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Heaven Is For Real!

November 1, 2015

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All Saints’ Sunday                                             Trinity Lutheran Church

1 November 2015                                               Murdock, NE

 

+ Jesu Juva +

 

Revelation 7:9-17

 

The Book of Revelation gives you what you can hang on to. What really matters! What ultimately counts! What is salvationly important! Today the Book of Revelation speaks of heaven. You’re told who’s in heaven and what’s going on in heaven.

 

Heaven is for real folks. You don’t have to lay out a bunch of cash to buy books or go to movies to know that. Heaven is for real because God’s Word says so. Heaven is for real because Jesus died, rose and sits at the Father’s right hand lording the reign of His Good Friday death over the universe AND OVER YOU.

 

Heaven is for real because Jesus promises that heaven is FOR YOU who believe in Him. “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” (Mt. 5:3). That’s you. You and all Christians are “the poor in spirit.” Poor in spirit means that you have absolutely no spiritual power in yourselves. No source of eternal security except … Jesus. No heavenly safety net except … Jesus. You are complete spiritual beggars. Hanging on … Jesus. Mooching from … Jesus! All you have is … Jesus … when it comes to salvation!

 

Heaven is for real because Jesus says so. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven,” (Mt. 5:10-11).

 

So who’s in heaven or who goes to heaven? That’s a very important question to answer. I’m afraid that most people and most clergy people just assume that everyone will end up in heaven. That’s simply not true. Unbelievers will not be in heaven.

 

If you have absolutely no use of Jesus for salvation you will not be go to heaven when you die. You will endure God’s wrath in hell forever. Jesus says that on the Last Day the unbelievers will “be thrown into the fiery furnace … [where] there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth,” (Mt. 13:42). On Judgment Day Jesus will say the following to unbelievers: “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels,” (Mt. 25:41).

 

Who is in heaven then? Saints, that is, believers holied by Jesus’ Good Friday forgiveness – they are in heaven and will go to heaven. Believers in Jesus make up an innumerable multitude from “every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages.” Saints, believers, the “poor in spirit,” the Christians that hung on to Jesus for salvation in this life are in heaven. Believers, persecuted and reviled for Jesus’ sake in this life are gathered around Jesus in heaven. They have come out of the “great tribulation” of suffering for confessing Jesus. They are white-robed. Robed or clothed with Christ in Baptism they are. White with Christ’s righteousness.  Pure. Holy. Washed white robes in the Good Friday for salvation blood of the Lamb Jesus!

 

Palm branches, the symbol of victory, are in their hands. Just as when King Jesus rode into Jerusalem to win salvation’s victory for you and for all on Palm Sunday.

 

What do the saints in heaven do? Well, that should be a no brainer, right. They worship Jesus! Jesus alone is Lord. Jesus, the Lamb, has won the victory over sin, death and Satan by dying on the cross. And so the saints tell the truth. The truth that determined their lives on earth and their eternal lives forever in heaven.   “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

 

All the angels, archangels and all the company of heaven agree. They join in on the worship and adoration of God and the Lamb Jesus who saves sinners. “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.” Did you count? Seven ascriptions of praise! Perfect worship!

 

Again, salvation for you and for all sinners is a fact. It is accomplished. It is finished. “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” Therefore, there is perpetual worship! That’s what goes on in heaven. “Therefore they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.”

 

Salvation also includes the restoration of life’s fullness –putting things back together as they should be. Like Adam and Even in the Garden of Eve. Paradise. Saved by the Blood of the Lamb, the saints in heaven live in the shelter of God’s presence. They enjoy the everlasting kindly care of Good Shepherd Jesus.

 

Consequently, all the agonies of this earthly life are no more. No hunger. No thirst. No blasting heat. No tears. The divine promise from Psalm 121:6 is fulfilled in heaven. It’s one of the Psalms I always use in making hospital calls. Many of you will recall it. It goes like this: “The sun shall not strike you by day nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.”

 

Heaven is for real. It is FOR YOU because Jesus has died for you. “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

 

Heaven is for real even today. FOR YOU. The Lamb is on His throne. He gathers you around Himself with all the angels, archangels and all the company of heaven worshiping Him. Jesus is physically present in the Sunday divine service with His Word and Sacrament! TO BE GOD FOR YOU! God FOR YOU in this particular way: He gives you His Body to eat with the bread and His Blood to drink with the wine with the promise that heaven / salvation is yours because He died FOR YOU!

 

Heaven is yours by faith in Jesus. You sing it every Sunday! “This is the Feast of Victory for our God. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. For the Lamb who was slain has begun His reign. Alleluia.”

 

The Lord’s Supper is your heaven on earth until you enter heaven. In the sacrament you have come “to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering,” (Heb. 12:22). What Jesus promises to you who are “poor in spirit” is given in the Lord’s Supper: “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

 

Yes, heaven is for real. Now you have it by faith in Jesus. When you die you will have it by sight. All because “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

 

In the Name of Jesus.

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