Heaven Sermon Illustrations

Heaven Sermon Illustrations

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Imagination need not tarry over the question of what the labors and enterprises in heaven are to be. But truly, they will be great and glorious. What do you suppose Elijah, mighty Elijah, has been doing ever since he went up to heaven in the pillar of fire? Has David never taken down that lyre to sing again the praises of God, whose mercy endureth   forever? Did Isaiah finish his work when he painted those masterpieces of Christ as Redeemer and King; and what of Peter and John; and what has Paul been doing ever since, there by the Pyramid of Cestius, the headsman's ax flashed in the sun and he put on immortality?


In his Castilian Days John Hay, describing a picture of Vandyke in the Prado at Madrid, and regretting that Vandyke died so young, tries to imagine what he would have accomplished had he lived to the ripe age of Titian or Murillo, and says: "We are tempted to lift the veil that hides the unknown, at least with the furtive hand of conjecture, to imagine a field of unquenched activity where the early dead, free from the trammels of the lower world, may follow out the impulses of their diviner natures—where Andrea has no wife and Raphael and Vandyke no disease, where Keats and Shelley have all eternity for their lofty rhymes, where Ellsworth and Koerner and the Lowell boys can turn their alert and athletic intelligences to somediing better than war."


When the ten thousand Greeks fought their way out of Persia the one hope that sustained them and made them brave in battle and enduring on the march was the thought of reaching the sea toward which they were marching, for when they reached the sea they knew they would not be far from home. The blue sea was the hope that like a banner floated before them as they fought and marched. Let the thought of the soul's true home be often in your mind. Think of its social joys, its multiplied powers, its grand enterprises, its foun­tains of knowledge, its unclouded felicity, its absolute harmony with the soul's deepest desires; think of catching up the broken threads again and finishing what we here began; think of its innumerable company of angels, its spirits of just men made perfect, its Lamb upon the throne, its thrilling reunions.

O then what raptured greetings

On Canaan's happy shore,
What knitting severed friendships up
Where partings are no more!
—Henry Alford

Let Jerusalem be in your mindl


During the Civil War, when Moody was working with the Christian Commission, he was going down the Tennessee River after the bloody Battle of Shiloh with a cargo of the wounded. Everywhere the cry that went up from the wounded men on the decks was, Water! Water! Moody gave them water, but he also told them of the Water of Life. At length he came to a soldier who made no answer when he spoke with him. When he called the surgeon's attention to this soldier, he said the wounded man could not recover because he had lost so much blood. Moody said, "I can't find out his name, and it seems a pity to let him die without knowing who he is. Don't you think we can bring him to?" At the doctor's direction Moody gave him a little water and brandy. As he was doing this he asked another soldier standing by if he knew the boy's name. He answered that he did, that he was his chum, that he had a widowed mother living, and that his name was William Clark. Presently the boy opened his eyes, and Moody said to him, "William, do you know where you are?

The lad looked around for a moment in a daze, and then said, "Oh, yes, I am on my way home to mother."

"Yes, you are on your way home," Moody said; "but the doctor says you won't reach your earthly home. I thought I'd like to ask you if you have any message for your mother?"

At that the boy's face lighted up, and he answered, "Oh, yes, tell my mother that I died trusting in Jesus."

That is the way to live! That is the way to die! And when God calls us from our earthly home, Christ will receive us into our heavenly home, the house of many mansions.


On the walls of the Temple were engraved the mysterious figures of the cherubim with the faces of the ox, the eagle, the lion, and the man. These mysterious creatures have sometimes been taken as the symbol of man's resurrection life. The redeemed and purified soul in the glorified body, all the powers of creation now vested in man, and all the beautiful harmony—the strength of the ox, the daring of the lion, the eagle's mastery of space, and the intelligence of man.


Even a great scholar like Haeckel has repeated the stale jest of the Sadducees. In his book The Riddle of the Universe he asks what Henry VIII will do when he gets to heaven? Whose husband will he be? Catherine of Aragon's, Anne Boleyn's, Jane Seymour's, Ann of Cleves's, Catherine Howard's?


In a celebrated passage in Shakespeare's King John Constance, the mother of Arthur, gives expression to the fear that she will not know her child when she meets him in the court of heaven.

When I shall meet him in the court of heaven
I shall not know him: and therefore
never, never
Must I behold my pretty Arthur
more.

But all that we know and love in Christ gives us ground for the hope and expectation that on the eternal shore old friends shall meet once more. And as for problems and difficulties of personalities and relationships of this life transferred to the eternal world, like that foolish difficulty about the seven times married woman which the mocking Sadducees submitted to Jesus, all that we can leave to the solution of infinite power and infinite love.


In the winter of 1862 Lincoln's son William, a lad of twelve, sickened and died. It was the great sorrow of a sad life. For a number of weeks Lincoln observed the Thursday on which the child died as a day of seclusion and mourning, and was with difficulty persuaded to give up the dangerous practice. Some months afterward he was at Fort Monroe. In a moment of leisure he was reading his favorite author. Calling his aide into the room, he read to him passages from Hamlet, Macbeth, and then the passage from the third act of King John, where Constance, whose boy has been imprisoned by his uncle, King John, expresses to her confessor the fear that she may not know her boy in heaven. When he had finished reading the lines, Lincoln turned to his aide and said, "Colonel, did you ever dream of a lost friend, and yet have a sad consciousness that it was not a reality? Just so I dream of my boy Willie." And with that he bowed his head on the table and sobbed aloud.


Thomas Carlyle wrote concerning the death of James Carlyle, his father: "And now, beloved father, farewell for the last time in this world of shadows! In the world of realities may the great Father again bring us together in perfect holiness and perfect love! Amen."

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