Sunday, January 12, 2014

Thoughts on Heaven, week 1

I am leading a small group Sunday School class through Randy Alcorn's book on Heaven. We are reading about two chapters each week and then coming together to share about what we are learning about the eternal destiny of those that know Jesus. I thought I would take the opportunity each week to blog about what I am learning in this study.

This week we read the Introduction and the first two chapters. J. C. Ryle once said, "I pity the man who never thinks about heaven." Alcorn takes a slightly different thought: "I pity the man who never thinks accurately about Heaven" (8). After reading the opening few chapters, I get the feeling that he cares deeply that people think accurately about heaven.

One of the overwhelming emphasis he gives of heaven is the physicalness of heaven. The pictures he describes certainly makes heaven a place that I long to be. Here are a few thoughts from Alcorn . . .
"This place is not an ethereal realm of disembodied spirits, because human beings are not suited for such a realm. A place is by nature physical, just as human beings are by nature physical. (We are also spiritual.) What we are suited for--what we've been specifically designed for--is a place like the one God made for us: Earth" (xx).
He continues to pain the picture of the physicalness of heaven . . .
"Think of friends or family members who love Jesus and are with Him now. Picture them with you, walking together in this place. All of you have powerful bodies, stronger than those of an Olympic decathlete. You are laughing, playing, talking, and reminiscing. You reach up to a tree to pick an apple or orange. You take a bit. It's so sweet that it's startling. You've never tasted anything so good. Now you see someone coming toward you. It's Jesus, with a big smile on his face. You fall to your knees in worship. He pulls you up and embraces you. 
At last, you're with the person you were made for, in the place you were made to be. Everywhere you go there will be new people and places to enjoy, new things to discover. What's that you smell? A feast. A party's ahead. And you're invited. There's exploration and work to be done--and you can't wait to get started. 
I have biblical basis for all of these statements, and many more. After examining what Scripture says, I hope that next time you hear someone say, 'We can't begin to imagine what Heaven will be like,' you'll be able to tell them, 'I can'" (18). 
I can't wait to get further into this book to continue looking at why he makes all of these claims. Since I have read some of this book before, I know where he is going. But I can't wait to dig in deeper to the text of Scripture that he takes these thoughts from. This certainly is a picture of heaven I can get behind, get excited about. Wouldn't you? These first few chapters whet my appetite for more.

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