Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.John 14:1-3 (NIV)
“Heaven is as good as God, the Promiser. Heaven is a promise, and the promisees (you and I) participate in the promise by trusting the One who makes the promise” (Scot McKnight, The Heaven Promise, p. 21). Everything about this promise depends on Jesus’ resurrection and who he is (John 11:25-26). Jesus has made us this promise: he is preparing a place for us to be with him for all eternity. That’s the key phrase, to be with him, where he is. The promise of h/Heaven is that we will be with him. As these words comfort us in our present circumstances, may we bring comfort to others.
Prayer: Lord, I trust in you and what you say you will do. Today I respond to the promise that you are preparing many rooms by interceding for my friends, classmates, co-workers, and family so that they too will be with you for all of eternity. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Let’s worship to the song “Yes and Amen” by Housefires (click here).
6 Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. 7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. 8 Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.) Revelation 19:6-8 (NIV)
God’s wonderful purpose and plan for Heaven is that he is not only preparing a place for us, but he is also preparing us to be a people that will dwell with him for all eternity. “Here we have the two sides of the Christian life described in Phil. 2:12-13. The believers ‘work out their own salvation’ (= ‘prepared herself’) as God ‘works in them’ (=God ‘has given her clothes to wear’). Thus, this describes those who have already believed. The clothes she is given by God are fine linen, bright and pure… God has given the victorious church ‘bright pure linen’ to symbolize her triumph and the purity she has maintained” through the temptations, trials, and persecutions. (Grant Osborn, Revelation, BECNT, Kindle 14966)
Prayer: Lord, help me to humbly respond to the daily work of the Spirit in my life as I prepare for your return. May I ready myself alongside all your people by living a holy life that overcomes temptations and difficulties through your grace. Hallelujah! In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Let’s worship to the song “Mighty God” by Elevation (click here).
Let’s read aloud together the following passage, confession, and prayer:
Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”John 11:23-27 (NIV)
The Heidelberg Catechism
Q. What is your only comfort in life and death?
A. That I am not my own, but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death, to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with His precious blood, and has set me free from all the power of the devil. He also preserves me in such a way that without the will of my heavenly Father not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, all things must work together for my salvation. Therefore, by His Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life and makes me heartily willing and ready from now on to live for Him.
Prayer: Lord, we believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the resurrection and the life. Today, we declare that the same power that raised you from the dead is the same power that lives in us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Let’s worship to the song “Strong in Us” by Bethel (click here).
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”Revelation 21:3-4 (NIV)
The present “heaven is not a place in our space-time continuum, but a different sphere of reality that overlaps and interlocks with our sphere… One day the curtain will be pulled back.” (N.T. Wright, Surprised by Scripture, p.96-97)
“Here is the big point: We need to learn to talk about heaven in two phases or dimensions. They are the first heaven (now) and the final Heaven (the final kingdom of God). From this point on I will use lowercase heaven for the first heaven and uppercase Heaven for the final kingdom. The first heaven is real and present but undisclosed to mortal eyes, while the final Heaven is the full disclosure of the heavenly realm. And it will be on a renewed earth.” (Scot McKnight, The Heaven Promise: What the Bible Says about the Life to Come, p. 45)
Prayer: Lord, may the anticipation of an eternity with you with no more tears, suffering, pain, or death, bring me hope in the present. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Let’s worship to the song “You Hold Me Now” by Hillsong (click here).
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. Revelation 21:1-2 (NIV)
“In fact, the hope of Revelation is not about… going to heaven but about… the descent of God to us! This is not to deny the existence of heaven in the present but to place the eschatological (future) emphasis where Revelation places it: on heaven and earth being transformed into one unified, merged reality, the new-heaven-and-new-earth… Christians seek to practice the ways of peace, justice, reconciliation, evangelism, and earth care that are implied in the vision of the new heaven and new earth given to us in Revelation 21–22. In visionary, truthful worship we have been caught up into God’s own plan for the re-creation of the world, and we long to share that vision by witnessing to it in concrete practice.” (Michael Gorman, Reading Revelation Responsibly, pp. 222-224)
Prayer: Lord, thank you that you are preparing us for the new creation, “a new heaven and new earth.” May my life be caught up more and more in your plan of redemption in tangible ways. Help me be a peacemaker, a faithful steward, reaching out in love to others with the hope of Heaven. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Let’s worship to the song “Awesome God” by Matt Redman (click here).