Tag Archives: heaven
I believe there is a place for what I call sanctified imagination. If Christians are right about their immediately going to be “with the Lord” upon death, wouldn’t it be the case that Lazarus has just spent several days with His Lord? In heaven?
I know. I know. Some believers think that the Old Testament saints went to a kind of pre-heaven, a holding tank where they awaited the Lord Jesus’ completing the work of atonement and then they would be transferred into heaven proper.
I know the theory. I don’t buy it. I don’t think David and Moses and Abraham were in a lesser state of existence after they died simply because they were Old Testament believers.
So, if we assume Lazarus had been with the Father in heaven, let’s go one step further and imagine a conversation the two had together:
The Father: “Lazarus, it is so good to have you here!”
Lazarus: “Yes, Lord. That sickness was awful and I thought Your Son would save me from death, but I’m sure He had His reasons for staying away.”
The Father: “Yes, Lazarus. About that. We have a plan, but we need your help.”
Lazarus: “My help? I’m dead, Lord.”
The Father: “Yes, yes. I know. And I’m sure you are enjoying the sights and sounds here in heaven with me.”
Lazarus: “Absolutely. It makes death almost welcome to be here with You!”
The Father: “Lazarus, there was something far more important for my Son than His keeping you from dying.”
Lazarus: “Whatever could that be, Lord?
The Father: “Raising you from the dead, as a public event, would provide a significant proof of my Son’s identity and that I sent Him to planet earth on His mission.”
Lazarus: “I’m more than glad to help, Father. But wouldn’t that mean . . .”
The Father: “Yes, Lazarus. I’m afraid so. I need you to go back and get resurrected.”
Lazarus: “Father, I will do it. I want Your Son brought glory more than anything else. More than I want to be with You here in heaven!”
The next voice Lazarus heard was Jesus’ — and it was shouting, “Lazarus, come out!” (to be continued)
I recently had the privilege of preaching in a great church in Charlotte, Southbrook Church.
The pastor, Shane Freeman, has been doing an important series entitled “Under the Hood.”
Here’s the video of my sermon if you wish to watch it:
1. At least Calvin is thinking about the afterlife. How many in our culture give little to no thought about life after death.
2. As Hobbes looks around, he sees a beautiful creation that is to be enjoyed.
3. Hobbes seems perfectly content to lie back against the tree and enjoy the present, good world. He has no thoughts or worries about a next life.
4. Calvin, who is always behaviorally challenged, worries about future judgment/rewards. He wants to know for sure if he is going to be rewarded for his behavior, implying that if there is no judgment, he doesn’t need to be good.
How clear the Bible is about the afterlife. And he has placed that wondering about eternity in the heart of man. The central question is not, “How good or bad have you or I behaved?”, but “What have we done with Christ?”
15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[c] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. 21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
A Couple of Questions on This Text:
1. Do you find the same struggle in your life (in making good choices) as Paul did?
2. What kind of atmosphere do we seem to produce in our churches that keeps us from saying “What a wretched man I am!”?
1 How lovely is your dwelling place,
2 My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.
3 Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young—
a place near your altar,
Lord Almighty, my King and my God.
4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you.[c]
5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
6 As they pass through the Valley of Baka,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.[d]
7 They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.
8 Hear my prayer, Lord God Almighty;
listen to me, God of Jacob.
9 Look on our shield,[e] O God;
look with favor on your anointed one.
10 Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
the Lord bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
from those whose walk is blameless.
12 Lord Almighty,
blessed is the one who trusts in you.