Heaven, Let the Picture Develop

At a Wednesday evening church meeting a very wealthy man rose to give his testimony. 

“I’m a millionaire,” he said, “and I attribute it all to the rich blessings of God in my life. I can still remember the turning point in my faith, like it was yesterday:

I had just earned my first dollar and I went to a church meeting that night. The speaker was a missionary who told about his work. I knew that I only had a dollar bill and had to either give it all to God’s work or nothing at all. So at that moment I decided to give my whole dollar to God. I believe that God blessed that decision, and that is why I am a rich man today.”

As he finished it was clear that everyone had been moved by this man’s story. But, as he took his seat, a little old lady sitting in the same pew leaned over and said: “Wonderful story! I dare you to do it again!”

The Bible does teach about storing up treasurers in Heaven (Matthew 6:20), so if we are storing our treasurers there, what is it like?

I remember in high school taking a photography class and learning to develop film. It was fun. Remember the old “one step” cameras? We would take the picture and then watch as it developed. Today, I wish to develop the picture of Heaven.

My theme today is: Heaven is for real. As you look forward to Heaven, use your imagination, grounded with the Bible.

Revelation 21:1–4 (ESV)

The New Heaven and the New Earth

21 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

Let’s review:

We have talked about:

  • Heaven is for real.
    1. The Bible talks about Heaven in many places.
    2. Isaiah 65; John 14:1-6 as well as Revelation chapters 21-22 are all about Heaven.
  • Present Heaven versus future Heaven
    1. We talked about the Heaven we enter right away and the Heaven for all eternity.
    2. It is encouraging that there is no soul sleep. We go straight to Heaven when we die (2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:21).
    3. We can read about this in the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) as well as Rev. 6:9-11.
  • Will we have homes in Heaven?
    1. In John 14:1-6 as well as Isaiah 65:17-23 we read about homes in Heaven.
    2. But we read about more than homes in Heaven, we read about whole estates.
    3. We read about farms and orchards and land and much more.
    4. In Revelation chapters 21-22 we read about a city and a garden.
  • Will Time exist in Heaven?
    1. We know that we will not be God, only God is God.
    2. There are many references to time in Heaven.
  • Will Heaven be boring?
    1. Remember that we will have resurrected bodies (see 1 Cor. 15).
    2. We will have purpose.
    3. We will have jobs and hobbies; Heaven will not be boring.
  • Will we know everything in Heaven?
    1. It seems that we will not know everything.
    2. Only God is omniscient.
    3. We talked about 1 Cor. 13:8-13 and knowledge. It seems that the gift of knowledge will no longer be needed. This is more about a spiritual gift having to do with knowledge. The spiritual gifts will no longer be needed.
    4. If we knew everything, maybe Heaven would be boring, but we won’t.
    5. Is seems evident that we will continue to learn.
  • Do dogs and animals go to Heaven?
    1. We do see descriptions of animals in Heaven and Psalm 104:30 references animals being restored.
    2. Though, we cannot be completely sure that your pet is restored.

Questions you submitted:

  1. I received a question about cremation. Is cremation okay?
    1. First, cremation is not a problem for God. The One Who created us can and will restore us. Think about all of those who died in war, or at sea, their bones are gone. God will restore them.
    2. We never see cremation in the Bible. Historically, Christians and Jews buried their dead and pagans burned them. However, pagans also had a pagan ceremony with the burial.
    3. There are occurrences in the Old Testament of people being burned to death (1 Kings 16:18; 2 Kings 21:6) and of human bones being burned (2 Kings 23:16-20), but these are not examples of cremation. It is interesting to note that in 2 Kings 23:16-20, burning human bones on an altar desecrated the altar. At the same time, the Old Testament law nowhere commands that a deceased human body not be burned, nor does it attach any curse or judgment on someone who is cremated.[1]
    4. In cremations today we have a Christian memorial service.
    5. One source shares the following:
    6. Cremation was practiced in biblical times, but it was not commonly practiced by the Israelites or by New Testament believers. In the cultures of Bible times, burial in a tomb, cave, or in the ground was the common way to dispose of a human body (Genesis 23:19; 35:19; 2 Chronicles 16:14; Matthew 27:60-66). While burial was the common practice, the Bible nowhere commands burial as the only allowed method of disposing of a body.
    7. Is cremation something a Christian can consider? Again, there is no explicit scriptural command against cremation. Some believers object to the practice of cremation on the basis it does not recognize that one day God will resurrect our bodies and re-unite them with our soul/spirit (1 Corinthians 15:35-58; 1 Thessalonians 4:16). However, the fact that a body has been cremated does not make it any more difficult for God to resurrect that body. The bodies of Christians who died a thousand years ago have, by now, completely turned into dust. This will in no way prevent God from being able to resurrect their bodies. He created them in the first place; He will have no difficulty re-creating them. Cremation does nothing but “expedite” the process of turning a body into dust. God is equally able to raise a person’s remains that have been cremated as He is the remains of a person who was not cremated. The question of burial or cremation is within the realm of Christian freedom. A person or a family considering this issue should pray for wisdom (James 1:5) and follow the conviction that results.[2]
  2. Will we have wings in heaven?
    1. No, we will have new, resurrected bodies (1 Cor. 15).
    2. Jesus is not described with wings.
    3. We will have resurrected bodies and they will be similar to our current bodies.
    4. Jesus said that in heaven we will be like the angels in not marrying or being given in marriage (Mark 12:25).
  3. There will be a new heaven and a new earth right? Why both? If the new earth will be so amazing why does there need to be a heaven and visa versa?
    1. My simple answer is that the New heaven and New Earth are actually combined.
    2. We see this in Rev. 21:1-2. The New Jerusalem comes down out of heaven. I actually think that “heaven” is the dimension that the New Earth is in. Though some of this is dealing with terminology of time. This is a future time. The New Heaven and New Earth is the culmination of all things. This is also a resurrected time. When things are fulfilled we will have resurrected bodies and a resurrected earth.
  4. Will we move about in the temporary heaven and how? Will there be certain locations based on your life on earth?
    1. This is a more difficult question. I cannot answer for sure, but based on Rev. 6:9-11 and Luke 16:19-31 I believe we will have bodies in the temporary heaven as well. This means that we will move about. Rev. 6:9-11 and chapter 7 of Revelation describes people in the temporary heaven and they have robes on and they are singing. This seems to imply movement and so does Jesus’ parable of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31.
    2. I cannot answer about locations based on our life on earth, but I do not think so. Heaven is a totally different dimension.
  5. Will we have freewill in heaven? Can we sin?
    1. The fact that Adam and Eve had a choice to make in the Garden of Eden shows beyond all doubt that mankind was created with a free will. The first couple chose to sin, and that choice has plunged the entire world into spiritual darkness leading to our need of salvation.[3]
    2. Can we sin and get kicked out of heaven, no.
    3. Definition of freewill:
    4. We have freewill but not in the way most people think. We are free to choose based off of our desires. As long as we have a minimum of two available choices, we make a choice.
    5. But, in the case of a fallen sinner, he or she is not at liberty to choose according to righteousness. This is what Jesus means when He says that the one who sins “is a slave to sin” (John 8:34). This is not the language of “free will” as people typically think of it. The unregenerate person has a sinful nature; he is not just inclined to sin but driven by sinful impulses. It is perhaps helpful to say, “We are free to choose what we want but not free to want what we ought.” This greatly limits our “freedom” because the list of things we want (as sinners) coincides with whatever pleases our sinful impulses. Our choices are for things that will ultimately destroy us (Proverbs 14:12). As Paul says, “Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?” (Romans 7:24, NLT). [4]
    6. When we are saved, we are liberated from our natural bondage to sin. The Holy Spirit sovereignly regenerates us and in grace gives us the ability to want what we ought to want, namely, forgiveness, salvation, and the lordship of Christ. When we trust in Jesus for salvation, we begin a moral progression, a journey toward holiness in which we put to death daily the sinful impulses that reside within us and strive toward godliness. In heaven we will be completely devoid of sin; our only desires will be for the things of God—things that bless us, fulfill us, and give us life. This is true liberty (see Romans 8:21). We will retain our free will in heaven, but our will is sanctified there. The sin nature will be gone.[5]
    7. In heaven we are COMPLETELY conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:28-30). We will not even want to sin.
    8. Also, there will be no temptation to lure us.
    9. Unlike Adam and Eve we will face no test, our moral state will be secure.[6]
    10. We will be like Him (1 John 3:2).
  6. If we have a home prepared for us in Heaven…is it for me only or for my spouse as well? It would seem adult children would have their own, but young children, how would that be handled?  Maybe there will be no age differences. It will be interesting to see how God does this with our new spiritual bodies. It also begs the question… Do we retain the same bond of marriage and family relationships in Heaven? Thanks for considering.
    1. It seems that we do have homes in heaven, though it seems based on John 14:1-6 they are more like apartments.
    2. It seems that they will be homes for us because it seems that we will not be married in heaven (Matt 22:30).
    3. This leaves a lot more to think about, but I wonder if in heaven our community will be so strong that we will all be like family.
    4. In reality, in heaven we will all be married to Jesus. He is the groom and we are the bride.
    5. In the book, “The Case for Heaven” by Lee Strobel he interviews Dr. Scot McKnight who does make the case that we will remain married in heaven, but I, personally, do not think the case is that strong.
    6. With children this is a difficult question. Recently, I listened to an interview, I think it was Randy Alcorn, who suggested maybe God allows their parents to raise them in Heaven. In other words, parents who have lost children will have the chance to raise them in heaven. How awesome that will be.
    7. I do think we will recognize people as our family in heaven. In Luke 16:19-31 the rich man and Lazarus knew each other. We will know our family and know that they are our family. However, we won’t be married, nor marry again.
    8. Maybe… just maybe… people can choose to share their home.
    9. Ages are hard to say. Some have suggested that in heaven we will have our prime age. One article says,  Some believe it to be around 30. Some guess 33 since that is approximately the age Jesus was when He died. First John 3:2 declares, “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”[7]
  7. Suicide- Biblically? Heaven possible?
    1. It depends. If the person was a true believer in Jesus they are still saved.
    2. Suicide is a sin. It is the sin of murder and maybe a number of other sins. However, we are saved by grace, not by works. Therefore, we cannot lose our salvation by works.
    3. Generally speaking with suicide, we are talking about a person who has faced such depression that they are brought to a point in which they are not making their own rational decisions. God knows that.

Now, take a moment and imagine Heaven. There is nothing wrong with that. In chapter 2 of Randy Alcorn’s book titled, “Heaven” he writes about imagination. We must be careful of thinking that Heaven will be whatever you imagine it to be, but we can use our imagination. God loves us and does want to lavish blessings upon us in all of eternity.

Randy Alcorn writes:

We cannot anticipate or desire what we cannot imagine. That’s why, I believe, God has given us glimpses of Heaven in the Bible— to fire up our imagination and kindle a desire for Heaven in our hearts. And that’s why Satan will always discourage our imagination— or misdirect it to ethereal notions that violate Scripture. As long as the resurrected universe remains either undesirable or unimaginable, Satan succeeds in sabotaging our love for Heaven.[8]

As C. S. Lewis said,

“While reason is the natural organ of truth, imagination is the organ of meaning.” In the words of Francis Schaeffer, “The Christian is the really free man— he is free to have imagination. This too is our heritage. The Christian is the one whose imagination should fly beyond the stars.”

Schaeffer always started with God’s revealed truth. But he exhorted us to let that truth fuel our imagination. Imagination should not fly away from the truth but fly upon the truth.[9]

Alcorn continues:

Imagination should not fly away from the truth but fly upon the truth. If you’re a Christian suffering with great pains and losses, Jesus says, “Be   of good cheer” (John 16: 33, NKJV). The new house is nearly ready for you. Moving day is coming. The dark winter is about to be magically transformed into spring. One day soon you will be home— for the first time. Until then, I encourage   you to meditate on the Bible’s truths about Heaven. May your imagination soar and your heart rejoice.[10]

I hope you can now picture Heaven, at least a little better.

Do you know Christ?

Luke 9:23

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

[1] https://www.gotquestions.org/cremation-Bible.html

[2] Ibid.

[3] https://www.gotquestions.org/free-will-in-heaven.html

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] https://www.gotquestions.org/age-Heaven.html

[8] Alcorn, Randy (2011-12-08). Heaven (Alcorn, Randy) (Kindle Locations 559-563). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.

[9] Alcorn, Randy (2011-12-08). Heaven (Alcorn, Randy) (Kindle Locations 679-684). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.

[10] Alcorn, Randy (2011-12-08). Heaven (Alcorn, Randy) (Kindle Locations 683-688). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Will We Know Everything In Heaven?

Today we talk about learning so let’s start with fun:

What is a math teacher’s favorite sum?

Teachers who take class attendance are absent-minded.

*Teacher: ‘Craig, you know you can’t sleep in my class.’
Craig: ‘I know. But maybe if you were just a little quieter, I could.’

*Stressing the importance of a good vocabulary, the teacher told her young charges, “Use a word ten times, and it shall be yours for life.” From somewhere in the back of the room, came a small male voice chanting, “Amanda, Amanda, Amanda, Amanda, Amanda, Amanda, Amanda, Amanda, Amanda, Amanda.”

*Pupil: I don’t think I deserved zero on this test!
Teacher: I agree, but that’s the lowest mark I could give you!

*What do you call a teacher without students?
Broke…oh wait, that’s a regular teacher

*Teacher: You copied from Fred’s exam paper didn’t you ?
Pupil: How did you know ?
Teacher: Fred’s paper says “I don’t know” and you have put “Me, neither”!

*The little boy wasn’t getting good marks in school. One day he made the teacher quite surprised. He tapped her on the shoulder and said …”I don’t want to scare you, but my daddy says if I don’t get better grades, somebody is going to get a spanking.”

Physics Teacher: “Isaac Newton was sitting under a tree when an apple fell on his head, and he discovered gravity. Isn’t that wonderful?”

Student: “Yes sir, if he had been sitting in class looking at books like us, he wouldn’t have discovered anything.”

How long are we supposed to learn?

 We learn all of our lives, but do we learn in Heaven, or do we know everything?

Let’s read:

1 Corinthians 13:8–13 (ESV)

8Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.

9For we know in part and we prophesy in part,

10but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.

11When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.

12For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

13So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

My Theme: Be encouraged we will continue learning in Heaven because we will continue having new things to learn. Also, our learning will not impair our ability to love.

  1. We will not be omniscient.
    1. As we talk about this idea, we must understand that in Heaven we do not become God.
    2. Only God is omniscient. Omniscient means to know everything.
    3. So, let’s take an excursus into the idea of love and 1 Cor. 13. In 1 Cor. 13:8 we read about knowledge being done away with. What this means is that the spiritual gift of knowledge or “Word of knowledge” will be done away with. Why do we need the spiritual gift when we are with Jesus in reality? Also, we must understand that the Corinthians elevated certain spiritual gifts above others. They liked the showy gifts. They liked tongues as it was a showy gift, they must have liked knowledge as it was a showy gift. I believe we still struggle with this today. But Paul is saying they go away in Heaven, at least in the sense as being spiritual gifts.
    4. We can’t take this passage to mean that in Heaven we know everything. What we can say is that still in Heaven love remains.
    5. Love is most important. Love carries on for all eternity. The spiritual gifts do not need to continue in Heaven, but love will always continue.
    6. Paul is NOT talking about natural human love. He is talking about a love that only God can give. This is love that a human being can only express when he or she has been touched by God’s grace and enabled by God’s Spirit.
    7. Love in this special way will continue in Heaven.
    8. I like what the Life Application Study Bible says:
    9. When Paul wrote of knowing “everything completely, just as God now knows me completely,” he was referring to when we must see Christ face to face. God gives believers spiritual gifts for their lives on earth in order to build up, serve, and strengthen fellow Christians. The spiritual gifts are for the church. In eternity, we will be made perfect and complete and will be in the very presence of God. We will no longer need the spiritual gifts, so they will come to an end. Then, we will have a full understanding and appreciation for one another as unique expressions of God’s infinite creativity. We will use our differences as a reason to praise God! Based on that perspective, let us treat each other with the same love and unity that we will one day share.[1]
    10. Of course, this may make us think about what the spiritual gift of knowledge is. I like what one wrote: The spiritual gift of knowledge is also known as the “word of knowledge” or “utterance of knowledge.”  The Greek word for this gift is “gnosis” and it simply means knowledge and understanding.  The Scriptural emphasis in 1 Corinthians 12:8is on the ability to speak this knowledge to others in a given situation.  In the opening passages of 1 Corinthians, Paul spoke of knowledge and recognized that the highest form of knowledge among men is the Gospel of Jesus Christ (i.e. the testimony about Christ, cf. 1 Corinthians 1:4-7).  What we can conclude then is the gift of knowledge is an understanding of the things in this world and in our lives that is founded in the Gospel and rooted in the Scriptures.  This gift is closely related to the gift of wisdom which is alluded to by Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:18-31.
    11. The Holy Spirit gives this spiritual gift to some believers to bring about understanding and to inform the church or individual believers.  The person with this gift is usually well-versed in the Scriptures and often has much committed to memory.  They can retain the truth and communicate it effectively at the appropriate times.  The gift of knowledge allows a believer to relate the Scriptures, and particularly the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to all aspects of life in this world.  They can see how it connects to every situation and circumstance and how the reality and truth of the Gospel is to inform every decision a Christian makes.[2]
    12. There is more we could say about this, but let’s talk about Heaven.
    13. So, in Heaven we will still learn. We simply will NOT need a spiritual gift. Additionally, as we look at 1 Cor. 13:12 Paul writes about Heaven like a mirror. Corinth was known for their Corinthian bronze mirrors but even the best mirrors were not a good reflection. Then Paul says we will know fully.
  2. We will still learn
    1. Learning is not from sin. Sin and our fallen world may make it difficult to learn. Maybe our minds will work faster in Heaven, but there will likely still be a learning process.
    2. 1 Peter 1:12 shows Angels don’t know everything and they long to know more.
    3. Ephesians 2:6-7 indicates that God will show us more knowledge in Heaven: and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
    4. Think of how much we will have to learn being in the New Jerusalem with the new Garden of Eden and dwelling with God.
    5. Think of how much we can have to learn being with the prophets of the Old Testament.
    6. Think of how much we will have to learn being with your great great-great-grandfather and grandmother.
    7. Think of how much we can learn about each other when we do not have sin in the way impairing our thinking.
    8. Without learning it could be quite boring for us as we were created to have purpose and learning, and purpose go together.
    9. Imagine studying history next to a historian or the people themselves. I love Revolutionary War history, imagine studying while talking to George Washington, or Patrick Henry. Imagine studying physics with Isaac Newton. Imagine studying music with Bach.
    10. Or maybe you love to hunt or fish or play sports, I know there will be new techniques to learn.
    11. Maybe you love old cars or machines, I know there would be more to study.
    12. The Scriptures talk about books in Heaven as well as scrolls and so it seems that they will remain.
    13. Most of all love always remains. We can learn without needing a spiritual gift. We can learn and love at the same time.


Be encouraged we will continue learning in Heaven because we will continue having new things to learn. Also, our learning will not impair our ability to love.

Martin Luther said, “If God had all the answers in his right hand, and the struggle to reach those answers in his left, I would choose God’s left hand.” Why? Because it’s not only truth we want, it’s also the pleasure of learning the truth.

We continue painting a picture of Heaven. Next week we complete the picture.

Do you know Christ?

Luke 9:23

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

[1] Tyndale House Publishers (2011-08-01). Life Application Study Bible NLT (LASB: Full Size) (Kindle Locations 154921-154926). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.

[2] http://www.spiritualgiftstest.com/spiritual-gift-of-knowledge

God’s Love In the Ten Commandments

God’s Love in the Ten Commandments (Ex 20; Deut 33:2-3)

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Sunday, March 19, 2023

I have keys up here, why?

Why do I need keys?

Do you all lock your doors? Why?

The Ten Commandments have been important to us for most of human history.

Author and pastor John Killinger explains God’s purpose in giving the Ten Commandments with a wonderful illustration from literature:

In her novel about Maine, The Country of the Pointed Firs, Sara Orne Jewett describes the ascent of a woman writer on the pathway leading to the home of a retired sea captain named Elijah Tilley. On the way, the woman notices a number of wooden stakes randomly scattered about the property, with no discernible order. Each is painted white and trimmed in yellow, like the captain’s house.

Curious, she asks Captain Tilley what they mean. When he first plowed the ground, he says, his plow snagged on many large rocks just beneath the surface. So he set out stakes where the rocks lay in order to avoid them in the future.

In a sense, this is what God has done with the Ten Commandments. He has said, “These are the trouble spots in life. Avoid these, and you won’t snag your plow.”19[1]

Let’s read:

Matthew 22:36–40 (ESV)

36“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”

37And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

38This is the great and first commandment.

39And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

40On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Now, let’s read:

Exodus 20:3–17 (ESV)

3“You shall have no other gods before me.

4“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

5You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,

6but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

7“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

8“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

9Six days you shall labor, and do all your work,

10but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates.

11For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

12“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

13“You shall not murder.

14“You shall not commit adultery.

15“You shall not steal.

16“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

17“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”

My theme today is: God Showed His Love for Us in Giving Us the Ten Commandments

  1. These are NOT just rules:
    1. David Jeremiah writes: My wife, Donna, and I began our ministry together in a Baptist church in New Jersey. We had just come from four years of seminary training in Dallas, and we were both avid Dallas Cowboy football fans. To our dismay, when we arrived at our first assignment, we were told that watching TV on Sunday was forbidden, and reading the Sunday newspaper was frowned upon. I am not sure I should be confessing this, but I remember closing the blinds of our apartment so that no one would see us watching the Cowboys.
    2. A bit legalistic? Perhaps, but you should have known the Pharisees of Jesus’ day. They actually crunched the numbers of legalism, and came up with 1,521 things you couldn’t do on the Sabbath day. That sounds like the title of a book no one would want to read.
    3. Among the 1,521: no rescuing of drowning people; no wearing of false teeth (reinserting them, should they slip, would be work); no looking in the mirror (plucking a white hair, also work). If your friend grew ill, you could do certain things to forestall the illness, but actually trying to cure him—too much like work. At the beginning of a famous revolt, many Jews stood and let themselves be killed rather than risking work by defending themselves (1 Maccabees 2:29–38).
    4. Men made a bureaucratic nightmare out of Sabbath-keeping, but it wasn’t what God wanted.[2]
    5. These commandments are about God’s love.
  2. The First four commandments relate to our relationship with God.
    1. In the passage we just read we see a person come to Jesus and ask what the greatest of the commandments is.
    2. The first commandment is like the hub of a wheel from which all the others are spokes. This isn’t simply another commandment—it’s the one that brings all of them together.[3]
    3. This person was a lawyer and seems to be testing him.
    4. That is when Jesus gives the answer.
    5. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
    6. That sentence spoken by our Lord sums up the first four commandments:

(1) “Do not worship any other gods besides me” (Ex. 20:3).

(2) “Do not make idols of any kind” (Ex. 20:4).

(3) “Do not misuse the name of the Lord your God” (Ex. 20:7).

(4) “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy” (Ex. 20:8).[4]

  1. We love the Lord our God, so we do not have any other gods. Now, that is a sermon on itself which we will save for another day.
  2. If we love the Lord, God we are not going to set up idols. That is another sermon we will save for another day.
  3. We love God so we are not going to misuse His name. That is another sermon for another day; however, I will say that misusing the Lord’s name happens way more than we realize. We actually do not even know how to properly say the Lord’s name in Hebrew because the Hebrew people thought of His name as so sacred, they would not say it out loud.
  4. The fourth commandment is regarding the Sabbath Day. This is referenced in the New Testament but never as a commandment as such. It still fits in relation to God because we see at the end of creation the Lord rested. We are called to cease activity.
  5. It is never listed as such a command in the New Testament, but we can easily make the case that we need a day of rest. This does not mean laying on the couch. This means a cease from our normal work. I think working on the house can be okay if it is not your normal work. If your normal job is cleaning houses, you need a break from that. If your normal job is building houses, you need a break from that. If your normal job is teaching, you need a day off. We need rest.
  6. The story goes that when Africa was first being explored, native guides were taking their visitors through the region. After six days of pushing through the jungle, the natives refused to walk. They explained, “We need a day to let our souls catch up with our bodies.”12[5]
  • The last six commandments relate to our relationship with others.
    1. This is summed up in Jesus’ words: And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
    2. Jesus Himself said that all the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.
    3. Jesus is saying that the Old Testament law and all of the prophetic writings fall under the commandments to Love God and to Love people.

(5) “Honor your father and mother” (Ex. 20:12).

This “family rule” is well illustrated in the story “The Old Man and His Grandson,” from the collection Household Tales by the Grimm brothers:

There was once a very old man, whose eyes had become dim, his ears dull of hearing, his knees trembled, and when he sat at the table he could hardly hold the spoon, and spit the broth upon the table-cloth or let it run out of his mouth. His son and his son’s wife were disgusted at this, so the old grandfather at last had to sit in the corner behind the stove, and they gave him his food in an earthenware bowl, and not even enough of it. And he used to look towards the table with his eyes full of tears. Once, too, his trembling hands could not hold the bowl, and it fell to the ground and broke. The young wife scolded him, but he said nothing and only sighed. Then they bought him a wooden bowl for a few half-pence, out of which he had to eat.

They were once sitting thus when the little grandson of four years old began to gather together some bits of wood upon the ground. “What are you doing there?” asked the father. “I am making a little trough,” answered the child, “for father and mother to eat out of when I am big.”

The man and his wife looked at each other for a while, and presently began to cry. Then they took the old grandfather to the table, and henceforth always let him eat with them, and likewise said nothing if he did spill a little of anything.13[6]

(6) “Do not murder” (Ex. 20:13).

(7) “Do not commit adultery” (Ex. 20:14).

David Jeremiah shares:

Recreational, impulsive sex is considered the norm in our troubled culture. Defending the seventh commandment against the modern world singles one out as a pious puritan stuck in a lost century. However, when we strip sexuality of the restraints God gave it, we create chaos that tears at the very fabric of society. And we place an obstacle that blocks the fellowship God wants to have with us.

God gives us this commandment from love. He is saying, “My child, sexuality is My gift to you. I want you to know that when it’s rightly used, it can bring you joy and intimacy with the spouse I give you, and it can create a legacy of children to replenish the earth.[7]

(8) “Do not steal” (Ex. 20:15).

I recently read a story about a Soviet factory worker who attempted to steal items from his workplace. Every day he filled a wheelbarrow with cylinders, iron ore, and tools—and every day as he left, he got caught and the stuff was taken away from him.

Finally he was fired, and on his last day the commissar waited for him to come out with the contraband. When he arrived at the door the commissar pulled back the cover from the wheelbarrow, and there was the usual stuff. He confiscated everything and said to the thief, “You are a fool! We caught you every single day. You got away with nothing!”

“Sir, Mr. Commissar,” he answered, “you are the fool. I have been stealing wheelbarrows.”[8]

(9) “Do not testify falsely” (Ex. 20:16).

(10) “Do not covet” (Ex. 20:17).[9]

David Jeremiah shares:

Just as the fifth commandment is transitional between love of God and love of others, this tenth commandment is transitional between outer and inner obedience—in essence, between Moses and Jesus. For the other commandments in this group have been about behavior, while this commandment is about the heart. We’ve already seen how Jesus made this connection in the Sermon on the Mount. God looks inside us, so that even if we don’t steal, we can displease Him by our own displeasure with what He has given us.[10]

God showed His love for us in the ten commandments.

Mystery writer Dorothy Sayers was a follower of Christ. She observed that there are two kinds of laws: the law of the stop sign and the law of the fire.

The law of the stop sign is upheld by the community and enforced with fines. The fine can be increased if too many people continue not to stop. The stop sign could also be taken down. It’s simply up to the city council. You might run that stop sign with no worries, as long as no one is watching.

The law of the fire is a different matter. It says, “Touch me and you’ll be burned.” All the city councils, all the state legislatures and national congresses and the United Nations itself could respond to the dangers of fire by gathering to pass a new law that fire will no longer burn. Every person in the world could vote on this law.

And the first man or woman to put a hand in the fire afterward will still get burned.

God’s moral laws are like the law of fire. It doesn’t matter whether you voted for it or not. It doesn’t matter who’s watching. You won’t break God’s laws; you’ll break yourself upon them. Nor is the penalty negotiable, because it’s bound up in the law itself.18[11]

Do you know Christ?

Luke 9:23

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

19 John Killinger, To My People with Love (United Kingdom: Abingdon, 1998), 13–14.

[1] David Jeremiah, God Loves You: He Always Has–He Always Will (New York City, NY: FaithWords, 2012).

[2] David Jeremiah, God Loves You: He Always Has–He Always Will (New York City, NY: FaithWords, 2012).

[3] David Jeremiah, God Loves You: He Always Has–He Always Will (New York City, NY: FaithWords, 2012).

[4] H. L. Willmington, The Outline Bible (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1999), Ex 20:1–8.

12 Leslie B. Flynn, Come Alive with Illustrations (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1987), 193–94.

[5] David Jeremiah, God Loves You: He Always Has–He Always Will (New York City, NY: FaithWords, 2012).

13 Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales (Digireads.com, 2009), 185.

[6] David Jeremiah, God Loves You: He Always Has–He Always Will (New York City, NY: FaithWords, 2012).

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] H. L. Willmington, The Outline Bible (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1999), Ex 20:8–17.

[10] David Jeremiah, God Loves You: He Always Has–He Always Will (New York City, NY: FaithWords, 2012).

18 Dorothy Sayers, The Mind of the Maker (San Francisco: Harper & Rowe, 1941), 4.

[11] David Jeremiah, God Loves You: He Always Has–He Always Will (New York City, NY: FaithWords, 2012).

Will Time Exist In Heaven

Will Time exist in Heaven? There will be time in Heaven but we will not be limited by it. (Revelation 8:1; 2 Peter 3:8).  

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Sunday, February 12, 2023

Sometimes I get up to preach and I bet you look at your clock. Before he was called as their pastor John MacArthur filled the pulpit at the church he currently serves. He preached something like an hour and a half that Sunday, or close to it. He thought he wouldn’t be invited back. The next Sunday he was invited back, and he noticed they had added a big clock on the back wall. He has been there some 54 years, since 1969 and still preaches about an hour. You can hear his sermons on the radio, or the computer called “Grace to You.” I know I have preached long, but never that long.

We are very mindful of the time; I know I am. I remember as a child being at the orthodontist looking at my watch and they asked if I had somewhere to be. I was in seventh or eighth grade. I had nowhere to be. I began regularly wearing a watch when I was in 1st grade. My parents and teachers thought it was great that I was very good at telling the time and watching the time. Whether it was good or not, I don’t know, what I do know is I probably became obsessive about time. I am very detail oriented. I still always watch the time. I still plan according to time, a lot. I have this mental plan, based off of the time, in my head.

So, when we think about Heaven, do you think there will be time? Can you imagine existence without time? From birth we are limited by time. Is time evil? Is time part of our existence because of sin?

Let’s talk more about Heaven and time.

My theme:

There will be time in Heaven, but we will not be limited by it.

  1. Whether encouraging or discouraging, there will be time in Heaven.
    1. I don’t know whether you hate time or not. If you hate time, don’t be discouraged yet. If you like time, then maybe this is encouraging.
    2. Think about this, without time:
      1. We can’t cook, right?
      2. We can’t play sports because there is time.
  • We can’t play music because we must keep notes, right?
  • There are other things that we need time for such as planting and harvesting and even assignments that have a due date. How many of us are procrastinators?
  1. It appears from certain passages that there will be time in Heaven. Let’s look at a few:
    1. Heaven’s inhabitants track with events happening in time, right down to rejoicing the moment a sinner on Earth repents (Luke 15:7).
    2. Martyrs in Heaven are told to “wait a little longer” when they ask “how long” before Christ will judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge the martyrs’ blood (Revelation 6:10-11). Those in Heaven couldn’t ask “how long” or be told “wait a little longer” unless time passes in Heaven.
    3. Paul spoke of Heaven in terms of “the coming ages” (Ephesians 2:7). He speaks not just of a future age but of ages (plural).
    4. God’s people in Heaven “serve him day and night in his temple” (Revelation 7:15).
    5. The tree of life on the New Earth will be “yielding its fruit every month” (Revelation 22:2). There are days and months both in the present and eternal Heaven.
    6. God says, “The new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure   before me.  .  .  . From one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me” (Isaiah 66:22-23). New Moons and Sabbaths require moon, sun, and time.
    7. God said, “Summer and winter, day and night will never cease” (Genesis 8: 22). This wasn’t the result of the Curse; it was God’s original design.
    8. We’re told that “there was silence in heaven for about half an hour” (Revelation 8:1).
    9. The book of Revelation shows the present Heaven’s inhabitants operating within time. The descriptions of worship include successive actions, such as falling down at God’s throne and casting crowns before him (Revelation 4: 10). There’s a sequence of events; things occur one after another, not all at once.
  • The inhabitants of Heaven sing (Revelation 5:9-12). Music in Heaven requires time. Meter, tempo, and rests are all essential components of music, and each is time-related. Certain notes are held longer than others. Songs have a beginning, middle, and end. That means they take place in time.[1]
  • Some think we won’t have time and they think we won’t have time because God does not have time, but remember we will not become God in Heaven.
  • God created time in Genesis 1:1, long before sin entered the world.
  1. Be encouraged we will not be limited by time in Heaven.
    1. The discouraging thing now is that we are limited by time.
    2. Right now, we have a certain amount of time for rest and a certain amount of time for play and a certain amount of time for work.
    3. We are watching the clock because we want to get our work done in time to play or spend with family before we must sleep.
    4. We are also limited by death. Eventually, we all die. That is another limitation of time.
    5. In Heaven, we won’t have the limitation of death. Death shall be no more (Rev. 21:4).
    6. In Heaven, we will work and not grow weary. Working grew tiresome after sin (Genesis 3:19).
    7. Imagine, not having to think about being tired when we work. If you like cutting down trees you can do that as long as you want without being tired. We will have new bodies.
    8. Imagine having the benefits of time without the weaknesses. Imagine having the ability to MEASURE time, but not feel the negative effects of time?

So, in Heaven, we will have time without the limitations of time.

Rejoice, hallelujah, heaven will be beyond your greatest imaginations.

I have been watching time closely since first grace. But I have had the effects of time on my life for my whole life.

I have been painting a picture of Heaven. I hope your picture of Heaven is getting more focused.

Will you be there?

Grand narrative of the Bible:

Do you know Christ?

Luke 9:23

God created us to be with him (Genesis 1-2).

Our sin separated us from God (Genesis 3).

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4).

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again (Matthew – Luke).

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life (John – Jude).

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever (Revelation 22:5).

[1] Alcorn, Randy (2011-12-08). Heaven (Alcorn, Randy) (Kindle Locations 5042-5043). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Will We Have Homes In Heaven?

Mr. Johnson, a businessman from Wisconsin, went on a business trip to Louisiana. He immediately sent an e-mail back to his wife, Jean. Unfortunately, he mistyped a letter and the e-mail ended up going to a Mrs. Joan Johnson, the wife of a preacher who just passed away.

 The preacher’s wife took one look at the e-mail and promptly fainted. When she was finally revived, she nervously pointed to the message, which read: “Arrived safely, but it sure is hot down here!”

Let’s continue talking about Heaven. Let’s talk about home.

Let’s think some random thoughts about home…

What is your dream home? Think about it for a minute. I have seen these shows on television where they show celebrity estates, and they are absolutely huge. I have seen shows where they fix up homes. You might know the show Fixer-Upper which is about a couple who fixed old and dilapidated homes for people.

Most of us can probably think of the way homes have changed over the years. I grew up in a two-story house with four bedrooms. I recently saw pictures of that house online and it has totally changed. The new owners have made the kitchen, dining room, and living room almost like one big room. The fireplace has changed, everything has changed. It doesn’t seem like home to me anymore. What makes something home? Until I was five years old we lived in an old house outside of downtown Dayton. The house had beautiful woodwork and the rooms were so big, I was also so little, so they even appeared bigger! We had an incinerator in the basement. I remember watching my dad burn stuff in it and as a young child it was so cool! We had a front porch and could watch thunderstorms. It was a nice home, but if I went back to that house, it would no longer be home to me. In fact, it has changed, the whole area has changed. We can all think of home. Think of your childhood home. Think of your favorite home.

Are there places that you can go, and you know you are home? When I drive around Dayton, I still feel home because that is where I lived until I was twenty-five years old. But then I was in Cincinnati, and it took a while but then it felt like home. I have now been here for five and a half years, and it also feels like home. I have an intimate connection with this area as it has become part of my life. We moved six times in our first fourteen years of marriage. But this is home.

So, think about Heaven, will we have homes? Will we have our own homes?

I want to say, yes, and yes to an extent.

Theme: Heaven will have all the comforts of this world without the sin, pain, and suffering. In heaven we will have home-sweet-home.

Let’s read Isaiah 65:17 and 21-22:

Isaiah 65:17 (ESV)

New Heavens and a New Earth

17   “For behold, I create new heavens

and a new earth,

     and the former things shall not be remembered

or come into mind.

Isaiah 65:21–22 (ESV)

21   They shall build houses and inhabit them;

they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.

22   They shall not build and another inhabit;

they shall not plant and another eat;

     for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be,

and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.

  1. Yes, we will have homes in Heaven.
    1. Our homes will reflect this life without sin, trouble, hardship, pain, and sickness.
    2. Remember that it seems there is some continuity between this life and Heaven.
    3. If you read the context of that passage some of it could have to do with the Millennial Reign, though it seems evident that it for sure includes the eternal New Jerusalem as well.
    4. As I look at this it seems for sure that we will have homes.
    5. Verse 21: build house, inhabit them, vineyards, and eating.
    6. It seems that we may have land.
    7. Remember that if you read Revelation chapters 21-22, we see a huge city which is the New Jerusalem, but we also see a garden. If you like the city, you got it. If you like the opened country, you have that as well.
    8. In the passage in Revelation, it seems that we will be able to work the soil on our land.
    9. Work is not a consequence of sin. In Genesis 2:15 we see that Adam was placed in the Garden to take care of it and this is before sin entered the world. But because of sin we work and grow weary. In Heaven we won’t. This doesn’t mean we won’t rest in Heaven.
    10. What will our homes be like?
    11. So, in Heaven we have homes, and we have land and we can take care of the land.
    12. Will our homes be big or small?
    13. In Chip Ingram’s book The Real Heaven, What the Bible Actually Says, he has a chapter on our homes. He says that our homes will be a lot like the new bodies we have. Our new bodies are to be like our current bodies and our new homes will be as well, except they will not have all the limitations and illness, etc.
    14. There is only so much we can know, but I do think we can go a little deeper.
    15. Let’s read John 14:1-2: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?
    16. Randy Alcorn helps us understand this: The Vulgate, the Latin Bible, used the word mansions in that verse, and the King James Version followed by using mansions. Unfortunately, that rendering is misleading if it makes us envision having massive lodgings on separate estates. The intended meaning seems to be that we’ll have separate dwelling places on a single estate or even separate rooms within the same house.
    17. New Testament scholar D. A. Carson says, “Since heaven is here pictured as the Father’s house, it is more natural to think of ‘dwelling-places’ within a house as rooms or suites.  .  .  . The simplest explanation is best: my Father’s house refers to heaven, and in heaven are many rooms, many dwelling-places. The point is not the lavishness of each apartment, but the fact that such ample provision has been made that there is more than enough space for every one of Jesus’ disciples to join him in his Father’s home.”
    18. The New International Version rendering of John 14:2 is this: “In my Father’s house are many rooms.  .  .  . I am going there to prepare a place for you.” Place is singular, but rooms is plural. This suggests Jesus has in mind for each of us an individual dwelling that’s a smaller part of the larger place. This place will be home to us in the most unique sense.
    19. The term room is cozy and intimate. The terms house or estate suggest spaciousness. That’s Heaven: a place both spacious and intimate. Some of us enjoy coziness, being in a private space. Others enjoy a large, wide-open space. Most of us enjoy both— and the New Earth will offer both. Heaven isn’t likely to have lots of identical residences. God loves diversity, and he tailor-makes his children and his provisions for them. When we see the particular place he’s prepared for us— not just for mankind in general but for us in particular— we’ll rejoice to see our ideal home.
    20. Will we entertain in Heaven? Since we have homes, I think it is likely that we will entertain in our homes just like we do today. This gets into a broader topic of feasts in Heaven, eating in Heaven, relationships in Heaven, etc, but it seems that we will have all of that.
      1. It seems that we will feast with people.
      2. Look at the many times Jesus ate with people.
  • Hebrews 13:2 talks about entertaining angels, so entertainment is important.
  • We also know about the Marriage supper of the Lamb in Revelation 19:6-9.

Let’s take a moment to apply

    1. Why wouldn’t we have nice homes in Heaven?
    2. Why wouldn’t we have dream homes in Heaven?
    3. We will have real, resurrected bodies.
    4. We will have a real city and a real garden that will be paradise.
    5. We will have relationships.
    6. We will eat.
    7. Heaven will be what this life was and is meant to be. There will be no suffering, crying, pain, sickness, or death, but there will be purpose and living.
    8. We can be encouraged that we will have some form of dwelling in Heaven.
    9. We can be encouraged that some things from this life will continue to eternity.
    10. We can recognize that we must live in community now, as we will later.
    11. We can serve and entertain now, as we will in eternity. “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it” (Hebrews 13: 2).
    12. We can recognize that we must live for eternity now and be blessed later (Matthew 6:19-20).


What makes something or someplace home?

Could it be that home is where your family is? Could it be that home is where your community is? Could it be that home is where you belong? Could it be that home is where you have purpose? Could it be that home is where you have memories? I believe you will have all that in Heaven and so much more. You will have memories and make new memories. You will have community and new community. You will have family and more family. You will have purpose. You will belong like you have never belonged before. You will have an estate, land, and house. Oh, you will also have joy. You will have joy like you have never known before.

Heaven will be home! Home sweet home!

Heaven will be home because we will be with Jesus (Rev. 21:3). God is restoring creation. Going all the way back to the Garden of Eden when everything was created good, God is making things good. He will dwell with us. This all happens because Jesus took care of our sin problem when He died on the cross for our sins and rose again.

Do you know Him?