 23). His highest goal was simply to “be with Christ.” That is heaven!

Source of  Article HERE

HEAVEN IS FOR REAL: A DANGEROUS BOOK FOR AN APOSTATE AGE

October 25, 2011

From Way of Life – David Cloud

Heaven Is For Real, a book about a four-year-old boy’s supposed visit to heaven, has sold over 1.5 million copies and is currently the # 6 best seller on Amazon. It has broken Thomas Nelson’s sales records and is popular with Independent Baptists. One pastor told me that it is “circulating around many of our IBaptist camps; many are recommending it.” The book is the true story of Colton Burpo, a Methodist pastor’s son who allegedly visits heaven during emergency surgery. There he meets a dead sister and great grandfather, sees Jesus and God the Father and the Holy Spirit and Satan, and learns things not revealed in Scripture. We don’t doubt that the little boy is convinced that he visited heaven, but we don’t believe for a minute that it actually happened.

First, the book is contrary to the testimony of Scripture that the apostles were the last to see the resurrected Christ. This was one of the evidences of apostleship (Acts 1:22; 1 Corinthians 9:1; 15:7). Paul said that he was the last of the apostles to see Christ, meaning that he saw Christ some time after the other apostles had seen him (1 Cor. 15:8). This occurred on more than one occasion in his life as described in the book of Acts. Paul gave this testimony in the context of giving the eyewitness evidence for Christ’s resurrection. We also know that the apostle John saw Christ on the island of Patmos as described in Revelation 1. All of the evidence we need for our faith is found in the testimony of Scripture and in these particular eyewitnesses.

Second, the book is contrary to Paul’s statement that when he had visited heaven he heard things that he was not allowed to repeat (2 Cor. 12:4). Obviously, then, a person cannot visit heaven and describe whatever he sees and hears there.

Third, the book Heaven Is for Real is contrary God’s emphasis on the priority and sufficiency of faith and Scripture. The book contains testimonies of how people have believed in God and heaven because of Colton’s alleged visitation, but the Bible says that without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6), and faith comes by hearing God’s Word, not by signs and wonders (Romans 10:17). In his account of the rich man and Lazarus, Jesus taught that if someone does not hear the Scriptures, he will not “be persuaded, though one rose from the dead” (Luke 16:31). All of the signs and revelation we need are found in the completed canon of Scripture (John 20:30-31). The Bible is able to make the man of God “perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works “(2 Timothy 3:16-17). God has told us everything He wants us to know about heaven at this time.

Fourth, the book Heaven Is for Real is contrary to the Bible’s plain teachings. For example, Colton says Jesus’ horse is rainbow-colored (p. 63), whereas the Bible says it is white (Rev. 19:11). Colton says the Holy Spirit shoots down power from heaven (p. 125), whereas the Bible says the Holy Spirit came from heaven at Pentecost and He is the power (Acts 1:8). Colton says everyone has wings in heaven except Jesus (p. 72), that the angel Gabriel sits on the left hand of God’s throne (p. 101), that the Holy Spirit is blue and sits in a chair near the throne of God (p. 102), and “for our Catholic friends” the book is happy to report that Mary stands in heaven beside Jesus (p. 152). Some might ask, how Colton could learn secrets about his dead sister who died in the womb and facts about his great grandfather that he had not been told. The answer is demons. Paul warned that Satan transforms himself into an angel of light and his ministers as ministers of righteousness (2 Cor. 11:14-15). The book Heaven Is for Real also promotes the visions of child progeny Akiane Kramarik, who began “seeing heaven” at age four (pp. 141-144). Colton claims that the “Jesus” that he saw in heaven is the same “Jesus” that Akiane drew from her visions at age nine. But Akiane’s religious faith is a New Age type faith in a vaguely defined “God.” It is religious mysticism rather than faith in an infallible Revelation from God and the blood atonement of Christ. Even if we knew what Jesus looked like, we are forbidden by God’s law to make His likeness (Exodus 20:4).

heaven+sky+bright+light

Is Evangelism About “Going to Heaven”?

Excerpt by David Cloud

Heaven is definitely a product of salvation, but why is it that none of the apostles preached on Heaven when they were presenting the gospel? Why are the sermons recorded in the book of Acts so different from the one Hyles preached?

Consider the sermon Paul preached on Mars Hills to the idolatrous pagans in Acts 17. Paul did not preach on Heaven; he preached on God and His righteous judgment so that the idolaters would understand their sin and turn to Christ for redemption.

The average person in North America today is very similar to those idolatrous pagans, and North Americans need the same type of preaching. An idolatrous and apostate people need sermons on Hell more than sermons on Heaven. They need sermons on the law more than sermons on grace, because biblical grace is only understood in the context of the law.

No one can understand and appreciate God’s grace unless they first understand His holiness and justice. The law was given to prepare the way for grace. “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Gal. 3:24).

The book of Romans begins with nearly three whole chapters of the law of God and the righteousness of God and the sinfulness of man and his utter condemnation before a holy God before it gets to the grace of Jesus Christ. That is the biblical way to preach the gospel. That is the true Romans Road. That is how Peter preached on the day of Pentecost.

Read Full Article HERE

 The bookstores abound with new-age books that seem to have Christian teachings. The reality is that these books have false teachings that do not line up with scripture. The only way NOT to be deceived is to become a student of the Bible and to examine all things against scripture.

Please read:

 Heaven is For Real: A Dangerous Book for an Apostate Age

August 18, 2011   by David Cloud 

***Heaven Is For Real, a book about a four-year-old boy’s supposed visit to heaven, has sold over 1.5 million copies and is currently the # 6 best seller on Amazon. It has broken Thomas Nelson’s sales records and is popular with Independent Baptists. One pastor told me that it is “circulating around many of our IBaptist camps; many are recommending it.” The book is the true story of Colton Burpo, a Methodist pastor’s son who allegedly visits heaven during emergency surgery. There he meets a dead sister and great grandfather, sees Jesus and God the Father and the Holy Spirit and Satan, and learns things not revealed in Scripture. We don’t doubt that the little boy is convinced that he visited heaven, but we don’t believe for a minute that it actually happened.

First, the book is contrary to the testimony of Scripture that the apostles were the last to see the resurrected Christ. This was one of the evidences of apostleship (Acts 1:22; 1 Corinthians 9:1; 15:7). Paul said that he was the last of the apostles to see Christ, meaning that he saw Christ some time after the other apostles had seen him (1 Cor. 15:8). This occurred on more than one occasion in his life as described in the book of Acts. Paul gave this testimony in the context of giving the eyewitness evidence for Christ’s resurrection. We also know that the apostle John saw Christ on the island of Patmos as described in Revelation 1. All of the evidence we need for our faith is found in the testimony of Scripture and in these particular eyewitnesses.

Second, the book is contrary to Paul’s statement that when he had visited heaven he heard things that he was not allowed to repeat (2 Cor. 12:4). Obviously, then, a person cannot visit heaven and describe whatever he sees and hears there.

Third, the book Heaven Is for Real is contrary God’s emphasis on the priority and sufficiency of faith and Scripture. The book contains testimonies of how people have believed in God and heaven because of Colton’s alleged visitation, but the Bible says that without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6), and faith comes by hearing God’s Word, not by signs and wonders (Romans 10:17). In his account of the rich man and Lazarus, Jesus taught that if someone does not hear the Scriptures, he will not “be persuaded, though one rose from the dead” (Luke 16:31). All of the signs and revelation we need are found in the completed canon of Scripture (John 20:30-31). The Bible is able to make the man of God “perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works “(2 Timothy 3:16-17). God has told us everything He wants us to know about heaven at this time.

Fourth, the book Heaven Is for Real is contrary to the Bible’s plain teachings. For example, Colton says Jesus’ horse is rainbow-colored (p. 63), whereas the Bible says it is white (Rev. 19:11). Colton says the Holy Spirit shoots down power from heaven (p. 125), whereas the Bible says the Holy Spirit came from heaven at Pentecost and He is the power (Acts 1:8). Colton says everyone has wings in heaven except Jesus (p. 72), that the angel Gabriel sits on the left hand of God’s throne (p. 101), that the Holy Spirit is blue and sits in a chair near the throne of God (p. 102), and “for our Catholic friends” the book is happy to report that Mary stands in heaven beside Jesus (p. 152). Some might ask, how Colton could learn secrets about his dead sister who died in the womb and facts about his great grandfather that he had not been told. The answer is demons. Paul warned that Satan transforms himself into an angel of light and his ministers as ministers of righteousness (2 Cor. 11:14-15). The book Heaven Is for Real also promotes the visions of child progeny Akiane Kramarik, who began “seeing heaven” at age four (pp. 141-144). Colton claims that the “Jesus” that he saw in heaven is the same “Jesus” that Akiane drew from her visions at age nine. But Akiane’s religious faith is a New Age type faith in a vaguely defined “God.” It is religious mysticism rather than faith in an infallible Revelation from God and the blood atonement of Christ. Even if we knew what Jesus looked like, we are forbidden by God’s law to make His likeness (Exodus 20:4).

 

I loved the following excerpt from Dave Hunt’s – Search the Scriptures Daily 

The Day of the Lord…When and How Long?

He said, “Don’t lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth where moth and rust doth corrupt, thieves break in and steal, but lay up treasures in heaven, for where your treasure is there will your heart be also.”

Now, that’s not easy to illustrate and you stop me if I already told this story of the lady that died and went to heaven, you remember? And, Saint Peter is showing her around and she comes to, what looks like the Beverly Hills of heaven, if there were such a thing—such a fabulous mansion and she says, “Well, who is that for?” Peter says, “That’s your maid, Jenny.” And then she comes, if there is such a thing, to the slums of heaven and there is this little shack there that is so pitiful she can’t resist asking, “Well, who does that belong to?” Peter says, “That’s yours.”

This was a very wealthy lady on earth. She says, “Well, how could that be?” Peter says, “Well, we can only build with the material you sent up here.”

So, I think this is what Jesus is saying. “Lay up treasures in heaven where moth and rust doth not corrupt.” How do we do that? Well, we do that through winning souls for Christ, through our steadfastness in the faith and serving others…..

source

http://www.thebereancall.org/node/865

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