“In Heaven There Ain’t No” Nov. 6, 2022

Posted by on Jun 12, 2023 in Sermon archives

In Heaven There Ain’t No….

Luke 20:27-38

, “Teacher, Moses wrote us that if a man dies and leaves a wife but no child, his brother is obligated to marry her and give her children.” Thus begins one of the trickiest and most convoluted theology puzzles That we are apt to find in the gospels. “but before we dive into this, I think it’s best that we get a better understanding of the players in this little drama of biblical law. first of all we have the Sadducees. Now I imagine that you all remember the numerous times that the Pharisees tried to trip him up while Jesus was preaching in public. Along with the scribes, They seemed to get no end of enjoyment out of attempting to embarrass the Lord in public, and therefore shaming him in the eyes of his listeners.


We don’t hear much, however, from the Sadducees And the reason for that Is because most of them were rich dudes and didn’t go out in the public square very often.


Besides having lots of money, the Sadducees’ big claim to fame was their disbelief in the resurrection, which put them at odds with their pharisee counterparts, but that was no matter. Both groups we’re more than happy to put their differences aside to continue working in and around the temple, which was one of the cushiest jobs in town. and like I said,  the Sadducees were, by and large, a wealthy bunch. We always have to wonder when religious leaders are dripping with cash.

And here’s another thing: either these guys underestimated this Jesus of Nazareth, or they just weren’t that smart. You see. this story of the widowed wife and the seven brothers is the same story they had been telling forever to justify their  lack of belief in the resurrection.

It’s true that the law of Moses dictated A man must Marry his brother’s wife if the brother dies. It sounds crazy I know, But without children, a nation will disappear over time. Plus, consider disease and famine and the propensity to go off to war at the drop of a hat and you can see why replenishing the population was important.

so the law stated that if a man died it was his brother’s legal responsibility to marry his widow and hopefully have some children after the fact. everybody knew this. it was, after all, the law: the law of Moses.

so when the Sadducees created this crazy hypothetical based upon that law to convince folks that the resurrection couldn’t be true, I’m sure a lot of folks thought to themselves. “Hmm. maybe they have point. maybe there is no such thing.”

but Jesus didn’t get angry, he didn’t look to embarrass them in public. No, Jesus chose to make this a teachable moment, and that’s where I find the real value in this passage.

Now, for those of us that struggle, perhaps, with the concept of the resurrection of the body, of the spirit, of the soul – wherever you find yourself on this issue; for those of us that struggle, this passage is for us. This is for us, because deep down I believe there is a little bit of Sadducee in all of us. We want to believe in eternal life, we want to believe in salvation,

But we get bogged down with our need to know how it all works. What is it like? what can we expect? Whose wife will I be? whose husband will I be? Will I get my hair back? But you see that’s not even funny really – about the hair thing. but really that’s what we do sometimes, we get hung up in the nuts and bolts and we miss out on the glory.

Jesus told the Sadducees, ““Marriage is a major preoccupation here, but not there. Those who are included in the resurrection of the dead will no longer be concerned with marriage nor, of course, with death.” how the sadducees reacted to this we don’t know. but I can just about imagine that they walked away mumbling under their breath, “oh, what does he know?”


I remember a time many years ago when I was visiting my mother and father and I brought with me a new album by Willie Nelson. one of the songs on this album was called” uncloudy Day.” Remember that one?


Oh, they tell me of a home far beyond the skies
Oh, they tell me of a home far away
Oh, they tell me of a home where no storm clouds rise
Oh, they tell me of an unclouded day

Oh, the land of cloudless days
Oh, the land of an unclouded sky
Oh, they tell me of a home where no storm clouds rise
Oh, they tell me of an unclouded day


The whole album was a collection of songs like that, but what I remember is my dad muttering something about The record being nothing but a bunch of funeral songs. It hurt my feelings a bit, but honestly, at 18 years old, I hadn’t been to enough funerals to know any better. My point is, we write songs and we quote scripture so that we might have  some kind of an idea What a resurrection life might be like. The beauty of our gospel lesson today is the Words spoken to the Sadducees are spoken to us as well. those who are considered worthy of taking part in the age to come and in the resurrection from the dead can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection. 

In other words, if you want to know what heaven is like, it is like nothing you can imagine.


Like I said, the concept of eternal life is something that we struggle with sometimes. I struggle sometimes. I want details, I want real life examples, I want to read articles about near death experiences and bright light and out of body experiences. but that’s no good. Proof of the promise of the resurrection can’t be found in the national Enquirer. It can, however, be found in the life and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is the example. And it can be found Throughout scripture – we don’t have to look very hard to find promises of eternal life, the most well loved will have to be   from the Apostle John Who tells us. “for God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever would believe in him will not perish, but have eternal life.” that is a promise to build our faith upon. that is a promise to stake our hope upon. That is a resurrection promise.


now to lighten things up a bit, I do want to apologize for the sermon title today.


it’s just that when I think of Jesus telling these religious leaders all the things they won’t find in heaven, the old Tom T. Hall song just popped in my head and wouldn’t go away. remember that one? : in heaven there ain’t no beer, that’s why we drink it here.” Anyhow, I apologize. I’ll blame it on my somewhat muddled brain. But old Tom T might have been on to something here. what we ain’t gonna find in heaven is more of the same that we have here on earth. What we are gonna find – what we have been promised – is life everlasting As true children of God. That’s a promise And the Lord our God Doesn’t make promises lightly.


Now, As for there being no beer in heaven. I don’t think Tom T. Hall Knows what he’s talking about.

Amen and shalom




































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