All the main world religions talk about heaven or a heavenly status in some way. Christ taught that it is a place where suffering ceases. There is eternal bliss as we live with our creator. He also shared there is a place of eternal damnation assigned to those who do not turn to him. The question is are you qualified to go to heaven? Has that been on your mind?
We will not want to stay here when we see life there. I recall watching the movie Ice Age recently with my kids. One scene showed a squirrel entering the pearly, acorn studded gates with clusters of golden acorns in heaven. Then, ahead the squirrel became breathless as he sighted the most splendid massive golden acorn. It was an after death experience and shortly after he was awakened, he was enraged because someone woke him on earth and he had to return!
Our imagination can run wild like this, but actually, what will heaven be like? How can we know what is ahead? And can we be sure of going there?
Heaven is invading earth today.
I remember back in 2006 going intentionally, with my wife and a new leader, to a university locally to train him to share his faith. The second person we met shared they had a sense of guilt and had had heaven on his mind. He wanted to hear the gospel.
We shared that Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead and he defeated death for us and we can have new life in him. Our guilt can be removed and we are no longer under condemnation when we believe. We also encouraged him about the exciting new life of walking with God and knowing his love. He prayed to accept Jesus on the spot and felt peace and joy.
He then fell away completely, but resurfaced four years later, after he viewed a movie called ‘Narnia.’ He decided to recommit when he saw the lion metaphor of Jesus and God reminded him of his earlier commitment. He is now leading our church in the same area where he was saved some 14 years later! He works full time as a teacher also and moves quite powerfully in a prophetic gift. Truly heaven is invading earth through his life today. God is amazing!
Maybe you ask, how can that happen for others today; perhaps something is missing?
Jesus Christ claimed to know heaven.
If you ask me about Melbourne, I can tell you all about it. I live here and was born here.
What is interesting when Jesus was approached by a religious leader and scholar in John Chapter 3, he said you must be born again spiritually or born from above to enter the kingdom of heaven!
We all have a physical birth but require a spiritual rebirth through being born of water, which is talking about repentance and forgiveness of sins. He also said that John baptised with water and spoke of one coming who will baptise with the Holy Spirit.
Interestingly Nicodemus, despite being Israel’s religious teacher, didn’t understand. Jesus told him it’s a work of the spirit and that God loves him and loves the world so much he sent his son to die for us. He also mentioned in John, that “no one has ascended to heaven except the one who came from heaven, who is in heaven. (KJV)”
Only Jesus came from heaven and therefore knows it. Not only is he from heaven but lives in heaven while on earth! Jesus had a dual address. He walked earth and also was seated in the heavenly realms with his father at the same time, to release heaven on earth!
When we die we live in heaven
Friends, when we die if we trust in Jesus we will live in heaven. Interestingly, the bible says when we repented and turned to Christ we died with him in baptism and rose with him in his new life in Romans Chapter six. We rose with him, and Paul wrote to the Ephesian church saying, “We are seated with Christ in the heavenly realms.”
That’s a present reality and if we are born in spirit and are baptised in the spirit as Jesus commanded us in the book of Acts Chapter 1, verses 4-5, we are equipped to walk as Jesus walked! Not that we have deity like Jesus. The bible teaches he was fully man and fully God, but that he did not operate out of his divinity day to day. When asked by Satan to turn stones to bread he said no and only chose to depend on his Father for the miraculous. “He is the firstborn among many brothers.” We can walk like him!
Are we living from heaven to earth today?
My friend whom we led to Christ all those years ago reminds me of Jesus! I remember one time he shared he was ministering at a fellowship and he could not stop thinking about the ‘Chicago Bulls’ until finally as he was prophesying to a member he asked does ‘Chicago Bulls’ mean anything to you? It turned out to be their favourite club and they were wearing the Chicago Bulls tee shirt underneath!
This led to a powerful encounter as Father God called this person’s number up. Wasn’t that a bit like Jesus who met Zacchaeus in Luke Chapter 19? Despite not knowing him he moved in a word of knowledge and called out his name and said I need to stay with you this day.
Wouldn’t it be powerful if the church moved more like Jesus today!
Is heaven on your mind?
Mark Rusic was born in Melbourne and has a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering. He became a missionary to many, suffering hardship and poverty on Madura Island in Indonesia, in 1990 for about four years. He worked as a pastor-life coach with Hope International Ministries from 2002 to May 2023, playing a key role in raising up leaders and elders for the local Melbourne Hope church, which lead today. Mark has also been active in conducting yearly trips to remote Indigenous communities, bringing teams for training and outreach, which he initiated from 2015. He also established a salt and light ministry to empower saints of influence in the marketplace from 2017.
Mark is also an artist and an author and has written two books which are both a collection of his own paintings, photography, and poetry. These include ‘Iconic Melbourne of Australia’ and ‘Iconic Animals of Australia- With a voice to release your giant potential within,’ which are available now on booktopia.com.au and at leading book retailers. He has been counted among some of Australia’s best authors on several occasions through Dymocks since 2014 and continues to be a motivational speaker in various community groups, organisations, and churches.
He is currently pioneering his itinerant ministry to bless Indigenous people and empower the body of Christ, while working as an artist, author and speaker.