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Posts Tagged ‘Heaven’

Jonathan Edwards on 1 Corinthians 13:8, “love never fails.” He reflects on what awaits us in heaven:

Oh, what joy there will be springing up in our hearts when, after our weary pilgrimage, we are brought to a paradise like this! Here is joy unspeakable, full of glory. Here is joy that is humble, holy, captivating, and divine in its perfection!

Love is always a sweet thing, especially divine love. Even on earth, love is a spring of sweetness. But in heaven it will become a stream, a river, an ocean! All shall stand around the God of glory, who is the great fountain of love. We will open our very souls to be filled with the love that pours out from his fullness.

We will be like flowers in the bright and joyous days of spring, opening their petals to be filled with the light and warmth of the sun, flourishing in beauty and fragrance under its cheering rays. Every saint in heaven is like a flower in the garden of God. And holy love is the sweet fragrance they all send forth, filling paradise with its scent.

Every soul there is like a note in some concert of delightful music, beautifully harmonizing with every other note, so that together they blend into the most rapturous song, praising God and the Lamb forever.

And so everyone helps each other to express to their fullest capacity the love of the whole community to its glorious Father and Head. Together they pour back love into the great fountain of love from which they are supplied and filled with love, and blessing, and glory.

And so they will love, and reign in love, and share the godlike joy that is its fruit in a way that no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has ever imagined. In the full sunlight of the throne, captivated with joys that are forever increasing and yet forever full, they shall live and reign with God and Christ forever and ever! [Rephrased in more contemporary English from Jonathan Edwards, Charity and Its Fruits, pp. 352– 353.]

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“I love to live on the brink of eternity. May I never loiter in my heavenly journey.”–David Brainerd

Where are you living?  Are you loitering on your journey?

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Grace to You posts:

“You’re probably aware of the hit movie “Heaven Is for Real” and the popular book it’s based on. Recently, various television news programs have invited John MacArthur to explain why he rejects the story of Colton Burpo’s trip to heaven. But in those brief, edited interviews, much of John’s biblical critique ended up on the cutting-room floor. We thought it would be appropriate to take a short break from our current blog series and explain in more detail why the truth about heaven isn’t found in hallucinations and near-death experiences, but in the Word of God alone. –GTY Staff.”

Read what John writes here. An excerpt:

It may be quite fascinating to read these intricately detailed ac­counts of people who claim to have come back from heaven, but that hobby is as dangerous as it is seductive. Readers not only get a twisted, unbiblical picture of heaven from these tall tales; they also imbibe a subjective, superstitious, shallow brand of spirituality. There is no rea­son to believe anyone who claims to have gone to heaven and returned (John 3:131:18). Studying mystical accounts of supposed journeys into the afterlife yields nothing but confusion, contradiction, false hope, bad doctrine, and a host of similar evils.

 

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The movie “Heaven is for Real”, which is based on the testimony of a four-year-old who went to heaven temporarily and returned to earth, was #3 at the box office over the weekend.  As I was driving yesterday I heard Todd Burpo, a pastor and the father of Colton who visited heaven, on the Glenn Beck show (as I was channel-surfing).  So you know people are going to be talking about the movie.

Here’s a good article on the recent movie “Heaven is for Real.” It compares Hollywood’s version of heaven with the Bible.

Scripture does contain several visions of heaven or encounters with celestial beings, but they’re a far cry from the feel-good fare of the to-heaven-and-back genre.

In Scripture, when mortals catch a premature glimpse of God’s glory, they react in remarkably similar ways. They tremble. They cower. They go mute. The ones who can manage speech express despair (or “woe” to use the King James English) and become convinced they are about to die. Fainters abound.

The author also writes:

Yes, the Bible teaches that heaven is a place of ultimate comfort, with “no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (Revelation 21:4).

But it is also a place where the reality of God’s unbridled majesty reigns supreme –and that’s scary.

Did a 4-year-old boy from Nebraska really visit heaven? I don’t know. My hunch is that the popularity of such stories tells us more about our view of God than the place in which he dwells.

Ultimately I believe we flock to gauzy, feel-good depictions of heaven and tiptoe around the biblical passages mentioned above because we’ve lost sight of God’s holiness.

Read more of “Heaven is Scary. . for Real.”

Three years ago, Tim Challies reviewed the book the movie is based on and concluded:

If you struggle believing what the Bible says, but learn to find security in the testimony of a toddler, well, I feel sorry for you. And I do not mean this in a condescending way. If God’s Word is not sufficient for you, if the testimony of his Spirit, given to believers, is not enough for you, you will not find any true hope in the unproven tales of a child. This hope may last for a moment, but it will not sustain you, it will not bless you, in those times when hope is waning and times are hard.

So reject this book. Do not read it. Do not believe it. And do not feel guilty doing so.

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Pastor Paul Tautages thinks we should (and I agree). He gives 3 Benefits to Thinking about Hell:

Thinking about the terrors of hell causes us to fly to Christ. Arthur Dent’s fictional pastor Theologus encourages those who grieve over their sin “to believe that ‘Christ is for you,’ and that they must ‘apply Christ, and all the promises of the gospel’ to themselves, ‘for we have not other remedy or refuge but only his merits and righteousness—he is our city of refuge, whither we must fly, and where we must take sanctuary—he is the balm of Gilead, whereby our souls are cured.’”

Thinking about the terrors of hell guards our hearts from a false sense of security. How many professing Christians lack a burning desire to turn away from their sin because of a false security regarding their salvation? “In seeking to motivate us to fear God more than men and to awaken ‘drowsy consciences,’ Love focuses on the power of God to subject men to eternal torment, which ought to ‘work an awful fear of God’ in our hearts. Hearing of such torments should ‘startle’ our consciences out of a false sense of security, strip away ungrounded hopes of glory, and drive us away from wallowing in sin.” By seeking to give preaching on hell a bad name the devil “seeks to ‘nuzzle men in security in their sins’….Satan will do all that he can to keep the thoughts of hell from men so that they go on in their sins with ‘no fear of death, and judgment to come.’”

Thinking about the terrors of hell motivates us to continually turn away from our sins. Christopher Love argued that this was one reason God does not tell us in His Word the exact physical location of hell: “That God has chosen not to give us the exact location may be to ‘prevent Curiosity’ and unrest in our hearts, to keep us from fearing hell more than the sin that leads us to it.” In another place, “Love testifies that hearing a sermon on hell is good if it causes you to tremble and keeps you from feeling hell itself and turns you from the sins that lead you there.”

Brothers and sisters, it is a good for us to think about hell. Thinking about hell not only is biblical counsel that will aid our sanctification, but it also motivates us to hold out Christ to our lost friends and relatives as the one and only Savior. “Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord [and the terrors of hell], we persuade men” (2 Cor 5:11).

By the way, Paul also encourages us to think often about heaven as well.

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Nancy Guthrie has a great post here which begins:

“Have you read Heaven Is for Real?” I’ve been asked this question more times than I can count. So let me just tell you—no, I haven’t. I was actually asked by the publisher to read the manuscript to offer an endorsement before the book came out, but I declined. And clearly the lack of an endorsement from me has not hindered sales.

HeavenisforrealtheaterposterI’ve been hoping that the hoopla surrounding this book and so many of the other “died and went to heaven and came back” books would end. And then I went to the theater over the holidays and saw previews for the upcoming movie based on Heaven Is for Real. So before you ask if I am going to see the movie, let me just tell you—no, I’m not.”

Keep reading more here.  For more on the “Heaven is for Real” topic you could look at a previous post “Peddling Fiction about the After-Life as Non-Fiction.”

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Randy Alcorn shares a few thoughts:

A pastor once confessed to me: “Whenever I think about heaven, it makes me depressed. I’d rather just cease to exist when I die.” “Why?” I asked. “I can’t stand the thought of that endless tedium. To float around in the clouds with nothing to do but strum a harp … it’s all so terribly boring. Heaven doesn’t sound much better than hell.”

Where did this Bible-believing, seminary-educated pastor get such a view of heaven? Certainly not from Scripture, where Paul said that to depart and be with Christ was far better than staying on a sin-cursed earth (Phil. 1:23). My friend was more honest about it than most, yet I’ve found that many Christians share his misconceptions about heaven.

Scripture commands us to set our hearts on heaven: “Set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God” (Col. 3:1). And to make sure we don’t miss the importance of a heaven-centered life, the next verse says, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things [alone].”

While the present heaven is a pre-resurrected state, the ultimate heaven, where God will forever dwell with His people, will be in a resurrected universe (Rev. 21:1–4). Because of the biblical emphasis on the resurrection (1 Cor. 15), I think God wants us to ponder not simply where we go when we die, but where we will live with Christ forever. . . .

hat’s your attitude toward heaven? Does it fill you with excitement? How often do you, your church, and your family talk about it?

If you lack a passion for heaven, I can almost guarantee it’s because you have a deficient and distorted theology of heaven (or you’re making choices that conflict with heaven’s agenda). An accurate and biblically energized view of heaven will bring a new spiritual passion to your life.

When you fix your mind on heaven and see the present in light of eternity, even little choices become tremendously important. After death, we will never have another chance to share Christ with one who can be saved from hell, to give a cup of water to the thirsty, to invest money to help the helpless and reach the lost, or to share our homes, clothes, and love with the poor and needy.

Read more of this post which was originally published in Tabletalk magazine.

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