For those who weren't at RFC on Sunday here are the Lifegroup notes from my message:
Title: Death & Heaven – a Christian perspective
Death is an enemy. Mankind was created to be with God forever, we weren’t created to experience death. Death came into the world through one man, Adam, and all who are in Adam die (1 Corinthians 15:21-22). However, our death is important to God (Psalm 116:5), it has lost its hold on us (1 Corinthians 15:55-57), and death will be defeated (1Corinthians 15:26)
Mourning is appropriate. Although we can be certain that when a Christian dies they go to paradise to be with Jesus, it is biblical to mourn our loss. David mourned (2 Samuel 1:11), Jesus shed tears (John 11:35), godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him (Acts 8:2). This will take time, and come in waves, and will continue for years.
Where is our loved one? The bible teaches that we are not simply physical beings; we have a physical body and a spirit. Our physical bodies are like a tent, a temporary and flimsy abode (2 Corinthians 5:1). When a Christian dies their physical body remains but their spirit (who they are, the person you love) goes immediately into the presence of Jesus (Luke 23:43). Here they wait in paradise enjoying the presence of Jesus until His second coming (Revelation 6:10).
When do they receive their resurrected body? Receiving our resurrection bodies is often referred to as our ‘glorification’ and is the final application of redemption (Romans 8:30). When Jesus returns, all Christians who have died will receive their glorified bodies at the same time (1 Corinthians 15:12-28 & 51-52). When He returns we shall be like Him (Philippians 3:21).
What is heaven like? RT Kendal: “we will all know a lot more about heaven 5 minutes after we are there than all the speculation about it now”. Heaven is where God is: It is a real place (Revelation 21:2); a place where we will understand why & have accurate knowledge (1 Corinthians 13:12); a place of beauty beyond imagination (Revelation 21:10-26); it is a place of perfect worship (Revelation 22:3).
There will be a new heaven and a new earth, reflecting the perfection of God’s creativity. In a sense it is easier to say what won’t be in heaven than what will be there: No Satan (Revelation 20:10); No Sin (Revelation 21:8); No warfare within us (Galations 5:17); No Sorrow (Revelation 21:4); No Pain (Philippians 3:21); No Sacrifice (John 19:30); No Separation (Revelation 21:1); No Faith (1 Corinthians 13:12); No longer any curse (Revelation 22:3).
In heaven we are HOME at last. It where Jesus is (Revelation 5:4), and is place of our true citizenship (Philippians 3:20). It is the home of righteousness (2 Peter 3:13) and a place of reunions (2 Samuel 12:23). Heaven is where we will be ‘as we are meant to be’ – with God and without sin.