SERIES: Topical Messages: Heaven
SETTING: North Kelso Baptist Church
SERVICE: Sunday AM (November 1st, 2015)
SUBTITLE: Heaven: Our Heart & Our Home (Part 8)
SCRIPTURE: Selected Scriptures
SUBJECT: Perspective for heaven
SUMMARY: Having a proper perspective of heaven governs your daily living
SCHEME: To exhort genuine believers to live in light of their hope of heaven
Our theme is: Live like heaven is real
Proposition: Having a proper perspective of heaven governs your daily living
Interrogatory Sentence: How does having a proper perspective govern your daily living?
Transitional Sentence: There are at least two (2) ways having a proper perspective towards heaven that governs your daily living:
• Link your minds with heaven
• Live your life for heaven
Heaven: Our Heart & Our Home
Selected Scriptures * Part 8
You have all heard the phrase, “Don’t be so heavenly minded that you are of no earthly good.”
Well, I don’t know about you, but I have never really known anyone who honestly was guilty of having that problem. I don’t think there are too many people walking around today who are useless on this Earth because they are focusing too much on Heaven.
I think the real problem is that most of us are “too earthly minded to be of any heavenly good.”
How heavenly mind are you?
What is your perspective towards heaven?
Does how you live your daily live demonstrate a proper perspective for heaven?
Are you living for heaven right now?
Or, are you waiting to get to heaven in order to start living heavenly?
It is tragic and very sad that so many people have an absolutely distorted view about heaven. What is even sadder is how many people, including Christians live as if heaven was nothing more than an after-thought.
This morning I want to share with you biblical principles that concretely establishes what you must do in order to have a proper perspective of heaven which governs your everyday living so that you can live for heaven.
Our theme is: Live like heaven is real
Proposition: I propose to you that having a proper perspective of heaven will govern your everyday living.
Interrogatory Sentence: How does having a proper perspective of heaven govern your everyday living?
Transitional Sentence: There are at least two (2) ways developing a proper or biblical perspective of heaven.
In order to have a proper perspective of heaven, you must…
• Link your mind with heaven
• Live your live for heaven
But before we examine this second point of living your life for heaven, let’s take a brief moment and…
This morning we are finishing our short series about heaven. It is called Heaven: Our Heart and our Hope.
Thus far, we have looked at The Promise of Heaven, The Place of Heaven, The Perfection of Heaven, The Program of Heaven, and now we are concluding with The Perspective of Heaven.
Last week we began looking at our fifth and final major point in this series on heaven. We began looking at, The Perspective of Heaven. We began looking at what we need to do in order to have and maintain a proper perspective of heaven while we wait on the return of Jesus Christ.
We began by looking at our first sub-point which was: Linking our mind with heaven.
We saw that we need to think about heaven often. We examined at least four (4) ways that would enable us to link our minds with heaven.
[Those ways were:]
• The believer must develop the discipline of mediation – we must think and meditate frequently and deeply on heaven.
• The believer must develop the inward orientation towards heaven – genuine believers are drawn towards heaven
• The believer must develop the anticipation for heaven - The genuine Christian is eager to be in heaven
• The believer must develop the consecration for heaven - The genuine believer who has the hope of heaven gives him/herself to holy or heavenly living in the present.
So, what is involved, what is necessary to link your mind with heaven? It involves: meditation, orientation, anticipation, and consecration.
[So, now let’s move to our…]
TRUTH FOR TODAY
5A The Perspective for Heaven (Part 2)
2B You must live your life for heaven
So, how do you live your life for heaven? As I said earlier there are at least four (4) ways to live your life for heaven:
[The first way to live your life for heaven is to…]
1C …realize that this world is not your home
[There are a number of scripture passages that makes this point clear.]
1 Peter 1:1 – “To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia…” (1 Peter 1:1, NKJV)
Look closely at the phrase, “to the pilgrims” maybe yours says, “To the strangers”, or yours might say to the “sojourners.”
The Greek says, This Greek word that Peter used actually comes from two words put together:
which means near or close to
- which means stranger
comes from two words also
meaning in or among
which means a people
The idea is a stranger or sojourner. The meaning of stranger or especially sojourner might surprise you. It doesn’t mean “traveler” in the sense of someone who is passing by or passing through.
It actually means a stranger or foreigner who has settled down, briefly or temporarily among native people. The idea is one who lives as a stranger or foreigner.
[Let me illustrate this for you.]
When I was stationed in Japan and the Philippines I was a stranger or foreigner. In other words, I was not a citizen like the “natives” were.
But I didn’t just land in Japan or land in the Philippines and then journey or travel out of either country. No, I “briefly settled down” in those countries.
I settled down in the sense that I had a “home” or a place to live – albeit was the barracks shared with the rest of my squadron on the Marine base.
I even had a job. As a matter of fact I had three (3) jobs. I was the NBC NCO, I was the training NCO for the squadron, and I was an administration clerk for the squadron. The first two jobs didn’t take up much time but the third job did.
The point is, I lived there, I had settled down. I lived in Iwakuni, Japan. I only lived there for a brief or short time, even though the 13 months seemed like forever.
I lived in a foreign country as a stranger or a foreigner for a brief period of time. I lived like a stranger among the Japanese because I was an American.
Peter addresses his readers as foreigners who have briefly settled down, away from their homeland. The Jews were not passing through Pontus, or Galatia, or Cappadocia, or Asia, or Bithynia.
No, they had temporarily settled down amongst the Pontian, the Galatians, the Cappadocian, the Asians, and the Bithynian.
[So, what does this have to do with us today?]
As believers you have temporarily settled down with “natives” of this world:
You are strangers living temporarily amongst native people.
So, Peter says in 2:11:
“Beloved, I beg you, as sojourners – not just passer-throughers – and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the Spirit, having your conduct honorable among the “natives” the Gentiles…” (1 Peter 2:11, NKJV)
Even as you have settled down and are temporarily living in this world you are exiles – exiles from heaven. You are temporarily required to live away from your home-land, which is heaven.
• In order to live for heaven you need to be convinced that this present world in this present age is not your home.
• You are to be live according to the “laws” of your true homeland
• You are to refrain from adopting the “laws” or the ideologies and philosophies of this present age
So, think about it for a minute. Whether it is 10, or 20, or 60, or 90 years, you are still to consider yourself as just living temporarily as strangers amongst the lost “natives” of this present world.
Listen to Hebrews 11: 8-10:
“By faith, Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going – but you know where you are going – heaven – By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country – this is how you should be dwelling or living, you are in a foreign country – dwelling in tents – we live in houses, apts, or mobile homes, but they should be viewed and valued as tents in light of the fact that we have living quarters in heaven – with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promises, why did he live in tents and as if he were living in a foreign country? – for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” Hebrews 11:8-10, NKJV)
Now, listen to verse 13 and drink it in:
“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland…but they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country…” (Heb 11:13-14, 16, NKJV)
In order to have a proper perspective of heaven you must live your life for heaven.
And the first way to live your life for heaven is to realize that this world is not your home. Do not love it, do not desire it, to not delight in it, and do not settled down mentally, emotionally, or spiritually permanently.
Well, you must have a proper perspective of heaven. You must live your life for heaven.
[The second way to life your life for heaven is to…]
2C …realize that heaven is your home
In Edward Everett Hale’s book, A Man without a Country, Lt. Philip Nolan was tried for treason as a co-conspirator with Aaron Burr. When Nolan was on the witness stand he cursed the United States.
The judge got so angry that he sentenced Nolan to life in prison, but not on the soil of the United States. He also sentenced him to never hear another word, news, events, problems, or information about the United States as long as he lived.
So, Nolan served his sentence and the rest of his life on board US Navy ships at sea. He never stepped foot on US soil again.
Once as a prisoner who could not step foot on American soil nor ever hear anything about the United States he fought the British who were trying to board the ship he was on at the time.
Lt. Philip Nolan eventually died a prisoner on board a US Navy Ship. Lt Philip Nolan was a “man without a country.”
Now, just because this world is not your home, it does not mean that you are a man/women without a country. It does not mean that you are homeless. You are not Lt. Philip Nolan.
Heaven is your home. You actually belong in heaven. You are a citizen of heaven even though you have never been there. As a result of being a citizen of heaven you now have:
• A new disposition – you are predisposed to God, to Spiritual things
• A new desire – you now desire God, the things of God, a new desire to love God, to serve God
• A new designation – you are justified, you are a child of heaven
You are on earth temporarily as a stranger or foreigner. But you are a child of heaven. You are a citizen of a heavenly city.
This means you have all of the rights of a citizen of heaven:
• You have a right to heaven. You have access to heaven
• You have the resources of heaven – HS, Angels, divine assistance
• You have a residence in heaven – prepared by Christ waiting for you
Listen to Peter, “…to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you…” (1 Peter 1:4. NKJV)
You are reminded that as genuine believers you are to have a proper perspective of heaven. And to have a proper perspective of heaven you must live your life for heaven. T
To live your life for heaven means you must:
• Recognize that this world is not your home
• Realize that heaven is your home
Well, thirdly to live for heaven you must…
3C …resolve to be all about heaven
Jesus once said, “I must be about my Father’s business…”
While you are living briefly or temporarily amongst the “natives” as strangers or foreigners, you must be about heaven.
If you were on the game show Jeopardy, you would answer that last statement with the question,” How am I to be about heaven?
• First of all – you would make your way to heaven, – live a life of intentional heavenward advancement
• Second – you would be convinced that you were not left on earth to simply pass the time
So, what are you to do in order to be about the heaven? Well, it seems there at least five things that you can do to be about heaven:
• Grow in your love for God and a love for his fellowship
• Press onward to the prize or the goal that is waiting for you
“...press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Php 2:14, NKJV)
• Grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Ptr 3:18)
• Be separate from this world and its ideologies & philosophies
• Renew our mind daily (Ro 12:1-2)
Heaven is not a train, or a bus, or a trolley, or a subway. You are not waiting for heaven to come by and get you. You are moving toward heaven. You are preparing for and being prepared for heaven.
You are waiting for Christ, but you are to be busy about heaven!
Hebrews 11:13-16 sums up your resolution to be about heaven. (Read it)
Well, to have a proper perspective for heaven you must live for heaven. You live for heaven when you recognize this world is not your home, when you realize that heaven is your home, and when you resolve to be busy about heaven.
[Fourthly and finally, to live for heaven you must…]
4C …renew your mind toward heaven
As you have previously noted, as a genuine believer you are heaven bound. You are a stranger or a foreigner living temporarily in this world.
The question is – do you have that mentality? Or are you conformed or shaped to the culture of this world that you are temporarily living in?
I really like what Jonathan Edwards said in his sermon on Hebrews 11 called, The Christian Pilgrim, or the True Christian Life, a Journey to Heaven:”
“Long journeys are attended with toil and fatigue, especially if through a wilderness. Persons in such a case expect no other than to suffer hardships and weariness – Sop we should travel in this way holiness, improving our time and strength, to surmount the difficulties and obstacles that are in the way. The land we have to travel through, is a wilderness; there are many mountains, rocks, and rough places that we must go over, and therefore, there is a necessity that we should lay out our strength.”
You must be resolved as you live in this difficult and foreign world to overcome any obstacle as you are about heaven. This life is not easy. We all as believers struggle often with great trials. There are so many:
And there are so many things that can take your mind off of heaven.
• They can cause you to stop thinking about heaven
• They can cause you to set your mind on earthly things
• They can cause you to be shaped according to the world’s ideologies or philosophies
• They can prevent you from renewing your mind
• They can cause you to fall into sin
We can go on and on, can’t we? This is why it is so necessary to renew your mind after heaven, so that your thoughts are on heaven. These thoughts can often be fragmented by this world and you just need to refocus on heaven and heavenly things.
How do you renew yourself to be about heaven?
• Realize that heaven is worth it all, worth anything
• Realize that it is your responsibility to renew yourselves
• Realize that is a natural by-product of a spirit-filled believer
• Realize that you have every spiritual thing that you need
• Realize that you have the HS to enable and assist you
Listen to Isaac Watts hymn Come, We that Love the Lord.
The men of grace have found
Glory begun below
Celestial fruits on earthly ground
From faith and hope may grow
The hill of Zion yields
A thousand sacred sweets
Before we reach the heavenly fields
Or walk the golden streets
Then let our songs abound
And ev’ry tear be dry
We’re marching through Immanuel’s ground
To fairer worlds on high
What he is saying is that where we find ourselves now; in sight of the end, not yet having reached it, but we are marching on until we do. To march on in the face of adversity we need to renew ourselves regularly.
Richard Baxter, a 17th century pastor, wrote, “turn thy thoughts from the pursuit of vanity, bend thy soul to study eternity, busy it about the life to come, habituate thyself to such contemplations, and let not those thoughts be seldom and cursory, but bathe thy soul in heaven’s delight.”
Baxter also wrote: “And when thou hast, in obedience to God, tried this work, got acquainted with it, and kept a guard on thy thoughts till thy are accustomed to obey, thou wilt then find thyself I the suburbs of heaven, and that there is, indeed, a sweetness in the work and way of God, and that the life of Christianity is a life of joy.”
This morning I wanted to share with you biblical principles that concretely establishes what you must do in order to have a proper perspective of heaven, which in turn governs your everyday living so that you can live for heaven.
Our theme has been: Live like heaven is real
Proposition: Having a proper perspective of heaven will govern your everyday living.
Interrogatory Sentence: I have tried to answer the question of How does having a proper perspective of heaven govern your everyday living?
Transitional Sentence: I have shown you that there are at least two (2) ways of developing a proper or biblical perspective of heaven.
In order to have a proper perspective of heaven, you must…
• Link your mind with heaven
• Live your live for heaven.
To live your life for heaven you must recognize that this world is not your home, you must realize that heaven is your home, you must resolve to be about heaven in all that you do, and you must renew yourself toward heaven frequently.
[What do you say we wrap this up?]
To conclude let me simply ask you four (4) questions:
• Do you really realize that this world is not your home?
• Do you really recognize that heaven is your home?
• Do you resolve yourself to be about heaven?
• Do you renew yourself regularly towards heaven?
Randy Alcorn wrote these words and I close with them:
“Following Christ is not a call to abstain from gratification but to delay gratification. It’s finding our joy in Christ rather than seeking joy in things of this world. Heaven – our assurance of eternal gratification and fulfilment – should be our North Star, reminding us where we are and which direction to go.”
To be heaven oriented is to be goal oriented in the best sense. Paul says, ‘But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind me and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.’” (Php 3:13-14)
Maranatha! Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly!
So, What Should You Do? (Application)
Take stock and inventory of what is the prize that you are pressing for; is it the things of this world, or is it heaven and the things of heaven?
Ask the HS if necessary to forgive your bent towards the things of this world and if necessary ask for assistance in desiring and delighting in heaven
Set your hope on the grace and glory that will be revealed rather than on what you see at this time. Remember the unseen is more valuable than the seen.
Make heaven your treasure – then your heart will be there and delight in the fact that heaven is your home.