Small Group Questions

How Sweet The Sound – I’ll Fly Away

Introduction: 

“I’ll Fly Away”, is a hymn written by Albert E. Brumley. It is another one of the most recorded hymns in history.  It talks about eternal life, Heaven and acceptance. According to interviews, Brumley came up with the idea for “I’ll Fly Away” while picking cotton on his father’s farm in Rock Island, Oklahoma. Brumley says that as he worked he was “humming the old ballad that went like this: ‘If I had the wings of an angel, over these prison walls I would fly,’ and suddenly it dawned on me that I could use this plot for a gospel-type song.”

Something To Talk About: 

There are many songs about Heaven and I’ll Fly Away is one of the more popular ones. But what do we know about Heaven? Let’s look at two broad questions on the place that we will fly away to when we know Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.   

  1. What is Heaven?  The movie “I Can Only Imagine” is an amazing testimony to the grace of redemption and the transformation that only Jesus can give.  The opening words tell us, that we “can only imagine, what it will be like.”  As we think about Heaven, that is all we can do, imagine what we will do when we stand in the presence of Jesus.  The song asks: Will we dance for Jesus? Or in awe be still? Will we stand? Or fall to our knees? Will we sing hallelujah? Or will we be able to sing at all? Yes, we can imagine those things, but how can we relate to Heaven when our baseline is our experience on earth? We can only imagine. Heaven will be far more glorious than anything we can ever imagine! When God gave the Apostle John a glimpse of Jesus in His heavenly glory, John was so overwhelmed that he “fell at his feet as if I were dead.” (Revelation 1:17). One reason Heaven is mysterious and glorious at the same time is because it is absolutely perfect. In this present world we are surrounded by sin and decay and death—but it won’t be true in Heaven. This world also is racked by violence and wars and natural disasters —but again, it won’t be true in Heaven. The Bible says, “Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore.” (Micah 4:3). But the main reason we can not get our minds around the the subject of Heaven is because it is the dwelling place of God. There is no way we can imagine what that will be like. The Bible says, “ I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them.” (Revelation 21:3). Heaven will be our eternal home with God who loved is enough to send His son to die for us. 
  2. What will we do in Heaven? I’m not sure of the specific answer to that, but I don’t think we will be bored. We will never again have to say good-bye to a loved one or give a farewell party. God has different things for different people to do. God made each of us unique with a special ministry and responsibility. Each of us in our own right has a purpose and design for what God has called us to do. Don’t forget, however, that one of the most important things the Bible tells us about Heaven is that it is far greater and more wonderful than anything we can possibly imagine. It’s natural for us to think that our life in Heaven will be like our life on this earth, only greater. But the Bible says, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9). In other words, the joy you get out of sports, reading, exercising or taking long walks on the beach will be insignificant compared with the joy God has in store for you in Heaven.  

Discussion Questions 

  1. What was your reaction when you first heard the song,  I’ll Fly Away?
  2. What aspect(s) of Heaven do you most long to enjoy and see? What (if any) aspects of Heaven are you apprehensive about? 
  3. How do you picture Heaven? What will we be doing there? 
  4. Paul says, “So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:6). How does one develop an attitude of “always” being of good courage? Practically speaking, what are specific things you can do in your daily activities to have a mind which is set on heavenly things? 
  5. Read 2 Corinthians 5:6-8.One of the major themes of this passage is that for the believer, this earth is not our home. Since we know everything on earth is temporary, why is it still so difficult to allow God to be in control of our family, time and/or money? How can you develop a more eternal perspective? 
  6. The Bible says God will always be near (Revelation 21:3). How does this promise that one day God will always be near give you courage today? 
  7. What experiences or teaching have influenced your thoughts about Heaven? How does it differ from what you learned in the weekend message?  
  8. Is it reasonable to expect your experience in Heaven to be exactly like every other person’s experience in Heaven?
  9. How did this week’s message change the way you view Heaven and this life?

Take one thing home with you

The other possible destination is hell. But because we are inundated with images of flames and devils with pitchforks, we fail to see that the essence of hell is relational. Heaven is life with God and hell is life without God. The apostle Paul, taught that hell is a place where people: “They will be punished with eternal destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from his glorious power.” (2 Thessalonians 1:7) Hell is the absence of relationship with our creator. The Biblical picture is that sin separates us from the presence of God, which is the source of all joy and indeed of all love, wisdom, or good things of any sort. Since we were originally created for God’s immediate presence, only in Him will we thrive, flourish, and achieve our highest potential. To lose His presence totally, that would be hell—the loss of our capability for giving or receiving love or joy.”

So that in a nutshell is our choice. Spending eternity with God or without God.