A Glimpse of Heaven
Scripture: Revelation 5:11-14
One of the topics I am most often asked about is heaven. We earth-bound creatures seem to have a fascination with heaven. Which is understandable since this life will last 80 or a 100 years, & then what? For all of us, the hope is heaven!
You would think you could turn just about anywhere in
Scripture & get information on heaven. Instead, our Bible has precious little to say about the place. Most of everything we know about heaven is found here in the Book of the Revelation. Here, in 5:11-14, we get a glimpse of what heaven is like. John’s description tells us:
There is a company of angels, a throne, & animals (living creatures)
There are elders – millions of them, thousands upon thousands – i.e., too many to count!
There is praise & song – from all of creation
What John describes is worship. It stands to follow that where God is, there is worship, & where there is worship, God is present. This morning I want to touch briefly on 3 reasons why God’s presence causes worship.
First, worship allows us to connect to our Creator
Worship moves the focus from ourselves to some One greater
Psalm 100:2-3 = Serve the Lord with celebration! Come before him with shouts of joy! Know that the Lord is God – he made us; we belong to him. We are his people, the sheep of his own pasture.
Worship calls us to give all of ourselves, more than just our $ or voice
Romans 12:1 = Present your bodies as a living sacrifice that is holy & pleasing to God. This is your appropriate priestly service.
Worship deeply reconnects us with humility
2 Chronicles 7:14 = If my people who belong to me will humbly pray, seek my face, & turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear them.
Stuart Sacks, a missionary to Paraguay tells of when a Maka Indian named Rafael once came & sat on his porch. Stuart went outside to ask what he wanted, & Rafael replied, “Ham, henek met.” “I don’t want anything; I have just come near.” An experienced missionary told Stuart that Rafael was honoring him. He only wanted to sit on his porch. He found satisfaction & pleasure just being near the missionary. Stuart says, “The Lord asks, ‘What brings you here, child?’ Can we say, ‘Ham, henek met?’”
Worship also allows us to connect with eternity.
There is more to life than this world. Our health, our finances, even our relationships will one day fade away.
1 Corinthians 15:19 = If we have a hope in Christ only in this life, then we deserve to be pitied more than anyone else. If there is no God, & therefore no heaven, that would truly be depressing!
You & I are strangers, aliens on this earth.
Hebrews 11:13 = All these people died in faith without receiving the promises, but they saw the promises from a distance & welcomed them. They confessed that they were strangers & immigrants on earth.
Just as winter gives way to spring, & spring to summer, so too this earthly life will give way to eternal joy for the believer.
Isaiah 35:10 = The Lord’s ransomed ones will return… with singing, with everlasting joy upon their heads.
Finally, worship allows us to connect with hope.
In worship, we find hope & optimism.
A University of TX study showed church attendance adds 7 years to your life!
This world will pass away; we will be living out our hope. God is in control & cannot be shaken. Therefore, we worship.
Hebrews 12:28 = Let’s serve in a way that is pleasing to God with respect & awe.
Brother Lawrence said, “All spiritual life consists of practicing God’s presence, & that anyone who practices it correctly will soon attain spiritual fulfillment. To accomplish this, it is necessary for the heart to be emptied of everything that would offend God. He wants to possess your heart completely. Before any work can be done in your soul, God must be totally in control.”
Importantly, we must remember that worship is more than one hour a week. It is more than what we do here on Sunday morning. Worship is a lifestyle.
Rodney Buchanan has written: We worship when we awake. We worship when we eat. We worship when we walk & observe the wonder of a loving & creative God who made such a good world. We worship when we are weary. We worship when we are troubled & perplexed. We worship when we have lost & when we have gained. We live with an attitude of adoring God for who he is. Worship is a love affair we carry on with our Creator.
Great is the glory of God, & great is God’s Son who came to bring salvation to many. To the one seated on the throne & to the Lamb, be blessing & glory & might forever & ever! Amen.