Should You Talk About Heaven When You Share the Gospel?
Christians find their ultimate hope not in this life, but in the life to come. But how do you convey this concept in evangelism without sounding like a lunatic? Should you do this at all? Much evangelism seems to have given up on even trying this. Isn’t it already enough for the unbeliever to swallow that he’s a sinner, Jesus died on the cross and rose again for sinners like him, and—by the way—he must repent and place his trust in this risen Jesus so that he can spend eternity with him? Should we really talk about heaven when we share the gospel?
My answer to this question is a resounding yes. Ultimately, as Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “ If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied .” (1 Cor 15:19). Heaven is what all of us are ultimately longing for, whether we’re aware of it or not. And, in fact, this is where I would start in my evangelism.
I like to talk to unbelievers about their greatest desires. Sometimes it takes some time, but typically they’re able to articulate what they really long for. It might be true love for those who haven’t been loved, or who struggle with relationships that have gone off track, or who have been betrayed by those they loved. It might be rest for those who constantly feel stretched, tired, and weary. It might be righteousness for those who are painfully aware of their own sin. It might be joy for those who are sad. It might be ease and relief for those who have endured many hardships and much pain. It might be comfort for those who mourn. It might be justice for those who have been victims of injustice.
Everyone longs for things like these, yet few feel any real hope that their desires will ever be fulfilled.
HOW HEAVEN MEETS OUR GREATEST DESIRES
This is where heaven comes in—or, I should say, this is where the new heavens and the new earth come in (Isa 65:17; 66:22; 2 Pet 3:13; Rev 21:1). It’s here where perfect love will rule. Here is the place of perfect rest. Here is where righteousness dwells. Here is the place of complete joy. Here is where every tear will be wiped away, and where death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore. And here is the place of perfect justice.
Heaven is the most attractive place we can ever imagine. Heaven is the answer to all our ultimate longings. And, most of all, heaven is where we will see our beautiful Lord Jesus face-to-face. So when you’re evangelizing, how could you neglect to talk about the best part of the Good News?
I’ve never met someone who isn’t drawn to this. Some might dismiss it as “too good to be true”; others might say it’s a fanciful fairy tale. They’ll reject it for one reason or another.
But for others, this promise of heaven simply makes sense. If God exists and has made us, then it makes absolute sense that he has given all of us desires that find their ultimate fulfillment in him.
On the other hand, if we don’t talk about heaven when we evangelize, we might end up overselling what life as a Christian on this earth will look like. We might dismiss health and wealth theology as an ideology, but our evangelism might incidentally offer a modified version of exactly this.
And, of course, it will disappoint.
We might fear looking like a crazy person when we start talking about heaven. But is it really easier to believe that this life, as we all know it, will suddenly get nearly perfect if we only add Jesus? Sure, in some ways it will be better because we have the Holy Spirit as our power from on high, our comforter, our counselor, and our guide. Nonetheless, the Holy Spirit’s ultimate purpose is to lead us through this life until we reach … heaven!
Friends, let’s talk about heaven in our evangelism because it’s the ultimate goal of the gospel’s promise.