Friday, January 26, 2007
Falling into Heaven
Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
It’s a funny thing how we find sleep more and more appealing as we get older. When I was a kid, I hated to go to sleep. I still remember kindergarten, with the lukewarm milk in little cartons and having to lie down and take naps in the middle of the day. Sleep is usually the last thing kids want to do, but as we start getting older, the idea of sleep becomes more attractive.
Interestingly, the Bible describes death for a believer as sleep. And that is what it is. When a Christian dies, he or she immediately goes into the presence of the Lord. The Bible does not teach there is any delay at all between life here on Earth and life in heaven.
In Acts 7, we read that as Stephen was being stoned to death, he prayed for the forgiveness of his killers: “And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not charge them with this sin.’ And when he had said this, he fell asleep” (verses 59–60). Stephen’s statement indicates that he expected to enter the Lord’s presence as soon as he died.
The Bible promises in 2 Corinthians 5:8 that a believer will enter immediately into the presence of God following death: “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.”
John Bunyan said, “Death is but a passage out of a prison into a palace.” You see, when death strikes a Christian down, he or she falls into heaven.
For more relevant and biblical teaching from Pastor Greg Laurie, go to www.harvest.org.
Copyright © 2007 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions,