Degrees of Happiness in Heaven (Final on Heaven)

We’ve learned that the New Heaven and the New Earth

is not some ethereal place in the sky where we float,

but tangible, exciting, and beautiful,

like the best of earth.

We will have resurrected bodies that can be recognized,

that can be touched, and can eat — like that of our Lord’s.

Caravaggio’s Doubting ThomasTh

 

 

We will be with God and we will be His people.

He will rejoice in us, and we in Him.

There will be a sense of community, of family,

and we will fellowship around the table,

loving the Lord and one another.

There will be an animal kingdom, but they will not be at war with humans

or one another. Our own Sharon took this photo.

Picture courtesy of our own newcomer, Sharon

John Eldredge spoke of the scene after Jesus resurrection when he made a fire on the beach, and said, I think we will experience things like this with him in the new heaven and the new earth. It will be ordinary and yet so extraordinary.

This is our final week on heaven, and there is much we have not explored, but I want to delve into the sometimes troubling idea of degrees of happiness in heaven, of rewards. John Piper says the best thing he has read on that is a short essay from Jonathan Edwards which you will have a chance to read or hear.

You will also hear from a panel from The Gospel Coalition on heaven.

Sunday:

1. How does your view of heaven impact your life now?

Monday: The Kingdom of Heaven

2. When John the Baptist heralded Jesus, what did he say in Matthew 3:2?

 

The Kingdom of Heaven is here in seedling form, and even when we pray the Lord’s prayer, we are praying for its fulfillment. The New Heaven and New Earth will be run very differently than the way men run this world. It will be the kind of “upside down Kingdom” we see in the Sermon on the Mount. But though we see through a glass darkly, it does seem the way we live here, now, on earth, plays a part in the role we will have in the Kingdom of Heaven. Consider some of these passages.

3. What is the exhortation from our Lord in Matthew 6:19-21?

 

Tuesday: Essay from Jonathan Edwards

You can either read or listen to this essay and then comment:

John Piper reading aloud the essay by Jonathan Edwards: (You may have to copy and paste the links, as I was having trouble with them.)

https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/levels-of-happiness-in-heaven

 

Or you can read it here:

http://reformedanswers.org/answer.asp/file/43280

 

4. Share your notes and comments on Edward’s Essay here.

Wednesday: The Parable of the Talents

Jesus told many parables about The Kingdom of Heaven, and in them we see that what we do during our time on earth matters, concerning the Kingdom of Heaven. Let us consider the Parable of the Talents

5. Read Matthew 25:14-30

A. Describe the difference between the first two servants and the third.

B. How did the third servant view his master, according to verse 24?

C. What happened to each of these servants? How can we know that the third servant did not actually know the Lord?

6. A similar parable is in Luke 19:11-27. What would you say is the main point of each of these parables?

7. As you ponder life now, the talents you have, the responsibilities you have been given, how do you think you could be a faithful servant right now, right here, with the time you have left?

Thursday: A Panel on Heaven from The Gospel Coalition

There is so much more on heaven I could share with you, but here is a panel from three men who have studied heaven diligently. It’s short. Watch and share your notes and comments.

https://vimeo.com/149213432

8. Share your notes and comments.

Friday: Input for Dee

I am asking God for wisdom concerning the blog/Bible study. Interest has waned, and I want to use my talents as wisely as possible. I’d love your input. One thought I have had is to just do three studies: Summer, Advent, and Lent. I could leave an open forum for prayer or suggest a discussion topic. I could stop all together, though I would miss you! Truly I covet your prayers and any input you have for me. We’ve had over 500 studies together and many of you are dear, dear friends. Let me know your thoughts, desires, criticisms. All are welcome!

9. INPUT

 

Saturday

10. What is your take-a-way from this series on heaven?

COMMENTS (110) Post a New Comment ↓
Reply

Thanks for all your input and encouragement.

I’m going to be trying a few different things — it will be a “prayerful” experiment. I have loved my sisters here — so come along, if you like, and we’ll see what seems to work the best!

Reply

Dear Dee, I just caught up on all the recent comments….I agree that I would miss this blog & the community here, but I understand you must follow how the Lord leads u. I hope it can continue in some form & that God gives u wisdom & discernment. Thank you so much for your gifts to us…your time, loving instruction, shepherding care & encouragement. May the Lord continue to fill & use & bless you in every way!  :)

Reply

I forgot to say Happy Mothers’ Day to all the moms, & continued healing in the hearts of those who have lost so much  xxxxx

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I have been sporadically following the last couple weeks. Dee, I have to echo others that I would hugely miss the blog. I love my church, but it does not supply me with the depth, growth, support, encouragement, and exhortation that coming here does. Yet, you need to do what God leads you to. Whatever you do on line, I want to be a part of it.

    Reply

    Thank you so Mary.

Reply

Input for Dee

 

I’ve read through the input and suggestions; there are a lot of good ideas put forth already! I, too, would be sad if our blog community were to go away. I can’t believe I’ve been on here since January 2010. When I really stop to think about it, you are a Christian author and yet here you are, so very down to earth, and writing Bible studies for us every week and interacting with us on an almost daily basis. Isn’t that quite unheard of in the “Christian celebrity world”?  Could we ask, say, for Beth Moore to do what you are doing? I think we’ve all come to depend on you, Dee….yet you so carefully point us to the Lord – you are not seeking your own fame or platform or to make yourself the one we cannot live without! I like your studies because they are not the “fill in the blank with the missing word from the verse”; you don’t always give us the answer; there isn’t always an answer; you make us think for ourselves. The fact that we can come here daily, or several times a week – who even talks to people they see at church on Sundays that many times in a week? Yet, I know, Dee, that you want to be wise with your time and talents, so I will pray for the Lord’s leading here. I’m sure it must take a lot of your time to write these studies every week for us, and I don’t want you to get worn out if it’s just too much with your other commitments. I am trying to remember what your online blog was like just before you began with your first official study through The God of All Comfort in 2010. Did you just discuss topics, kind of like an open forum? Bottom line – if you’re here, I’ll be here too!

    Reply

    Susan — you are such a rich participant. I am so glad if I am here, you will be too! :-)

    Reply

    Thank you so much, Pat!

Reply

Dear Dee, I have been a silent follower of this blog for many years, and I have been challenged and encouraged by it in so many ways. You have a wonderful gift for drawing us into the scriptures and challenging us to dig deeper.  You introduce us to excellent teachers from around the world that I never would have heard outside of this blog.  My faith and walk with the Lord is much deeper as a result of this.  I have also been drawn into the lives of each of the women who share publicly and I pray for all of you often.

I deeply appreciate this blog and I will be praying for you as you decide what is best. I welcome a less frequent blog if that works. Thank you so much for all the wonderful studies. You bless my life.  Pat B.

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