Key Scriptures: Matthew 21:1-11, Psalm 23:6, 1 Peter 1:3-4, 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, John 14:1-3, Revelation 22:1-5, Matthew 6:19-21, Revelation 21:18-27, Revelation 21:1-5, Hebrews 13:14, 2 Corinthians 5:1, Philippians 3:20-21, Revelation 4:1-11, John 10:28, Revelation 7:9, Matthew 25:31-46, 2 Thessalonians 1:9, Romans 6:23, Romans 1:18, Revelation 21:8, Matthew 10:28, Matthew 25:41, Revelation 20:15, Revelation 14:11, Matthew 7:21-23, Matthew 13:50, Luke 16:19-31
Guiding Question: What kind of dreams does God want us to have for our future?
Introductory Activity: Give students blank sheets of paper. Ask them to sketch out (words or art) their dream of the perfect future for themselves. Give them a few minutes. Encourage a couple of students to share their dreams for their future. Ask students if they knew for sure they would one day have grandchildren, what their dreams for those kids would be.
Lesson: (Questions to students are in bold italics.) There is nothing wrong with day dreaming occasionally about our possible future…whether it’s about college, career, spouse, travel or anything else. People have had dreams about their future probably since early in time. Don’t you think Jacob was dreaming about life with Rachel when he was working all of those years to be able to marry her?
Read Matthew 21:1-11. What were the people dreaming their future would be with Jesus in power? What was God’s plan/dream for Jesus? In this story, there is a problem because the dreams of the people aren’t matching up to God’s dream for them. It’s not that God wanted them to continue to be mistreated by the Romans. God knew that eternity is much longer than the few years those people would spend on Earth. His dream was better than theirs. He wanted to make it possible for people to spend eternity with Him in Heaven. That could only happen if Jesus died on the cross. Had Jesus become the earthly king the people wanted, God’s plan would be ruined. Satan even knew that because when he tempted Jesus, the temptations revolved around the idea of earthly power – like that of a king.
God doesn’t mind if we have dreams for our future on Earth – as long as those dreams are godly. He realizes that if we focus on just those dreams, we may put at risk our ultimate dream of an eternity in Heaven. Read the following scriptures. What does each passage teach us about the importance of spending eternity in Heaven as our most important dream?
- Psalm 23:6
- 1 Peter 1:3-4
- 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
- Matthew 6:19-21
- Hebrews 13:14
- 2 Corinthians 5:1
When we dream about the future, we usually have images in mind – even if they are a bit fuzzy. So how should we picture Heaven when we dream about our future there? It’s a bit problematic because the Bible refers to Heaven as indescribable. Those like Jesus and John who try to put it in words we can understand are limited to using the most beautiful things on Earth to compare it to in their descriptions. When we read these descriptions, we have to remember Heaven will be so very much better than that – no matter what our personal tastes on Earth are currently.
Read the following passages. How is Heaven described in each?
- John 14:1-3
- Revelation 22:1-5
- Revelation 21:18-27
- Revelation 21:1-5
- Philippians 3:20-21
- Revelation 4:1-11
- John 10:28
- Revelation 7:9
The problem with dreaming about Heaven is that (just like earthly dreams) not everyone’s dreams come true. Faithful, productive Christians don’t have to worry because an eternity in Heaven is promised to them. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who aren’t Christian. So what happens to those who have had the opportunity to learn about God and obey, but have chosen not to do so? Read Matthew 25:31-46. What does this passage teach?
This is why it is so vitally important we teach others and encourage them to become the Christians God has called all of us to be. To ignore their disobedience and rejection of God and make them believe they are “fine” because they are living “their truth”, is cruel. We need to be loving in the ways we have these conversations, but we need to give everyone the chance to change their lives. That is why sharing our faith is one of the top responsibilities Jesus gave all Christians before he went to Heaven.
A lot of people today want to believe He’ll is a fictional place. That people who don’t go to Heaven just cease to exist. But souls are eternal. Jesus told a story about a man who lived his life of wealth arrogantly. Read Luke 16:19-31. The rich man found out the hard way Hell is real. What did he experience and what did he want to do because of his experiences?
Unfortunately, it was too late for the rich man to change his fate. Jesus also taught that those who are arrogant in their disbelief and/or u willingness to obey God wouldn’t even change their ways if someone they knew came back from Hell and warned them! Thankfully, some people are wise enough to change their ways and become Christians. Since we don’t know who is willing to listen and who isn’t, we have to share our faith with everyone we can.
As faithful, productive Christians we don’t have to walk around in constant terror of Hell. There is a fear though that is healthy. It’s the level of fear that makes us avoid swimming with alligators on purpose. It’s an accurate understanding of the negative consequences of ending up there and the desire to avoid it at all costs.
Read the following scriptures. When you or someone else is tempted to reject God and Christianity, how could remembering these realities of Hell help change minds?
- 2 Thessalonians 1:9
- Romans 6:23
- Romans 1:18
- Revelation 21:8
- Matthew 10:28
- Revelation 20:15
- Revelation 14:11
- Matthew 7:21-23
- Matthew 13:50
Skills Activity: Review the main points from the lesson. There are several options for activities depending upon the needs of your students.
- Provide a variety of art supplies. Have students create a work of art that will help motivate them to follow God all of the days of their lives
- Have a discussion about the ways people their age can find themselves moving away from or rejecting God and how they can avoid doing the same thing
- Work with students on effective ways of sharing their faith with others. Give them opportunities to practice on each other until they feel comfortable sharing their faith with friends, family and people they have just met
Application Challenge: Read the scriptures from the lesson. How can you remember to dream about a future in Heaven? How can you take advantage of the images of Hell to help you make good choices when tempted to sin (without being in a constant state of fear and anxiety)?