Session Twelve – An Earth-Dweller’s Guide to Participating in Heaven on Earth
Session Twelve – An Earth-Dweller’s Guide to Participating in Heaven on Earth
We finish this study by thinking about how we can participate in what God is doing to bring heaven to the world around us.

We finish this study of What on Earth is Heaven? by thinking about how we can participate in what God is doing to bring heaven to the world around us.

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Is heaven just about the future when we die or I it also about our lives now on earth? Jesus preached at the start of the gospels about heaven, but it was not referred to as some far off place in the future, He said, ‘the kingdom of heaven is near.’ Further on in the gospels Jesus also said that, ‘the kingdom of heaven is amongst you and within you.’  The message he preached was not about going to heaven, but rather, heaven coming to earth and was the purpose of the Holy Spirit being sent.

When we become a Christian the Holy Spirit comes and dwells in us and we become a doorway between heaven and earth.  We become renewed, a new creation, where heaven and earth touch.  It may seem a strange way to think about it but in essence we become a tabernacle, a place where God is present. See 1 Cor 3:16. We are like the loving power of heaven that can flow out and restore and heal the broken-hearted square inch of the world around us.  When we meet as Christian there is a special concentration of heaven on earth.

Even though heaven is here and now as well as in the future it is not yet fully completed until Jesus returns.  In the book this is compared to ‘D-Day’ in 1944 – in this invasion the allied armies tried to form a ‘bridgehead’ on the beaches of Northern France.  This is a secure area within an enemy occupied territory where an invasion can start. As Christians, we are like a bridgehead of heaven on earth.

The kingdom of heaven is here now, by the death and resurrection of Jesus and the sending of the Holy Spirit, but it’s not yet fully here.  There is still the battle, here on earth, between God’s good will and the enemy who is set on derailing the plan.  This battle only ends when Jesus returns.  It is not us that can take the credit for building heaven here on earth.  The gospel is a call for us to participate in what God is doing in His kingdom. There is a distinction through us building his church and Christ building his kingdom through us.  We must let go of our own agendas and see what God is doing. This requires prayers, patience, trust, and a willingness to serve the bigger plan.

As God invites us to be part of this plan, we need a baptised imagination to see how the ordinary, everyday things that make up our square inch of the earth can be transformed by the loving power of heaven.  This process is not easy and will take courage to fulfil but Jesus promises he will be with us until the end of time, and we can have hope because our labour is not in vain. The battle is already won!

Discussion Points

In the Lord’s prayer, Jesus teaches his disciples to pray, “Your kingdom come,
your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

Some Christians have interpreted the apostle Paul’s words, “Our citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20) to mean that Christians are just waiting to escape this earth for a heavenly home. But on p.160 I argue that although Christians are citizens of heaven, they are citizens of heaven on earth.

“If we are to take part in the kingdom of God, we need to learn to be heavenly minded. This does not mean thinking of some far-off ethereal future, but thinking about what this square inch of the world in front of me would like if it were transformed by the power of heaven?” (p.163)

I argue that the term ‘taking part in the kingdom of heaven’ is more accurate to biblical teaching than ‘building the kingdom of heaven.’

“It has been when Christians have thought that they are building the kingdom of God that the church has become most despotic, violent and abusive.” (p.165)

Trusting God’s way, rather than taking matters into our own hands, means “humility, prayerfulness and waiting.” (p.166)

In C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce, his guide to heaven explains that ‘Fame in this country [heaven] and fame on earth are two quite different things.’

The Dutch Christian politician and theologian Abraham Kuyper said, ‘There is not a square inch in the whole domain of human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry ‘Mine!’’ The apostle Paul wrote that God’s will is to “…bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.” (Ephesians 1:10)

On p.172 I write that, ‘Christians should not be triumphalist about the kingdom of heaven and think that things on earth will just get better and better until everything is perfect.’

In his letter to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul encourages them that their “Labour in the Lord is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58). Jesus reassures us that “Your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:4)


Ask God to show you which area of your square inch of the world he wants you to be a part of bringing heaven to, and to open your imagination so you can see creative ways to do so.

Thank God for all he has shown you during this study of heaven and earth. (It might be good to specifically name those things to each other.)