Preaching Connection: Heaven

Reading for Preaching

Mere Christianity, in The Complete C. S. Lewis Signature Classics

“Every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before.  And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you slowly turning this central thing either into a...
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Self-consciousness: Memoirs

“Those who scoff at the Christian hope of an afterlife have on their side not only a mass of biological evidence knitting the self-conscious mind tight to the perishing body but a certain moral superiority as well: isn’t it terribly, well, selfish. . . to hope for more than our animal walk in the sun,...
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Additional content related to Heaven

Isaiah 11:1-10

For all its lyric beauty and familiarity, Isaiah 11 is both striking and odd.  It’s striking because of the far-reaching results that we see sketched here on account of God’s sending forth a truly righteous ruler from the stump of Jesse.  It’s odd because it moves so nimbly between what you’d expect to be the…

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Isaiah 65:17-25

It doesn’t get any more lyric than this!  Here in the 65th chapter of the sprawling book that just is Isaiah, we find the prophet sketching one huge vision for the renewal of all things.  But like many such visions in the Old Testament—and indeed throughout the Bible—what is striking here is how utterly earthy…

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Luke 20:27-38

It is interesting that the Sadducees are the ones to pose this particular question to Jesus because they did not believe in a heaven. Using this story about a wife of seven brothers, they believe, will show the absurdity of the concept. To put it in its most basic summary form, the Sadducees believed that…

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Luke 16:19-31

“But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.” – Jesus (Luke 6.24) So goes the story of the rich man in Jesus’ story. He should have known better; he could have been (and done) better. He received good things, but built up treasures for himself instead of being rich towards…

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Psalm 30

A friend of mine who passed away last year on Easter used to respond to life’s oft-difficult circumstances by saying, “Ah well, joy cometh in the morning.”  Or at least joy may come in the morning but most of us know altogether too well that sometimes it doesn’t.  Or the “morning” in question ends up…

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Philippians 3:4b-13

Good gospel preaching, like faithful Christian living, always leans forward rather than backwards. While some Christians long for “the good old days,” this Sunday’s Epistolary Lesson expresses the Apostle Paul’s longing for the good coming days. Of course, Philippians 3 says quite a bit about that on what Paul can look back. But the apostle…

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Isaiah 55:1-9

The Year C Revised Common Lectionary would have us stop reading and thinking about Isaiah 55 at the 9th verse.  But to me that’s rather like singing just the first two stanzas of “By the Sea of Crystal” but being told you can’t sing stanza 3.  But since stanza 2 ends with “Hark the heavenly…

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Jeremiah 31:7-14

You can’t accuse the Old Testament prophets of not being specific enough when it came to describing the blessings of God’s salvation! Sometimes believers today content themselves with generic or generalized descriptions of felicity in “heaven,” sometimes not advancing in their views of the New Creation much beyond the wispy, cloudy, ethereal realm that New…

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Job 42:1-6, 10-17

And they lived happily ever after . . .  Really?  Is it really possible that the Bible’s most troubled (and at times most torturous) book has the proverbial “happy ending”?  Did Disney take over this project at some point?!  At first glance you might think so. Job replies to God that in the wake of…

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Luke 23:33-43

In most every language I have ever studied, it’s a tiny word.  In fact, although I am aware of only a few languages amidst the plethora of tongues spoken on this planet, it’s striking to me that in the languages I know, this tiny word is about as tiny as it gets, consisting of just…

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John 17:20-26

One of the most creative preachers I know who always manages to approach texts in a very fresh way is Debbie Blue.  For this text, she reminds us that biblically “glory doesn’t shine, it bleeds.”  You can hear that sermon by clicking here. What does Jesus mean by all his talk here about “glory”? “I…

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Revelation 21:10, 22-22:5

If we were to ask our hearers for a list of the books of the Bible that most puzzle them, at least some them would likely list both Ezekiel and Revelation.  So it may intimidate those who follow the RCL to know that its Easter Season’s next to last Epistolary Lesson is a passage in…

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Revelation 7:9-17

“Is this heaven?” isn’t just a question an Iowa farmer poses in the movie, Field of Dreams.  Readers, preachers and teachers of Revelation 7:9-17 might ask the same question of it.  Does its John describe the heavenly realm as God currently configures it?  Or is he describing the new earth and heaven that Jesus will…

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Philippians 3:4b-14

“Are you becoming perfect?” is the provocative question with which Carole Noren begins a fine sermon (Pulpit Resource, October, November, December, 2002, p. 5) on the Epistolary Lesson the RCL appoints for this Sunday.  It is an appropriate question.  After all, Jesus, in Matthew 5:48, calls us to “Be perfect . . . as your…

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Philippians 3:17-4:1

We generally think of citizenship as, for instance, American, Canadian or whichever geographic country we call “home”.  That citizenship not only identifies us but also shapes at least some of our attitudes and behavior. The Epistolary Lesson the RCL appoints for this Sunday, however, is not about national, but heavenly citizenship.  That citizenship too, writes…

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Job 42:1-6, 10-17

After surviving a blizzard of words (some from Job, many from his friends, and a few from God), we come to the end of the book of Job with this short chapter which reports on Job’s last words and last days.  It is a surprising and, for many readers, controversial ending to a surprising and…

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Philippians 3:4b-14

When the cross of Christ was on the line, Paul’s language was blunt, direct, raw. As Paul begins what we call Philippians 3, it quickly becomes apparent that like so many of the congregations in the early church, so also the congregation in Philippi had come into contact with a group of Jewish teachers who…

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Isaiah 55:1-9

“Come and get it!” is a phrase that traditionally resonated with hungry North Americans. After all, we generally link it with an invitation to eat what someone has prepared. So when we hear “Come and get it!” we may think of Mom, standing on the front steps, hollering for us to come home for supper….

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Revelation 4

Comments and Observations Ah, Revelation – interesting language, vivid pictures, and challenging symbols – all pointing to that Day of Days when evil will be defeated once and for all, and God will gather up his own and take them home.  After explaining what he’s about and admonishing the seven churches, John turns his eyes…

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Job 42:1-6, 10-17

Comments, Observations, and Questions And they lived happily ever after . . .  Really?  Is it really possible that the Bible’s most troubled (and at times most torturous) book has the proverbial “happy ending”?  Did Disney take over this project at some point?! At first glance you might think so.  Job replies to God that…

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