27 Jun Good News #3 – 5 Reasons Heaven Won’t Be Boring
– Howdy pastor Mark Driscoll here. What do you find boring? Think about it for a moment. One of the most boring places I’ve ever been, the Department of Motor Vehicles, you get a number and you sit there and it feels like purgatory. How about returning something to a store after the holidays? You’re in the long lin bored out of your mind. How about this? I don’t know if you’ve heard about it. It’s a little thing called quarantine at home. Do you find it a little bit boring? Many of us, most of us, perhaps all of us right now, what we are struggling with is just boredom. If you’re not allowed to leave your house, you’re not allowed to go to a movie, not allowed to go to a sporting event. There’s nothing new on television. After so many weeks of that kind of limitation, it leads to a great deal of frustration. Why do I bring it up? Because I’m doing a little series to give you some good news in a season that is filled with bad news. And here is what I think. I think that most people think that heaven is a lot like this season, where everyone is stuck at home with nothing to do and nowhere to go and absolutely bored out of their minds. I think that’s what most people’s perspective of heaven is. And I wanna correct that today. In his great book on “Heaven”, Randy Alcorn quotes, a science fiction writer named Isaac Asimov. He has since died, I hope he met Jesus. Otherwise he’s having a real bad day. He says, quote, “I don’t believe in an afterlife. “So, I don’t have to spend my whole life fearing hell “Or fearing heaven, even more for whatever tortures of hell. “I think the boredom of heaven would be even worse.” I think he just honestly expresses what a lot of people are thinking. And that is that hell sounds terrible, but I’m not sure that heaven is any better. The boredom of heaven might be even worse than the burdens of hell. Many people think that this whole concept, that heaven, that eternal life, the being with God is just absolutely boring is very, very common. For example, when we think of hell, we tend to think of everybody together, having a good time. And when we think of heaven, many of the crummy Christian artwork depictions of heaven are that we’re absolutely isolated. We’re chubby babies, we’re in a diaper, planking a harp, sitting on a cloud all by ourselves, practicing appropriate eternal angelic social distancing, which is altogether boring. The truth is in heaven, the Kingdom of God, there will be relationships. People hanging out together. It’s not like now, you’ll be able to go out to dinner, go to a sporting event, maybe see more than two people with the same last name. In hell, everyone will be isolated and rather lonely. In addition, hell is the place of pain. Heaven is the place of pleasure. Satan has done a great job telling us a tremendous number of lies about heaven and hell. And the false wrong portrait is that hell is where all the fun is. That’s where the bar is open. The band is playing the guys with the tattoos and the cigarettes are leading the chorus and the gals and clear heels are following their lead. That’s where all the good times are. That’s not the way that it is. Hell is the place of pain. Heaven is the place of pleasure. People will enjoy heaven in a way that they cannot enjoy hell. Lastly, the picture of heaven, as I said is boring. And the false depiction of hell is one that ultimately is adventurous, it’s exciting. There’s things to do, there’s places to go, there’s people to meet and that’s all together inaccurate. Heaven is a place of relationship. Hell is a place of isolation. Heaven ultimately is a place of adventure. Hell is ultimately a place of boredom. In addition, heaven is ultimately a place of pleasure and hell is a place of pain. And here’s what I need you to know. God is fun, God is exciting, God is enjoyable. God made us in His image and likeness so that we could have fun, that we could enjoy things, that we could go on adventures. And all of that continues into eternity for those who know God. And many of us have a misperception of heaven because we have a misperception of God. We think of God as a boring dole sort of lackluster being that we’re forced to sort of pretend that we endure forever. And many people, their picture of heaven is like an eternal visit to the dentist. And they’re just supposed to pretend like they’re really enjoying it. That’s not how it’s supposed to be. So here’s what I wanna do in this sermon. I wanna give you five reasons heaven won’t be boring. Anytime you’re gonna take a trip, here’s what you should do. Do a little homework investigation. Where am I going? What are the directions? How do I get there? When I get there? What is there to look forward to? And how can I prepare? At the end of this life, there is a life that never ends. You need to prepare for it. You need to plan for it. And so I want you to look forward to it. And I think one of the great discouragements is this random thought that ultimately heaven is altogether boring. It’s not and I’ll give you a five reasons why. Number one, you will laugh in heaven. You will laugh in heaven. Many people don’t think that God has any kind of sense of humor. Let me tell you this. God is very than religious people. And heaven is very different than a religious environment. If you look at the life of Jesus, wherever he went, he either went to a party or when he showed up a party started. This could be adults and or children. They liked to have parties and Jesus was usually the center. Religious people come along. They criticize him. They harass him. They hound him, ultimately they hang him. Because it was religious people who had no sense of humor. They had no joy, they had no cheer. And as a result, they were offended by Jesus. Don’t confuse religious people and God, and don’t confuse religious environments and heaven. I’ll prove it to you. Some of you didn’t know this. Some of you didn’t know that God has a sense of humor. Psalm 2:4, “He who sits in heaven laughs.” I don’t know if you know this, God laughs. Many theologians will give us God’s attributes. And here’s what they always miss, a sense of humor. You know why? Most theologians aren’t very fun and they’re not very funny, but God is. In addition, Psalm 37:13, “The Lord laughs.” God has a sense of humor. I don’t know about you, I miss being in public, I miss laughter, I miss crowds, I miss hope, I miss joy. I’m preaching to an empty room. This is the time where I like to say crazy things and have people laugh. And I can’t do that. You know why? This is more like hell than it is heaven. In heaven, right now, people are laughing. On earth, People are not. When we get into the presence of God, not only will we laugh, God will laugh and teach us all how to laugh perfectly and deeply. In addition Psalms 59:8, “But you, oh Lord laugh at them.” Some people take God way too lightly. They take themselves way too seriously. What does God do? Laughs at them, laughs at them. He doesn’t take people and things seriously that shouldn’t be taken seriously. So many of us, we take God so lightly, we take ourselves so seriously that we lose any sense of comedy or also laughter and joy. And the result is that God sort of reverses the tables on us and says, “You shouldn’t take yourself so seriously, “You should take me more seriously. “I’m gonna laugh at you to give you an invitation, “To learn to lighten up a little bit “And to laugh at yourself and to enjoy the life “That I’ve given you.” Number one, God laughs. And God has a sense of humor. Number two, what about Jesus? Now there are many people who would think Jesus could not have had a sense of humor. That’s why many people, they struggle laughing in church. Are we allowed to laugh? They struggle laughing in a Bible study or a religious environment. Are we allowed to laugh? Did Jesus have a sense of humor? I love this line in Ecclesiastes. It says there is a time to laugh. It’s not always a time to laugh, but there is a time to laugh. There are times throughout the day, throughout the week, throughout the month, throughout the year, throughout the life. Actually the best thing you could do is just laugh at it. And if you don’t laugh, you won’t last. If you don’t find a way to give yourself an emotional break, especially in all the bad news and craziness that we are enduring, you are ultimately not gonna be a healthy person because your soul needs to let off a little steam with a big deep laugh from the belly. Did Jesus have a sense of humor? If there is a time to laugh, was there ever a time in Jesus’ life where he exercised a perfect sense of humor? Yes, I’ll give you a couple of thoughts on this. And many people do not see Jesus as having a sense of humor in part, because of the media. Cecil B. DeMille, famous filmmaker in 1927, he released a movie called “King of Kings” and it was one of the first films about Jesus. And it showed Him as a very dour, very serious man. He had an angelic glow around him like an aura. It looked like he grew up next to a nuclear plant and needed some treatment. He’s just glowing all the time. And in addition, he’s almost like an apparition. He sort of floats, he barely walks. And one thing he does not do is express any joy or any laughter or any sense of real heartfelt emotion. He’s very serious. He’s very pious. That’s not how Jesus was, but that’s how Jesus was depicted in early media. The result is that many people think that Jesus is like he has been depicted in the media. That’s not how he was. There was a man named Elton Trueblood. He wrote a book called “The Humor of Christ.” He walks through 30 places in the Bible that mentioned Jesus having a sense of humor and or telling a joke. Here’s his summary, Christ laughed. And he expected others to laugh. Part of this is we know that children flock to Jesus to hang out with him. You know why? He was fun. They didn’t do that to religious people. Religious people don’t have this problem. Yeah, children run to me ’cause they wanna have fun with me. Religious people don’t have that kind of problem. Jesus did because he had a sense of humor. He laughed, he was enjoyable, he was joyful. Trueblood says, “Christ laughed “And he expected others to laugh, “A misguided piety.” What he means there is some people they’re holier than God. A misguided piety has made us fear that acceptance of His obvious within humor would somehow be mildly blasphemous or sacrilegious, religion we think is serious business. Jesus had a sense of humor. I’ll give you two examples briefly, one, He was a construction worker and he tells a story and that is take the log or plank out of your own eye before you point out the speck of sawdust in your neighbor’s eye. Guys on the job site 2000 years ago would have thought that was pretty funny. I said, “Oh, I think you’ve got a little dust in your eye.” “Really? Did you miss the two by four “Coming out of your head?” That is an obvious thing that probably needs first priority. What he’s talking about there is religious people who see your sin and not their own, criticize you and not themselves. And Jesus makes a joke about it to show that religion ultimately is a joke and we shouldn’t take it seriously. There’s another example that’s kind of fun. Jesus says it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter heaven. And this is where all the Bible commentaries have a lot of fun. And the Bible commentators make a lot of speculation. And they’re saying, well, you know, years ago there was a wall that went around Jerusalem. And if you had a camel, your camel wouldn’t fit through the little tiny hole in the wall, they called it the eye of the needle. And so what your camel would do, they would need to shrink down and shimmy shimmy shake through the wall. And that is the camel passing through the eye of the needle. No, it’s not, it’s a joke, it’s a joke. If you have ever sewn, cross-stitch or quilted, here’s what, you know, no matter how much you pull from the front or push from the back, a camel does not fit through a needle. That’s just the way that it works. Jesus is using hyperbole and humor to communicate truths. And Jesus demonstrates a perfect sense of comedic timing. That’s why children loved him. That’s why he got invited to parties. And that is why religious people were offended that he had children and parties. They didn’t think that that was appropriate because that was something that for them was considered a little too over the line because they had no sense of humor. The joke was on them. Jesus has a sense of humor. Now, the question then becomes, how about you? Your sense of humor today is practice for heaven forever. How many of you liked to laugh? How many of you miss getting together for social public gatherings and laughing? One of the favorite things I love about my wife, Grace, she has a huge laugh, I say crazy things. And she laughs loud. That is healing for my soul and helpful for our relationship. God wants you to laugh because laughter is preparing for forever. In Luke 21, Jesus said, “Blessed are you who weep now.” There are things that are sad. That are things that are hard. There are things that are scary. We don’t wanna deny those, “For you shall laugh, rejoice in that day “And leap for joy, for behold, “Your reward is great in heaven.” He is talking about heaven. He is talking about the resurrection of the dead. He is talking about the eternal life. And what he is saying is it will have laughter and rejoicing, laughter and rejoicing. The Bible speaks of joy a few 100 times. The Bible speaks of laughter some 40 times. It’s a constant refrain and theme throughout the scriptures. And I tell you this before sin entered the world, there wasn’t any weeping, there was only laughing. And once Jesus returns and establishes the eternal Kingdom of God after we raise from death, weeping will be no more. And all there will be is laughing and rejoicing. Martin Luther, the great Protestant reformer said this. “If you’re not allowed to laugh in heaven, “I don’t wanna go there.” I agree with Luther. Because a boring, cheerless, joyless christian is a bad advertisement for heaven. A cheerless, joyless christian is a bad advertisement for heaven. Number two, how about this one? You will work and worship with divine beings in heaven. Revelation four, He gets a view into the unseen realm. Heaven presently exists in an unseen spiritual realm. It will come with the Lord Jesus and the seen and the unseen realms will be reunited and heaven will join earth. And it will absolutely restore earth to God’s original intent before sin entered the world and the curse corrupted everyone and everything that God made. All of it is gonna be fixed when heaven comes to earth with King Jesus and the Kingdom of God resides on the earth. That kingdom, however that eternal heavenly home, it exists right now in the unseen realm. So what happens here is John, the author of Revelation, he gets a glimpse on the other side of the curtain to see what’s going on right now in the unseen realm. He said, “I looked and behold “A door standing open in heaven.” So he’s looking into heaven. “Seated on the thrones were 24 elders “Clothed in white garments with golden crowns “On their heads.” These are human beings. Many think that these 24 would be the 12 tribes of Israel and the 12 disciples comprising this 24. We’ll see when we get there, but these are human beings. They’re wearing clothes. They’ve got crowns on their heads. “Around the throne are four living creatures.” These are divine beings. In addition to angels, the Bible talks about divine beings. Here, we meet some of them and they’re extraordinary. They’re sort of beyond the ability of human language to fully articulate. And so John is sort of straining to explain all that he is seeing because to him, it’s something he’s never seen before. “Four living creatures, “Full of eyes in the front and behind.” If your mom ever told you she had eyes in the back of her head. What she’s saying is I’m out of Revelation four. “Four living creatures, full of eyes in the front of behind. “The first living creature, like a lion, “The second, like an ox, “Then one with the face of like a man, “The fourth, like an Eagle in flight.” These are divine beings. As the Bible sometimes refers to demonic beings in the terms of animals, they’re like serpents or vipers or snakes. So, the Bible refers to angelic and other divine beings in terms that are like animals to give our imagination some clue of what they may be like, though it is hard to understand. “Each of them with six wings are full of eyes “All around within day and night “They never cease to say, Holy Holy is the Lord. “God almighty, who was and is, and is to come.” Here’s what I’m telling you. In Genesis one and two. At the beginning, there was the unseen realm with God, angels and other divine beings. There was the physical world that we live in. The seen realm with human beings. Our first parents, Adam and Eve, the connecting point between those two realms was the Garden of Eden. There, God and the angels would come to meet with human beings on the earth. This is why in Genesis one and two, we see that Adam and Eve were there. We see that God is there. We see that Satan, a fallen, rebellious, divine being is there and they’re not freaked out. Apparently this is common for them to meet with God and divine beings in this intermediate state of Eden. And then there is also a chair of a angel that participates in removing them from the garden once they sin. But God’s original intent is that His divine family and human family, they would work in worship together. They would do life together. Once we sinned, we were kicked out of Eden. We were removed from that realm. That realm still exists and it will come back with the Lord Jesus and what it does, here’s what I’m telling you, where it was left off in Genesis is where it is picked up in Revelation. Meaning, when Eden returns to earth and we have access to God and God makes His divine home on our renewed planet, you are gonna get to know angels and divine beings. Just think about this. It says right here, that right now in the unseen realm, in what he calls heaven, there are human beings and divine beings. They are working together and they are worshiping together. Think about this for a moment. I believe that the planet that we live on is the shadowlands. I believe that much of what we experience is a shadow of heaven and much of what we long for is a shadow of heaven. Think of it for a moment. Do you have any curiosity to explore, examine, created beings that are different than you, that you have no experience of? Yes. Even among human beings. This is why we like to travel and meet people from other nations and cultures. I wanna meet someone who’s different than me and just see what they’re like. There’s a curiosity. Take it a step further, how many people have a fascination with alien life and life from other planets? And their speculation there? Their concern is maybe out there somewhere There’s a created being that maybe is kind of like me, but not like me and is different than me. I would sure love to meet them. It was even just this week, a secret footage of the Government of UFO sightings was released. I don’t know if that was an angel, a demon or alien life. I don’t know it could be any of those. But there is something in us that wonders what other beings are out there. How about if there’s beings, not just another galaxies, but in another realm? That longing for life from other planets may actually be a longing for life from other realms. What I’m telling you is every tinfoil hat nerd who loves watching “Avengers” films might ultimately really in their heart belonging to meet an angel, a divine being from another row. How about this one? Have you ever been to the zoo? When our kids were little, we used to take them to the zoo all the time. Why do you take kids to the zoo? So that they could see created beings that are different than them, that they have never experienced before. And there’s a bit of a fascination and a curiosity about that. All of this is the longing and the wonder that I believe God put in our soul so that we would get to know the entire family of God. Not only God’s children in the human family, but God’s children in the divine family. And just ask yourself how boring will heaven be? Number one, if you get to laugh, there’s jokes, there’s humor, there’s comedy, there’s relationships. It’s fun, people are having a good time. And number two, if you get to meet angels and other divine beings. Imagine meeting one of these guys, wings, looks like a lion, eyes in the back of the head. I’m just telling you this’ll be an interesting conversation, but you will be meeting divine beings. And I’m telling you this, this is not gonna be boring. This is gonna be interesting, it’s gonna be curious, it’s gonna be exciting, and it’s something to look forward to. Number three, you have lots to learn, do, and explore in heaven. I think that this may be the greatest lie that Satan has told. He got kicked out of heaven, so he sort of anti heaven. He got kicked out of heaven on earth, so he’s anti heaven on earth. And I think that he has done a great PR job misrepresenting heaven. And I believe one of the greatest, most powerful lies that Satan has told people is that in heaven, there’s nothing to learn, there’s nothing to do and there’s nowhere to go. That would equate total boredom. If there’s nothing to learn, there’s nowhere to go. And there’s nothing to do forever. I don’t know about you. That smells like quarantine to me. That doesn’t smell like any good news to look forward to. I wanna say this as well. Let me set this up theologically and practically. There is a difference between perfection and completion. This is gonna be my thesis. Some of you have never thought of this. Some of you have, I would submit to you that the majority of Christians and Bible teachers don’t understand this, misunderstand this. And as a result, misrepresent this. There is a difference between perfection and completion. On the other side of this life after Jesus returns and he calls you by name and you exit your grave into a perfectly healed, resurrected physical body, to live on the planet, to pick up where everything dropped off in Genesis three, as God returns to his original intentions for all peoples in all places that ultimately you will be perfect. It’ll be you, it’ll be you. A perfect you is not a completed you. Meaning just because you’re perfect you still have things to learn. Just because you’re perfect, you still have things to do. Just because you’re perfect, you still have places to go. I’ll prove it to you. Let’s start with Adam, Adam and Eve are our first parents. They lived on the earth before sin. So we could say this. They were perfect, they were perfect. Okay, so here is a perfect man. And I’m telling you that what you’ll be like in heaven is basically like this, but even better. Genesis one, God said to them, why does God say something to them? You know why? They have to learn. God wouldn’t teach them if they already knew it, they have something to learn. “Be fruitful, multiply.” You know what that is? Something to do. That’s a command to action. “And fill the earth and subdue it.” You know what that is? Explore. What he’s saying is I’m gonna teach you what you need to do. And the whole earth is where you need to do it. God is looking at perfect people saying, I have something you need to learn. I have something you need to do. And I have some places for you to go. “Have dominion.” That’s something to do, “Over the fish of the sea, “The birds of the heaven. “Over every living thing that moves on the earth.” He looks at planet earth that says, “okay, here’s the deal. “I’m gonna tell you. “Here’s what you need to learn. “Job description, what you need to do. “Now, leave here and go explore all of my creation “Doing what I told you to do.” That is create culture, make culture, build the earth, subdue it. This is where we get art, cities, civilization, culture, language in the like. Genesis two, 15 and 16. Adam is perfect. Lord God took the man, put them in the Garden of Eden to work it and to keep it. And the Lord, God commanded the man. Commanding him? Yeah, something to learn. And he puts him there to work, something to do in a garden, somewhere to explore. Just because you’re perfect doesn’t mean you have nothing to learn. Just because you’re perfect doesn’t mean you don’t have anything to do. And just because you’re perfect, doesn’t mean you don’t have anywhere to go. Hear me in this. Because here’s the point, though you’re perfect, you’re not God. Only God has nothing to learn. Even a perfect you always have something to learn because you will never come to the point like God, where you are all knowing or what the theologians omniscient. For those of you who love to learn, for those of you who love to study, for those of you who love to find out new facts and untangled new problems, heaven is for you. There’s always something to learn. For those of you that are active. You can’t just sit there. This sitting at home is driving you crazy and you wanna get out and do things. Heaven is for you. It’s a place where you get to go, do things. In addition, for those of you that are struggling, ’cause you can’t go anywhere. Heaven’s not like that. There are places to explore, not just on this planet. I believe in our full resurrected, glorified, perfected state, that human work and potential will continue being unleashed in a capacity that is nearly unlimited. That means that people will explore the depth of the ocean. They will go across all of the new earth. They will explore other galaxies. There will be constant exploration, constant learning and constant culture making and city building. It’s not gonna be boring. Second case study let’s look at Jesus. Jesus Christ was and is perfect, He’s perfect. Yet this will shock you. Jesus had things to learn, things to do and places to explore. Jesus is fully God, fully man. He retained all of his divine attributes, all powerful, all knowing, all present while on the earth, but he chose not to avail Himself to the continual use of them. Think of it in this way. Let’s say I wanna fire a bow and arrow. I can do that by looking at the target or I can blindfold myself. If I blindfold myself and pull the bow, I still have sight. I’m just choosing not to use it. Jesus had the divine attributes and chose oftentimes not to use them. Why would he do that? This was his humility to live like you and me. So Jesus is perfect. Here’s what we find out. The child that is Jesus, Luke 2:40 grew. You know what that is? Learning. He’s growing, He became strong, that’s physically growing and doing, filled with wisdom, things to learn. And the favor of the Lord was on him. Jesus was perfect, but he learned things. Jesus was perfect, he did things. He went to work with his dad as a carpenter. Jesus was perfect, but he explored places. How about this in Luke 2:52, Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man. He was perfect, but he was learning. He was perfect, but He was doing, He was perfect, but He was exploring. You and I need to understand that Jesus shows us a little portrait of what eternal life will be when we resurrect in a perfected body to be like him and with him forever. If Jesus had things to learn, if Jesus had things to do, if Jesus had places to go and he was perfect, you and I will have things to learn, things to do and places to go. This is so important. I believe this is one of the great lies that Satan tells that robs heaven of any of its interest. I love to learn. I’m gonna learn in heaven. I love to get stuff done. We’re gonna get stuff done in heaven. I like to explore. We’re gonna go explore and heaven. I like getting on airplanes. I like jumping in my Jeep and going off-roading. All of that will be possible in the new heavens and the new earth. Lastly, in this section, you will be perfect. Next slide, please. You will be perfect and you will learn, do and explore forever. I want you to see heaven as a place of learning. I want you to see it, a place of doing. I want you to see it as a place of exploring that is unlimited and never ends. Because again, you’re not gonna be God, you won’t know everything. You won’t have done everything and you will not exist everywhere. Here’s what it says in Revelation five and the context here is heaven, the eternal life, the resurrection of the dead, the Kingdom of God, you have made them, the people of God, a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth. They shall reign on the earth. What that means is ultimately, I wrote a few things down here. We do not learn, grow and mature because we are fallen but because we are human. In addition, a perfect being is still not God. In addition, there is a big difference between learning through experience and sinning. This is the difference of what I’m saying is very controversial. But hear me in this, there is a difference between moral perfection and total perfection. I’ll give you an example. I believe when the Bible speaks of perfection, it’s talking about moral perfection, no sin, but that doesn’t mean total perfection in this that we don’t learn through trial and error and mistake, give you an example. And again, this is very controversial. I’m kind of out at the end of a limb. Maybe get myself in trouble, which is fine. Jesus was perfect. He is the example of a perfect human being. While on the earth though, he was perfect, He learned through trial and error. Question, so when Jesus went into the wood shop with his dad who was a carpenter. Do you think day one, he just started hammering nails and drilled everyone in the exact place, never hit his thumb, never made the nail crooked? He learned by doing it. It says that Jesus grew in wisdom, stature and favor with men and God. What that means is like every kid, he learned how to write the alphabet. What that means is he learned how to read and write. It means if you put him on a bike, he wouldn’t automatically when the Lamont’s he had to figure out how to ride it. In the same way in heaven if I give you a tuba, you won’t just play it. You know, like Louis Armstrong. If I just give you a baseball, you’re not gonna throw a cutter like Derek Jeter. If I hand you a guitar, you’re not gonna just play it like Jimi Hendrix, lick one, you’ll be morally perfect, you’re still gonna have to learn stuff. There’s gonna be trial and error and figuring it out and exploring. Let me just make this really practical parents who don’t understand this, they discipline their children for being human, not just for being sinful. If you’ve got a kid who they’re carrying their dish to the sink and they got little hands and they’re wobbly and they drop their plate and it breaks, that’s not a sin. That’s learning how to carry a plate. A sin would be throwing a fit and maybe throwing the plate. My point is this moral perfection does not necessarily require total perfection, where everything you do is always perfect the first time and there’s nothing to learn and there’s no way to grow and there’s no way to expand and everything is boring because everything you do is godlike round one. I don’t think that’s the way it is. I believe that just as a father allows the children to try things, to experiment, to learn, to figure it out as they go, as long as it’s not morally sinful. So God, our father allows us, even in eternity, that opportunity to learn and to grow and to explore and to expand because how many of you, the joy is in the struggle it’s the figuring it out. You’ve got a problem, let’s say it’s a math equation if you’re a mathematician or you’re tinkering on a car and you’re a person, you know, who’s sort of a gear head or you’re building a building and you’re trying to figure out how to get the cuts right, to make the room straight as you’re figuring those things out, it’s the struggle and the figuring it out that’s part of the enjoyment, it’s part of the excitement, it’s part of the process. And if heaven is there’s none of that, there’s no real growth, there’s no real achievement, there’s no real figuring it out. And you know what? Quite frankly, that would be very boring. I believe with all my heart that like Adam had to figure it out. You and I, even though perfect are gonna have to figure it out. For those of you who think in heaven, I’ll know everything I don’t need to study, I don’t think that’s true. For those of you that in heaven everything’s done, I got nothing to do. Well, you’re gonna rule over a kingdom and you’re gonna expand the kingdom of God across the entire planet. And then into the cosmos to extend the rule and reign of Jesus Christ into every inch of his creation. That’s not gonna be boring. You’re gonna have things to do, and you’re gonna have places to explore. Here’s what I am firmly convinced of. I believe that the more faithful you are in this life, the more opportunities you will have to exercise dominion to learn, to do and to grow in the next life. I think it’s in Luke 19, Jesus tells a parable and he gives a bunch of people, talents, money, investments, opportunity. And then he comes back. The person who gives them these gifts does. And ultimately he asks, “Okay, what did you do with what I gave you?” “Wrote it down here.” Some people, they got a five fold return on investment. He says, “Great, you will rule over five cities.” And the parables are all little stories that teach big truths about the kingdom of God in heaven. You’re faithful in this life, you’ll rule five cities. For those who got a tenfold return on investment, he says, “You’re gonna rule 10 cities.” What that means is if you’re faithful in this life, part of your rewards in the eternal life will be the ability to use your God given gifts, to do things that you find very interesting, very curious, very exciting. And to do those in greater magnitude and degree, learning, doing and exploring without the limits and the resistance of the curse. This is gonna be a mate, nobody’s gonna be bored. It does mean that for some of you, you’re gonna get a new job, in heaven we’re not gonna need firefighters ’cause the fire is all gonna be contained in hell. We’re not gonna need medics because nobody’s gonna get sick. We’re not gonna need soldiers ’cause there isn’t gonna be any war. So for some of you, just let you know, in eternity, you’re gonna get a job change for some of you, your jobs will continue. Maybe you’re an artist, maybe you’re a builder. Maybe you’re an architect. Those aren’t sinful and we could still use those as we expand the kingdom of God from the prototype of the new Jerusalem, to create other cities across God’s planet and throughout God’s creation. Many of the things that you’re doing that you enjoy, you’ll still be doing them. Some of you, your hobbies will now become your full vocation. You like to cook, you’re gonna be cooking for people. You like to paint, you’re gonna be making art. You like to sing, you’re gonna be performing. All of what we consider as the best parts of life on earth will continue. Randy Alcorn in his book “Heaven” even makes this curious statement that I’m not sure about, but it’ll be interesting to see. He even thinks that it’s possible that the good work Ephesians 2 says that God has prepared in advance for us good works to do. If we’re doing those good works that God prepared for us to do, but we don’t finish them and we die. Here’s what he says. It might even be possible in the kingdom to pick where we left off and to finish the things we started in earth. My wife said, “Awesome, then my house will be clean.” All that to say on the other side, you’re not gonna be bored and this great demonic deception that there’s nothing to learn, there’s nothing to do and there’s nowhere to go, it’s not true. The world that God made and got interrupted in Genesis 3 was sin will be remade. And the story will go back to where God began and the original decree that was given to Adam and Eve to be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and subdue it and create culture that will continue with you and me and the kingdom of God forever. I’m telling you that we pick off in eternity where Genesis 2 leaves off and God doesn’t abandon his original design plan for humanity. We return to it, I got two more points. I got hustle. You will be with God in heaven. How could heaven possibly be boring if you’re with God? Think of the most famous person you know, the most interesting person you know, the most exciting person you know, now think of God, how in the world could we be bored, hanging out with God? I mean, people I’m in Arizona. People get in their car, they drive North to a place called the Grand Canyon. They travel from all over the world to stand on the precipice of something bigger and grander than they, that makes them feel small and in awe. And they’re just mesmerized by a hole in the dirt. Let me tell ya, if that gets you, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Once you see God and all of his glory, there’s nothing to compare to that. It says this in Leviticus 26:11 and 12, and the Old Testaments talking about the future kingdom of God. God says, “I will live among you and I will not despise you. “I will walk among you, I’ll be your God. “You’ll be my people.” Adam and Eve walked with God in a garden. And then we ran away from God and God comes to walk with us. And eternity is God walking with us, this is amazing. During this self quarantine, stay at home and watch Netflix kind of season, that is I think an internship for hell and definitely not a foreshadowing of heaven. One of my favorite things to do is go for a walk with my wife, Grace. One of the things we do, we kind of made a little 30 day covenant. How can we love each other, serve each other, bless each other and burden each other. Build our relationship. One of our things was pretty much every day, we need to hold hands and go for a walk so that we could talk and visit and debrief the day. What he’s saying here is this, God wants to be with you and in heaven, he wants to go for walks with you. How could that possibly be boring? How about this one is Ezekiel 37:27, “I will make my home among them, I will be their God, “And they will be my people.” The concept here is like a father who has a house and he really loves his kids. And he spends a lot of time with his kids. How many kids, if they have a dad who absolutely loves them, enjoys them and blesses them and dad says, you know what? “I wanna come home and spend time with the family.” The kids all feel blessed by that. God is a father, we are his kids, he wants to be with his kids. How could that possibly be boring? How could it possibly be boring to be with a divine heavenly father who loves you, knows you, adores you and wants to spend time with you, that’s amazing. And lastly, Revelation 21:1-4. The picture here is of heaven. I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. Heaven and earth continue, but they are improved, the curses lifted rather and they’re rejoined as one. I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people.” Now among his people, he will live with them and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. He’s gonna help you process the pain of your past. He’s gonna help you forgive others who harmed you. He’s gonna allow you to receive the forgiveness he has for you. All the griefs and pains that you might carry into eternity. Your heavenly father is gonna sit down with you. He’s gonna help you process that, unpack that come to closure with that, heal from that. He’ll wipe the tears from your eyes and then it’ll be over. And you’ll move on with your eternal life in a healthy, emotional state, because the love of your dad, he will wipe every tear from their eyes and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever. What no pandemics? What no body count? What no vaccination rushes? What no quarantine at home? What no economic collapse? You mean it’s okay and everything’s open and everybody’s all right. My question is how in the world could this possibly be boring? How could it be boring to be emotionally healed? How could it be boring situation to be in the presence of God? How could it be boring to have your entire past resolved and nothing but excitement for your future? How could it be boring to be in the presence of a God who spoke all of creation into existence and is willing to speak to you in love like a father does a child? There’s nothing boring about this it’s only exciting. And let me just say this too. You ever watched those shows where somebody doesn’t know their dad, so they get a DNA sample. They go on an investigation, they trace their genealogist, try to figure out where’s my dad, where’s my dad, where’s my dad. And then they finally get to meet their dad. And they’re all emotional. This is the great homecoming for the children of God. You’re gonna meet your dad. And your dad is God. And you get the father’s inheritance and he’s gonna bless you and be with you forever. There’s nothing boring about this reunion and this grand eternal homecoming. And what’s kind of remarkable about this. God’s people who originally received this, particularly in the Old Testament, they knew that you couldn’t just go to God’s house and hang out with God. The house of God was the temple. God doesn’t need a house, but we do. So dad made a house for his kids and he goes, and then spends time with them, there that’s the temple. You were not allowed, if you went to the temple to get very close to God, if you’re a Gentile you’re way in the back. If you are a Jew, you get a little bit closer. If you’re a priest to get a little bit closer to the Holy of Holies, the presence of God. And there was one person called the High Priest and he would be able to go into the presence of God one time a year, one time a year. And he would spend the whole year preparing, confessing his sins, purifying himself, getting ready to go in. And he would go in and they would tie a rope on his leg because if he died because he was unqualified to be in the presence of God. Nobody else could go in and get them. ‘Cause they would die too. ‘Cause nobody could go into God’s presence. So if that guy died, you literally would pull them out by the rope. And what it says here is after Jesus is done with you, you don’t need a rope and it’s not just one person who gets to go be in God’s presence. It’s all of God’s children get to be in God’s presence forever, whenever they like. You just need to know that there’s nothing boring about this. It’s only wonderful, it’s exciting. You’re going to be in the presence of God with no fear and no danger, but only his love and affection. I’ll tell you, this is the father, heart of God. And I think of heaven. According to Jesus language in my father’s house, there are many rooms, I’m a dad. I got a house with rooms. And the reason I have a house is I love my family and I want my family to love each other. And I wanna be there with my family. A good loving father will do anything he possibly can to be with his kids. This is a word for you, men. Men, Arizona, one of the first times, or maybe the first time I ever came here was many years ago. One of our sons was on a baseball team. They had a tournament here and I like to put my kid’s baseball tournaments and school activities and such on the calendar first ’cause they’re the priority and then work around them. Well, in this one, the tournament got added after I’d already booked a trip to go speak in Florida. So I’m in Florida, my kid’s playing in Arizona and I can’t be there. So I’m very bummed ’cause I wanna be with my kids. I wanna be with my kids. So I asked the host. I was like, “Can I preach twice this day, leave early, “Catch a red eye flight, pay extra money, “Try and sleep on the plane, have a crummy layover “And land in Arizona and surprise my kid.” That they were so important that I moved heaven and earth so I could just be with them. And I did it shifted my speaking engagement shifted my flight, lost some money, tried to sleep on the plane, you know, wandering around the airport in the middle of the night, with a red eye connector, landed show up at my son’s. I think it was this hotel. I was like, “Hey, dad’s here.” He’s like, “Yeah, we lost yesterday. “We don’t have any games today, it’s over. “Sorry, dad, you did all of that for nothing.” I said, “Hey buddy, you wanna go out to breakfast?” He’s like, “Yeah.” So we went out to breakfast here in Arizona. And I remember at the dining table, the kid said something like, “Dad, I’m so sorry that you spent so much time “And money and work to get here.” I said, “No, I get to hang out with you. “That’s all I wanted. “If you’re playing baseball, that’s what I wanna do. “If you’re not playing baseball, just wanna hang out.” The father, heart of God is that he loves you as one of his kids, he’s willing to move heaven and earth. And it’s not an inconvenience, it’s a joy. He wants to spend time with you. And he will do anything like send Satan and demons to hell like separate believers and unbelievers, like bring heaven to earth like renew heaven and earth like resurrect you from the death and also bring you into his presence just so he can hang out with you. And here’s why, not because we’re awesome but because our dad is awesome and his love for us is nothing to be bored for. It’s something to look forward to. Last point, you will see God face-to-face. This is gonna be awesome. Exodus 33, Moses, Holy guy, godly guy not perfect, but certainly better than us. Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” And God said, “I will make my goodness pass before you, “But you cannot see my face.” God’s proverbial face. It’s using anthropomorphism, human language to explain divine realities for man cannot see me and live. God is so Holy. We are so sinful that if we come face-to-face with a Holy God, we die. We’re not meant to be there. I will take away my hand and you shall see my back, but not my face. Job, some years later godly man actually preceded Moses Job was suffering tremendously in his life like some of you are, everything that he feared was happening and nothing that he wanted was happening and he knows he’s gonna die. And the question is, how does Job maintain his faith in God and his faithfulness to God. He had this hope beyond the grave after my skin has been thus destroyed yet in my flesh, I shall see God. Job said, you know what? “My life looks like a lot of pain and hardship, “But I’m just gonna walk through it “Because someday I will die and then I will rise. “And then I will see God, I just need to get to that day.” Matthew 5:8, Jesus said “Blessed are the pure in heart “For they shall see God.” What’s the greatest thing you’ve ever seen? I mean, just to me seeing my wife, Grace, when they opened the doors at the church on our wedding day, there she is. How is amazing watching every one of our five kids enter the world and holding them. Oh my golly, I’m a dad, that was amazing. What’s the most amazing thing you’ve ever seen. You’re gonna see the face of God. First Corinthians 13:12 for now we see in a mirror dimly, but then when Jesus returns and eternity begins, what face-to-face, this is the Bible’s language of friendship. Our relationships are back-to-back. That’s with our enemies, shoulder-to-shoulder that’s with our coworkers face-to-face that’s with our friends. This is the language of friendship. The reformers used to talk about living quorum, Dale, which means living face-to-face with God. It promises that when you close your eyes and your life ends, you will see God face-to-face. That’s amazing, and lastly, Revelation 22:4 speaking of heaven and the kingdom of God and eternal life, it’s simply declares, they, that is you and me friend will see his face. Let me close with some analogies. I believe we live in the shadow lands, and I believe ultimately that everybody who laughs ultimately is longing for heaven. Everyone who works and worships, whether it’s sports, food, sex, money, or power, they’re ultimately looking for heaven. I believe everyone who loves to learn things is looking for heaven. I believe everyone who loves to do things and accomplish and build and grow something. They’re looking for heaven. I believe everybody who explores and goes on adventures and wants to see as much of God’s creation as they can ultimately is longing for heaven. I think everyone who feels lonely, that wishes that their family was healthy wishes that their burdens were lifted, wishes that they were able to get over the pain of their past, they’d have hoped for their future. Everyone who is shedding tears or feeding fears. Ultimately they are longing for heaven. And ultimately so much of what we do here in the shadow lands is based on faces. Think about this with me for a moment. Let’s say you’re married and you got kids question. Do you have a photo wall at your house? If you go up the stairs of my house, it’s a photo wall. If you go down the hallway into the kids’ bedrooms, it’s a photo wall, you know what it is? It’s all the pictures of the kids. And you know what it is. It’s pictures of their faces and it’s pictures of their faces doing one of two things, laughing or being silly and goofy. ‘Cause that’s how we wanna remember one another and to celebrate one another. What happens when you’re born as a baby? The first thing we do, we take your photo. I mean, you’re naked. We don’t put clothes on you. It’s such a priority to take your photo. We’ve got to get those chubby cheeks. And we got to get that photo. What happens on the first day of school? Get your photo taken. What happens every year in school, class photo, you look dorky, but mom’s got to have it. In addition, you play on a sports team as a kid. What do we do? Photo time, you’re gonna get two photos, group photo, individual photo, because we need to see your face. We need to see everybody’s face. You get engaged, engagement photos. You get married, wedding photos. Used to be when a soldier would go off to war, the one thing they would carry in their pocket is a photo of what the people they love the most like their wife and kids. What do we have today? Everybody’s stuck at home, freaking out. You know what they’re doing? Looking at faces, face time, Facebook, face Zoom, go to meeting. We wanna look at each other. We wanna see each other ’cause so much of life and energy and love and emotion is compellingly communicated in the eyes and in the disposition of the face. So much of what a person is, is revealed in their face. Now we’re at the point that ultimately our phones don’t just have a camera, they have two. Why? Because we wanna see your face and you wanna see our face. Ultimately there is some deep longing within the human soul that wants to be face-to-face. Imagine what it will be like to see God face-to-face. Here’s what I want you to know. There’s only one way to have it and his name is Jesus. That ultimately your life will come to an end. And if you belong to the Lord, Jesus, then your greatest life will begin. That ultimately sin has infected and affected this world. It has corrupted everyone and everything. Ultimately God saw this and in loving compassion, he got off of his throne, his name is Jesus. He entered into human history. He set aside all of his rights and he just came to identify with you. To love you, to serve you, to save you, to forgive you, that ultimately he died, that you might live, that he was condemned, that you might be forgiven. And three days later, he rose from death to show you what your future is. If you trust in him and follow him. And that is that one day, you will defeat that. That one day you will be perfect. That one day you will join him in the kingdom of God that never ends. And it’s not just in the theorial, spiritual existence, somewhere off in the cosmos. It’s on this earth, in this body, following this plan for all eternity, with great joy, you’re gonna laugh. You’re gonna learn. You’re gonna pursue your dreams. You are going to explore creation. You are going to enjoy God’s presence. You are going to meet departed saints, believers, and also angels and other divine beings. And God is gonna hang out with you like a dad who sits on the couch with his kids. And whenever you want it, you can go see the face of God. I want you to be there. How do you get there? You need to ask Jesus to forgive you of your sin and to be your savior. And if in this moment you would simply say, “Jesus, I’m a sinner. “And I ask you to be my savior.” You would receive him as your savior, and then for the rest of your life. It’s following him as Lord, all the way into eternity, where you will be walking with him together forever as friends. Father God, thanks for an opportunity to teach for everyone who makes this decision, the most important decision they will ever make. And that is whether or not they receive the Lord Jesus as savior and Lord God, I pray that we would not get so distracted by this life that we would neglect eternal life, that we would not be so consumed with all that we have to learn and do right now that we would forget to learn about what you have done to save us from sin. God, thank you, that yours is a father’s heart. Thank you, that heaven is the father’s house. Thank you that you want to be with your kids and bless them. And God as one of your kids, I just wanna say, thank you. We don’t deserve any of this, but we rejoice in all of it. And Lord Jesus, I pray that you would send the Holy spirit to cast out any misunderstanding that heaven is gonna be a boring place. And that I pray that the children of God would have great enthusiasm and excitement to live their life kingdom down, living their life, preparing for forever and looking forward to the life that never ends in Jesus’ good name, amen. A couple of things just in closing for you. We do this at my family. Talk it out, walk it out. I’ll just leave this on the screen. You can find it @markdriscoll.org. What was your takeaway from the scripture sermon? If you’re with a group or maybe you’re here with your family, we do this every Sunday with my family ask everyone, what was your takeaway? What are you surprised about heaven and what it will really be like, hear what others have to say. What are you most looking forward to in heaven? See what they say? And if you’ve got kids, this could be fun. What are you most thankful for this week? In my house, I teach the kids to pray, thankful prayers, and then they can make their requests. But first I want them to be thankful for the things that God’s already done. That’s the talk it out. Walk it out. Who can you be praying for to meet Jesus and get on the guest list to heaven? You know, some people that don’t know Jesus, and if you know Jesus, you need to help them make that introduction. How would you explain heaven to a child? Some of you have kids or grandkids or nieces or nephews. How do you explain heaven to them? Number three, how would you explain heaven to a non-Christian it’s important to do so. And the number four share with your family or group, what is one prayer request that you have for this week and then stop and take some time to pray for everyone. And sometimes the simple way we do this in our family is you just pray for the person to your right. And we pray in a circle, whatever works for you. I don’t want you to just hear this. I want you to talk it out and I want you to walk it out. So thanks for your time.