Is Heaven the final destination for followers of Jesus? You may have heard the phrase that Heaven is home, but is it? And what about Revelation and its references to a New Heaven and a New Earth? Listen as Paul Kiss unpacks 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and explores that there is more to the afterlife than just heaven.
Will we spend eternity in heaven?
Speaker: Paul Kiss
Date: February 25, 2018
1. “Thy Kingdom Come”
Matthew 3:2; 6:10; 10:7; (Matthew 13:1-52; 18:3; 25:1-46); Luke 17:20-21; Mark 1:15
• Kingdom of heaven/kingdom of God.
• Overlapping realities.
2. A New Heaven and New Earth
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Romans 8:18-25
“Heaven” has various meanings in Scripture.
• Can simply refer to the skies or universe above.
Ps 19:1; 102:25
• John speaks of heaven in terms of “eternal life”
3:3,5, 16,36; 4:14; 5:24
• Some sense of heaven and God being used interchangeably.
Mark 11:29-30; Luke 15:18
• “Kingdom of heaven” is about the work of God on earth now.
• Refer to Week 1 of Fact or Fiction for understanding heaven and the “intermediate state” (between death & the final resurrection).
Heaven Yet To Be.
• A new heaven and earth. Revelation 21:1-5; 2 Peter 3:13
• Creation waiting to be renewed. Romans 8:18-25
• Heaven is not our final home. Earth is and God will be with us forever.
3. Let’s Talk About Motivation
Revelation 21:1-5; 1 John 3:1-3; 2 Timothy 2:8-13; 1 Corinthians 15
• Life in God’s presence.
• Shining, perfected, complete, just as we were always meant to be.
• Reigning with Jesus. Genesis 1:28; Romans 5:17
“Heaven, in the Bible, is not a future destiny but the other, hidden, dimension of our ordinary life—God’s dimension, if you like. God made heaven and earth; at the last he will remake both and join them together forever. And when we come to the picture of the actual end in Revelation 21–22, we find not ransomed souls making their way to a disembodied heaven but rather the new Jerusalem coming down from heaven to earth, uniting the two in a lasting embrace.”
– NT Wright. Surprised by Hope
(Small Groups: Focus on questions 1, 2 and 5. These are key)
1. How have you traditionally thought about heaven and life after death?
2. What have you learned about our final destiny in light of this message/series?
3. Look up Revelation 21:1-5 . What are the key elements of how John describes our final destiny? What is happening in these verses? Where is God? Where is his/our dwelling place going to be? (Cf 2 Peter 3:13).
4. Read 1 Corinthians 13:8-13. How do these verses lend to our understanding of life after death?
5. As a group (or if you’re large enough, split into groups), take time to read through the passages in these notes (Matt. 3:2; Luke 17:20-21; 1 Thess 4:13-18; Rom 8:18-25; Rev 21:1-5; 1 John 3:1-3; 2 Tim 2:8-13), and develop a response to someone who would ask, “What is our final destiny? Or, “What will heaven be like and will we live there forever?” Go over your findings and compile them into a short response – just a few sentences. How did you do?
6. How does this response change the way we have hope for the future but also how we live here and now?
7. What other questions do you have about heaven, hell, and death that haven’t been addressed? Discuss them if you can, write them down, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Investigate what some other religions teach about “heaven,” and compare those to how the biblical writers and Jesus portray life after death. What are the differences/similarities?
2. After doing question #5 above – have a conversation with someone about what are their thoughts related to heaven and offer your new response. See where the conversation leads.