Good morning, I’m glad you could join us today! Today I’d like to talk about the topic of Heaven, but I would like to begin by thinking about separation.

Todays message comes from John 14:2-3.

John 14:2-3
2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. 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.

Jesus is saying this to his disciples because their hearts are troubled. They were troubled because Jesus had told them “… I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me … where I am going, you cannot come (John 13:33)”. The disciples really loved Jesus. For 3 years, they abandoned everything to follow Jesus, who really loved them. And they were troubled because they didn’t understand where he was going and why they couldn’t go with him. They feared being separated from him.
Let’s think for a moment about separation. It is a fearful human experience. Babies fear being separated from their parents, even for a little while. When children grow up and move away for work or college, or when they get married and move away, that’s a very sad time for the parents. And when we get separated from our loved ones or friends because of death, that is especially troubling because we can’t be with that person anymore; our lives our changed because that person is gone.

Back to our scripture, why would Jesus’ words be comforting to the disciples? Let’s read the text one more time:

John 14:2-3
2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. 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.

I just want to make a note here that when Jesus mentions his “Fathers’ house”, he is referring to heaven. Some may ask, is there heaven? That’s a valid question, because none of us has been there.

How many of you believe there is a place called Manilla? Some of you may know about Manilla and believe such a place exists, but some who never heard of it may not believe such a place exists. Now what if I told you that I used to work in Manilla and start to describe to you what that place is like? If you know me to be an honest person, then based on what I say about Manilla, you can believe that there is indeed a place called Manilla.

In John 6:38 Jesus says, ‘For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.’ Jesus says ‘I have come down from heaven…’

Throughout history, people have said different things about Jesus, but no one has accused him of being a liar. So when he says he came from heaven, we can trust that there is a place called heaven.

So why would Jesus’ words be comforting to the disciples?

Vs. 3 says: I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

His words are comforting because of the assurance that they would be with Jesus. Heaven is a place where there is no more separation, which means there is no more death! First there is no more separation from God, who created us and loves us. And there is no more separation from our loved ones who also put their trust in Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.

Revelations 21: 3-4 says this about heaven:

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

So how do we get to heaven?

Lets look at what happened at Calvary when Jesus was crucified about 2000 years ago. He was crucified along with 2 thieves. They didn’t deserve to go to heaven by anyone’s standard.
Luke 23:39-43 reads:
One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” (paradise is another word for heaven)

So what did this thief do to earn a place in heaven? Nothing! In fact, what he’s saying is “I don’t deserve to go to heaven, what I deserve is this horrible death for the bad things I’ve done. But Jesus, have mercy on me, remember me when you go to heaven- your kingdom!” And Jesus reassures the thief that he will be with him in heaven!

Can you identify with what this thief is saying? As you look into your heart and look at your life, can you honestly say to Jesus “I don’t deserve to go to heaven, but Jesus, have mercy on me.” If that is your confession & prayer to Jesus, then you can trust that Jesus’ response to you will be “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”…. lets pray