Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Relationships

Part 3 of a Bible study series called Heaven



"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'” (Rev. 21:3).


Introduction 

Jesus promised his disciples, “I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (John 14:3). Living with God will be our greatest joy in heaven. As John Milton put it, “Thy presence makes our Paradise, and where Thou art is Heaven.” Heaven is more about a Person (God) than a place. 


Discussion 

In heaven, not only will we be with God but also with all the saints of all time. Other than Jesus and family members, who are the first people you would like to meet in heaven? 

Read Ps. 27:4; 63:1; 73:25. Our deepest longing should be to live in God’s presence. Randy Alcorn writes, “Going to heaven without God would be like a bride going on her honeymoon without her groom” (Heaven, p. 187). Why would heaven not be heaven without God? 


Explanation

Rev. 22:4 says that in heaven we will “see [God’s] face.” John Donne said, “No man ever saw God and lived. And yet, I shall not live till I see God; and when I have seen him, I shall never die.” Imagine seeing God face to face. What do you think it will be like? 

When asked if we would recognize friends in heaven, George MacDonald responded, “Shall we be greater fools in Paradise than we are here?” (quoted in Death and the Life Hereafter, p. 65). Read Isa. 65:17. Some Christians believe that this verse proves that in eternity we won’t remember our earthly lives. How does this view not agree with other portions of Scripture?

Missionary Amy Carmichael had strong convictions on this question: “Shall we know one another in heaven? Shall we love and remember? I do not think anyone need wonder about this or doubt for a single moment. We are never told we shall, because, I expect, it was not necessary to say anything about this which our own hearts tell us. We do not need words. For if we think for a minute, we know. Would you be yourself if you did not love and remember? … We are told that we shall be like our Lord Jesus. Surely this does not mean in holiness only, but in everything; and does not He know and love and remember? He would not be Himself if He did not, and we should not be ourselves if we did not” (quoted in Heaven, pp. 346-47). In heaven, our minds will be clearer, not foggier. How would your experience of heaven be altered if your memory was erased? 

Read Matt. 22:23-30. Jesus said, “In the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage” (v. 30). “This teaching might at first seem discouraging to married couples who are deeply in love with each other in this life, but surely people will know their loved ones in heaven, and the joy and love of close relationships in heaven will be more rather than less than it is here on earth” (ESV Study Bible, p. 1869). How will our relationships with one another change in heaven? 


Application 

It’s not true that there will be no family in heaven. On the contrary, there will be one great family. How should this truth affect our relationships with other Christians now?