The Holy Spirit part 5
Guarantee of What's to Come
Sunrise Wesleyan Church
June 28, 2009
Over the course of the
past month we’ve been working our way through a message series about
the Holy Spirit. We’ve talked about who He is, about what He does in
our lives, about the qualities that shapes in our character, and about
how He equips us with gifts to serve each other and really make a
difference for the Kingdom of God. We’ve actually covered a lot of
territory in a relatively short period of time.
And I hope as
we’ve gone through this series, you’ve discovered more about the Holy
Spirit and about His importance in your life. Because the presence of
the Holy Spirit in your life really is essential to the life and growth
of every Christ-follower. In fact, you can’t do it without Him. You
can’t become a Christian and you can’t live as a Christian without Him.
You absolutely need Him.
Today, we’re going to finish up this
series by exploring just one more area. We’ve talked about how He
brings us to new life in Christ, we’ve talked about how He enables us
to live the Christian life now… and this morning we’re going to talk
about how He assures us of the life to come.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 (NLT)
is God who enables us, along with you, to stand firm for Christ. He has
commissioned us, and he has identified us as his own by placing the
Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees
everything he has promised us.
So while the Holy Spirit is in
and of Himself God, He is also kind of a down-payment. He’s the deposit
God makes in our lives as a guarantee that He’s going to fulfill His
promise of providing us with a future home with Him… where…? In Heaven.
the Holy Spirit is our guarantee of Heaven. It’s God’s way of saying,
“Look, I’m serious. I promised you eternal life and I intend to come
through on that promise. You can count on it.”
So with the Holy
Spirit in your life, you don’t just gain the ability to live the
Christian life today… you gain the confidence that you will be able to
live with Christ Himself throughout eternity.
When my mother was
over visiting a couple weeks ago, I helped her spend a lot of money.
I’m sure that’s nothing new; I’m sure I’ve done that plenty of times
through the years. But this time it wasn’t for me, it was for her.
see, next February she’s planning to be in Vancouver visiting with some
family there, at the same time that the Olympics are going on. And as
it turned out, she was her on the day that some of the tickets went on
So I helped her navigate around the Vancouver 2010
website, we found some events she wanted to see, we added them to the
online shopping cart, went through the checkout process, and she bought
Now figure this out. Has she already bought the
tickets? Yes. Do they already have her money? Yes. But has she gotten
to see the events? No. What’s up with that? You’d think that as soon as
you bought the tickets you’d see the events, right?
obviously the events haven’t happened yet. But what is going to happen
is this: the price has been paid, so she’s going to be sent tickets as
a guarantee that when she shows up next year she will be let in.
God has already paid the price of admittance for you into Heaven, to
cost being the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. And as a guarantee that
when that day comes you’ll be let in, He has sent you the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 1:13-14 (NLT)
when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you
the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s
guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he
has purchased us to be his own people.
The Holy Spirit is the
down-payment, He’s the deposit, He’s the guarantee, He’s the assurance
that as a follower of Jesus Christ you have eternal life in store in
So let’s talk about Heaven.
“When you speak of Heaven, let your face light up. When you speak of
Hell, well then, your everyday face will do.”
~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon
as we talk about Heaven, I expect all your faces to light up. In the
church, when we talk about Heaven we’re usually talking about the place
where God lives. Now, theologically, we talk about God being
omnipresent, which means that He is present throughout all of creation.
But Heaven is where His presence resides. It’s His home.
it’s the place we all hope to end up someday. The Bible teaches that
there are two and only two possible destinations for every person.
Either we end up in Heaven where we spend eternity experiencing great
joy and fulfillment in the presence of God, or we spend eternity in
Hell, which by definition means we will be separated from God and
subject to unending pain and torment. And where we end up depends on
choices we make during this lifetime. And really, it all comes down to
one choice: What will you do with Jesus? It’s not about how good you
are; it’s about what you do with Jesus.
You know, this week in
particular there have been a lot of people thinking about death and
what happens after death. With Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, and Michael
Jackson all dying in the same week, it’s affected a lot of people and
we’ve contemplated the afterlife.
Ed McMahon was the first of
the three to die this week, and you know him best as being the sidekick
of Johnny Carson for 30 years on The Tonight Show. But way back before
they took over the reigns of The Tonight Show, they worked together on
another show, a game show called “Who Do You Trust?”
occurs to me that is the central question when it comes to determining
your eternity? Who do you trust? Do you trust in yourself, and what you
can do and what you’ve accomplished in life and in your ability to
measure up and live a good life? Or do you trust in Jesus… in what He’s
done for you, in what He’s accomplished, in His goodness, in His
promises? Who do you trust?
Entrance into Heaven depends on who
you trust. What will you do with Jesus? Because when you put your trust
in Him, He gives you the Holy Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing your
future home in Heaven.
In Jewish writings, including the Bible, the word “Heaven” has three
First, it can refer to the atmosphere surrounding the earth. It’s the
Second, it can refer to outer space… where you find the sun and the
starts, the moon, other planets, comets and so on.
third, it can refer to what we’re talking about this morning… Heaven is
the home of God where we hope to go someday to be with Him.
So to help us understand this Heaven a little bit more, let me give you
four facts about Heaven…
Heaven is a real place
people would say that Heaven isn’t a place at all… it’s a state of
mind. It’s a state of consciousness. But that’s not what the Bible
describes. Heaven is not a state of mind, it’s a real place.
before Jesus was arrested and executed, and then rose from the dead,
made His post-resurrection appearances and then ascended into Heaven…
just before all that happened, Jesus told His followers…
John 14:2-3 (NLT)
is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so,
would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When
everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always
be with me where I am.”
Jesus talked about a physical place that
He was preparing for you and for me. It’s not a dream-state, it’s not a
mirage, it’s not any kind of visualization, it’s not an illusion… it’s
a real place. That’s the way the Bible portrays it.
What kind of
place is it? That’s hard to say. Not much is given in the Bible by way
of a physical description of Heaven. And what we are given is mostly
figurative. After all, how could we ever understand the true nature of
Heaven before we get there? It is a wonderful place that goes beyond
our ability to comprehend or put into words right now.
In the New Testament book of Revelation, in chapter 21, it says…
Revelation 21:21 (NLT)
The twelve gates were made of pearls—each gate from a single pearl! And
the main street was pure gold, as clear as glass.
we’re given a bit of a description there. But I’m not sure that
description is meant to be taken literally. I think the point is that
Heaven will be a beautiful, wonderful, glorious place.
not really given much of a physical description of Heaven. But we are
told about some things that won’t be there and some things that will be
For example, it’s a place free from danger, fear,
turmoil, sin, confusion, sickness, death, despair, sorrow, regrets,
pain… none of that will be there. But what will be there is joy,
gladness, compassion, love, peace, fulfillment… it’s going to be like
nothing we’ve ever experienced before.
So Heaven is a real place. Secondly, as we’ve already said…
Heaven is the dwelling place of God
In the book of Matthew, Jesus gives us instructions on how to pray and
He begins by saying…
Matthew 6:9 (NLT)
“Pray like this: Our Father in Heaven, may your name be kept holy.”
Father in Heaven.” Heaven is the dwelling place of God. Now, as I’ve
already said, that fact does not mean that God is only in Heaven. He is
omnipresent. He has the capability to be anyplace and everyplace at the
same time. After all, He is God. In several different verses, the Bible
talks about His presence being with His people. The Bible talks about
God’s presence stretching throughout the whole earth.
Psalm 139:7-12 (NLT)
can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your
presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the
grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by
the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your
strength will support me. I could ask the darkness to hide me and the
light around me to become night—but even in darkness I cannot hide from
you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are
the same to you.
Heaven is the dwelling place of God, but He is
not confined to Heaven. His presence stretches throughout all of
Creation. He’s everywhere. But Heaven is His home base.
All of us can go to Heaven
have no future, heaven wasn't made for me. We burn ourselves to hell as
fast as it can be. And I wish that I could be a king, then I'd know
that I am not alone.”
~ From The Shadow Of The Valley Of Death by Marilyn Manson
contrary to what Mr. Manson has to say, Heaven was made for Him. And it
was made for you and me, too. All of us can go to Heaven.
know, one of the things I hear a lot of atheists and skeptics saying
today is that they have a problem with Christianity because they see it
as being exclusive. In other words, when I point out that Jesus Himself
said that He is the way, the truth and the life, and that there is no
other way for us to come to God the Father except through Jesus…
There’s no other way, no other path, no other religion… no other option
but Jesus… well, skeptics complain that we’re being too exclusive.
remember first of all that we’re not the ones saying that; Jesus said
it. So either He was telling the truth and He really is the one and
only way, or He was just a liar and He’s really no way at all.
beyond that, it’s not exclusive anyway. Because every person is invited
to come to Jesus, place their faith in Him, and follow Him. It doesn’t
matter what ethnic background you are, doesn’t matter what social
status you have, doesn’t matter who your parents were, doesn’t matter
whether you’re old or young, rich or poor… Every person is invited. We
can all place our faith in Jesus, receive that deposit of the Holy
Spirit, and be guaranteed entrance into Heaven.
And the great
thing is there is no maximum capacity in Heaven. No one will be turned
away because the Fire Marshall said you can only have this many there.
We can all go to Heaven.
2 Peter 3:9 (NLT)
The Lord isn’t
really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is
being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed,
but wants everyone to repent.
So all of us can go to Heaven. That’s what God wants. But the sad fact
Not all of us will go to Heaven
The opportunity is there for all of us to enter Heaven, but not all of
us will. Jesus was talking about Himself when He said…
Matthew 25:31-34,41 (NLT)
when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him,
then he will sit upon his glorious throne. All the nations will be
gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd
separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his
right hand and the goats at his left.
“Then the King will say to
those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit
the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world…
the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you
cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his
So it would seem pretty clear that even though everyone
can enter Heaven, not everyone will enter Heaven. Well, take a look at
something else Jesus said…
Matthew 7:22-23 (NLT)
day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and
cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’
But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break
Notice that these people did some pretty good
things, but they were still turned away. Why? Because of what Jesus
said… “I never knew you.”
Look, we should all be good people.
That goes without saying. (But I said it anyway.) But what makes the
difference is, do you have a relationship with Jesus Christ? Do you
trust Him? Have you placed your faith in Him? Have you chosen to follow
Him? And has He given you the Holy Spirit as His guarantee that you
will spend eternity with Him in Heaven?
John Newton, the writer of the famous hymn Amazing Grace, himself a
former slave trader, said this…
ever I reach heaven, I expect to find three wonders there: first, to
meet some I had not thought to see there; second, to miss some I had
expected to see there; and third, the greatest wonder of all, to find
~ John Newton
And the great thing is, we can
all find ourselves there, not because of anything we’ve done, but
because of what Jesus has done for us. Even someone who has done things
as wicked as a slave trader can receive forgiveness and the Hope of
Heaven because of Jesus. And everyone of us who place our faith in
Jesus have Heaven to look forward to… and we have the Holy Spirit in
our lives today to give us that assurance.
So where are
you at? Are you on your way to Heaven? What are you counting on to get
you in? Are you relying on the good things you do? Are you counting on
the fact that you’re a nice person? Are you counting on your
generosity, or even on the faith of your parents or your spouse? None
of those will do it for you. You need to accept that what Jesus did He
did for you, and enter into a relationship with Him today.