NEWYEARS22-01 Heaven And Hell

Heaven and Hell
Bill Giovannetti
I always feel that my first message of the New Year should recalibrate our hearts to things that matter most.

The apostle Jude said:
I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. (Jude 1:3)
The Christian faith never changes.

In Scripture it is called the word of faith, the faith of the Gospel, the mystery of faith, or most holy faith, the common faith, and, as here, the faith... meaning the content of biblical teaching.

Jesus said the Scripture cannot be broken (John 10:35).

This Scripture, this faith, this body of truth, wraps into itself a whole interlocking structure of truths to be believed, what we call evangelical truths.

The faith includes the doctrine of the Trinity, the creation, the incarnation, and the virgin birth.

The faith includes the Fall in Adam's sin, universal sinfulness, and our inability to save ourselves.

The faith includes the cross of Christ, being saved by grace, then then sanctified by grace too.

The faith also includes Christ living within every believer, and a life of adventure and service in which God saves you, God blesses you, God grows you, and God uses you for Christ and his Gospel.

The faith includes the resurrection from the dead, the millennial kingdom and the future future glory of the saints with Christ.

All this and is said to be "delivered to the saints.

And it has been delivered "once for all." All cultures, all places, all times, all people.

The Christian faith never changes.
Our faith doesn't adapt.
It doesn't modernize.
It doesn't flex.
It doesn't update.

It was written innerrantly into our inspired Scriptures. Because it is perfect, there is no room for improvement.

To change it is to falsify it.

What can change is how we communicate it. And how we package it. And how we sing it, and say it, and how we tell its old old story—that changes. It is always changing.

So our job, your job, my job, is to earnestly contend for it.

That means to fight for it.
To loving argue for it.
To live it.
To stand up for it.
And to let God handle the fallout.

We live in a time of turmoil.

Our culture is losing its mind, because it has already lost its soul.

The strident noise of media, entertainment, arts, the news, social media—the noise of today's world is drowning out both the faith once for all delivered to the saints, and with it, the biblical whispers of the world to come.

So, I invite you think with me today on what is one of the most essential and definitional elements of the faith that has been delivered to us. Our topic to begin this new year:

Heaven and Hell

I should give a trigger warning for this sermon but I won't. Because that would imply that you can't handle life.

What is Heaven?

When I was a little boy growing up in church, I saw heaven as a giant playground. Swings and slides and games. Angels to play with. Adventures to explore. An ethereal Disneyland up in the sky.

But then I began to grow up. My grandparents died. A childhood friend fell ill. He died. Another peer died from autoimmune disease.

It didn't take too much of this to help me think differently of heaven. I began to think of heaven by the people I loved who were there. I will see them again and they will see me.

Because heaven is more like a reunion than a playground. I'll see my dad there. I'll see my aunt an uncle there. My old Sunday school teachers are there too. Many of my friends are there. What a day that will be when we see our loved ones face to face.