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"The Believer's Hope"

By Pastor David Zimmerman
Bible Baptist Church, Sapulpa, OK

Text: Colossian 1:1-5

Introduction:  It was five days before Christmas.  The man drove up and down the lanes of the crowded Target parking lot, looking for a place to park his car.  Once inside the store, he found the aisles jammed with shopping carts and last minute shoppers like him-self.  As hurriedly as the packed store would allow, he grabbed the few gifts he had come to purchase and steered his cart to the checkout lines, resigning himself to a long wait for his turn at the cash register.
In front of him were two small children, a boy of about 10 and his little sister.  The boy wore a ragged coat and worn out tennis shoes that were enormously large for his small feet.  In his grimy hands he clutched a small wad of dollar bills.  The girl was dressed no better than her brother was.  Her hair was a matted tangle of curls.  Cradled in her arms was a pair of shiny gold house-slippers.

When it came their turn at the register, the little girl carefully placed the slippers on the counter.  The clerk ran the barcode over the scanner and announced, “That will be $6.09.”
The boy stared at the crumpled bills in his hand.  It wasn’t enough.  “I guess we’ll have to put them back and come back some other time,” he said.

The little girl choked back a sob.  “But Jesus would have loved these shoes,” she said.

“Don’t cry,” said her little brother.  “We’ll come back and get them later.”

The man gave a couple of bills to the cashier.  “Here, I’ll make up the difference.”  Almost immediately, he was wrapped in a pair of tiny arms and a small voice whispered, “Thank you, Sir.”

The man patted the matted head.  His curiosity aroused, he asked, “What did you mean when you said that Jesus would like the slippers?”

The little boy answered for his sister.  “Our mommy is sick.  Dad said she might go to Heaven to be with Jesus before Christ-mas.”

The girl added, “My Sunday School teacher said the streets in Heaven are shiny gold.  Won’t my mommy be beautiful walking on those streets in these slippers?”

The man looked down into the tear-streaked face.  “Yes, I’m sure she will.”

Praise the Lord for a Sunday School teacher who had something more to give a little girl than a piece of candy or a cute little story.  Thank the Lord that she could her the truth about Heaven and plant a seed of hope.
Where would we be without a hope of Heaven?  How could we face death – how could we really enjoy life – if we didn’t have hope beyond the grave?

Hope and Heaven go together.  For the Christian, our hope is in Heaven.
 


That’s what it means to have a hope of Heaven.

In our text this morning, Paul thanked God continually that the believer’s in Colosse had a hope laid up for them in Heaven.  You have to understand what that meant to those people.  We are accustomed to cemeteries.  We put up tombstones engraved with words of hope.  But the pagan world of that day knew nothing of life beyond the grave.  Death terrified them.  There were no promises of peace and rest etched on their grave markers.

Then they heard the Gospel – the story of One who con-quered death, rose in victory over the grave, and offered a prom-ise of life in Heaven to all who would trust Him.  Superstitions were abandoned and hope replaced fear when they placed their faith in Jesus to save them.

Hope and Heaven go together.  They are the precious, ex-clusive possession of the Christian.

I. Heaven is a PLACE

There are those that believe that Heaven is nothing more than a state of mind.  Others say that Heaven is whatever good-ness you can grab hold of in this life.  But Heaven is a place.  Let me give you three simple reasons why heaven is a place.
 

1. Jesus came from Heaven.  John 6:38
2. Jesus returned to Heaven.  1 Peter 3:22
3. Jesus is coming again from Heaven.  1 Thessalonians 4:16


Every time the Bible mentions Heaven, it speaks of it as a real place.  We do not know where it is, except that the Bible al-ways speaks of it as being “up.”  Jesus came down from Heaven.  He ascended up to Heaven.  When He comes back for His church, we are going up to meet Him in the clouds.

Up there, somewhere on the map of God, is a place called Heaven.

II. Heaven is PROMISED to the Believer

When the Christian speaks of a “hope” of Heaven, he speaks of something sure, a certainty.  He means that Heaven fills the longing of his heart because he expects to go there some day.

Often, when I am sharing the Gospel with others, I will ask them if they KNOW they are going to Heaven when the die.  I cannot tell you how many times I have received the answer, “Oh, I certainly hope so.”  They are not sure.  They just “hope” that when they die, it will all somehow work out.

That’s not what Paul meant when he thanked God for a hope laid up for us in Heaven.  He meant that we could look forward to Heaven with confidence because it has been promised us.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

1 Peter 1:3-5
 
Peter also links together the words hope and Heaven.  And he tells us something more about God’s promise of Heaven. He tells us that it is reserved for us in Heaven, and we are kept by the power of God for it.

Heaven is promised, and it’s God’s own power that guarantees the promise will be fulfilled.

III. Heaven is being PREPARED for the Be-liever

John 14:1-3

Mansions in Heaven, and the architect and builder of them all is Jesus Christ.  He is preparing them for us.
But what kind of place is God preparing.  We really don’t know.  In fact, the Bible says it is so wonderful that eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared [for us.]
But we are given a few tantalizing glimpses.

Revelation 21:1-6

A place where everything is new

1. A new heaven – a whole new universe of stars and galaxies
2. A new earth – pristine, fresh, unmarked by sin
3. A new city – with streets of gold, foundations of pre-cious stones, and gates of pearl
4. A new relationship – God dwelling with men, no longer separated because of sin.
5. A new condition


Conclusion

Revelation 21:27 mentions one final fact about Heaven which I would like us to consider.  It debunks the myth that good people go to Heaven and bad people go to Hell.  And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie.”

A person doesn’t have to be wicked and abominable to miss heaven.  They just have to be a liar.  Let me ask you, how many lies do you have to tell in order to become a liar?

Revelation 21:27 disqualifies anyone from getting into Heaven by their goodness.  No one is good enough.  But notice that I didn’t read all the verse.  It goes on to say, “But they which are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.”

God’s has a book, and in it are recorded the names of every-one who has trusted Jesus Christ as their Savior.  Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No man comes to the Father but by me.”

The door to Heaven is wide open, but the only way to enter is by putting your faith in Jesus Christ to save you.  Jesus is not A way, but THE way.  God took your sin debt and placed them on Jesus.  He died in your place.  And when you trust Him as your Savior, God no longer looks upon you as a sinner.  He writes your name in the Lamb’s Book of Life and the Bible says that He for-gets your sin.

You can get to Heaven from anywhere on earth, but there is only one way.  You must believe in Jesus as your Savior.
Let me close by giving one word of caution.  Just as Heaven is a real place, so is Hell.  Hell is everything that Heaven isn’t.  It’s a place of everlasting torment and unimaginable misery.  Don’t put off the decision to receive Christ.  Trust Him today.

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