Below are the notes for the sermon preached at Morningside Baptist Church this past Sunday.
(Note: I am not a pastor or a preacher but it was a gracious privilege allowed me by the Grace of God through the elders and my brothers and sisters at Morningside Baptist Church to meditate for some time upon Heaven and then deliver a message derived from the notes below.)
(Note below: TNT = Tyndales New Testament.)
SET YOUR AFFECTIONS ON THINGS ABOVE
March 7, 2010
This morning let us think about Heaven. Meditate upon this place and upon those truths which tell us there is a heaven, and one day Jesus Christ, if we are though sinners yet trusting in him, he will bring us there. One day not very far away. Heaven is our home - Our destination.
My Grandma left this world of the dying only but two Saturdays ago, Feb 20th. And I have great hope, she is today in that place of the living, in Heaven. Death, observing it, thinking about it, walking through it as dear precious one leaves us also by grace brings us closer to the heaven that is before us. Death forces us to realize that we are only for a time living in this world that is passing away - and are by that grace of God in Jesus Christ hoping for that world that will NEVER FADE AWAY.
SET YOUR AFFECTION/MIND ON THE THINGS ABOVE.
KJV Colossians 3:2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
NAU Colossians 3:2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.
NIV Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
ESV Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
TNT Colossians 3:2 Set youre affeccion on thynges that are above and not on thinges which are on the erth.
This is a very simple verse. With a very heavenly command.
The verse does not say “Your affections are on things above.” “Your mind IS focused on heaven.” which I hope is true. God may it be so.
The verse is a NOT A STATEMENT OF FACT but a directive:
SET YOUR MINDS … SET YOUR AFFECTIONS .. On things above. DO IT. DO THIS. MIND THINGS ABOVE.
Those three words in “Set your mind” or “Set your affections” are the translation of but one greek VERB.
WHICH USED IN THIS WAY MEANS:
ponder on, be intent on, keep thinking about (see PH 3.19)
As we also see in:
KJV Philippians 3:19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)
NAU Philippians 3:19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.
NIV Philippians 3:19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.
ESV Philippians 3:19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.
TNT Philippians 3:19 whose ende is dampnacion whose God is their bely and whose glory is to their shame which are worldely mynded.
SO THE COMMAND - THE DIRECTION TO US - in COL 3:2 is to
BE INTENT UPON…
KEEP THINKING ABOUT…
Which all our translators well say ---- when they tell us to “SET”
We must do this, I must purposefully, SET my thoughts, SET MY THINKING, SET MY OWN AFFECTIONS IN SUCH A WAY THAT I KEEP THINKING ABOUT…..
The things Above and not the THINGS that are on the earth.
Things above are being contrasted to things upon the earth.
Above - Heavenly things
To things below - cares, riches and pleasures of this earth. Earthly things.
Are you like me? Do you here pause at this directive asking: “Where do my thoughts linger most? Above or Below. Heaven or Earth? Eternal or Temporal? IS my mind, my affections properly focused on the Heavenly Things? Do I think appropriately of Heaven? Do I even know that death is very close at hand in view of eternity? And passing through death -- Heaven.
Col 3:2 Set your affections on things above,.... For unless the affections are set on them, they will never be sought after in a proper manner. The word signifies to mind them, and think on them, to favour and approve of them, to be affectionately desirous of them, and concerned for them; for where the treasure is, the heart should be; and as the saints' best things are above, their minds and affections should be there likewise; their contemplation should be on those things, and their conversation should be in heaven; nor should they regard anything but what is there, or comes from thence, for they belong not to this world, but to another and better country: their citizenship is in heaven, and there, in a short time, they must have their everlasting residence; and therefore should seek after, and highly prize and value heavenly things, and set their affections on them,
Let’s read again this verse in context:
Col 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
Col 3:2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
Col 3:3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
Col 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
Verse 1 says I’m risen already. Eph 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ.
Verse 3 says I’m dead.
(see also Romans 6)
Verse 1 says to seek those things which are above - where JESUS IS even now sitting on the right hand of God. My Jesus, My LORD, MY KING, MY SAVIOR, the one who stood in my place, as the substitute suffering for my very sins, the evils that I have done, that I have thought, the unkindnesses, the cursing, the rebellion, my heart itself at enmity with GOD. I have sinned and Jesus Christ my substitute stood in my place bearing them in his own body there on the cross. He was treated as if he had done them - they were laid upon him and there God’s Justice was satisfied and the debt I incurred was paid perfectly and fully. Jesus Christ who though he was from above, yet he was made of the woman made under the law and he perfectly upheld the law in my place. God sent his only begotten son…. He stood as my substitute, my head, my representative so that now I, by faith am treated as if I had done what he did, being declared righteous for my righteous Lord Jesus Christ did what was required of me and in my place. WHICH THINGS HE DID FOR THE GLORY THAT WAS SET BEFORE HIM.
Verse 3 says our life is hid with Christ in God. I am hid in Christ now. Christ is in Heaven.
Dead now - dead to sin, dead to the world, dead to the lusts of this world, my life is Hid in Christ. Safe in Christ. The world does not know of it, cannot understand, it is hid in Christ and safe there and Christ in GOD. What motive then to MIND THINGS ABOVE. Seeing Christ has made me alive though I was dead in sin, and in Christ I am dead to sin, to this world, hid with Him and He in God.
Verse 4 though already by faith and grace I am risen with Christ, yet verse 4 looks forward to Jesus, who is coming again and then even my body though buried for years on end will be raised up to appear with him in glory - to be where he is. To dwell with Jesus in eternity - in heaven.
SO THEN These things being true - purpose to think and keep thinking intently upon things above. Heavenly things. It is a command and it is right. And it will prove to our great blessing. Live your lives now -- with an eternal perspective - live now knowing you will soon inhabit eternity. Live now with your affections, your thoughts in proper perspective, value things according to their true worth. Temporal things - things of this earth are only temporary - Heaven is our Long and eternal home.
With my Grandma passing, with death so close by, I tried to IMAGINE what it must be to walk through that door of death and come out on the other side in ETERNITY. To, in a moment, find my ownself ABSENT from the body and PRESENT with the Lord. What must it be like there? I don’t know so well and so perfectly, I can’t imagine. But I CAN and MUST live with an eternal perspective.
Long ago as a young Christian this prayer was taught to me, originally credited to Jonathon Edwards:
“STAMP ETERNITY ON MY EYES.”
I don’t pray this way enough, “O’ God indeed Stamp eternity on my eyes.” Let me look only through these eyes with your eternal perspective filter. Heaven awaits us. Eternity lies before us. There is Jesus. There is our home forever. There is perfection. Stamp it upon my eyes.
When I look upon my dear wife, let me see one who is my sister in Christ. Who will also dwell there by grace forever with Jesus, today my co-heir and co-laborer. Today my companion whom God has given me that I might more effectively serve him with ETERNITY IN VIEW.
When I look upon those precious children you have given me, let me see them in view of eternity. God help me that I might buy up precious time to speak eternity and eternal truths into their heart. That they might grow by your grace as effective soldiers for Jesus Christ. Arrows of God shot from the quiver full you given me.
As I eat my daily substance, let me think how you are graciously nourishing my body with such things to strengthen me for working as unto the Lord ETERNAL, who will receive me into eternity for his son’s sake. Let me also be reminded how you do nourish my own soul with spiritual meat, that I have something by which I am equipped to RUN for heaven, to be of service to my God. To be the blessing of God to those you put before me.
As I walk through the wilderness of this world let me understand things as they truly are in light of eternity. My troubles now but temporary, my sadnesses and sorrows soon to be swallowed up in heaven - in eternity. My sicknesses and pains one day gone.
As I walk through the wilderness of this world, let me look upon those you set before me as they truly are, and open the doors before me to speak into my friends, my family, my acquaintances such things as will bless them not just now but for eternity. Make me a comfort that is comfort indeed to those who need comforting. And a help that is help indeed to those you give.
STAMP ETERNITY ON MY EYES.
It’s not in me, but God by grace you can enable, you can give me such a heart that looks through the lense of eternity which has been by your grace, stamped upon my eyes.
Your Word commands me: “Set your affections on things above not on things upon the earth.” Even so God give me such a mind as this. Direct my thoughts, direct my affections and STAMP ETERNITY ON MY EYES.
TURN NOW TO THE THIRD CHAPTER OF PHILIPPIANS as the apostle Paul by the Spirit of God gives us an example of how we ought to think and walk and live:
See here how Paul sets his own mind on things above:
Php 3:7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
For Christ he thought things that were an earthly gain a LOSS
Php 3:8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
All things considered/and valued as a loss - Christ so beautiful - Christ so excellent - they are a loss and he would much rather have THIS KNOWLEDGE - a heavenly knowledge concerning the SURPASSING VALUE - THE EXCELLENCY of THE KNOWLEDGE OF JESUS CHRIST - KNOWING CHRIST - KNOWING WHO HE IS AND WHAT HE HAS DONE AND COUNTING THOSE THINGS MOST PRECIOUS AND EARTHLY THINGS DUNG.
Php 3:9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
Php 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
THAT I MAY KNOW HIM - A MIND INTENT UPON CHRIST AND CONFORMING UNTO HIM, COMMUNION WITH HIS SUFFERINGS.
Php 3:11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
Valuing the eternal - an eternal perspective so that BY ANY MEANS TO ATTAIN THIS WHICH COUNTS FOR ALL ETERNITY - THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD.
Php 3:12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
Pursuing hard after, PRESSING, FOLLOWING HARD, -- his affections are there and he will PRESS HARD TO LAY HOLD ON THAT WHICH HE IS LAYED HOLD OF ALREDY BY CHRIST.
Php 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
With that eternal perspective - earthly things FORGOTTEN - REACHING FORTH UNTO THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE BEFORE - ETERNAL - IN HEAVEN. STRETCHING OUT AFTER.
Php 3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
PRESSING TOWARD -- Diwkw
Php 3:15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
We should think like this.
Php 3:16 Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.
Together in unity with this mind in us.
Php 3:17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.
Following Paul’s example - imitating his example. So that we LIVE with eternity stamped upon our eyes.
Php 3:18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:
Php 3:19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)
What do you mind? Where are your thoughts? Heavenly things? Eternal Things? Earthly…..
Php 3:20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
Heaven, our homeland, each of us who believe in Christ, Heaven is our country.
to, literally, what has been made into a civic entity commonwealth, state; figuratively in the NT, of belonging to God's kingdom place of citizenship, homeland (PH 3.20)
expect, (eagerly) await, look for (RO 8.23); absolutely wait patiently (RO 8.25)
WE are citizens of heaven - if Christ has bought us with his own blood - paid the redemption price - satisfied the judgement of God, his wrath against our own sin, stood in our place as the perfect sacrifice, then Christ will bring us to HEAVEN and that is our HOMELAND, Heaven is our country, we are it’s people, we are CITIZENS OF HEAVEN. God is our King. OUR CITIZENSHIP IS IN HEAVEN. We ought to set our minds upon it. We ought to live with HEAVEN before us. We ought to think intently upon it and keep thinking upon it.
Php 3:21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
Even our bodies will one day in the resurrection be made fit and changed - Christ purchased the whole of us and we will dwell in eternity with him forever.
A BAD SAYING:
As a young christian I was attending a church where one Sunday the pastor taught us this saying:
“You are so heavenly minded that you are of no earthly good.”
I suppose I know what he meant. And we should consider that.
Matthew Poole commented on Col 3:2 also by admonishing:
‘they are obliged, in a due subordination, to take care of themselves and families for these things below, so far as to put them into a capacity of raising them more heavenward.”
When the scriptures say “Not on things on the earth” it is not to teach us to neglect our homes, neglect our children, be slothful employees, complete disinterest in the welfare and well-being of our companions. No, We must occupy until comes. We must do all these things with HEAVEN IN VIEW. Not to fuel and feed the lusts of our flesh - but to enjoy things given us of God appropriately and in such a way that it glorifies our Father in Heaven. And with a capacity of “RAISING THEM MORE HEAVENWARD” as Matthew Poole wrote.
The tendency of this saying, “You are so heavenly minded that you are of no earthly good,” is to take us off an eternal perspective. To shame us for thinking upon heaven and heavenly things. It will take us away from the spiritual the eternal.
Let us think rather:
“Unless you are heavenly minded you will indeed be of no eternal good here on earth.”
I DON’T HAVE THE ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE AS I OUGHT. ITS THERE IN A SEED BUT O’ GOD THAT IT MIGHT GROW.
IT IS A FIGHT.
When times are dark, for me more often, despair sets in. I too often feel more hopelessness than hope. God’s arm of grace is not short. He is not weak. When it’s the darkest - I must remember that Heaven is my long home. But it’s a fight of faith. I must remember the words which speak to me by grace,
2Co 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
2Co 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Rom 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
When times are good, one the one hand I fear they will soon pass, and on the other hand I forget that these enjoyments lawful and good are not my richest joy and greatest pleasure - I ought to remember those yet await me in heaven. So I’m not so setting my affections on things above as I ought, not so much daily living with the very present conscience understanding that my citizenship is in heaven as I ought. I have it in seed may God give such grace that it will grow.
Psa 39:4 LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am.
He had nothing to say to the wicked that were before him, for to them he knew not how to place his words, but, after long musing, the first word he said was a prayer, and a devout meditation upon a subject which it will be good for us all to think much of.
1. He prays to God to make him sensible of the shortness and uncertainty of life and the near approach of death (Psa 39:4): Lord, make me to know my end and the measure of my days. He does not mean, “Lord, let me know how long I shall live and when I shall die.” We could not, in faith, pray such a prayer; for God has nowhere promised to let us know, but has, in wisdom, locked up that knowledge among the secret things which belong not to us, nor would it be good for us to know it. But, Lord, make me to know my end, means, “Lord, give me wisdom and grace to consider it (Deu 32:29) and to improve what I know concerning it.” The living know that they shall die (Ecc 9:5), but few care for thinking of death; we have therefore need to pray that God by his grace would conquer that aversion which is in our corrupt hearts to the thoughts of death. “Lord, make me to consider,” (1.) “What death is. It is my end, the end of my life, and all the employments and enjoyments of life. It is the end of all men,” Ecc 7:2. It is a final period to our state of probation and preparation, and an awful entrance upon a state of recompence and retribution. To the wicked man it is the end of all joys; to a godly man it is the end of all griefs. “Lord, give me to know my end, to be better acquainted with death, to make it more familiar to me (Job 17:14), and to be more affected with the greatness of the change. Lord, give me to consider what a serious thing it is to die.” (2.) “How near it is. Lord, give me to consider the measure of my days, that they are measured in the counsel of God” (the end is a fixed end, so the word signifies; my days are determined, Job 14:5) “and that the measure is but short: My days will soon be numbered and finished.” When we look upon death as a thing at a distance we are tempted to adjourn the necessary preparations for it; but, when we consider how short life is, we shall see ourselves concerned to do what our hand finds to do, not only with all our might, but with all possible expedition. (3.) That it is continually working in us: “Lord, give me to consider how frail I am, how scanty the stock of life is, and how faint the spirits which are as the oil to keep that lamp burning.” We find by daily experience that the earthly house of this tabernacle is mouldering and going to decay: “Lord, make us to consider this, that we may secure mansions in the house not made with hands.”
SHORT TIME HERE:
Our time Here is Short - Eternity is a Long time - an Eternal length of Time - a place without time. Our Home is there, we are citizens of that country. We ought to live in this recognition:
James 4:13 Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:
James 4:14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.
James 4:15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.
PILGRIMS PASSING THROUGH:
KJV 1 Peter 1:17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:
NAU 1 Peter 1:17 If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth;
NIV 1 Peter 1:17 Since you call on a Father who judges each man's work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.
ESV 1 Peter 1:17 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile,
TNT 1 Peter 1:17 And yf so be that ye call on the father which with out respecte of person iudgeth accordinge to every manes worke se that ye passe the tyme of youre pilgremage in feare.
Living in Godly fear, holy fear that runs to God as opposed to cowarding and shrinking from his presence. Trusting fear, trusting Christ only and not my own good works. But working fear, working out my own salvation with fear and trembling knowing that it is God who works in me both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
There is a short time here - eternity is in view - live as unto God in all things pleasing to him knowing that soon we will be forever there with him.
HEAVEN OUR ETERNAL HOME:
Heb 13:14 For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.
2Cor 5:1-4 earnestly desire
Psa 16:11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
Psa 17:15 As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.
“As for me.” “I neither envy nor covet these men's happiness, but partly have and partly hope for a far better.” To behold God's face and to be changed by that vision into his image, so as to partake in his righteousness, this is my noble ambition; and in the prospect of this I cheerfully waive all my present enjoyments. My satisfaction is to come; I do not look for it as yet. I shall sleep awhile, but I shall wake at the sound of the trumpet; wake to everlasting joy, because I arise in thy likeness, O my God and King! Glimpses of glory good men have here below to stay their sacred hunger, but the full feast awaits them in the upper skies. Compared with this deep, ineffable, eternal fulness of delight, the joys of the worldling are as a glowworm to the sun, or the drop of a bucket to the ocean.
This truth comforts us, this truth dwelling upon it fuels our HOPE, comforts our hearts, settles us in rest waiting upon Christ alone to bring us there.
MORE COMFORT IN THE DARKEST OF TIMES WHEN OUR EYES ARE SET UPON HEAVENLY THINGS:
Psa 23:1 A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
Psa 23:2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
Psa 23:3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Psa 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Psa 23:5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Psa 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” This is a fact as indisputable as it is encouraging, and therefore a heavenly verily, or “surely” is set as a seal upon it. This sentence may be read, “only goodness and mercy,” for there shall be unmingled mercy in our history. These twin guardian angels will always be with me at my back and my beck. Just as when great princes go abroad they must not go unattended, so it is with the believer. Goodness and mercy follow him always - “all the days of his life” - the black days as well as the bright days, the days of fasting as well as the days of feasting, the dreary days of winter as well as the bright days of summer. Goodness supplies our needs, and mercy blots out our sins. “And I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.” “A servant abideth not in the house for ever, but the son abideth ever.” While I am here I will be a child at home with my God; the whole world shall be his house to me; and when I ascend into the upper chamber I shall not change my company, nor even change the house; I shall only go to dwell in the upper storey of the house of the Lord for ever.
May God grant us grace to dwell in the serene atmosphere of this most blessed Psalm!
GOD IS THERE: HERE HE GUIDES US AND TO THAT PLACE HE WILL RECEIVE US
Psa 73:24 Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.
Psa 73:25 Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.
Psa 73:25 Whom have I in heaven but thee,.... Which includes God the Father, Son, and Spirit; God the Father, as his only covenant God and Father; Christ as his only Mediator, Saviour, and Redeemer, Head, Husband, Advocate, and Intercessor; the Spirit as his only sanctifier, Comforter, earnest, and sealer; and is expressive of their being the one and only Lord God, the sole object of worship, trust, and confidence; his only helper and guide; and in whom his supreme happiness and glory lay; and it excludes the sun, moon, and stars, in the lower heavens, from being the object of worship and trust; and angels and glorified saints in the highest heavens: the words may be rendered, "who is for me in heaven?" (e) on my side, my protector and defender; see Rom 8:31.
and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee; or "with thee" (f); there are many things on earth desirable, as riches, health, friends, food, raiment, &c. but not to be compared with God and Christ, and the blessed Spirit; with the love of God, the grace of Christ, and the communion of the Holy Ghost; there are none to be loved and delighted in as they, nor anything so desirable as fellowship with them: or "with thee I desire not the earth" (g); the whole world, and all things in it, are nothing in comparison of God; if a man was possessed of the whole of it, and had not interest in the Lord, he would be miserable; and if he has an interest in him, he has enough without it; for all things are his, God is all in all; wherefore he is willing to leave all, and be with him for ever: the Targum is,
"who is like unto thee, that is, mine in heaven but thee? and with thee I do not desire a companion on earth.''
JESUS PREPARES FOR US A PLACE THERE:
Joh 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
Joh 14:2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
Joh 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
Joh 14:4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
Joh 14:5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?
Joh 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
There we will be EVER WITH THE LORD:
1Th 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
It is called EVERLASTING LIFE:
Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Mat 25:31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
Mat 25:32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
Mat 25:33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
Mat 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
Mat 25:35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
Mat 25:36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
Mat 25:37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
Mat 25:38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
Mat 25:39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
Mat 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Mat 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
Mat 25:42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
Mat 25:43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
Mat 25:44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
Mat 25:45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
Mat 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
THE WORLD KNOWS NOTHING OF HEAVEN and THE THINGS ABOVE TRULY:
1Co 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
1Co 2:10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
God has revealed them unto us by his Spirit. He has one the one hand given by divine inspiration revelation of heavenly things - gospel truths - revealed truth and the written word of God, plus by his spirit brings these things to our understanding being spiritually discerned and also glimpses of heaven itself through his holy apostles and prophets. And on the other hand he has given us a foretaste of heaven now spoken of in Ephesians the first chapter:
Eph 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
Eph 1:14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
EARNEST / A FORETASTE / HEAVEN BEGUN IN OUR HEARTS NOW / taste of our INHERITANCE IN ETERNITY
WE KNOW CLEARLY SOME THINGS NOT IN HEAVEN:
1Pe 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
1Pe 1:4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
Nothing that corrupts and decays and destroys
Nothing that defiles - no sin - no pollution of heart
Nothing that fades away - it is eternal
Rev 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
No tears any more
No more dying
No more crying
No more sorrowing
Nothing to bring pain of heart, anguish of soul, or distress of our resurrected bodies.
Rev 22:3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:
will be no curse; here will be no sin, the cause of the curse, nor pain and sorrow, nor death, corporeal, spiritual, and eternal, or the wrath of God, the several effects of sin, and parts of the curse; the curse of the law cannot here take place; for, besides the righteousness of Christ, which all in the new Jerusalem will be clothed with, and so be blessed and secure from the curse, they will be perfectly pure and holy in nature, and constant and complete in their obedience and service; they will always do the will of God on earth, as it is done in heaven; no accursed person, or anyone devoted to ruin and destruction, will be here; not the old serpent, the devil, he will be shut up in the bottomless pit; nor the blasphemous beast and false prophet, they will be taken and cast alive into the lake of fire before this time comes; no cursing, or accursed men will dwell here; not such who curse themselves, or the saints, or such who will be bid to depart as cursed, these will be destroyed in the general conflagration; nor will there be any anathema denounced against any person, for here wilt be no introducers of another Gospel, nor any that do not love the Lord Jesus Christ; nor will any be an anathema, or accursed from Christ, excommunicated from the church of Christ, for that will have no members deserving of that; none but what are pure and undefiled; see Zec 14:11
Rev 22:5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.
No Night there
Rev 21:23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.
GOD WILL BE THERE - JESUS WILL BE THERE:
Rev 22.3... but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it;
Rev 21:23 … and the Lamb is the light thereof.
CHRIST IS THERE:
Joh 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
Joh 17:24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
Php 1:23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:
1Pe 2:7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,
1Jn 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
We shall be with him in paradise: we shall see his face in the kingdom. These eyes of ours will behold those hands and feet which were pierced with nails, and that head which was crowned with thorns. Where He is, there will the sons of God be. When he comes, they will come with Him: when He sits down in His glory, they shall sit down by His side. Blessed propects indeed! I am a dying man in a dying world; all before me is unseen: the world to come is a harbour unknown! But Christ is there, and that is enough. Surely if there is rest and peace in following Him by faith on earth, there will be far more rest and peace when you see Him face to face. If we found it good to follow the pillar of cloud and fire in the wilderness, we shall find it a thousand times better to sit down in our eternal inheritance with our Joshua, in the promised land.
1) Don’t miss heaven
2) Setting our minds on things above is a means of sanctification
3) We are together going to heaven.
DON'T MISS HEAVEN:
If we gain heaven, if we trusting in Christ alone who died for his, having our sins washed away with his own precious blood, and wearing upon ourselves the perfect righteousness of Christ imputed to us by Faith, WE GAIN ETERNITY. We gain all. Christ is ours, ETERNAL LIFE IS OURS. We gain that which we can never LOSE. Unending Joy in his presence, at his right hand pleasures for ever more.
BUT IF WE MISS HEAVEN, IF WE MISS ETERNITY, we miss ALL. We fail of eternal life to an unending Death. We LOSE ALL and we lose horrible with horrific eternal results of unending fire and an unquenchable worm that dieth not.
I have spent much time dwelling on what an ETERNAL HELL MUST BE:
(From Hymn by Isaac Watts)
My thoughts on awful subjects roll,
Damnation and the dead;
What horrors seize the guilty soul
Upon a dying bed!
Today We think upon Heaven, how blessed was it to dwell on the sobering thoughts of an eternal hell, How blessed more to think upon and live daily with an EYE TO THE MUCH AWAITED HEAVEN:
John Owen Asks:
What, then, are our present thoughts of these things? What joy, what satisfaction have we in sight of them, which we have by faith through divine revelation? What do we find in ourselves that will be eternally satisfied hereby? According as our desires are after them, such and no other are our desires of the true heaven, of the residence of blessedness and glory….. The present satisfaction we receive in them by faith, is the best evidence we have of an indefeasible interest in them.
IF you have no sure interest in heaven today -- I call on you by God in Jesus Christ, to Come now to Jesus. Repent and believe on Jesus Christ for the saving of your eternal soul. Trusting in his work alone to BRING YOU TO HEAVEN.
All have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. There is none righteous - none that can stand before a holy God and live. None that can stand in that great day of judgement. All are guilty of rebellion and enemies of the very God who made them. There is none good no not one.
Jesus Christ is the Eternal Son of God by whom God made the world and all that in them lies.
God sent his only begotten son into the world born of the virgin Mary. He came into the world and the world was made by him.
Here in this world he stood as a representative of his people. Jesus is the perfect sinless substitute who perfectly fulfilled all the righteous requirements. He did so not for himself but for everyone that is in Him for everyone who believes in his name. Jesus Christ, himself, bore the sin of his people in his own body on the cross. There he died suffering as a substitute and sacrifice to satisfy the judgment of God upon sinners believing in him. Jesus Christ was treated upon the cross as IF he had done what we have done. He paid in full the debt our sin incurred, the sin of his people counted unto him. All who believing upon him having their sins paid in full - discharged from their own account and laid upon him. His righteous perfect law keeping life counted to us who believe. By faith we are justified. We are counted as RIGHT with GOD because Jesus Christ our REPRESENTATIVE IN WHOM WE TRUST did all RIGHTEOUSNESS in our PLACE.
Repent of your sins, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal son of God and the one mediator between God and men who will bring many sons to heaven and you shall be saved!
MEANS OF SANCTIFICATION:
FOR US WHO BELIEVE, more so let us SET OUR AFFECTIONS on THE THINGS ABOVE. Pray like Edwards, “God Stamp Eternity on my eyes.” Let me live with this eternal perspective, heaven always in view. Things valued as they truly are. Knowing the shortness of my days. In Christ I have eternal Life. I am a citizen of Heaven. I go to a heavenly country. Heaven is my Home. I’m looking with Abraham for a city whose builder and maker is God.
This will have a sanctifying effect upon us.
1Jn 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
1Jn 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
1Jn 3:3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
Listen briefly to Christian and Prudence in the Bunyan’s wonderful little book, Pilgrim’s Progress:
Prudence: Do you not yet bear away with you some of the things that then you were conversant withal?
Christian: Yes, but greatly against my will; especially my inward and carnal cogitations, with which all my countrymen, as well as myself, were delighted. But now all those things are my grief; and might I but choose mine own things, I would choose never to think of those things more: but when I would be a doing that which is best, that which is worst is with me. Rom. 7:15, 21.
Prudence: Do you not find sometimes as if those things were vanquished, which at other times are your perplexity?
Christian: Yes, but that is but seldom; but they are to me golden hours in which such things happen to me.
Prudence: Can you remember by what means you find your annoyances at times as if they were vanquished?
Christian: Yes: when I think what I saw at the cross, that will do it; and when I look upon my broidered coat, that will do it; and when I look into the roll that I carry in my bosom, that will do it; and when my thoughts wax warm about whither I am going, that will do it.
Dear Ol’ Bunyan counsels us through the mouth Christian: Thinking upon heaven, thinking upon the end of my journey here, is a an excellent means to forsaking and overcoming SIN.
Just like the apostle John, who, by the Spirit of God tells us in 1JOHN 3:3 every man that hath this hope in him PURIFIETH HIMSELF.
A mind SET UPON HEAVEN, where we KEEP ON THINKING upon Spiritual things, heavenly things, eternal things, valuing all things in view of eternity will work as a means of purifying us. Purifying our home life. Purifying our marriage, purifying our parenthood, making us better employees for it, better employers, better neighbors. Holy husbands, holy wives, holy fathers, holy mothers, holy workers.
Look again in Col 3:5-8
Col 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
Col 3:6 For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:
Col 3:7 In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.
Col 3:8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
Heaven is your home, where you will live with Holy Jesus Christ, the perfect eternal son of God, where you will dwell in perfect righteousness, sin remaining in you no more, therefore PUT TO DEATH everything in you unworthy of your heavenly country. Put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, put to death lust and covetousness, affections unworthy of Jesus Christ. You will live in glory, it’s your eternal home, you have been bought by his blood and will be brought there by him forever. Mortify therefore….
Let’s Look again at 1JOHN 3:2:
1Jn 3:3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. HOPE UPON GOD
This is not here a commandment, but a statement of fact. You have a hope to be like Jesus, a hope set upon GOD. Then with having this hope you will be purifying yourself. You will be seeking to grow in holiness - conforming to his image. Poole calls it the “efficacious influence” of this hope.
Purifieth himself; i.e. not only is obliged hereto, but by the efficacious influence of this hope, if it be of the same kind, (that lively hope, unto which Christians are said to be begotten, 1Pe_1:3), is daily more and more transformed, through a continual intention of mind towards the holy God, upon whom that hope is set, (for it is said to be hope in him, or rather upon him, ep’ autw), into the image of the Divine purity; knowing also, (which must be a potent inducement to very earnest endeavour this way), that our future conformity to God in glory and blessedness hereafter, depends upon our present vigorous and effectual pursuit of conformity to him in holiness here, Mat 5:8 Heb 12:14. And it is enforced by what follows.
We are together going to heaven. this thought should sanctify our relationships with one another as truly one of HOLY ORIGINS. Brothers - Sisters - we are this to one another in Christ Jesus. I am your brother in Jesus Christ. We have a LIKE PRECIOUS FAITH in Jesus. Dear brother I love you in CHRIST. I hurt for you in CHRIST. I long for you in Christ.
Col 3:9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;
Col 3:10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
Col 3:11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.
Together fellow believer, brother sister we are elect of GOD:
Col 3:12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
SO PUT ON mercy, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, patience.
We are to behave this way to one another, we both belonging to jesus, together co-heirs running for Heaven.
Col 3:13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
Col 3:14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
Col 3:15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
Setting our affections on things above - GOD’S WORD DWELLING RICHLY IN US
Col 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
Col 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
HOMES ARE BLESSED OF GOD AS WE SET OUR AFFECTIONS ON THINGS ABOVE LIVING TOGETHER AS THOSE SOON TO INHABIT HEAVEN TOGETHER as brother and sister in the LORD.
Col 3:18 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.
Col 3:19 Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.
Col 3:20 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.
Col 3:21 Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.
Col 3:22 Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God:
Heaven our eternal Home, God is our GOD. Christ our LORD. Heaven awaits us and SO:
Col 3:23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;
Col 3:24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.
THINK OF THIS. Here we are together in the local church. This a taste of heaven before we get there. In heaven we will dwell together with the saints, with believers of all the years and of all the centuries, even those who believed since the world began. We will dwell together in peace, in unity of mind, all knowing fully as we are fully known. All LOVING and ADORING JESUS who bought us all with his own blood and for HIS OWN ETERNAL GLORY. All worshipping with one purpose. No bitterness, no striving for supremacy for Christ alone and God alone is supreme there. No petty jealousies.
We are tasting heaven here as a body of fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Here as a local of body of Christ worshipping Jesus. Though we contend with our own sin, we experience failings. Let us remember that in heaven we will dwell together forever.
Let’s take one last look at dear ol Bunyan, who brings us this song which Christian sang as he put himself to bed that first night he spent in Palace Beautiful, Bunyan’s allegorical type of the local church. CHRISTIAN IS SINGING OF HIS EXPERIENCE IN THE LOCAL CHURCH:
“Where am I now? Is this the love and care
Of Jesus, for the men that pilgrims are,
Thus to provide that I should be forgiven,
And dwell already the next door to heaven!”