Heaven Is Other People

Series: StandAlone

January 31, 2021
Krys Scroggins

Episode Notes

Heaven is Other People
[Luk 17:20-21 NIV] 20 Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the
kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, "The coming of the
kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, 21 nor will
people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is
in your midst."
- Jean-Paul Sarte "Hell is other people" from his play No Exit
• This is the spirit of our age
- The Bible is derivative
• If you don't understand the first 11 chapters
• If you don't understand the first 3 chapters
- So an early theme, image, or phrase is built upon by later authors
- Here in Luke's gospel we have questions being asked of Jesus by the bible experts
of the time
• The Kingdom is a central theme of Jesus' ministry
- [Mar 1:15 NIV] 15 "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God has come
near. Repent and believe the good news!"
- Jesus commands us to proclaim the Kingdom
- but then Jesus says "the kingdom is within/among you"?
• They are misunderstanding what Jesus is talking about
- they think the Kingdom of God is a temporal presence - think the Kingdom of
David or Solomon
- Jesus is referring even further back
- To understand the Kingdom, we must rewind back to the Garden of Eden
• Eden is sometimes envisioned as a high place
- It was a place where heaven and earth touched


• In the Prophets and Revelation we see the idea introduced that the Garden was
also a temple and the seat of God's presence and authority on earth
- Gen 1 as a temple inauguration ceremony
• The Garden was the Kingdom on earth
- the Garden-Temple was not complete when man was alone
- Adam was divided to make Eve, and then through marriage, they were
unified again
• Adam = man and Eve = life
• When man is unified, there is life
- 7 times God says the world is good or "tov"
• one time he says its not "tov"
• [Gen 2:18 NIV] 18 The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone.
I will make a helper suitable for him."
- "Helper" here is more accurately "Rescuer"
• Hebrew word "Ezer"
• it is used 21 times in the bible and 19 of those is God's relationship to His

- When Adam and Eve sinned, it did two things
• Estranged us from God
• Estranged us from one another
- After the fall, fire fell from heaven showing where God was and where man was not
- God is trying to restore his creation back to his original intent
• He enacts his plan for the restoration of his creation
- Tabernacle - fire, Lev. 9:24
• people gathered unified, prayer was offered, sacrifice was made, fire fell
- Temple - Fire, 2 Chron 7:1
• people gathered unified, prayer was offered, sacrifice was made, fire fell


- decorations like Garden
• Each place was a mini-eden
- But there was another temple
• Ezrah Nehemiah Temple
- Refused the help of the Samaritans (their cousins) but accepted the help of
pagan Kings
- Forced divorces and refused to accept the remanent of Israel left behind
- Ezra 3 - people gathered but not unified, prayer was offered, sacrifice was
made, but fire did not fall
- failed because there was no Eden in their hearts, there was no unity in their
among them
• God estranged Himself from them because they estranged themselves from
one another
- When you think of a Garden, what words come to mind?
• peace, tranquility, abundance, beauty, utility, harmony, satisfaction, contentment
- Look at the Sermon on the Mount
• No anger in your heart - be forgiving, gardens are places of peace
• give your cloak - be generous, gardens are places of abundance
• no adultery - be grateful, gardens satisfy you and content you
• Forgive - the garden has no strife
• love your enemies - be gracious, gardens are places of tranquility
• do you feel purposeless? - gardens are places of utility, they offer help and aid
• All of these are done with the aim to not only build your heart into a miniature
Eden, but to make your relationships Edens as well
- Pentecost
• They were gathered together and living these values
• people gathered unified, prayer was offered, sacrifice was made, fire fell


- because their hearts were like the garden
- because their relationships were like the garden
- The Garden of Eden was made in their hearts and in their relationships
• So, and they added to their number because the Garden is were we are made
- God wants to reclaim your heart
• [Mat 25:40 NIV] 40 "The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of
the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'
- Jesus says if you want to do something for Him, then do something for
someone else, become someone's "Ezer"
• Ezra and Nehemiah's temple did not work because they neglected the second half
of the greatest commandments - to love their neighbors as themselves
• The 120 in the Upper Room at Pentecost became a new place for God to touch
the earth because not only had they made Eden in their hearts, but they had
opened that Garden to others and began to cultivate a garden in their hearts too.
- So, where is the Kingdom? It is among us when we truly love each other!
• The Kingdom being among us looks like life-giving relationships with one another
• Those are formed by cultivating the Garden of Eden in your life
- a life of forgiveness, grace, generosity, and the courage to risk hurt
- Our horizontal relationships will never work as we hope if we do not first have
the vertical relationship working first!
• I encourage you to let the Vinedresser prune you into something fruitful,
something full of life!
• And that may sound impossible, and that is because IT IS!
- Remember, it was not good for man to be alone!
- Find someone in this church whose life has the fragrance of the Garden and
allow God to do through them in your life, what He has done in their lives
• Alternatively, sometimes we feel like we have stopped growing in our relationships
with God, we have hit some kind of spiritual wall.


- Proverbs says "Iron sharpens iron"
• We need to allow people into our lives, win their friendship by displaying all
that God has done in our hearts, and begin to help our Father grow His
Kingdom among us
• Because God cares deeply, more deeply than you or I, about our horizontal
• Lastly, some of us may be afraid of allowing people close, maybe you have been
hurt by people before
- A garden will decay if it is not tended and weeded
- God has already given you the tools you need to clear out the thorns and briars
of unforgiveness, hurt, and bitterness
- You have a church full of men and women of God that have pulled those weeds
before and want to help you before those weeds choke out the seed that God
has sown within you

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