Bible Reading: Matthew 25:31-46
Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. Matthew 25:34
“We miss Grandma a lot,” Melissa whispered. “It’s really sad to think we’ll never see her here on earth again.” Then Melissa spoke up a little louder. “But we’re glad she’s in heaven. I’m glad we’ll get to see her there!”
Melissa’s classmate Amy made a face. “Heaven? I don’t see what good it does to believe in heaven,” she said. “I think that when you die you’re just gone. I mean, where is heaven? Up in the clouds? You can’t just hang around up in the air. And how could you believe in hell? There’s just a bunch of rocks and lava inside the earth. I hate to be the one to break the news, but you just have to admit that your grandma is gone.”
For Melissa to hear that from a girl she counts as her friend is really sad. And what Amy told Melissa is also totally untrue.
While the Bible doesn’t give a specific location for heaven, it’s not make-believe. The Bible teaches that both a real heaven and a real hell exist.
• Jesus told his followers he was going to prepare a place for them (see John 14:2). The apostle John provides some details about heaven, describing it as an incredible place in the presence of God where there will be no more death or tears or pain (see Revelation 21:4). It’s a place where God’s people will serve him, see him as he is, and be with him forever (see Revelation 22:3-5).
• God’s Word is just as clear that the future holds punishment for evildoers in a place called hell (see Matthew 25:41). John also describes the punishment waiting for the people who don’t know God (see Revelation 21:8). The Bible talks about hell over and over in utterly severe terms as a place that is separated from God, his people, and everything good that he has made.
Unfortunately, not enough people heed the Bible’s warning of hell or its promise of heaven. That’s why we can’t just sit around and wait for God to take us home— because real suffering awaits our friends who don’t believe in Christ. But if we have trusted Christ, our future is truly heavenly. Heaven is a real place where we will enjoy being with God and his people forever.
TALK: Say it in your own words: How would you have responded to Amy? And how would you have offered comfort to Melissa?
PRAY: Pray for your friends who don’t believe in heaven—or hell.
ACT: Pull out a Bible concordance and look up the references for “heaven” and “hell.” What does the Bible teach?