Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Resurrection and Evidence of Heaven

On Sunday, I preached on Matthew 12:38-45. Jesus offers the resurrection as the only sign the Pharisees will get after they wickedly ask for a sign. They of course asked for a sign not because they didn't have enough evidence but because they continued to refuse to believe.

I used this quote from Tim Challies regarding the books 90 Minutes in Heaven and Heaven is for Real:

“The second ground refers to the reason each of these authors offers—that through their experience we now find confidence that what God says is true. This kind of proof is exactly the kind of proof we should not need and should not want. Blessed are those who do not see and yet believe. Don Piper insisted that he was called to be the Minister of Hope. If hope is to be found in any person, it will be found in the person of Christ. It is the Spirit working through the Word who will give us confidence in our faith. And what is faith? It is simply believing that what God says in his Word is true. We do not need tales of heaven or stories of those who claim to be there. 
If you struggle believing what the Bible says, but learn to find security in the testimony of a toddler, well, I feel sorry for you. And I do not mean this in a condescending way. If God’s Word is not sufficient for you, if the testimony of his Spirit, given to believers, is not enough for you, you will not find any true hope in the unproven tales of a child. This hope may last for a moment, but it will not sustain you, it will not bless you, in those times when hope is waning and times are hard. 
So reject this book. Do not read it. Do not believe it. And do not feel guilty doing so.”

You can read Challies review here.

If you want a sign look to the resurrection of Jesus. In light of the coming judgment do not neglect the proof positive given in Jesus’ resurrection. This act forms part of the bedrock in our trust in Jesus. Do not neglect it.

Stories of people coming back from heaven are hardly the "signs" that the Word of God calls us to expect, to look for, or to find encouragement in. Rather we should consider the resurrection as the testimony we need since the resurrection vindicates Jesus' message, ministry and person. Furthermore, our ultimate hope is not merely life after death (although Christians believe in an intermediate state). Our ultimate hope is the conquering of death and the resurrection state. We have the sign and promise of the New Creation given to us in the resurrection of Jesus.

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"The Voyages..." Forays into Biblical studies, Biblical exegesis, theology, exposition, life, and occasionally some Star Trek...