We Want To Go To Heaven
       Rev. 21:9-56
       By Paul Robison

How badly do Razorback fans want to go to football games?  Jesus made this statement in John 14:1-3: “Let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions, if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”  The place that Jesus is preparing for those who believe in Him is called heaven.  Now how badly do we want to go to heaven?  As we begin this New Year, may the goal of going to heaven be our top priority as God's people!  “These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes.  These were redeemed from among men, being first-fruits to God and to the Lamb.  And in their mouth was found no deceit, for they were without fault before the throne of God” (Revelation 14:4-5).  We won't get to heaven by chance or by accident.  Jesus is preparing heaven for us, so let's keep preparing ourselves for heaven!  The Razorback fans go to their games because they want to be winners. Now, why do Christians want to go to heaven?  Let's look quickly at ten reasons. 
 
First of all, we want to go to heaven because God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit will be there.  Look at Revelation 21:9-11: "Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me saying, 'Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb's wife.'  And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of the heaven from God, having the glory of God."  The Lamb or Jesus is mentioned first, and then come the Holy Spirit, who revealed the great and holy city, and then comes God, the Source and glory of that city.  Yes, God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit will be there.  But don't overlook that other very important word: "the bride, the Lamb's wife."  The word “bride” immediately brings to mind a new relationship, a new family, a new intimacy.  But remember, heaven is not the realm of flesh and blood.  The closeness found in a good marriage is probably the best comparison that can be made to the new spiritual closeness that we'll experience in heaven!  "My God and I go in the field together; We walk and talk as good friends should and do. We clasp our hands, our voices ring with laughter, my God and I walk thru the meadow's hue" (Wihtol).  Legs to walk, tongues to talk, hands to clasp, and voices to laugh?  Will heaven really be that physical?  But that's not the hymn's point is it?  The point is togetherness, friendship, closeness, and no evil or sin will ever separate us  from these divine Beings.  We want to go to heaven because God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit will be there, and we'll experience them as we've never experienced them before!
 
A second reason: we want to go to heaven because our treasure is there.  Jesus challenges us in Matthew 6:19-21: "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."  If we try to keep our treasures here in this world, we will lose them.  Heaven is the dwelling place of God, and this is the place we need to filling up with our spiritual treasures.  And those treasures aren't material goods, according to the apostle Paul, who admonishes in 1 Timothy 6:17-18: "Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty [and since you are an American, you are rich in this present age], nor to trust in the uncertainty of riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.  Let them do good, that they may be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life."  Our heavenly storehouse needs to be filled with good works and helpful donations.  These are the spiritual investments that will endure.  We want to go to heaven because our treasure is there.  Jesus is preparing heaven for us, so let's keep preparing ourselves for heaven!
 
A third reason: we want to go to heaven because our citizenship is there.  Our earthly citizenship is in America, and our names can be found in the files of many agencies.  The apostle Paul tells us, however, in Philippians 3:20: "For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ."  As Christians, our true citizenship extends beyond the borders of the United States or even North America.  Not only is our citizenship in heaven, but our names are registered there as well.  Hebrews 12:22-23 affirm: "But you have come to Mount Zion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect."  Jesus makes this wonderful promise in Revelation 3:5 to Christians who remain faithful: "He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels."  As heavenly citizens, we will be active in service forever.  One brother pictures it in this way: "Like bees in a hive flying about serving their queen, so we will be busy in the service of our King.  The endless joy of service will forever satisfy our souls" (Doughty).  We want to go to heaven because our citizenship is there!
 
Another reason: we want to go to heaven because our crowns are there.  Jesus wore a crown of thorns so that His followers might wear the crowns of victory!  Christians will not be rewarded with royal crowns or priestly crowns, but with winners' crowns!  Paul calls it the crown of righteousness in 2 Timothy 4:8, John calls it the crown of life in Revelation 2:10, and Peter calls it the crown of glory in 1 Peter 5:4.  It is an imperishable crown which will endure forever (2 Cor. 9:25)!  James admonishes us with these words in James 1:12: "Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”  That crown will be awarded on the Judgment Day to all who are so devoted to Jesus that they will love His appearing as He returns again to judge the world in righteousness (Acts 17:31).  "And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him, He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation" (Hebrews 9:27-28).  The old hymn has it right: "I'll exchange my cross for a starry crown, where the gates swing outward never.  At His feet, I'll lay every burden down, and with Jesus reign forever" (Gabriel)!  We want to go to heaven because our crowns are there.  Jesus is preparing heaven for us, so let's keep preparing ourselves for heaven!
 
Another reason: we want to go to heaven because our inheritance is there.  Isn't "inheritance" an exciting word?  “Wealth, gift, and benefactors” are words that immediately come to mind.  The same God who gave the Promised Land to Israel as an inheritance (Joshua 21:43-45) is the same God who is going to give Christians the heavenly Jerusalem as their inheritance!  As surely as He blessed the Jews, He will bless all Christians!  Did you notice in the description read earlier that this city will have foundations made up of precious gems, gates made of enormous pearls, and the city itself, not just the streets, is made of pure gold?  John used costly things in our world to describe it.  Now that's riches, but Peter doesn't put the emphasis there.  Notice another aspect of this inheritance which he underscores in 1 Peter 1:3-5: "Blessed by the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to revealed in the last time."  Aren't the purity and permanence of this inheritance what Peter stresses?  Christians will be the heirs to this enduring and unending inheritance!  We want to go to heaven because the heavenly and holy Jerusalem is our permanent inheritance!
 
Another reason: we want to go to heaven because our hope is there. "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up" (2 Peter 3:10).  Now since this world's end has been revealed to us and since we know that everything here in this world will be destroyed by fire, the riches and pleasures of this world no longer hold a great attraction to us.  We look forward to that new dimension where the hope of eternal life will become a reality. "He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life" (John 12:25).  Eternal life will be given at the Judgment "to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality" (Rom. 2:7).  Jesus declares that the wicked “will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life" (Matthew 25:46).  We want to go to heaven because our hope of eternal life is there! Jesus is preparing heaven for us, so let's keep preparing ourselves for heaven!
 
Another reason: we want to go to heaven because our full redemption will become a reality there.  Our lowly, earthly bodies will one day be transformed so that they will be similar to Jesus' glorious spiritual body (Phil. 3:21).  The apostle Paul describes this transformation with these words in 1 Corinthians 15:50-53: "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption.  Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed--in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality."  Did you notice that at the last trumpet, all the saints, both those dead and those still living on the earth, will be transformed in an instant into their spiritual bodies?  Then what will happen?  According to the text that we read earlier in Revelation, they will live in the new heavenly and holy Jerusalem.  In fact, Revelation 22:5 affirms that the saints “shall reign forever and ever."  We want to go to heaven because our full redemption will become a reality there!
 
Another reason: we want to go to heaven because our joy will be full there.  Peter states that when Jesus comes again in His glory, Christians can be glad with exceeding joy (1 Peter 4:13)!  What great joy there will be in heaven!  "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.  There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away" (Revelation 21:4).  Jesus told a parable about a servant, and his master told him: "Well done, good and faithful servant, you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.  Enter into the joy of your lord" (Matthew 25:23)!  You see, "in the city of God, He will put us in charge of many things; like He put Adam in charge of Eden, like He put Noah in charge of building an ark, like He put the priests in charge of the temple. There we will share in the Lord's happiness!  Heaven is going to be one happy, joyous place to serve" (Doughty)!  We want to go to heaven because our joy will be full there.  Jesus is preparing heaven for us, so let's keep preparing ourselves for heaven!
 
Another reason: we want to go to heaven because our spiritual family will be there.  All of God's servants from all ages and all nations will be there! All the heroes of the Old Testament, all the disciples of the New Testament, and all the Christians throughout all the centuries will abide in heaven!  This will be the ultimate family reunion when all of God's children are united!  "After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, and saying: 'Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb'" (Revelation 7:9-10)!  What a fellowship!  And how interesting it will be to learn each others' stories as eternity continues on and on and on! We want to go to heaven because our spiritual family will be there!
 
A final reason: we want to go to heaven because our alternative is hell.  "Then He shall say to those on the left hand: 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matthew 25:41).  While Jesus is preparing a place for the righteous, Jesus also reveals in this passage that another place is being prepared for the devil and his angels.  Hell is the opposite of heaven!  And, the New Testament never teaches that there is a third option.  Based on the reading this morning from Revelation 21, we can deduce several truths about hell: 1) heaven is a place of great beauty, but hell will be a place of great horror; 2) God and the Lamb give perpetual light to heaven, but hell will be a place of perpetual darkness; 3) there will be nothing defiled in heaven, but hell will be full of what is defiled; 4) the saints in heaven will live in the continual presence of God and the Lamb, but the wicked will live in the continual presence of Satan and his angels!  We want to go to heaven because hell is the terrible alternative.  Jesus is preparing heaven for us, so let's keep preparing ourselves for heaven!
 
Living in the presence of God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and all the redeemed forever, now that's heaven, and that's worth all the struggle,  hardship, and suffering that you must endure while in this world!  You won't get to heaven by chance or by accident.  It only comes by choice.  How badly do you want to go there?  One Christian wrote:  "Heaven holds all to me, brighter its glory will be.  Joy without measure will be my treasure; heaven holds all to me" (Teddlie).  You see, the more you long for heaven, the more exciting your life on earth becomes because every day you are preparing for something so much more glorious and enduring than anything that his life has to offer!  Jesus is the key to the gates of heaven.  Without that key, hell is only alternative!  Make Jesus your Lord, so that heaven can be your eternal inheritance! Prepare right now while you have the chance!