Introduction: What is next for the believer? Last week we learned how
we can have confidence in our salvation. What does salvation do for
us? We are not going to dwell on this point, but salvation lets us
avoid hell. The edge of the “Great Dismal Swamp” is not too far from
where I work and the swamp is currently on fire. Smoke blankets
everything. The whole area smells like wood burning or a barbeque.
Coming inside from the smoke and turning my thoughts to the future
for believers reminded me of that we are avoiding hell. What is the
positive side of things? What will heaven be like? That is worthy of
extended discussion. Let’s dive into the Bible and find out!

  1. The Great Divide

    1. Read Matthew 25:31-33. What does this teach us about
      whether there is a final judgment for humans?

      1. Will every human be saved?

    2. Read Matthew 25:34-40. What troubles you about these
      verses? (What troubles me is that the judgment seems
      purely based on human works, when last week we learned
      that it was based on our acceptance of Jesus’ works. I’m
      also troubled with the suggestion that the saved are Bible
      illiterates! If they had studied the Bible, they would
      have read about this dialog and know the answer to their

      1. What do you think that these verses are really
        teaching? (That those who are saved have a
        transformation of their hearts where they naturally
        do good works. They are not self-conscious of their
        good works. Otherwise, they would respond, “You bet
        we did. And, don’t forget all the other good works
        we did.” I think this proves the truth of Hebrews
        10:16, a text we studied last week. Part of our
        salvation is that God writes His law in our hearts
        and minds.)

    3. Read Matthew 25:41-43. What is the downside of the final
      judgment? (The worst part is where God says “Depart from
      Me.” I never want to hear those words! The devil and his
      angels are active agents of rebellion. If I am lost, I
      will get at least a part of what they get.)

    4. Is this view of a judgment and hope of heaven only a New
      Testament teaching? (No. Read Daniel 12:2-3.)

  2. The Perfect Change

    1. Read 1 Corinthians 15:12-14. What is the guarantee given
      to believers of being resurrected to eternal life? (That
      Jesus was resurrected.)

    2. Read 1 Corinthians 15:50-52. When will believers be

    1. Read 1 Corinthians 15:35. Our prior text said that “we
      will all be changed.” When we are resurrected, what kind
      of body will we have? What kind of place will heaven be?
      What will things be like? Have you ever asked yourself
      those questions? What are your thoughts?

      1. Read 1 Corinthians 15:36. Is the Bible saying that it
        is foolish to contemplate these things? (No. It says
        it is foolish not to understand this point. It is
        something we can grasp!)

      2. Read 1 Corinthians 15:37-41. What does Jesus suggest
        about the way we will look in our resurrected body?
        (He says we will not look like birds or fish or
        stars. God distinguishes these things now and He will
        distinguish them when we are resurrected.)

        1. What do you think is meant by the “seed?” Does
          this suggest that you will not look anything
          like what you used to look like? (Jesus says we
          do not have to worry about getting our old body
          back. The old plant dies and is gone. But, a
          seed that carries all of the genetic information
          of the old plant re-emerges as the new plant.)

          1. Does the new plant look like the old
            plant? (Yes!)

          2. What does that suggest about the way you
            will appear in your resurrected body?
            (First, it assures us we will have a body.
            Second, we will look like humans and not
            like birds or frogs or stars.)

      3. Read 1 Corinthians 15:42-44, 49. In what ways will
        our body be better and different? (It will be
        perfect. We will be like Jesus.)

    2. Read 1 Corinthians 13:8-10. What event do you think is
      forecast by the phrase “when perfection comes?” (The
      Second Coming of Jesus. The resurrection. Love is present
      on this earth and will be present in heaven. Love will
      remain when the “imperfect” disappears. The concept is
      that what is good remains, what is imperfect is gone.)

    3. Read 1 Corinthians 13:11-12. The difference between earth
      and heaven is illustrated by the difference between a
      child and an adult. What does that suggest about heaven?
      (It suggests that the good things we know on earth will
      exist in a much advanced form in heaven.)

      1. Will our friends and relatives be able to recognize
        us in heaven? When we are this new “plant,” will we
        look enough like the old to be recognized? (I think
        so. Verse 12 refers to a poor mirror and then says “I
        shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” This
        suggests people will know you!)

        1. Read Luke 24:13-16. This is after Jesus’
          resurrection. Did Jesus look like He used to
          look? (Yes. The two disciples had to be
          supernaturally “kept from recognizing Him.”)

        2. Read Luke 9:29-31. How does this suggest that
          Moses looked? (He was recognizable as a man.
          Indeed, he looked as much like a man as did
          Elijah – who never died, but was translated to

  1. The Perfect Place

    1. Read Revelation 19:11-13. This rider is named the “Word of
      God.” Who is He? ( John 1:1-14. This is Jesus!)

    2. Read Revelation 19:14-16. Where is Jesus and His army
      heading? (For earth! The following verses in this chapter
      and in Revelation 20 discuss a great battle that ends with
      the destruction of the wicked.)

    3. Read Revelation 21:1-2. After sin and evil are judged and
      destroyed, what happens to the earth? (We have a “new
      heaven and new earth.”)

    4. Read Revelation 21:3-4. Where does God dwell? In heaven?
      (Friend, our earth made new is the future dwelling place
      for God and for us.)

      1. How will this new earth be different from the old
        earth we know? (There will be no death, mourning,
        crying or pain.)

    5. Think back on the verses that we have just read. We have a
      “new Jerusalem” and a “new earth” with no sea. What does
      that suggest about whether we will recognize our
      surroundings? (The reference to things we know on earth,
      like “Jerusalem” and “earth” suggest that we will
      recognized the earth. Telling us that there will be “no
      sea” implies that the rest of the familiar features of the
      earth will be there.)

    6. Read Revelation 21:10-14. What will we have in the earth
      made new? (Mountains!)

      1. What kind of city is the New Jerusalem? (It has a
        wall and gates. That suggests it looks like
        something we will recognize.)

        1. What does this description tell us about our
          heavenly bodies? (It suggests that we have real
          bodies because spirits would have no use for
          walls or gates.)

    7. Friend, imagine living in the earth made new in the same
      place you now live. Now imagine that everything that is
      wrong and unpleasant where you live is gone. Imagine that
      everything that is wrong and unpleasant with you is gone.
      Now imagine that you have all the time to do whatever it
      is you would like to do. Travel to new and perfect places.
      Learn what you would like to learn. Build what you would
      like to build. Have the relationships with the heroes of
      the Bible which you would like to have. Live in the
      presence of Jesus. Will you confess your sins and give
      your heart to Jesus today? If you will, all these things
      (and much more than you can imagine) will be in your

  2. Next week: We start a new series entitled “Agents of Hope: God’s
    Great Missionaries.”