Summary: This message is the second of 13 exploring how a future focus motives a present Faithfulness
“Future Hope Motivates Present Faithfulness” Pt 2
X. The Reward and Inheritance Factor
A. PRESENT AND FUTURE REWARD
B. FUTURE INHERITANCE
C. INTERMEDIATE HOME
D. RENEWED HEAVEN AND EARTH – Our permanent home
E. PRESENT HELP FROM A FUTURE HOPE
Does contemplating a future heavenly existence have any present earthly benefit? I have come to the conclusion that a failure to contemplate heaven and our future hope actually diminishes our effectiveness on this present earth. Scripture clearly encourages a continual heavenly focus.
Therefore since you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. Colossians 3:1-4
What will be our focus in 2008? Will our thoughts be focused on eternal things are on the things of this present earth? Will we be Christ centered or self centered? Will we spend our energies on building Christ's kingdom or our kingdom? Every true follower of Christ has become heir to an eternal glorious kingdom. The key to managing the junk of this present world lies in the ability to keep our thoughts connected to the promise of a new world.
The writer of Hebrews and encouraged his readers to think about our present connection to God's kingdom that should motivate our present walk. He listed seven “heavenly” realities that surround us even now. Even though we may not see them, they are realities nonetheless.
? The Heavenly Jerusalem – God’s city. God’s capital.
? Myriads of angels
? General assembly and church of the firstborn enrolled in heaven
? God the Judge of all
? Spirits of righteous made perfect
? Jesus our mediator
? Jesus’ sprinkled blood which speaks better than Abel’s blood
A heavenly focus motivates an earthly faithfulness. The present responses connected to the revelation of God's future promises can be summarized into three main areas.
1. Inspires faithful diligent service
Contemplation of our future hope should inspire present faithfulness. The motivation for working hard and using every moment is the realization that what we do here affects life hereafter. There is more continuity between how we live our life now and our future life on the New Earth than we realize. What we do here and now significantly affects position, reward, responsibility, recognition, eternal treasure and resources.
We are in a live for the now culture. An experiment was done with young children. A group of children were given marshmallows. They were told that those who refrained from eating the marshmallow right away would be given more marshmallows at a later date. A large portion of the group was unable to forgo immediate pleasure on the promise of even greater future culinary delight. The group was followed into adulthood. It was discovered that the inability to exercise self-control carried on into adulthood. Those without self-control struggled in other areas. They found those with self-discipline at a greater tendency to succeed in life and all they did.
We see it all the time. People spend money for immediate pleasure and satisfaction on useless things that had they invested that same amount of money over a period of time would have brought financial security. How much more important it is for us to invest our time and resources on things of eternal value. How much of our time is spent trying to restore the New Earth Life on the Old Earth? How much of our energy is spent acquiring and experiencing the good life now while forfeiting life in the next? Hebrews 12 urges us to lay aside every encumbrance, obstacle, distraction, weight that interferes with our faithful service. He concluded the chapter by urging us to offer to God an acceptable service. Faithful acceptable service takes discipline, training, initiative, resolve. Contemplation of our future hope should inspire present faithfulness. God rewards the faithful actions not good intentions.
2. Encourages continued endurance in our present struggle
Faithful service is hard. Faithful service involves obedience, diligence, suffering, hardship and pain. The promise of glory and eternal rest is not for this present earth. We spend so much of our time trying to restore the Garden of Eden’s wonder to our own efforts, in our own time.
The struggle of life in this fallen world is both external and internal. Scripture urges us to endure, not to become weary in well doing, keep pure, stay diligent, walk worthy, serve well, and faint not in this present world in light of its connection to the life to come. Many faithful servants listed in Hebrews 11 endured unspeakable suffering (sawn in two) by focusing on a country, a city not made with human hands or polluted by human hands; a better country.