(NOTE: This sermon series and devotional series is based on a book by Randy Frazee entitled, “BELIEVE.”
You may choose to download or purchase the book as a supplement to your worship and devotional emails.)
Heaven is for real!
In 2014 a movie by this name was released based on the book by the same title that documented the story of a young boy who shares an experience of heaven in a near death experience. Here’s Wikipedia’s summary:
Four-year-old Colton Burpo (Connor Corum) is the son of Todd Burpo (Greg Kinnear), pastor of Crossroads Wesleyan Church in Imperial, Nebraska. Colton says he experienced Heaven during an emergency surgery after having Acute appendicitis. He describes to his incredulous family about having seen the surgeon operating on his ruptured appendix, his mother calling people in the waiting room to pray, and his father in another room yelling at God to not let him die. He also speaks of incidents with people he never met or knew about: meeting a great-grandfather who had died long before he was born, an unborn sister he never knew about who had died in a miscarriage, and having met Jesus.
Colton speaks about his experiences in Heaven, and Todd is faced with the dilemma of determining the legitimacy of his son’s experience. Todd’s wariness about discussing the situation erodes the confidence of the board members of his church, and he is contacted by several members of the media. When Todd is called by a radio station for an impromptu on-air interview, he invites them to attend his sermon the following Sunday. At church, he preaches about his son’s experiences and reveals his support for him.
I didn’t read the book, but did watch the movie. These three things stood out to me:
- People would ask me, “Did you read the book? Do you think heaven is for real?” No, I didn’t read the book and while the story of the 4-year old on the operating table is intriguing, the Bible gives me all the proof I need that heaven is for real.
- People also would ask, “What do you think of this boy’s experience? Do you think it really happened?” I would answer, “I would guess it did. I can’t deny someone’s experience. However, always ask, ‘Did this experience draw a person closer to Jesus and relying on his grace or did it pull someone away from grace and relying on oneself?’” I am not saying this experience of heaven is not real, but I know Satan is a deceiver to lead us trust in something or someone other than Jesus.
- What was most troubling was after watching the movie there was no clear mention of “How does a person get to heaven?” I may have missed it, but the movie lacked any clear proclamation of sin and grace. So people very easily could have left with a “just believe” mindset without any objective truth of Jesus in which to believe.
Jesus doesn’t want us to leave us empty or hanging. He knows that heaven and hell are for real. He wants us not to rely on the experience of a 4 year old, but to rely on the experience of our Savior.
The way to experience heaven for eternity is clear. Jesus said to his disciples in John 14:1-6:
John 14:1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Trusting Jesus is the only way to heaven. He is THE Way, THE Truth and THE Life. NO ONE comes to the Father except through Jesus. The movie missed this truth…but I don’t want you to miss it.
By contrast, the way to miss out on an eternity with Jesus is by rejecting him as your Savior.
Mark 16:15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
Heaven IS for real and the way to an eternity with Jesus is clear. Believe in the Lord Jesus and you WILL be saved!
Apply: Why is it sometimes easier to believe someone’s recent “experience” with heaven instead of the account the Bible gives of heaven? Listen when people talk about “going to heaven.” Are they expressing trust and faith in Jesus or in some other way to heaven? As you have opportunity, let them know Jesus is the Way, Truth and Life!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you not only for telling me about heaven, but providing my way to be there with you forever. AMEN.