Summary: This sermon encourages believers to live in a joyful expectation of heaven. The daily challenges and trials of life should be viewed from an eternal perspective. Some exciting reasons for this expectation are explored.
Don’t Forget About Heaven
I. Importance of Anticipating Heaven
1. Ever notice in the Bible when people get visions of Heaven?
a. Ezekiel saw the heavens when he was at the banks of the river Chebar.
He was working there as a slave to Nebuchadnezzar. (1)
b. Stephen saw into heaven when he was being stoned by an angry crowd. As he was dying he looked up into the heavens and said:
“I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” Acts 7:56
c. John was on the Isle of Patmos –persecuted, exiled, and isolated.
There he received the marvelous visions recorded in the book of Revelation.
2. A Revelation of heaven seems to come to those who need it most.
a. When people are living in affluence and prosperity their minds tend to dwell on temporal matters-
-getting the kids to their ball game on time
- paying the bills
-putting up with a demanding Boss
-trying to get a little better education –house –car
-trying to lose weight & get in shape
Those are Valid Concerns—issues we live with on a daily basis.
b. But what about the End of the Matter?
Am I living my life in the light of Eternity? –in the hope & anticipation of Heaven?
Am I just surviving like all the other Rats in the Rat Race?
3. In Ps 90:10-12 Moses Prayed
“The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years, Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; For it is soon cut off, and we fly away. 11Who knows the power of Your anger? For as the fear of You, so is Your wrath. 12So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom. NKJV
The Ability to “number our days” (to live life in anticipation of Eternity)
Is a Gift from God
Is something God must Teach us to do!
“So, teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
4. James asks the probing question: “What is your life?” Then he quickly gives the Answer in (James 4:14) “It is even a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.”
Why does James ask that Question?
He is trying to get Christians to view life different from way ungodly view it.
5. The Epicurean Philosophy of life = to simply live for one’s own pleasure. (2)
(Once it’s over, it’s over—so you had better enjoy what you can.)
(Give as little as possible—take as much as you can.)
That philosophy prevails in America.
We are bombarded with it every day in the media and in work place.
If not careful will think like that.
But for the Christian, life = an Investment in Eternity.
6. That’s why Jesus said in Matt. 6:19-21
"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
“For where your treasure is there will your heart be also.”
My Affection, my love will Gravitate toward my Investment!
If I invest all my earnings in Race horses I will likely become very, very interested in race horses.
If I invest heavily in a particular Stock I will watch closely how that stock does in the market.
(It will capture my time & attention.)
Jesus is saying—Invest yourself in eternity –and eternity will capture your Heart.
Every Choice we make takes us in some direction.
Every Investment we make directs our hearts somewhere.
Prov 4:23 “3Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”
7. This Morning I want to talk about Heaven. I want to Encourage you to Anticipate Heaven, to set your Course toward Heaven.
As Paul says in Col. 3:2 “Set your affections (mind) on things above, not on things of the earth.”
8. I believe the devil would love to steal our anticipation of Heaven--Get us so caught up in earthly things that we don’t live in joy of our future.
A couple of weeks ago, I used the rescue of the survivors of the Indianapolis to illustrate what brings joy & happiness.
A man is floating in shark infested waters—hungry and thirsty. His circumstances are terrible.
He looks up & sees a rescue plane with a man waving at him. THAT, he said was the “Happiest Day” of his llife. (3)
What made him Happy? He was still in the same miserable set of circumstances.