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Imagining Heaven - Be sure your name is in the book

 

February 22, 2019



Many of the ideas and scriptures used in this series on Heaven are taken from the book “Heaven” by Randy Alcorn.

1 Thessalonians 5:21 states “Test everything. Hold on to the good.” In many of my sermons I instruct the listeners to not believe a word I say. I tell them to check out what I say with the Word. The Bereans searched the Scriptures and were credited for doing so in the New Testament.

Many of us have believed the lie of the enemy that heaven is a place where we float on a cloud, play a harp, and are bored to death. I cannot find that description of heaven in the Bible.

Randy Alcorn explains that there is a difference between the present Heaven (where Christians go when they die) and the ultimate, eternal Heaven (where God will dwell with His people on the New Earth).

John 14:1-3 says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me. 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.) 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.”

As we begin our study on Heaven, we should remember that not everyone is going there. Many are called, few are chosen, and only some are faithful.

On pages 31 and 32 of his book entitled “Heaven,” Randy Alcorn shares this story:

Ruthanna Metzgar, a professional singer, tells a story that illustrates the importance of having our names written in the book. Several years ago, she was asked to sing at the wedding of a very wealthy man. According to the invitation, the reception would be held on the top two floors of Seattle’s Columbia Tower, the Northwest’s tallest skyscraper. She and her husband, Roy, were excited about attending.

At the reception, waiters in tuxedos offered luscious hors d’oeuvres and exotic beverages. The bride and groom approached a beautiful glass and brass staircase that led to the top floor. Someone ceremoniously cut a satin ribbon draped across the bottom the stairs. They announced the wedding feast was about to begin. Bride and groom ascended the stairs, followed by their guests.

At the top of the stairs, a maître d’ with a bound book greeted the guests outside the doors.

“May I have your name please?”

“I am Ruthanna Metzgar and this is my husband, Roy.”

He searched the M’s. “I’m not finding it. Would you spell it please?”

Ruthanna spelled her name slowly. After searching the book, the maître d’ looked up and said, “I’m sorry, but your name isn’t here.”

“There must be some mistake,” Ruthanna replied. “I’m the singer. I sang for this wedding!”

The gentleman answered, “It doesn’t matter who you are or what you did. Without your name in the book you cannot attend the banquet.”

He motioned to a waiter and said, “Show these people to the service elevator, please.”

The Metzgars followed the waiter past beautifully decorated tables laden with shrimp, whole smoked salmon, and magnificent carved ice sculptures. Adjacent to the banquet area, an orchestra was preparing to perform, the musicians all dressed in dazzling white tuxedos.

The waiter led Ruthanna and Roy to the service elevator, ushered them in, and pushed G for the parking garage.

After locating their car and driving several miles in silence, Roy reached over and put his hand on Ruthanna’s arm. “Sweetheart, what happened?”

“When the invitation arrived, I was busy,” Ruthanna replied. “I never bothered to RSVP. Besides, I was the singer. Surely I could go to the reception without returning the RSVP!”

Ruthanna started to weep — not only because she had missed the most lavish banquet she’d ever been invited to, but also because she suddenly had a small taste of what it will be like someday for people as they stand before Christ and find their names are not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

Throughout the ages, countless people have been too busy to respond to Christ’s invitation to his wedding banquet. Many assume that the good they’ve done-perhaps attending church, being baptized, singing in the choir, or helping in a soup kitchen-will be enough to gain entry to Heaven. But people who do not respond to Christ’s invitation to forgive their sins are people whose names aren’t written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. To be denied entrance to Heaven’s wedding banquet will not just mean going down the service elevator to the garage. It will mean being cast outside into Hell, forever.

In that day, no explanation or excuse will count. All that will matter is whether our names are written in the book. If they’re not, we’ll be turned away.

Have you said yes to Christ’s invitation to join him at the wedding feast and spend eternity with him in His house? If so you have reason to rejoice — Heaven’s gates will be open to you.

If you have been putting off your response, your RSVP, or if you presume that you can enter Heaven without responding to Christ’s invitation, one day you will deeply regret it.

May God bless you big.

——

This is the first in a series of articles examining the Christian view of heaven by Kevin Barsotti, pastor of Ark Church in Havre.

 

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