Homesick for Heaven

Bible Book: 2 Corinthians  5 : 6-8
Subject: Heaven

Dr. Richard W. DeHaan (1923-2002) shares, “I shall never forget what my father [Dr. M.R. DeHaan (1891-1965)] said to me shortly before he left us for his Home in Glory. Having experienced some pain in his chest, he was hospitalized so that he might have a complete rest, and also be in a place where he could be kept under close observation. One morning while I was visiting him, he got a faraway look in his eyes, and then said, with sincerity of voice which the millions of listeners to the Radio Bible Class grew to love, ‘Richard, sometimes my curiosity gets the best of me. I get eager to see what’s on the Other Side!’

​Well, his curiosity has been satisfied. Now he knows — and I am sure he is not disappointed!”

​2 Corinthians 5:6-8 reads, “So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.”

​Dr. J. C. Ryle (1816-1900) writes, “Heaven is a ‘Father’s house,’ —the house of that God of whom Jesus says, ‘I go to my Father’s and your Father.’ It is, in a word home: the home of Christ and Christians. This is a sweet and touching expression. Home, as we all know, is the place where we are generally loved for our own sakes and not for our gifts or possessions, the place where we are loved to the end, never forgotten, and always welcome. This is one idea of heaven. Believers are in a strange land and at school in this life. In the life to come they will be at home.”

​ Dr. Ron Rhodes writes, “The Bible tells us that the apostle Paul was caught up to the third heaven (paradise), he heard ‘inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak’ (2 Corinthians 12:4, emphasis added). One must therefore ask: If God forbade Paul to speak of the things he witnessed in heaven, why would God allow dozens of modern people—who are not even apostles like Paul was—to speak of what they witnessed, and inform us of things not corroborated by the Bible?”

​Christianity Today carried an article by Mark Woods on January 15, 2015, titled, “The boy who came back from heaven’ Alex Malarkey says best-selling book is false”. Ironically, the word “malarkey” means “insincere foolish talk” or “nonsense”.

​David Roach shares the following in an article in BPNews, “LifeWay Christian Resources has stopped selling all ‘experiential testimonies about heaven’ following consideration of a 2014 Southern Baptist Convention resolution on ‘the sufficiency of Scripture regarding the afterlife.’ . . . The resolution, adopted by messengers to the SBC annual meeting in June, warned Christians not to allow ‘the numerous books and movies purporting to explain or describe the afterlife experience’ to ‘become their source and basis for an understanding of the afterlife.’ . . . The resolution affirmed ‘the sufficiency of biblical revelation over subjective experiential explanations to guide one's understanding of the truth about heaven and hell.’”

​Regrettably, many people have hope of a “heavenly existence” based upon good works not God’s Word. Remember the Bible reveals salvation in three dimensions. ​


I. First, there is the easing experience of justification.

Romans 5:1, 9 reads, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. . . . Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” Earlier Paul writes about, “being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” in Romans 3:24. ​

​Remember, Christian in The Pilgrim’s Progress, who traveling from the city of Destruction to the Celestial City. John Bunyan (1628-1688) writes, “Now in my dream, that the highway, up which Christ was to go, was called Salvation. Up this way therefore did burthened Christian run, but not without great difficulty, because of the load on his back.

​He ran thus till he came at a place somewhat ascending, and upon that place stood the Cross, and a little below, in the bottom, a Sepulchre. So I saw in my dream, that just as Christian came up with the cross, his burden loosed from off his shoulders, and fell from his back, and began to tumble and so continued to do till it came to the mouth of the sepulcher, where it fell in, and I saw it no more.” Bunyan illustrates the easing experience of justification.

​Do you remember another of Bunyan’s characters named, “Mr. Worldly-Wiseman”? Dr. Barry E. Horner writes, “It is highly probable that Bunyan has a particular member of the clergy in mind in this characterization. Sharrock gives good evidence that this person was Edward Fowler, the Anglican vicar of Northill near Bedford. His book published in 1670, Design Of Christianity, so offended the imprisoned Bunyan that he wrote a fervent rebuttal in forty-two days entitled A Defence Of The Doctrine Of Justification. Fowler was latitudinarian, that is compromising and broadminded. . . . In modern parlance, Mr. Worldly-Wiseman would be the equivalent of a liberal pastor who scorned the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ as taught in the Bible and preached social reform based upon evolutionary advance and moral influence.”

​Luke 18:9-14 reads, “Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: ‘Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” This parable illustrates two approaches to justification. In a sense both men were justified; one in his mind and the other in his heart. This parable demonstrates the vast difference between rationalization and repentance. It is the difference between hell and heaven.

​Dr. Benjamin Breckenridge Warfield (1851-1921) writes, “Christianity is not merely a program of conduct; it is the power of a new life.” American business magnate, investor and philanthropist, Warren Buffett, made the following statement after giving 85 percent of his 44 billion dollar fortune to charity: “There is more than one way to get to heaven, but this is a great way.” Jesus is the only way to heaven, remember His words, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).

​ The justified ones living in this world marked by sin, self, and Satan, have a homesickness for heaven.

II. Second, there is the earnest expectation of glorification.

Romans 8:18-19, 29-30 reads, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. . . . For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to beconformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” This is a precious promise! To be justified by Jesus, guarantees we will be glorified. The beginning and end of our salvation are inexorably linked. 1 John 3:1-3 reads, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”

​Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), German pastor/theologian, stated the following in a sermon delivered in London in November 1933, “No one has yet believed in God and the kingdom of God, no one has yet heard about the realm of the resurrected and not been homesick from that hour, waiting and looking forward to being released from bodily existence.” Bonhoeffer’s last words before being hanged in a Nazi concentration camp were: “This is the end – for me the beginning of life.” Philippians 3:20-21 reads, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” On the word translated “citizenship,” Dr. Charles C. Ryrie comments, “This figure would have been particularly appreciated by the Philippians who were colonists living away from Rome, though citizens of Rome. Similarly, Christians live away from the place of their citizenship, heaven.”

​John 14:2-3 reads, “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”

​1 Corinthians 15:35-49 reads, “But someone will say, ‘How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?’ Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies. And what you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain—perhaps wheat or some other grain. But God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body. All flesh isnot the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds. There are also celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being.’ The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the manof dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” 2 Corinthians 4:7, 14, 18 reads, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. . . . knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. . . . while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

​Dr. J. C. Ryle writes, “Let us not be afraid to meditate often on the subject of heaven, and to rejoice in the prospect of good things to come. . . Let us take comfort in the remembrance of the other side.” Revelation 21-22 provide a great description of the glorious city of God! As Sanford Fillmore Bennett (1836-1898) wrote, “There’s a land that is fairer than day, And by faith we can see it afar.”


III. Third, there is the earthly expedition of sanctification.

Acts 26:17-18 reads, “I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’” Romans 1:7 reads, “To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints. . . .” Major W. Ian Thomas (1914-2007) writes, “To be in Christ—that is redemption; but for Christ to be in you—that is sanctification! To be in Christ—that makes you fit for heaven; but for Christ to be in you—that makes you fit for earth! To be in Christ—that changes your destination; but for Christ to be in you—that changes your destiny! The one makes heaven your home—the other makes this world His workshop.” Romans 8:1 reads, “There istherefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Samuel Leith writes, “The fact that when we are ‘in Christ’ there is no condemnation for our sins, does not mean there is no examination of our works.”​

​The book of Ephesians is the New Testament counterpart to the Old Testament book of Joshua. 1 Corinthians 10:11 reads, “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” The book of Ephesians highlights the believer’s wealth, walk, and warfare. While Joshua records the account of physically conquering the land of Canaan, the book of Ephesians exhorts believers to spiritually conquer their Canaan. In both cases, the conquest is on earth. The Spirit-filled life (Ephesians 5:18) is an earthly expedition! Romans 6:1-14 reads, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members asinstruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”

​John Newton (1725-1807) writes, “. . .’twas grace that brought me safe thus far and grace will lead me home.”

​Hebrews 11:10 reads, “[Abraham] waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” Hebrews 11:13-16 reads, “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.” Hebrews 12:22-24 reads, “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.” Hebrews 13:14 reads, “For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come.”

​Dr. Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963) writes, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” Philippians 1:21-24 reads, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you.” Paul was homesick for heaven.

​Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer writes, “To die is to go home to heaven; to live is to exist in a foreign country on earth. Some day we’ll understand this distinction much better; for now the future is ours by faith.” 1 Corinthians 13:12 reads, “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” Ephesians 2:19-20 reads, “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone.” 1 Peter 2:11-12 reads, “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.” Our earthly expedition is defined in the words of 1 Peter 1:16b, “. . . Be holy, for I am holy.” As He was filled with the Holy Spirit, we are to be filled with the Holy Spirit.



​In an article titled, “Americans Believe in Heaven, Hell, and a Little Bit of Heresy”, Bob Smietana shares the following: “Among the study’s findings:

​Americans say heaven is a real place. But they disagree about who gets in.
Two thirds (67 percent) of Americans believe heaven is a real place. . . . Just under half of Americans (45 percent) say there are many ways to heaven—which conflicts with traditional views about salvation being linked to faith in Jesus.”

​A poll conducted by CBS News about “The After Life” reveals the following: “Three in four Americans believe in the existence of heaven or hell, including 66 percent who think both exist. Eleven percent believe only heaven exists. Seventeen percent of Americans don't think either place exists.

​According to the poll, many Americans who don't believe in heaven or hell are agnostic, atheist, or do not identify with a particular religion; 49 percent of this group says neither place exists, but 43 percent of them do believe in heaven or hell.

​Among those who do believe in heaven or hell, 82 percent expect to wind up in heaven at the end of their lives; two percent says they expect to end up in hell. Nine percent don't think they will be in either place.”

​Remember the words of the spiritual song, “Everybody talkin’ ‘bout Heav’n ain’t goin’ there.” D. L. Moody (1837-1899) writes, “The grand question in life is, Is my name written in heaven?” Luke 10:20 reads, “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” According to Revelation 20:11-15, if your name is not written in heaven you will go to hell. Don’t miss heaven for anything! Repent of your sin and believe the gospel right now. You have no guarantee of another opportunity. 2 Corinthians 6:2 reads, “For He says: ‘In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you.’ Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”

​If you are an authentic Christian allow me ask:


Christian are you thankful for the easing experience of justification?

Christian are you hopeful with the earnest expectation of glorification?

Christian are you faithful in the earthly expedition of sanctification?


​Christian are you homesick for heaven?