Today we want to think about a strange and wonderful country, a country where there are no tears nor heartaches; a country in which there is no sickness, pain, nor death. The people who live in this country never get tired. They carry no burdens and they never grow old. No one ever says “goodbye,” for separations are unknown—and there are no disappointments. In Heaven there is no sin, for no one ever does wrong. One will travel for hundreds of miles and never see a cemetery or meet a funeral procession.
The clothes that are worn in Heaven are a glistening white, and no one dresses in the clothes of mourning. The flowers never lose their fragrance and the leaves are always green. There are no thunderstorms, no erupting volcanoes, and no earthquakes. Upon those fair shores, hurricanes and tidal waves never beat. There are no germs nor fevers. There is no sickness and no pestilence of any kind. The sun never shines and yet it is always light for there is no night there. It is never too hot and never too cold. No clouds ever darken the sky and harsh winds never blow. There are no drunkards or smokers in this country, for no one ever drinks or smokes there. None are immoral; men as well as women are pure. Prisons, jails, and reformatories never darken the landscape. The doors have no locks and the windows no bars, for thieves and robbers never enter there. There are no crippled people to be seen anywhere; none are deformed or lame. Nor is anyone blind, deaf, or dumb. Hence, homes for incurables have never been built—for all are well and strong.
You ask me how I know all this? Have I been there? No, I have not yet had the privilege of visiting this wonderful Country of which I speak, but others have. And One, even Jesus, my Saviour and my Lord, has lived there a long, long time. He came here to earth and told us a great deal about it. Jesus called this country “Heaven,” and told me that He is coming again to take me home to be with Him. He says, “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. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am there ye may be also” (John 14:2-3).
When I think of Heaven, there comes before my mind a picture of a celestial city; a city which has love for its law, perfection for its standard, and Jehovah for its God. It is a city with jasper for its walls, angels for its guards, and saints for its citizens. It is a city in which may be heard the glad “hallelujahs” of the redeemed. Oh, the wonders of Heaven! When one tries to describe it, he feels as if he were going forth with a tallow candle to illuminate a golden sunset. We want to note seven wonders of the country called Heaven.
1. The First Wonder of Heaven Is That Such a Place Could Ever Be
The words in Revelation 21:3-11 are a description of some of the grandeur of Heaven—a place not made by hands: Heaven is a place without grief or graves, without sin or sorrow; a place with gates never shut; no night there—just one eternal day. Heaven is a place of incomparable beauty. Earthly scenes may be described by poets, but Heaven is so wonderfully grand that even the inspired writer Paul could not pen it in earthly language. He says in 1 Corinthians 2:9, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”
Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you.” Who can even imagine or describe the beauties of a heavenly mansion fresh from the Saviour’s hand? Heaven is a place entirely free from pain. In Heaven there are no aching limbs, no darting pains, no swelling tongues, and no sinking eyes. Heaven is a place without cradles or coffins. It is without marriages and without mournings. The Bible says, “But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage; neither can they die any more, for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God” (Luke 20:35-36).
2. The Second Wonder of Heaven Is the Equality of Its Inhabitants
Think of the inequalities of this life. We have the rich and the poor, the learned and the illiterate, the sick and the well, the young and the old, the favored and the oppressed. In Heaven the rich and the poor will sit side by side, each robed in spotless white. The Bible says in Luke 13:29, “And they shall come from the east and from the west, and from the north and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.” In that glorious day when all God’s children are called home, they will be there from all quarters of the earth—all those who have met the conditions of salvation and have accepted Jesus as Lord and Saviour.
All of God’s children are heirs of Heaven. We read in Romans 8:17, “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ, if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” In Heaven, we, God’s born again children, will be completely conformed to the image of Christ. 1 John 3:2 says, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” In Heaven, the poor widow who toiled by candlelight, will come into her full inheritance. The aged pilgrim, tottering with uncertain step toward the end of his journey, will find that in Heaven none ever grows old.
Helen Keller’s faith in God sustained her in the quiet hours when she retreated into the deep silence that only the deaf, blind, and mute can know. But upon the death of her patient teacher, Anne Sullivan, Helen Keller said, “I look forward to the world to come, where all physical limitations will drop from me like shackles; where I shall again find my beloved teacher and engage joyously in greater service than I have ever known.” Some have conceived that Heaven is a place of idleness, but this is not so. Revelation 7:9-17 tells us we will worship God and serve Him.
3. The Third Wonder of Heaven Is That Its Inhabitants Should Be Interested in This Sin-Cursed World
Why should the God of Heaven be interested in you and me? It is comforting to know that God seeks after us as a shepherd seeks after his lost sheep, or as a woman seeks after her lost coin. God is concerned that all men everywhere repent and come to a knowledge of the truth through repentance. “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). The Bible says, “There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth” (Luke 15:10).
The words in Luke 15 indicate a tremendous willingness on God’s part to receive sinners. No matter how wicked a person has been, in the day that he really turns from his wickedness, and comes to God through faith in Jesus Christ, God is well pleased. And the passage in Luke 15:10 shows that the matter of salvation is of deep interest to the angels and the inhabitants of Heaven. The conversion of each soul on earth is carefully observed in Heaven.
4. The Fourth Wonder of Heaven Is That It Should Be Opened To Foreign Immigrants
The wonder is that saved sinners may enter. It would be of little value to us to hear of Heaven if there were not a possibility for us to gain admission. But the great heart of God invites us to become citizens of that celestial city. Jesus came to the earth as a foreign immigration agent—not only to tell us of the place, but to arrange our entrance. The Bible is God’s inspired letter to inform us of that great City, and to tell us how to prepare for citizenship in it. “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life and may enter in through the gates into the city” (Revelation 22:14). We need to read the Bible and take time to study it and obey it.
The incident is told of some folks who were traveling. In the late afternoon, as they sped wearily along the highway, yearning to reach their destination after traveling all day, they saw a sign in front of a cozy house, which read, “If you lived here, you’d be home now!” Just so, this world is not the Christian’s permanent home. Hebrews 13:14 says, “For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.” Here we are but “strangers and pilgrims” (Hebrews 11:13). How wise we are in obeying the Scriptural directions, “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:20). “Seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affections on things above and not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:1-2).
5. The Fifth Wonder of Heaven Is the Condition of Citizenship
It is said that Stan Berman calls himself the world’s greatest gate-crasher. A “gate-crasher” is one who attends social functions or gatherings uninvited. Stan Berman claims to have crashed more than three thousand parties, eating free meals, and rubbing elbows with statesmen, presidents, movie stars, famous athletes, and notable persons. Berman, who is a taxi-cab driver, says his only reason for gate-crashing is to prove that a humble cab-driver can make along with the great persons of earth. But there is one gate that can’t be crashed—and that is the gate of Heaven: Jesus, in relating the story of the Marriage Supper, in Matthew 22:1-14, tells of the man who had come to the wedding feast, but who had not worn the wedding garment. And the king said to the servants, “Bind him hand and foot and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
What does the Bible say about the conditions of citizenship in Heaven? “And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie; but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:27). Heaven is only for God’s redeemed ones; those who have placed personal faith in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. If we would reason like the world does, we would conclude that a place like Heaven would be just for good people, those who do good deeds, those who have their name on a church roll—this would be a title to Heaven. The Bible makes it clear that “Whosoever will, let him come.” Heaven is for all who will come and meet the conditions of citizenship (See John 3:3-7; John 3:36). Sinners may enter Heaven, but they first must be converted, changed, and born of the Spirit (John 3:5). None can enter Heaven as naturalized foreigners; all must be citizens by birth—the new birth.
6. The Sixth Wonder of Heaven Is That All Its Splendor Will Remain Forever Unchanged
Earth’s great cities don’t last. Where is Rome with her ancient glory? Babylon with her hanging gardens? Athens with all her learning? All have faded like the beauty of the plucked rose. Everything that this world offers will pass away. But Heaven is an abiding city. Its glories never fade.
A little girl who had been blind from birth underwent surgery. The operation was a success and when the last bandage was removed from her eyes, the child was able to see for the first time. First she ran into the arms of her mother; then she ran to the window and out through the open door. As her eyes took in the beauties of earth, she screamed with excitement, “Oh Mother, why didn’t you tell me it was so beautiful?” The mother wiped away her tears of joy and replied, “My precious child, I tried to tell you, but I couldn’t put it into words.” One day when God’s children go sweeping through the gates of pearl and catch their first vision of the heavenly City, I believe we will go to the Apostle John and ask, “John, why didn’t you tell us it was so beautiful?” And John will answer, “I tried to tell you in the last chapters of the Revelation, but I could not find adequate words to describe it.” Revelation 22:5 says, “And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light; and they shall reign for ever and ever.” The hymn-writer says, “It will be worth it all, when we see Jesus.”
7. The Seventh Wonder of Heaven Is That More Do Not Prepare To Make Their Home There
When we think how quickly time is passing, and that we cannot stay here always; when we think of the heartaches, the sorrows, the disappointments, it is a wonder that more do not hasten to prepare for an eternal home where happiness and joy abide forever. My friend, are you prepared today to be a citizen of that heavenly home? “Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20). If you are not prepared, you may be. Prepare by believing that Jesus Christ is God’s Son and that He came from Heaven and died on the Cross for you. Believe in and accept His precious blood to wash away your sin. Believe that He rose from the dead on the third day and ascended into Heaven to intercede for us (1 Corinthians 15:3; Hebrews 4:14).
Some years ago, Dr. Charles E. Fuller announced that he would speak the next Sunday on “Heaven.” During that week, a beautiful letter was received from an old man who was very ill, and the following paragraphs are a part of that letter:
“Next Sunday you are to talk about Heaven. I am interested in that land because I have held a clear title to a bit of property there for over fifty-five years. I did not buy it. It was given to me without money and without price. But the donor purchased it for me at tremendous sacrifice. I am not holding it for speculation, since the title is not transferable. It is not a vacant lot.
“For more than half a century I have been sending materials out of which the great Architect and Builder of the universe has been building a home for me, which will never need to be repaired because it will suit me perfectly, individually, and will never grow old. Termites can never undermine its foundations, for they rest upon the Rock of Ages. Fire cannot destroy it and floods cannot wash it away. No locks nor bolts will ever be placed upon its doors, for no vicious person can ever enter that land where my dwelling stands, now almost completed and almost ready for me to enter in.
“There is a valley of deep shadows between the place where I live in California, and that to which I shall journey in a very short time. I cannot reach my home in that City of God without passing through this dark valley of shadows. But I am not afraid, because the best Friend I ever had, went through the same valley long ago and drove away all its gloom. He has stuck by me through thick and thin since we first became acquainted fifty-five years ago, and I hold His promise in printed form, never to forsake me nor to leave me alone.
“I hope to hear your sermon on Heaven next Sunday, but I have no assurance that I shall be able to do so. My ticket to Heaven has no date marked for the journey. There is no return coupon. Yes, I am all ready to go, and I may not be here while you are talking next Sunday, but I shall meet you there some day.”
Heaven will be our eternal home. Think of stepping on shore and finding it Heaven. Think of taking hold of a hand and finding it God’s hand. Think of breathing a new air and finding it celestial air. Think of feeling invigorated and finding it immortality. Think of passing from storm and tempest to an unknown calm. Think of waking up and finding it HOME! Jesus says in John 14:2-3, “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. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”