Heaven, Our Living Hope

October 6, 2016

Heaven, Our Living Hope: Colossians 1:5; Titus 2:11-15; John 14:1-3

B.J. Thomas sang:

 

They say that heaven's pretty, well living here is too.

And if they told me I would have to choose between the two,

I'd go home, going home where I belong."

'Cause one night I'll be sleeping when death knocks at my door,

And I'll awake to find that I'm not homesick anymore.

I'll be home, going home, where I belong.

 

Let's encourage our hearts today…This life is not all there is!

 

1 Corinthians 15:19: "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most pitiable." Titus 2:13: "Looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of our Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ." Colossians 1:5: "…The hope that is laid up for you in heaven…"

 

Max Lucado tells of the final words of a Mrs. Glossbrenner. After her funeral service, her son told Max, "She was unresponsive for the last few hours of her life. She never spoke a word. But moments before her death, she opened her eyes and stated in a clear voice, 'My name is Ida Glossbrenner, but my friends call me Polly.' It sounded as if she were entering a door and introducing herself. Lucado says, 'Her body behind her, her soul in the presence of God, she was getting acquainted'."

 

Life is short:

    •Job 9:6, "Like a weaver's shuttle."

    •Job 9:9, "Like a cloud."

    •Job 14:1, "Like a dream."

    •1 Chronicles 29:15, "Like a shadow."

    •Psalm 90:5, "Like sleep."

    •Psalm 90:9, "Like a sigh."

    •1 Peter 1:24: "Like grass."

 

But as long as we have breath there always hope of preparing for heaven!

 

Heaven: Dictionary definition: "The expanse of space that seems to be over the earth like a dome. The dwelling place of deity and the joyful abode of the righteous dead. The spiritual state of everlasting communion with God. A condition of utmost happiness." The Greek word is  "Ouranos,” “to lift, to heave." The original Anglo-Saxon word was, "To be lifted up, to heave-on."

 

Three distinct realms:

 

 

1. The Atmospheric Heaven. It is used over and over and over to describe the envelope of air that surrounds our planet, conditions our climate and sustains our lives, the formation of clouds, precipitation: rain, hail, snow and the water vapor that provides mist, dew and frost. All are regarded as "Coming down from heaven." "For as the rain comes down and the snow from heaven” (Isaiah 55:10).

 

2. Outer Space: A broader term for heaven or the heavens. The sun, moon, stars and sky. It denotes the immeasurable immensity of the numerous galaxies, flung across infinite expanses. "The heavens (the expanse) declare the glory of God and the firmament shows His handiwork. Its rising is from one end of heaven and its circuit to the other end” (Psalm 19:1,2,6).

 

3. The Realm of God:  2 Corinthians 12:1-7, Paul was caught up into "the third heaven, paradise and heard inexpressible words." 1 Kings 8:30, “And may You hear the supplication of Your servant and of Your people Israel…then hear in heaven Your dwelling place…" Psalm 11:4, "The Lord is in His holy Temple. The Lord's throne is in heaven." Psalm 14:2; 33:13; 53:2, "The Lord looks down from heaven." Isaiah 63:15, "Look down from heaven and see Your habitation, holy and glorious." Isaiah 63:1, "Oh, that You would tear open the heavens, that You would come down."

 

Our hope: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things God has prepared for those who love him (1 Corinthians 2:9).

 

•I'll have treasures there (Matthew 6:19,20).

•I'll have a Heavenly Father there (Matthew 6:9).

•I'll have a new name there (Luke 10:20).

•I'll have an inheritance there (1 Peter 1:3,4).

•I'll have a Savior who loves me there (John 14:3).

 

I don't know where heaven is but I know that God is there, Jesus is there,

the Holy Spirit is there, my treasures are there, my reward is there, my inheritance is there, and my name is written there.

 

I don't know where heaven is but I know my loved-ones are there. J. Wilbur Chapman wrote, "As a boy, heaven was just a great white city, with vast walls, domes, spires, mansions, palaces and thrones, and white angels that were strangers to me. Then my brother died and heaven became a great white city, with vast walls, domes, spires, mansions, palaces and thrones, and white angels that were strangers to me, and my brother. Then another brother, my mother and dad. Then when I thought about heaven, all I could see was my loved-ones who were there waiting for me."

 

Oh, the reunions!  I don't know where heaven is but I know my mom is there, Marlena's (my wife) mom, and many other friends and loved-ones who have gone on before are there! That loved-one you laid to rest, that baby you could not bring to term or that child that you buried, are waiting for you in heaven. Doesn't that make you just a little homesick for heaven?

 

It's never easy to say goodbye! It's even harder to walk away and leave your loved-one in the ground. It all seems so final! The hardest task in this world is to place a final kiss on lips that cannot kiss you back.

“Does Jesus care, when I've said goodbye to the dearest on earth to me?

And my sad heart aches till it nearly breaks, is it aught to Him, does He see?

 

Oh yes, He cares, I know He cares,

His heart is touched with my grief;

When the days are weary, the long nights dreary,

I know my Savior cares.”

 

–J. Lincoln & Frank. Graeff–

 

It's never easy to say goodbye! It's even harder to walk away and leave your loved-one in the ground. It all seems so final! The hardest task in this world is to place a final kiss on lips that cannot kiss you back.

When you think of a world where there will be no reason to cry, doesn't that make you a little homesick for heaven?  I know there will be no more dying there!

 

I don't know where heaven is but I know there will be no more tears there.  The Word tells us that "God will wipe all tears from our eyes” (Revelation 21:4). The same hands that created the heavens and the earth will touch your cheek. The same hands that formed the mountains and valleys will caress you. Those hands that were so cruelly bruised and bloodied by the Roman spikes will someday cup your face and brush away every tear. When we think of a world where there will be no reason to cry, doesn't that make you a little homesick for heaven? This life is filled with anguish, pain and tears. But in heaven there will be "No more tears." "God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying, and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away" (Revelation 21:4).

 

I don't know where heaven is but I know that its beautiful. The world I awakened to this morning is a world of sorrow. A world of children being abused by angry and frustrated parents, of abortions, suicides, drugs, alcohol crime, heart attacks and cancer, a world of separation, infidelity and divorce, a world of single parents and lonely children, a world of grief, tears, and pain. A world of unhappiness! When you look at this world stained by innocent blood and soiled with selfishness, doesn't it make you want to go to a better place than this? Doesn't it just make you want to go home?

 

Revelation 21:5, "Behold I make all things new." When you visit your old home town, the house where you once lived, old friends you used to know, class-mates (who look so much older than you), people divorced, and with many of your loved-ones in the local cemetery, it is so sad!  It's hard to grow old. It's hard see people the people we love grow old. How many times have we wished our energy was as it once was? How many times have we looked in the mirror and said, "who is that person?" Or noticed the wrinkles and age marks. I was visiting our daughter after having not seen her for a while, she looked at me and said, "Daddy, I could play connect the dot on your face." Don't you wish you could just brush away the spots and wrinkles and make it all new again? We can't do that! But God can! The Master Builder, the One who created us doesn't just reform He restores. He doesn't just paint and polish the old, He restores it to new again. The vigor, vitality, energy, beauty and the hope. The Psalmist David writes: "He restores my soul” (Psalm 23:3). He makes everything brand new! When we see how this old world grows stooped and weary and then read of a place where everything will be made new again, Doesn't that make you want to go home?

 

We will be home soon! Now, I'm really anxious to go to heaven, but like the little boy said when the preacher asked, "Do you want to go to heaven," he replied  "No!" So the preacher asked him again, "You mean you don't want to go heaven when you die?" The boy replied, "Oh I want to go when I die, I thought maybe you were getting up a load for today!"

 

Well, this preacher is ready to go, but…There are so many things I have to do before I go, and so many people who are not saved that I would like to reach before my time is up. If I live to be one-hundred, I'll go out kicking and shouting, "Not now! It's too soon!" I have so much more to do!"

 

You may not have noticed it but you are closer to heaven than ever before! The songwriter put it this way: "It won't be long and I'll be leaving here! It won't be long, I'll be going home." Each moment is a moment sooner, each step is a step closer, each breath is a page turned, each day is a mile marked, a mountain climbed. Before you know it your appointed arrival time will come. You will ascend and enter that glorious place called heaven. There will be familiar faces there waiting to embrace you. You'll hear your name spoken by loved-ones whom you haven't heard for many years. There will be friends giving you hugs, that you never thought you would ever see again.

 

And there is One who would rather die than to live without you! See Him as He removes His nail-pierced hand from His heavenly robe and extends it toward you and in a loving voice says, "Welcome home, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of the Lord" (Matthew 25:31).

 

This ole house I'm livin' in is needin' repair,

The windows and shutters are lettin' in the cold, cold air.

I say "I'm gonna fix’m if I ever find the time,'

All I’ve been getting’ lately is leavin' on my mind.

So I guess I should start lookin’ for a better place to live,

But somehow I just can’t get excited ‘bout this world and what it can give.

I couldn’t care less if I could buy it for a solitary dime.

What in the world wild I do with a world with leavin’ on my mind?

Lately all I've got is leavin' on my mind,

That's what I've been thinkin' 'bout most of the time.

Soon, yes very soon, I'll leave my troubles far behind,

Lately, I've got leavin', leavin' on my mind.

–Sung by the late Rusty Goodman–

 

Unless otherwise noted, the New King James Version of the Bible was used. Also The New Living Translation (NLT); The New American Standard Bible (NASB); The Message (MSG); The New Century Version (NCV); The Amplified Bible (AMP); The King James Version (KJV), The New Life Version (NLV); English Standard Version (ESV); J.B. Phillips New Testament; Easy to Read Version (ERV); Common English  bible (CEB); NET Bible (NET) and The Living Bible (TLB).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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