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HEAVEN
    
Let’s make it clear: only God’s children go to Heaven. You are a child of God only if you have accepted Christ’s offer of salvation. Mark it down--if your name is not in the Lamb's book of life, not the church membership book, you will not go to Heaven.

•    False Notion #1: Everyone dies and goes to Heaven.
        Truth: There is no alternate way (John 14:6).
•    False Notion #2: I’m not too bad, I will go to Heaven.
        Truth: There is no alternate way (John 14:6).
•    False Notion #3: After death, a person has a second chance in Purgatory.
        Truth: The Bible makes clear the exact opposite (Hebrews 9:27).
Whoever has these False Notions knows nothing about the holiness and justice of God. They will go to Hell unless they accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior before they die. There is no second chance after death.

•    Heaven is more than atmospheric heavens, the area which our eyes can see.
•    Heaven is more than celestial heavens which contain the sun, moon, stars.
•    Heaven is a real place. Jesus came to earth from Heaven, He went back to Heaven when He finished His mission on earth, and will return to Earth to take believers back to Heaven (Philippians 3:20; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

Dr. Dwight L. Moody in 1880 wrote Heaven: Where It Is, Its Inhabitants, and How to Get There.
“The Bible makes clear certain things about Heaven:
•    Christ is the center figure in Heaven, so we will see Him (John 7:26).
•    We will be like Him in recognizable but resurrected bodies (Luke 24:36-43; 1 John 3:2).
•    Heaven is above us: upward.
        - God went up from Abraham (Genesis 17:22).
        - Christ went up into Heaven, and a cloud received Him up out of sight  (Acts 1:9).
        - The Lord is high above all nations, and His glory is above the heavens (Psalm 113:4).
        - He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth (Isaiah 40:22).
•    Heaven is an eternal home where believers (Isaiah 33:24) go immediately (Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 5:6,8).
•    Heaven is a place of welcome (John 14:1-4).

God never takes His people to an unprepared place.
•    He prepared the Garden of Eden before He placed Adam in it.
•    He prepared the Promised Land before He led the children of Israel there.
Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people, those who have accepted Christ as their Savior.

The New Heaven is a forever home where believers will enjoy being in the immediate presence of Jesus and with loved ones who have accepted Christ as their Savior. Much of what the Bible tells us about Heaven is in Revelation 20:10-15; Revelation 21:5-7; and Revelation 22:1-20.
•    John saw the Holy City described as New Jerusalem.
•    John described his visions in negatives--what it will not be like--and positives--what it will be like.
         - NO MORE DEATH NOR SORROW OR PAIN.
         - NO MORE DARKNESS, ONLY LIGHT

The Bible is the complete Word of God primarily intended to provide light for our present path, but it gives a sufficient glimpse of the glory to come (Isaiah 64:4; 1 Corinthians 2:9; Hebrews 12:22-24).

No one can see Heaven before they die. However,
•    God permitted Stephen to see Heaven and tell what he saw (Acts 7:55-56).
•    Only two people were invited by God to visit Heaven and return to earth to write about it:

         Paul (2 Corinthians 12:1-10) and John (the book of Revelation).
•    Books or movies about alleged modern-day return trips from Heaven contradict what the Bible says (Luke 23:43; Hebrews 9:27).

THE INVITATION
★    You can't depend on your own goodness to get to Heaven. We've all sinned  (Romans 3:23). Jesus paid the penalty for your sins with His death on the cross and His resurrection (John 3:16).
★    To be forgiven and be guaranteed a place in Heaven, you need to repent of sin, confess that you are a sinner, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ in your heart (Acts 2:21).
★    You can use the following prayer or your own words, but you must actually believe in your heart that your prayer is real:
              Lord Jesus, I believe You are the Son of God. I confess that I have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed. Please forgive all my wrongdoing and let me live in relationship with You from now on.
              I receive You as my Savior and recognize that the work You accomplished once and for all on the cross was done on my behalf.
              Thank You for saving me. Help me to live a life that is pleasing to You.
                     In Your name I pray, Amen.

    Dr. Nicholas J. Gray, Pastor   Broadway Baptist Church   Sedalia, Missouri   April 26, 2015