A FUTURE LIFE
By Dale D. Meredith
March 18, 2018
University Baptist Church
790 Dodge Road
Getzville, NY 14068
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from The Good News Bible, The Bible in Today’s English Version, copyright ©1976 by American Bible Society. Used by permission.
REASSURANCE BEFORE THE CRISIS
1 “Do not be worried and upset,” Jesus told them. “Believe in God and believe also in me. 2 There are many rooms in my Father's house, and I am going to prepare a place for you. I would not tell you this if it were not so. 3 And after I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to myself, so that you will be where I am. 4 You know the way that leads to the place where I am going.” John 14:1-4
Jesus would be crucified the next day. He needed to assure the disciples that there was hope beyond today and tomorrow. Do not worry or be upset. Why? Because he knew what would happen. And what was prepared for them. Jesus said they wouldn’t see him, but he was only going to get things ready for them to eventually be with him. The disciples could have said “We’ll understand it better by and by” because Thomas immediately asked, “How do we get there?’
Jesus had said in John 14:1, “Believe in God and in Me,” after Thomas’ question, he continued in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one goes to Father but by me.” Thus, the way to heaven is by faith.
We might ask, “Where is it?” In Matthew 25:34, Jesus said that the kingdom has been prepared for us ever since the creation of the world. Heaven was prepared when the universe was created, in the beginning (Genesis 1:1). Heaven in not an afterthought. It was planned and prepared for us at the same time the physical universe was planned and prepared for us. Our only explanation of where heaven is that it is with God. There is no physical place designated as heaven. If we say it is up that is just to say it is somewhere in the universe. The earth is round and wherever we are on earth if we point up we are pointing off into the universe. There are hints, such as the appearance of Moses and Elijah recorded in Luke 9:28-37, that heaven may be in another dimension that we cannot now experience. But that’s more than we have time to explain this morning.
What will our future be like? Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 2:9 might be used to state what we know. “What no one ever saw or heard, what no one thought would happen, the very thing God prepared for those who love him.” We don’t really know what it will all be like. Again, however, we do have some hints.
A QUESTION ABOUT THE RESURRECTION
Let us look in Luke 20:27-38 at a discussion Jesus had with some religious leaders.
27 Then some Sadducees, who say that people will not rise from death, came to Jesus and said, 28 “Teacher, Moses wrote this law for us: ‘If a man dies and leaves a wife but no children, that man's brother must marry the widow so that they can have children who will be considered the dead man's children.’ 29 Once there were seven brothers; the oldest got married and died without having children. 30 Then the second one married the woman, 31 and then the third. The same thing happened to all seven - they died without having children. 32 Last of all, the woman died. 33 Now, on the day when the dead rise to life, whose wife will she be? All seven of them had married her.”
The Sadducees based their puzzle on Deuteronomy 25:5-6 “If two brothers live on the same property and one of them dies leaving no son, then his widow is not to be married to someone outside the family, it is the duty of the dead man’s brother to marry her. The first son that they have will be considered the son of the dead man so that his family line will continue in Israel.” From Acts 23:8 we learn that the Sadducees believed “that people will not rise from death and that there are no angels or spirits.” Their question was to discredit Jesus by showing how his teaching about the resurrection was absurd. If a woman had been married to seven different men according to God’s Law, how could you determine which one would be her husband in the resurrection? To answer the question of the Sadducees Jesus had to also correct their views concerning the resurrection and angels. In Mark 12:24, Jesus begins his answer with, “you don’t know the scriptures or God’s power.”
JESUS’ ANSWER: PART 1
Jesus answered their puzzle in two parts. The first part (Luke 20:34-36) describes a different social structure in the future life. 34 Jesus answered them, “The men and women of this age marry, 35 but the men and women who are worthy to rise from death and live in the age to come will not then marry. 36 They will be like angels and cannot die. They are the sons of God, because they have risen from death.” Genesis 1:28 and 2:18, 24 indicate two purposes for marriage. One purpose is to have descendants to populate the earth and care for God’s creation. The other purpose is to help each other and provide companionship for each other for as long as they both live on earth. In heaven the two purposes of marriage are fulfilled in other ways. The power of God has created entirely different ways to fulfill these needs. There is in heaven an entirely different structure to society.
We will be like angels
First, everyone in heaven will be like the angels. They will not become angels but will be like angels. Thus, everyone will be a spiritual being. That does not necessarily mean that they will be bodiless. Moses and Elijah were recognized on the Mount of Transfiguration in Matthew 17:1-13 (parallel in Luke 9:28-37). Jesus had a body after the resurrection. He was seen by the disciples. He invited the disciples to touch Him (Luke 24:39). He ate in their presence (Luke 24:42-43). He invited Thomas to examine the scars in His hands and side (John 20:27).
Like the angels, no one in heaven will ever die. There will be no need to replace them to maintain the population of heaven. The angels also have things to do to serve God. Some have served as messengers such as the angels who announced the birth of Jesus to the shepherds (Luke 2:8-14). We don’t know all that angels do now, and we cannot imagine all they will do in the future. We don’t know all that God will have for us to do in heaven. God has the power and creativity that He will have something meaningful and enjoyable for us to do. We will have something to do. We can’t even imagine what we will do tomorrow.
Recently we obtained three electric lamps. Laura has one in Chicago that produces primarily blue light. I have one that produces primarily green light. Tim has one that produces primarily pink light. When I touch my lamp the other two turn green. When someone at Laura’s house touches their lamp my light and Tim’s light turn blue. When someone at Tim’s house touches their lamp Laura’s light and my light turn pink. When our light changes color that means someone is thinking of us and even if they are hundreds of miles away we know where it is coming from by the color of the light. Just a few years ago I couldn’t even imagine something like that. When I was a child we didn’t even have electric lights at our house.
No need to have children in heaven
Second, in heaven there will be no need to have children. On earth children are born of physical parents and enter life as physical beings. One enters heaven by faith at the time of physical death. According to Jesus in John 3:6-7, “6 A person is born physically of human parents, but he is born spiritually of the Spirit. 7 Do not be surprised because I tell you that you must all be born again (or from above).” When we enter heaven, we enter as spiritual beings born of the Spirit and are children of God. The population of heaven increase each time a believer on earth dies. As children of God we will all be brothers and sisters. God has no grandchildren. Everyone in heaven is a child of God.
Companionship in heaven
The night before He was crucified Jesus prayed that we would “all be one. Father! May they be in us, just as you are in me and I am in you” (John 17:21). Our closeness and oneness with the Father and the Son will be a greater companionship and help than anything we can experience here on earth. Jesus compared heaven to a great feast (Luke 13:39, 16:22). A feast is a time of celebration, love, and happiness with all those who attend. Jesus said we will be with Him (John 14:3). God will be there (Matthew 6:9) and only those who do what the Father wants will be there (Matthew 7:21). Everyone will attend the feast. Heaven will not be a repeat of the life we now live or a continuation of how we now live. It will be entirely different, but so wonderful that we cannot now imagine or understand how great it will be.
JESUS’ ANSWER: PART 2
In the second part of His answer to the Sadducees Jesus used the scriptures to confront their disbelief in the resurrection. In Luke 20:37-38, Jesus said, “37 And Moses clearly proves that the dead are raised to life. In the passage about the burning bush he speaks of the Lord as ‘the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ 38 He is the God of the living, not of the dead, for to him all are alive.” Jesus used Exodus 3:6 to prove the living of those who believe in God. Moses spoke of God as the God of the living when he said the Lord is “the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” Moses did not say that God was the One that had been worshiped by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God had not left them when their physical life was over. God had not left them to death and destruction. What good is a god who is only worshiped while everything is going well and who cannot care for his worshipers through hardships and death? God was still the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They still live, because God is the God of the living. Just as Moses and Elijah still live and attended a meeting with Jesus, Peter, James, and John on a mountain to discuss how Jesus would soon fulfill God’s purpose by dying in Jerusalem (Luke 9:28-36). Just as Jesus still lives to plead as a priest with God for us (Hebrews 7:25).
We are considering the life of Jesus this year during the season of Lent. We have celebrated Christmas which is very important as we remember the birth of Jesus and His coming to earth to be the Savior. We look forward to the celebration of Easter which is very important as we remember His crucifixion and resurrection. In 1 Corinthians 15:20, Paul said that the resurrection of Christ is the guarantee of our resurrection. As we move from Christmas to Easter we should also remember the importance of the life of Jesus. He taught us how to live. He showed us how to live. He taught and demonstrated much about God’s love, power, and care. And, from our lesson today we have an important teaching about our future life because of His answer to a group of unbelieving religious leaders.
Our eternal future is in God’s hands. It will be an entirely different life, but it is such a wonderful place and one day we will be welcomed, and we will join the celebration. It is guaranteed.