Damariscotta Baptist Church
Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Growing personal relationships with God and community

Sermon - 02/23/14

“I Know Where I’m Going.”
Billy Graham’s New Suit

Billy Graham, at 92 years old, was invited to speak at a luncheon in his honor in Charlotte, NC. 

Billy initially hesitated to accept the invitation because he struggles with Parkinson's disease. But the Charlotte leaders told him, 'We don't expect a major address. Just come and let us honor you.' So he agreed.

After wonderful things were said about him, Dr. Graham stepped to the rostrum, looked at the crowd, and said:
’I'm reminded today of Albert Einstein, the great physicist who this month has been honored by Time magazine as the Man of the Century.

Einstein was once traveling on a train from Princeton. The conductor came down the
aisle, punching the tickets of every passenger. When he came to Einstein, Einstein reached in his vest pocket. He couldn't find his ticket, so he reached in his trouser pockets.
It wasn't there. He looked in his briefcase but couldn't find it. Then he looked in the seat beside him. He still couldn't find it:
The conductor said, “Dr. Einstein, I know who you are. We all know who you are. I'm sure you bought a ticket. Don't worry about it.”
Einstein nodded appreciatively.

The conductor continued down the aisle punching tickets. As he was ready to move to the next car, he turned around and saw the great physicist down on his hands and knees looking under his
seat for his ticket.
The conductor rushed back and said, “Dr. Einstein, Dr. Einstein, don't worry, I know who you are; no problem. You don't need a ticket. I'm sure you bought one.”

Einstein looked up at the conductor and said, "Young man, I too, know who I am. What I don't know is where I'm going."’

Having said that Billy Graham continued, "See the suit I'm wearing? It's a brand new suit. My children, and my grandchildren are telling me I've gotten a little slovenly in my old age. I used to be a bit more fastidious. So I
went out and bought a new suit for this luncheon and one more occasion. Do you know what that occasion is? This is the suit in which I'll be buried. But when you hear I'm dead, I don't want you to immediately remember the suit
I'm wearing. I want you to remember this: I not only know who I am. I also know where I'm going."


Randy Alcorn wrote in his book, Heaven: “Tragically … most people do not find their joy in Christ and Heaven. In fact, many people find no joy at all when they think about Heaven.

A pastor once confessed to me, ‘Whenever I think about heaven it makes me depressed. I’d rather just cease to exist when I die.’”

If an educated pastor has this impression of heaven, it becomes understandable how many people are misled and have false ideas about Heaven.

What will life be like in heaven? We all have ideas about heaven that we have accumulated from parents, friends or casual reading, usually fiction. Few of us have seriously studied this subject.

We say if only someone had been there and came back to tell us about it, then we could know about heaven. It is true that we have some testimonies by people who have had out of body experiences reported by the work of Dr. Elizabeth Kubler Ross and others. However, these add little to our understanding of what living in heaven is like.

 The good news is that we have a source who has lived in both worlds and knows them both intimately. God has made what we need to know of heaven clear to us through his prophets and through his Son. We have a record of what we need to know about heaven in the Bible.

Today, I will take a brief look at some popular misconceptions of heaven and how they are refuted by the Bible. Randy Alcorn has developed a chart of popular assumptions comparing them with what the Bible teaches. I have expanded on this for today’s sermon.

Dispelling the False Assumptions.
Myth #1. No earth in the new kingdom

Many people think of being in the new heaven as floating on a cloud and maybe playing a harp, with not much to do.

It is true that the Bible tells us that the old earth will pass away, but the Bible also tells us that it will be replaced with a new earth. The present world has been corrupted by our sins, while the new earth will be created without sin. We will live safely and in comfort on the new earth. We will be happy with many constructive things to do.

Myth #2. New earth will be unfamiliar

When Pat & I first moved to Nashua, we attended many churches before walking into the First Baptist Church. Upon entering that church, we both felt like it was coming home. We felt comfortable in our new surroundings because of our common bond in Jesus and the friendly people in that congregation. That is how it will feel when we enter the new world.

We all feel comfortable in our own environment. When I go on a vacation trip, I am excited about visiting a new place or doing something different. However, after a short period of time, I’m ready to go home to my familiar surroundings. This is because I’m comfortable and content in my home; it’s my real home for now.

But, our real permanent home is in the New Earth, in the kingdom of God, and we have a longing built into our souls to go to that home. We will feel right at home in the New Earth, even if we didn’t have a good home on this present planet. We will feel at home because the New Earth will be a restored and perfected version of our familiar bodies, our familiar earth and our familiar relationships.

Myth #3. We will be disembodied

Some assume we will be a spirit without a body in the New Earth. This is part of the Greek philosophy that the body is evil and the soul is good. So they believed that only the spirit survives after life in this world.

Christians believe that since God created the body as well as the spirit and declared both were not just good, but very good. We will live with our spirit in a new resurrected body just as Jesus does.

Myth #4. Heaven will seem foreign

Heaven will not seem foreign, for it will be a time to get reaquainted with our family and friends. Randy Alcorn writes that there will be all the “comforts of home with all the innovations of an infinitely creative God.” From the Bible story of the Transfiguration and the story of Lazarus the beggar, we are assured that people we know on this earth will be recognizable in heaven. Just as the disciples recognized the resurrected Jesus, so we will recognize family and friends. Jesus commanded us to love one another in our church fellowships. The love that Jesus wants us to share and experience in his present church will continue into the kingdom and last forever more.

Myth #5. No time and space

Some people have misinterpreted the Bible and think there is no time and space in heaven. It is true that God created time and space and he is not restricted by them, but the Bible makes it clear that the kingdom does have both time and space.

For example, in Revelation 6, the Bible says, the martyrs ‘called out in a loud voice, "How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?"

Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer …’In this reading there are two references to time. The martyrs are asking how much more time they must wait for God’s justice; they are told they must wait for a little more time to pass.

And in, Isaiah 66, we are told "As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me," declares the LORD, "… From one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me," says the LORD.” God is talking about monthly and weekly gatherings of all mankind, who will spend time with him in worship and fellowship.

Myth #6. Nothing to do, how boring it will be

Some people think there will be nothing to do but float around through space on the clouds.

However, we will be very busy as we serve and worship God with joy in all that we do. We will be given assignments in purposeful work to help rule the universe and keep it in order.

For some who have experienced tedious work in this life, work is a dirty word. But, when I look back on my life, my most satisfying experiences were and still are in accomplishing meaningful work for myself and for others.

We will also be busy with our family and friends. Continual learning and discovering new things will keep us occupied for eternity. There will be no time to be bored because there will always be fascinating activities to keep us happy.

Myth #7. Presence of little we desire

Some think that we will not have the things we desire in heaven.

It is true that we will find an absence of the things that we dread; things like death, pain, fear and disease. Hey, we won’t have anything to complain about.

But, we will find everything we could possibly want to do and more in the wonderful fulfillment of our desires for things that are good and satisfying.

The Final Myth To Think About Today

Some people think they are not good enough to get into heaven. If any one here feels that way, listen to the words of the Apostle Peter:

The Lord … is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 (NIV).

God wants you to be with him in heaven and he offers every one his free salvation through grace. The catch is we have to accept his offer.

Billy Graham tells us, “Only one thing will keep you out of heaven, and that is your sin. God is absolutely pure and holy, and even one sin – just one – would be enough to banish you from his presence forever.

But, Jesus Christ came to take away your sins by his death on the cross and his resurrection from the dead. The Bible says, ‘The blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.’”

This means that when we are sorry and confess our sins to God, no matter how bad, he will forgive us. Jesus came into this world to save everyone – everyone who wants to be saved. Jesus told us: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (NIV).

Since your sin may be forgiven by the blood of Christ, if you accept it. There is nothing to prevent you from entering the Kingdom. And, when we get to the heavenly kingdom no one will sin, because there will be no reason for it.

Jesus also said, “In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. You know the way to the place where I am going. … I am the way and the truth and the life.” John 14:2-6 (NKJV).

Through God’s love and mercy, we can all say “I know where I’m going.”

Our loving and merciful Father, as we wait expectantly for the return of Jesus, let us not lose sight of where we are going. If today is the day of Christ’s coming, help us to do everything we can to be ready. Help us to love and appreciate each other. Help us to live out your intentions for our lives with the presence of your Holy Spirit.

We know where we are going and we look forward to being in your Kingdom and your presence forever.

In the Name of Jesus, our Lord and master, Amen.