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A WONDERFUL PLACE

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HEAVEN IS A WONDERFUL PLACE 

Scriptures: John 14:1–4, Revelation 4 and 5, 7:9–12

Memory verse: John 14:3
"And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."

Lead—In

Today we will be discussing eternity. Eternity is an endless period of time following a person's death. There are a few elderly people that live to be 100 years old, but for most of us life on earth is much shorter. Death is an event that all of us will experience and then comes eternity.

Ask: What do you think awaits you after death? How would you describe it? (Allow responses.)

People have various ideas as to what eternity holds for them. However, there is only one source that gives us the true picture of eternity—the Bible. The apostle Peter wrote in 2 Peter 1:19, "We also have the prophetic message (the Bible) as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it…."

The Bible clearly teaches that there are two areas of eternity—heaven and hell. Today we will explore the Scripture to see what the Bible teaches about heaven. We are going to discover that "Heaven is a wonderful place!"

Hearing God's Word

Everyone, deep within their heart, wants to go to heaven. So, the question arises, "How does a person find the way to heaven?" When taking a journey to a distant place, a place we have never visited before, we need two things to guarantee our safe arrival at our destination. First, we need a road map showing the correct road to take, the cities we will pass through and the borders we will cross. Then we need a guide who has been there before and knows how to get there.

To arrive safely in heaven, we must follow the map—the Bible—and rely on our guide—the Holy Spirit. Then, we will personally discover that heaven is truly a wonderful place!

Jesus Taught About Heaven

(Ask the students to join you in saying the memory verse.) Jesus described heaven as His Father's house—a big house with many rooms. He assured His followers that He was going to prepare a place for them. Jesus wanted His disciples to know that if they followed the teaching of the Bible and the leadership of the Holy Spirit, there was room for them in heaven. And best of all, He promised that they would be with Him throughout eternity!

JESUS SAID

  • "Rejoice that your names are written in heaven" (Luke 10:20),
  • "Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven" Matthew (5:12),
  • "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven" (Matthew 6:20).

APOSTLE PAUL TAUGHT

  • "For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands" (2 Corinthians 5:1).
  • "But our citizenship is in heaven" (Philippians 3:20).

APOSTLE JOHN'S REVELATION

The apostle John was a prisoner on the island of Patmos. He looked through an open door into heaven as described in Revelation chapters four and five. He saw the throne of God and Jesus at His right hand. Immediately around the throne were four living creatures saying continually, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty..." (4:8).

Encircling God's throne and the living creatures were the thrones of 24 elders. The 24 elders fell down to worship, laying their crowns before the throne. Each elder was holding a harp and a golden bowl of incense that was the prayers of God's people.

The four living creatures and the 24 elders sang a new song, saying: "You are worthy to take the scroll and open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation" (5:9).

Then John looked and saw thousands upon thousands of angels encircling the throne and the living creatures and the elders. They were saying, "Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and praise! ...The four living creatures said ‘Amen’ and the elders fell down and worshiped" (5:12, 14).

These chapters in Revelation teach us that heaven is the dwelling place of God, angels, and all those who have put their faith in Jesus as Saviour and Lord. Heaven is filled with loud praise giving honour to God the Father and Jesus who was slain.

Later in Revelation 21:3-4, John “heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God's dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain for the order of this has passed away.’ " Truly heaven is a wonderful place!

Accepting God's Word

A few years ago my father died. I spoke to him as he was taking his last breath. I said, "When you get to heaven, give mother a big hug for me. Tell my brother Ben that I think of him often. And be sure to greet Uncle Lou for me." Then, dad slipped into eternity.

When we get to heaven, it will be a happy occasion for us to see and talk to our loved ones that have preceded us. However, although that will be a wonderful experience, seeing Jesus is far better. The One who died for us, purchased our salvation, and has since then been our constant companion and friend, will welcome us home. I want to hear him say, "Well done, good and faithful servant! …Come and share your Master's happiness" (Matthew 25:21).

Meet The Jola Fonyi

LOCATION

The Gambia 84,000
Senegal 387,000

RELIGION

Islam 78%    
Born-again 1.5%

SEE THE VIDEO
http://linkupafrica.com/media-gallery/detail/70/1452

The Jola Fonyi reside in southwestern Senegal in isolated, forested regions of the Casamance with smaller concentrations in southern Gambia and northern Guinea-Bissau.

The Jola are a friendly people who are very relaxed and known for their charm towards strangers. Family is central to the Jola culture and all are treated equal while performing their roles in the village. Rice, millet, corn, and peanuts are grown as the primary means of support.

Children are expected to be productive members of the family. At age seven, boys start to shepherd the animals. Girls help at a very young age with fetching water and firewood, cooking, minding younger siblings and other household chores. Children's work groups are also formed between families to help in the fields doing weeding, etc.

ASSESSMENT

Folk or popular Islam is the predominant religion. The traditional Islamic beliefs have been changed from the original meaning to fit pre-existing fears and beliefs. The desire to follow Allah is out of fear, not love for him. The Jola believe in both good and evil spirits. The good spirits protect houses from curses and other troubles while the evil ones demand sacrifices. Shrines are also very prevalent with various meanings attached to each one.

Evangelical missionaries began working with the Jola Fonyi in 1935, focusing their efforts primarily in the Ziguinchor, Senegal area. Several Bible portions are now available in the Jola Fonyi language "Fogny." Work is in progress on the entire New Testament. Film presentations of the gospel are not available in their language, but limited audio presentations are available.

APPEAL

Gospel seed has been sown. Some kernels have fallen on good soil. Born-again believers are present among the Jola. Now God wants to pour out His Holy Spirit upon them, empowering them to penetrate the resistance of their people to biblical truth and see thousands of Jola come into the Kingdom of God.

A breakthrough is possible if we join the existing believers in prayer. Jeremiah the prophet was confined to the courtyard of his prison guards when God gave him a word that is for us today. "This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it—the Lord is his name: 'Call to me and I will answer you'" (Jeremiah 33:2–3). Today let us call to God for the salvation of the Jola Fonyi!

REMEMBER TO PRAY!
Pray for the Jola Fonyi Tribe

1. Open their minds and hearts to the gospel message,
2. Understand and believe that Jesus is more powerful than demonic spirits,
3. Anointing of the Holy Spirit to rest upon the believers’ witness.

Prayer Promise

"Call unto me and I will answer you (Jeremiah 33:3).

MORE INFORMATION: www.linkupafrica.com

Remember: HEAVEN IS A WONDERFUL PLACE

Memory verse: John 14:3
"And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."

1. Everyone will die and enter eternity.
2. Heaven is real because the Bible describes its existence.
3. Jesus wants me to come home to heaven for is preparing a place for me.

Pray for the Jola Fonyi tribe.

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Study 1 | Eternity— Apostle Paul | africaatts.org/go-teach

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