Heaven Sermon Illustrations

Heaven Sermon Illustrations

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As a young man William Tennent was preparing for his examinations before the presbytery of New Brunswick, and intense application had affected his health. He was conversing one morning with his brother when he fainted away and apparently expired. After every test of death had been applied his body was prepared for burial, and the day set for the funeral. The people had assembled for the funeral, when the body suddenly opened its eyes and gave a dreadful groan. After vigorous restoratives had been resorted to, his resuscitation was effected. For many weeks he was in an extremely weakened condition, but slowly he began to mend. He had no recollection for a time of any transaction previous to his sickness, and had to be taught his letters again as a child. But one day his memory came back to him, and his knowledge of the past was that of any normal man.

Although very reluctant to speak of his experience, he related on several occasions what had happened. In an instant he had found himself in another state of existence under the direction of a Superior Being who bade him follow him. Thus conducted, he beheld an ineffable glory and an innumerable company of happy beings in the midst of this glory. He, too, thrilled to their great joy and besought his conductor to permit him to join them. But his guide told him that he must return to earth. He heard and obeyed the sentence with the sorrow of despair. "Lord, must I go back?" was his expostulation. The shock of his disappointment made him faint, and he saw his brother and the doctor disputing over his inanimate body.

In his visit to the heavenly world he saw glorious and happy beings, but no bodily shape or representation in the glorious appearance. So deep was the impression made on his spirit that the ravishing sounds of the music he had heard faded not out of his ears for the space of three years.

Two monks were once discussing the life to come. One insisted that it would be talker—like this life; the other that it would be aliter—unlike it. Finally they agreed that whichever of the two died first should communicate with the brother left on earth. In the course of time one died and was buried. True to his pledge, he visited his brother on earth in a dream and this was his message: Nee talker, nee aliter, sed totalker aliter!—Not as thou thoughtest, nor as I thought, but altogether different. There will indeed be surprises for us in the life to come, but our ignorance as to the minutiae of the life is no excuse for shutting our eyes to what God hath revealed.

If you were going to describe to an untutored native of the Arctic regions some tropical land, you could hardly give him an idea of it by mentioning some of the things that are mere. What would palm trees mean to a man who had never seen anything but Arctic berries and snow and ice? What would the flash of brilliantly plumaged birds mean to one who had never seen any bird but the penguin? What would the elephant or the lion mean to one who had seen only the floundering seal? You would have to begin the other way. You would have to describe that land by telling him what was not there—that there was no snow, no ice, no polar bears. To a certain extent that is the method the Holy Spirit employs in telling us about the life beyond the grave. It tells us, first of all, the things to which we are accustomed here that are not found there.

It is a sad comment on the stability and the content and satisfaction of the things of this world that when the New Testament writers come to describe the things of the spiritual and the heavenly world, in every instance they must use a negative—that is, the joys and satisfactions of the spiritual and heavenly world are in this or that respect not as the things of this world. So Peter describes the Christian inheritance in three great negatives. In the first place it is incorruptible—literally,  not  corruptible.

Marco Polo, the famous Venetian traveler of the thirteenth century, when he lay dying, was urged by his attendants to recant—to withdraw the stories he had told about China and the lands of the Far East. But he said "I have not told half what I saw."

Whatever heaven is and wherever it is, this much is certain—we shall never be able to tell, not a half, but a hundredth part, of what it is like.

The Dawn Needs No Lamps

Professor George Jackson, in his excellent book on the Rev. S. F. Collier, of Manchester, tells the following. A man whose youth and early manhood had been spent in evil ways, and who was converted to God, was one night giving his testimony. He had met an old drinking pal during the week who chaffed him for turning pious. "I'll tell you what," I said to him, "you know what I am"—he was a lamplighter—"when I goes round turning out the lights, I looks back, and all the road over which I've been walking is all darkness; and that's what my past is like. I look on in front and there's a long row of twinkling lights to guide me, and that's what the future is since I found Jesus." "Yes," says my friend, "but by-and-by you get to the last light, and turn it out, and where are you then?" "Then," says I, "why, when the last lamp goes out it's dawn, and there ain't no need for lamps when the morning comes."—Sunday School Times.


A traveling evangelist related the following: I picked up a railroad timetable in a hotel writing room where men were smoking and spinning yarns. The map showed only one road and its connections. It seemed to cover all the many states. Up in an open space, far away from the city where we were, some man had written "Home." Some discouraged commercial traveler, sick, disgusted, worn out, traced those fond letters and located the dear place where his loved ones awaited his coming. How much it meant to him—one of a large class of men for whom little sympathy is felt! Going to my room I took out my Bible. There was only one "through-line" apparent. All branches converged at the cross of Calvary. Through trains starting now. Home is where Jesus is. An open place,—a prepared place,—safe, blessed, eternal. Are you going Home?Good News.

Spiritual Sight Needed

A little boy was born blind. At last an operation was performed; the light was let in slowly. Then one day his mother led him out of doors and uncovered his eyes, and for the first time he saw the sky and the earth. "Mother," he cried, "why did you not tell me it was so beautiful?" She burst into tears as she said, "I tried to tell you, dear, but you could not understand me." So it is when we try to tell what is in Christ. Unless the spiritual sight is opened by the Holy Spirit, one cannot understand.—J. W. Ham, in Good News for All Men.

Mistaken Builders

The angels from their thrones on high Look down on us with wondering eye, That when we are but passing guests We build such strong and solid nests, But where we think to dwell for aye We scarce take heed a stone to lay.The Sunday School Times.

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