SERIES: What's Next?
MESSAGE: What Is Heaven Like?
SPEAKER: Skip Heitzig
SCRIPTURE: Revelation 5:1-14

MESSAGE SUMMARY
There are many preconceived ideas about what heaven is like: we might picture ourselves sitting on a fluffy white cloud playing a harp, or we see ourselves sitting on a porch or playing a round of golf. Some even think heaven sounds boring. In this message, we examine what heaven will really look like for believers and what we can expect when we get there.

STUDY GUIDE
Connect Group Recap: January 24, 2016
Speaker: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: "What Is Heaven Like?"
Text: Revelation 5

Path

John received a revelation of heaven—a place that, whether by death or by rapture, all believers will see. John's vision showed him the great tribulation, but first he received a blueprint of heaven, providing us with an idea of what we can expect when we get there. Pastor Skip showed us four of the many characteristics of heaven:

Points

Heaven Is a Real Place (vv. 1-2, 6)
Heaven Is a Relevant Place (vv. 1-3)
Heaven Is a Redemptive Place (vv. 4-7)
Heaven Is a Responsive Place (vv. 8-14)
Practice

Connect Up: Read Revelation 5:8-14 aloud together. Take turns praising God using the words, phrases, and ideas that will be used in heaven.

Connect In: As W.A. Criswell said, "John's tears represent the tears of all God's people through all the centuries." What things in your life break your heart? If you feel comfortable, share your heartbreaks with others and allow them to bear them with you. As a group, give thanks to God because He will wipe away those tears in heaven.

Connect Out: Randy Alcorn said that Satan slanders three things: God's person, His people, and His place. Chances are you know someone who is hurting or doubting. This week, how can you encourage people you know with the reality and wonders of heaven?

DETAILED NOTES

  1. Introduction
    1. God gave John a revelation about what heaven looks like
    2. If you are a believer, you will see heaven one day, either by death or rapture
    3. The tribulation period will be the worst period of time in history (see Revelation 6-19)
    4. The rapture will trigger the tribulation
      1. The seventieth week of Daniel
      2. Last seven years
      3. Jacob's trouble (see Jeremiah 30:7)
      4. Day of the Lord
    5. Revelation 5 is the greatest real estate deal of all time
  2. Heaven Is a Real Place (vv. 1-2, 6)
    1. John's visit to heaven was both visual and auditory
      1. "I looked" is found twelve times in Revelation
      2. "I saw" is found thirty-four times in Revelation
      3. "I heard" is found twenty-six times in Revelation
    2. Heaven is mentioned 532 times in the Bible
      1. It is spoken about as a real place
      2. John 14:2; Philippians 3:20
    3. Heaven is home sweet home
      1. Everything that is important to a believer is in heaven
        1. The Father, our Savior
        2. All of God's people
        3. Our reward
      2. Philippians 1:21
    4. Behold (v. 6) denotes something remarkable
      1. "Check this out; look at this"
      2. Used to inspire awe in readers
    5. Heaven will be a lot better than most people think it will be
      1. The ultimate adventure
      2. Satan tries to lie about what heaven is like
  3. Heaven Is a Relevant Place (vv. 1-3)
    1. A scroll in God's right hand (see v. 1)
      1. Heaven has always been concerned with what is going on in the earth (see Luke 15:10; 1 Peter 1:12)
      2. Codex (plural codices): a book(s)
      3. Scrolls were rolled from both ends toward the center
      4. A portion would be written, then the scroll would be turned and sealed so it could not be opened without breaking the seal
      5. This scroll is similar to a property deed
        1. Land in Israel could never be permanently lost
        2. If a person was forced to forfeit a piece of land, eventually a relative could buy it back
          1. This person had to be a relative (a gaal: a kinsman-redeemer)
          2. Had to be willing to pay the price
          3. Had to be able to pay the price
      6. The story in book of Ruth
      7. Jeremiah 32
    2. The scroll
      1. Highly significant because it is in the right hand of God
      2. Involves the fate of everyone on the earth (see vv. 3-4)
      3. Jubilant praises erupt in heaven when someone is finally able to redeem and open it
      4. It is the title deed to the earth
        1. The earth is God's by creation, but it was lost to a usurper
        2. Adam turned over the earth's title deed to Satan in the garden of Eden
        3. Romans 5:12
        4. The earth came under a curse (see Romans 8:20-22)
        5. Satan is called the ruler of this world
          1. The god of this age (see 1 Corinthians 4:4)
          2. The whole world is under the sway of Satan (see 1 John 5:19)
          3. Satan even tempted Jesus, telling Him he had the authority to give Him the whole world (see Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13)
      5. As each seal on the scroll is broken, the earth will be purged through the judgments
      6. It is also a scroll of redemption
        1. Many people will be saved
        2. The world will be taken back from the usurper
    3. No one was worthy to open the scroll (see v. 3)
    4. John wept (see v. 4)
      1. "I wept much"
      2. Cried convulsively, wailed, sobbed
      3. If no one could open the scroll, the earth would be forever in the hands of Satan
  4. Heaven Is a Redemptive Place (vv. 4-7)
    1. An elder told John to stop crying because the Lion of the tribe of Judah had come and was able to open the scroll (see Genesis 49:9)
      1. A lion symbolizes ferocity, a menacing presence
      2. The Jews expected their Messiah to be like a lion
      3. Jesus was a lamb at His first coming
      4. The root of David, or the root of Jesse (see Isaiah 11:1)
    2. John looked and saw a Lamb that appeared to have been slain
      1. This is a picture of the Messiah
      2. The Lion was the Lamb, and the Lamb was the Lion
    3. Lamb
      1. Frequent picture of Jesus (see John 1:29)
      2. Jesus is referred to as a Lamb twenty-nine times in Revelation
      3. Seven horns
        1. A horn is a symbol of strength and authority
        2. Seven is the number of completion, signifying omnipotence
      4. Seven eyes
        1. Insight, knowledge, wisdom
        2. Omniscience
      5. Seven Spirits of God
        1. Isaiah 11:2
        2. Omnipresence
      6. Perfect in strength, knowledge, and presence
      7. Looks as though it has been slain
        1. It is alive, but it bears marks of violence from some past event
        2. It had been killed
        3. When Jesus rose from the dead, He still bore the marks of His crucifixion
        4. The only work of man in heaven that we will see are the marks of persecution that we put on Him
    4. Jesus is the only one who could open the scroll and be that kinsman-redeemer
      1. He is related to us
        1. He was fully God, but also fully man
        2. John 1:14
        3. He is related to humanity
      2. He was willing
        1. He was not murdered
        2. He willingly gave His life for us (see John 10:11, 18)
        3. His love held Him on the cross
      3. He was able
        1. His blood was the payment for us
        2. He is worthy because He spent His blood
  5. Heaven Is a Responsive Place (vv. 8-14)
    1. The fitting response to Jesus is worship
    2. Why do we reduce the glories of heaven to an earthbound activity?
    3. There is nothing more fascinating than God
    4. We will serve in heaven
    5. We will return from heaven and reign with Jesus on the new earth
  6. Closing
    1. No matter how bad your sins are, Jesus paid it all
    2. He came to take the record away

Hebrew words: gaal

Cross references: Genesis 49:9; Ruth; Isaiah 11:1-2; Jeremiah 30:7; 32; Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13; 15:10; John 1:14, 29; 10:11, 18; 14:2; Romans 5:12; 8:20-22; 1 Corinthians 4:4; Philippians 1:21; 3:20; 1 Peter 1:12; 1 John 5:19; Revelation 6-19


Topic: Heaven

Keywords: revelation, elders, Lion of Judah, Lamb of God, redeemer, worship, Savior, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent


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