Heaven is Within You

Jesus, when He was asked by the Pharisees…

“…when (will) the kingdom of God would come, He (Jesus) answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21 nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”                                                                                                            – Luke 17:20,21

The phrase, ‘within you’ actually means, ‘within your midst.’  The statement Jesus was making to the Pharisees then is the same statement He is making to us now; heaven is within you, within your body and spirit, your outer man, and your inner man.  In essence, if Christ is within you, then heaven is within you.  You can’t get to heaven unless Christ is within you first.  If you have the Lord, then you have His kingdom representation within you, reflecting God’s love everywhere you go.

The Apostle Paul gives us a clearer picture of this predicament by way of describing the human body, he says,

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal!”     

                                                                                     – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

  • There is an outer you and there’s an inner you. The outer you is temporal and fleshly, it gets most of our attention while the inner you is invisible and eternal. The outer you can be persecuted, imprisoned, or even put to death, but no one can touch the inner you without your permission!

“In all of the torture and pain that was inflicted upon me by Mutsuhiro Watanabe (aka ‘the Bird) and from my other captors, I learned that the one thing they could not take from me was my choice in how I was going to respond to the suffering they inflicted upon me.”                                                       – Louie Zamperini – ‘Unbreakable’

Paul says that… “Outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”                   – 2 Corinthians 4:16

As we age, certain changes start to happen to the outer you; bones begin to lose calcium and get brittle, our skin begins to lose its elasticity and shrivel, age spots begin to appear, and one day you look down at your hands and realize that you are looking at your parent’s hands.  Your weight tends to shift from ‘the poles’ of your body towards the equator, our hair will stop growing where we want it to grow and boldly grow in places where no hair has grown before.  Why, because outwardly we are wasting away. We live in a culture where people keep trying…paining…and paying large sums of money, hoping to find some way to “renew the outer man,” but alas, the laws of entropy will eventually affect us all. Legend has it that the famed explorer Pounce de Leon searched the world over for the alleged Fountain of Youth, but in the end, it was just a myth.  Or is it?

Isaiah said it this way,

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. 29 He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, 31 But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”                – Isaiah 40:28-31 

  • If you want to find the Fountain of Youth, you must receive Jesus as Lord!

The popular TV show, EXTREME MAKEOVERS, spends enormous amounts of money using plastic surgery, high end cosmetics, expensive wardrobes, and aggressive fitness trainers in an attempt to change the outer man of the contestant.  We have seen some remarkable transformations on that show, but unfortunately it never lasts, eventually the outer man will waste away.

However, for the believer in Jesus, the Bible reminds us that one day we will be given a glorified body that doesn’t fade away, gain weight, get cancer, grow old, or hair in all the wrong places. The Apostle Paul reveals a picture of what our glorified bodies are going to look like , in fact, Paul not only tells us how we get our glorified bodies, but what they will look like. 

The Apostle Paul said,

“But someone will say, “How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?” 36 Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies. 37 And what you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain—perhaps wheat or some other grain. 38 But God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body. 39 All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds. 40 There are also celestial (heavenly) bodies and terrestrial (earthly) bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41 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. 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. 43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45 And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. 48 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. 49 And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.”                                                                                           – 1 Corinthians 15:35-49

  • In essence Paul is saying that when you put a seed into the ground, it doesn’t grow into a plant unless it dies first.  So in order to receive a resurrected body, you have to die.  He says that unless you put a seed in the ground and let it die, it can’t be resurrected and transformed into something new and better.

Jesus said it this way,

“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain!”                                                                        – John 12:24

What you put in the ground is not the plant that will grow, but only a bare seed of whatever you are planting. God is the one who gives it increase. Every plant grows from a specific kind of seed and will produce much grain.

These passages address the perspective many people have about death.  A lot of people have a hard time dealing with the subject of death; they don’t want to talk or even think about it.  However, if we have invited Jesus to be our Lord and Savior, than we have no reason to be afraid of death, we should rather embrace it, because if you don’t experience death, you can’t have a resurrected body.

Put another way: The only way we can get a resurrected body is to die for it.

  • The only exception to this death/resurrection principle are for those people who are caught up into heaven when Jesus returns in the Rapture.

Jesus said…“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”                                                – John 11:25,26

  • The body that comes out of the grave will be different than the body that was put into the grave. If you put a kernel of corn in the ground, what comes out of the ground is not a kernel, but a green stalk that will produce corn. The stalk represents the kernel, but it’s not the same thing as the kernel.

For Christians, when we die, and our bodies are interned or cremated, they are temporarily laid to rest.  However, soon the resurrection trumpet of God is going to sound and all those who have died in Christ are going to resurrect from the grave.  When they do they’re going to be very different than they were laid to rest.

We are not going to have the same kind of body that was buried; we are going to be profoundly different and profoundly better.

Paul said,

“Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory,”   – 1 Corinthians 15:43

The word ‘glory’ used here in this passage refers to a brilliance, a glowing illumination that is similar to what Moses experienced when coming down from Mt. Sinai after being in God’s presence for 40 days. Our heavenly bodies will be glorious bodies, just like the glorious body of Jesus when He rose from the grave.

The Apostle Paul described our glorious bodies this way,

“But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for Him to return as our Savior. He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like His own.”        – Philippians 3:21,22

  • This passage tells us that our physical body is going to be transformed into the same kind of glorious body that Jesus has.

It seems like the older we get the harder we have to work to maintain the same level of fitness that we had when we were younger. We need to do our best to keep our body fit because the Bible says that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. However, our resurrected bodies are going to be seriously upgraded and have some amazing qualities. For instance, our heavenly bodies will be indestructible.

Paul says,

“It is the same way with the resurrection of the dead. Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. ”             – 1 Corinthians 15:42

  • These physical bodies of ours will wear out, get old, and stop working the way they once did. However, our heavenly bodies will be raised to live forever, they will not deteriorate or decay, they won’t age, they won’t be subject to damage from an accident, suffer pain from a disease, or ever experience death.

Another quality, our heavenly bodies will be identifiable.

The Apostle Paul reminds us that when we get to heaven,

                            ‘we will be known just as we are also known.’   – 1 Corinthians 13:12b

  • Jesus’ resurrected body was real; when His disciples saw Him, they knew who He was, this Jesus was the same Jesus they knew before His death.  They knew Jesus resurrected so much so that they all went to their deaths proclaiming the Christ’ resurrection. Many saw Jesus in His resurrected body.

This is the way it will be for you and me someday very soon.  We are going to know the people that we knew on earth (if they die in Christ or are raptured), and they’re going to know you.  We will even know people in heaven that we never knew on earth. We will have a greater sense of recognition in heaven than we ever had on earth. When Moses and Elijah appeared with Christ on the mount of transfiguration, the disciples with Jesus recognized Moses and Elijah as real people, even though they had never actually met them in their life; they knew who they were.

Jesus describes this kind of heavenly recognition this way,

“And I say to you that many will come from the east and the west and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.”                       – Matthew 8:11

  • The inference here is that this ‘many,’ past or future, never knew the patriarchs in life, but they (we) will know them in the kingdom of heaven.

Again, Paul says,          ‘we will be known just as we are also known.’   – 1 Corinthians 13:12b

  • This ‘spiritual familiarity’ is a concept we can’t quite grasp just yet, but we will.

Paul also references the ‘heavenly man’ in conjunction with ‘the earthly man.’

“Just as we are now like the earthly man, we will someday be like the heavenly man.”             – 1 Corinthians 15:49

  • Jesus is the ‘heavenly man’ and if we are in Christ, we also will be a heavenly man too because when we see Jesus, we will have a body like His.

You’ve heard of ‘Body by Jake’ or ‘Body by Jillian’ or even ‘Body by Cheesecake.’ When we get to heaven we are going to have a ‘Body like Jesus’ because when we see Him, we will be like Him. The only time that we see a picture of the glorified body of Jesus is during the 40 day period between Jesus’ resurrection from the grave and when He ascended into heaven from the Mount of Olives. We can read several of the accounts where Jesus appeared in His post-resurrection glorious body during that 40 day period.

NOTE: Jesus showed us that His body is a real, physical body. When He appeared to His disciples after His resurrection. Jesus said to them,

“Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.”                                – Luke 24:39

On another occasion Jesus appeared to His disciples again,

“Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”        – John 20:27

Jesus told Mary not to touch Him just after He rose from the grave.

“Jesus said to her, ‘Do not cling to Me for I have not yet ascended to be with my Father,”             – John 20:17

NOTE: You can’t cling to something that’s not touchable! What Christ is saying is that we are not going to be some disembodied spirit that just floats around.

A ‘spirit body’ is an oxymoron, there is no such thing! If you have a body, it’s not spirit and if you’re in the spirit you’re not in the body.  But here we see that we are going to have both a real physical body that is also spiritual. When we get to heaven we are going to have transformed bodies, just like the body of Jesus after His resurrection. We will be able to walk through walls, but also eat fish.  Our heavenly bodies will be able to eat food, but not need food to live. Eating for us will be a pleasurable experience just like it is for us now; or sometimes it’s not.

After Jesus resurrection, He ate food with His disciples.

“So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb. And He took it and ate in their presence.”                                                                                        – Luke 24:42,43

“Jesus said to them, “Come and eat breakfast.” Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, “Who are You,” knowing that it was the Lord. Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish,” so Jesus had breakfast with his disciples!”         – John 21:12-13

  • We will be able to eat without all the negative effects of eating; no acid reflux, gas, calories, food poisoning, or weight gain.  We will experience tastes like never before because in our resurrected body there will be nothing to take away from the perfection of our taste buds.

“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him!”  . – Psalm 34:8

  • Eating will be one of many heavenly pleasures; an enjoyable culinary experience coupled with the fact that we will never get FAT! Our heavenly bodies will be strong.

“They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength,”      – 1 Corinthians 15:43

  • When a believer’s body is buried or cremated, it is without any strength or power because it’s dead. However, when the body resurrects, it will be in the power and strength of the Holy Spirit. 

“But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, for He shall receive me.”            .     – Psalm 49:15

Our current physical bodies are limited in ability to sustain strength for long periods of time, especially as we get older.  However, our heavenly bodies will have endless strength without any earthly limitation. We will be able to phase the molecular structure of our bodies as needed (this is helpful when walking through walls and locked doors) and we will have the strength and ability of fictional character of Superman; except for us it will be non-fiction. On one occasion, Jesus actually entered a room without going thru the doorway, He just appeared in the midst of his disciples.

“Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.”  – John 20:19

  • Our heavenly bodies will be able to just show up in places as we deem it. We won’t have the physical limitations that we have now.  We will be able to think where we need to go, and we will be there.  If I need to take a trip to Europe, no problem, I can just imagine myself being there, and I will be.

During the Millennial Reign of Jesus, the entire earth is required to be present at the temple in Jerusalem three times per year.  If they don’t show up, the Lord will cause the rain to cease for them.  This infers actual weather, but it also communicates God’s restriction of blessings upon those living then for their disobedience.

While it’s true that people living during that time will be human and therefore  limited to the physical laws of creation; we who are in our resurrected bodies will be able to interact with them as the Lord allows and has assigned us to help with management of the planet under the leadership of Jesus Himself.  The fact that God is requiring the population of the entire planet to be in Jerusalem three times per year infers a certain technology to accommodate this demand.

Our heavenly bodies will be natural and spiritual.

“They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies.”       – 1 Corinthians 15:44

  • Paul explains that our natural body and our spiritual body are different. He referenced Adam, the first man, as the image bearer for the natural body and he references Jesus as the image bearer for our new spiritual body.

“There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45 And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven.”  – 1 Corinthians 15:44b-47

There are natural bodies and there are also spiritual bodies, but a spiritual body is not an immaterial body, because it can interact in the physical world. Jesus’ resurrected body was a physical body that was also spiritual in nature. He has a real body that is fully and completely empowered by the Holy Spirit of God, suited for life on this earth, and also in heaven. We will too someday

 David said it this way, “What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet,”                        – Psalm 8:4-6

  • Right now, in our physical bodies, we are created ‘lower than the angels,’ but when we get our glorified bodies, we will be ‘crowned with glory and honor.’ 

Paul tells us that our current physical bodies can’t live in heaven.

“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption.”                                                  – 1 Corinthians 15:50

  • Our current bodies can’t exist in the realm of heaven, but God is going to give us a heavenly body that can exist in heaven and on earth.  They will no longer be governed by the appetites of our flesh, because for us, the sin principle will have been abolished.  Our heavenly bodies will be governed by the appetites of the Spirit and our soul desire will be to please the Lord and have fellowship with Him and His people forever. Today’s message was not so much about the place we call heaven, but how heaven is also within us, both now and in our heavenly bodies.

We need a heavenly body to live in heaven and the only way we can get to heaven is through Jesus Christ.  Our love for the Lord must be as real as our confession of the Lord and if we believe in our heart and confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord, we will be saved.

Paul said it this way,

“…if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”                – Romans 10:9-13

God’s plan of salvation is good for everyone, Jew and Gentile alike.  All we have to do is believe and receive His promise of forgiveness of sin and eternal life with Him forever.  Heaven, it’s not only a real place, but it exists within us if we have Jesus in our heart.  One day we will be in heaven, but for now, heaven is with you.

Maranatha !

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