"Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 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.” Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” - Revelation 21:1-5 NKJV
As seagoing captains look to the North Star to help them navigate their ships at night time through treacherous and dangerous waters, so the Christian church of the past centuries regularly turned to the biblical doctrine of Heaven, to help them navigate the trials and tribulations of this earthly life.
The teaching of Heaven was a precious truth that regularly guided, inspired, and motivated believers of the past centuries to live rightly, serve diligently, and prepare eternally for the imminent arrival of the Kingdom of God – Heaven!
Unbeknownst to the majority of Christians today, and many Christian pastors, is that the topic of Heaven used to be a main focus in pulpits throughout America's churches centuries ago. A casual reading of older sermons from Reformation preachers like Martin Luther, to the times of Charles Spurgeon in the 1800’s, reveals that the topic of Heaven was a regular theme in many Christian churches.
Listen to a short sampling of some of the words of the “Prince of Preachers”, Charles Spurgeon, perhaps the greatest preacher of the 1800's, and what he had to say about Heaven:
"If there were no hell, the loss of Heaven would itself be hell!"
"You remember the story of the three wonders in heaven. The first wonder was that we should see so many there we did not expect to see. The second was that we should miss so many we did expect to see there. But the third wonder would be the greatest wonder of all...to see ourselves there."
"There is a crown there which nobody's head but yours can ever wear. There is a seat in which none but yourself can sit. There is a harp that will be silenced till your fingers strike its strings. There is a robe, made for you, which no one else can wear, waiting for you...So they are waiting and watching for you."
"I suspect that every saved soul of Heaven is a great wonder, and that Heaven is a vast Museum of wonders, grace, and mercy, a palace of miracles, in which everything will surprise everyone who gets there."
"I believe that Heaven is a fellowship of the saints, and that we shall know one another there... I reckon on meeting David, whose songs have so often cheered my soul. I want to meet with Martin Luther and Calvin, and to have the power of seeing such men as Whitfield and Wesley, and walking and talking with them in the golden streets."
If that short sampling does not impress you, then listen the words of other great Christian minds down through the centuries, speaking on this fascinating topic of Heaven in their own words:
"Our way to Heaven lies through the wilderness of this world...Earth is embittered to us, in order that Heaven may be endeared" - Matthew Henry
"I do not know how near it may be to us; it may be that some of us will be ushered very soon into the presence of the King. One gaze at Him will be enough to reward us for all we have had to bear. Yes, there is peace with the past, grace with the presence, and glory for the future."
- D. L. Moody
"Heaven is as near to our souls, as this world is to our bodies; and we are created, we are redeemed, to have our living in it." - William Law
"Heaven is not a state of mind. Heaven is reality itself." - C. S. Lewis
"I want to know one thing - the way to Heaven; how to land safe on that happy shore."
- John Wesley
Though these earlier and powerful preachers seem to have regularly taught about Heaven, this is the exception today in many of our modern churches. Sadly, Heaven just isn't something that many Christians regularly think about in their daily lives.
However, I encourage you to be an exception! Today, I challenge you to be different than the status quo. Choose today to allow the reality of Heaven to drop down deep into your soul, and let in soak into your mind.
Take some time right now, read our verses again, and pause in prayer to reflect on the glory and beauty of your eternity in Heaven with Christ! Choose to make Heaven your "North Star" today, and it will keep you on a straight course over the sea of life, and thru the midst of your storm!