Be the Salt and Light

Shane Willard

Page 2 of 12
And so he looks at you, and he's never been to church, he doesn't know anything about the Bible, he doesn't know anything. He says: I've only got 20 seconds to live, why - what does that even matter? Why did I do that? And you've got one sentence - you can't open your Bible, he's dying in 10 seconds. You've got one sentence so you say: umm, aah, ah you did that, because when you die here in a few seconds, you're going to wake up in heaven, instead of hell. The guy goes: that is fantastic! Four seconds later, he dies. Where does he wake up? Heaven, right? I'm not trying to trick you! People: I don't know, I don't know. Where does the guy wake up? [Heaven.] Heaven!

So this racist wakes up at a table with every tribe, tongue and race. Is he in heaven, or hell? To the racist, heaven IS hell. The question isn't so much: will you go to heaven when you die? What if a better question is: if heaven invaded your life tomorrow, what parts of you would survive, and what parts of you would be burned up?

Why would you wait - if Christianity ever became a group of people who were waiting to go to heaven one day, they would be horrible, elitist, societal, tribal people, who thought they were better than everybody else. Aren't you glad we escaped that!

Christianity was never called to be a group of people who got as many people as possible into heaven. Rather, they were called to be a group of people who partnered with God, to establish the kingdom right here on the earth.

None of Jesus' followers ever took Him that way. You never see Jesus showing up, and people going: oh great, you're here! We get to go to heaven now! No.

Jesus died, and rose from the dead. You've got to admit that's pretty impressive, considering He called His shots, right? He dies, rises from the dead. He comes back from the dead, and how much does He talk about heaven? None! How much does He talk about hell? None! I find that amazing. What I find more amazing, is that no one asked Him!

If I died today, and you came to my funeral on Wednesday, and then I showed up here next Sunday, and ruined your service and they gave me a mic. They said: Shane is back from the dead! We need to ask questions. How many questions would we get through, before someone said: hey, what actually happens? Of course it would be like, the first question right? But no one asked Him!

No one asked Him: Jesus, You're back from the dead - that's amazing - what was heaven like? What was hell like? I heard you preached there - how was your altar call, did you clean out heaven? You know, when you rose from the dead, it says: tombs everywhere emptied. Was that your altar call? Are You going to write a book called 'Three Days in Hell', and make a billion dollars, because people are scared of it? That would be amazing!

No one even asked Him! Jesus comes back from the dead, and here's His follower's response: oh great, You're back! Are we going to take over Rome now? Why would they? Why would they think that? Because that was His message all along, that we are going to establish the kingdom right here on the earth; and in their mind, to establish the kingdom on the earth, we're going to take over Rome? They were misguided, because that wasn't God's goal.

God's goal was to establish His kingdom through a body of Christ; not through taking up of arms, but through a body of Christ, who would duplicate God throughout the world, by establishing heaven right here; never to be a group of people waiting to go to heaven someday.

Although we hold to the hope that heaven is true someday, and it absolutely is, that is not the main goal of Christianity. Your goal is not to get to heaven someday, your goal is to reach into heaven, and bring everything in heaven right down here! That's what it means to be a disciple. To be a disciple of Jesus means to be actively participating in establishing heaven on the earth.

So I went through, and I looked at everything Jesus said about heaven. I found it so challenging. Let's talk through some of these things. When we think of images of judgement, which by the way, the word judgement - the word translated judgement in the New Testament is the word colossus, which means to prune an apple tree.