They are so heavenly minded, they are of no earthly good- Bologna! Today we are so earthly minded that we are of no heavenly good
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Colossians 3:1, 2, NIV.
Steven Curtis Chapman sang, “There is a hope, there is a peace, that will make this life complete, for every man, woman, boy and girl looking for heaven in the real world.” Because we have Jesus in our lives, we have heaven in the real world. Heaven has come to earth. Because one day we will be in heaven, this should change the way that we live today. We are getting ready for the real heaven. Practically stated, this means living today with lasting treasures in view. If we are heavenly minded, our thoughts cannot help but shape the way we live from day to day.
Thesis: Because we are going to heaven, this will...
1. Adjust our attitudes
While we are “pilgrims” who are away from our true home (aliens, strangers in a foreign land 1 Peter 1:1; 2:11)- we are already citizens of heaven and members of God’s household (Ephesians 2:18-19). Peter had a very pointed purpose for using the wording he did. He wanted us to be clear about the mindset we need while still in this world: Christians are not earth dwellers, we are heaven bound
Country artist Carrie Underwood’s song “Temporary Home” captures this perspective. “This is our temporary home it’s not where we belong windows in rooms that we’re passing through, this is just a stop, on the way to where we’re going, I’m not afraid because I know this is our temporary home.” Every weary traveler just wants to get home and be with loved ones. It’s the place where we belong; where people know us- and we are surrounded by the things that bring us joy and comfort. We don’t get that when we are just passing through a place.
We long for permanence; we have a craving to settle down and not keep wandering, ever on the move. Heaven holds out the assurance of all of this and more, providing a home based from which we can operate in this life.
2. Make changes to our lifestyle
Need to invest in what lasts: the care and salvation of people. Rather than seeking out our own welfare, we will seek justice for others. Rather than slaving over our work, we will work to deliver others from the enemy’s oppression. Rather than looking out for our wants, we will “look after widows and orphans in their distress” (James 1:27). These are the values of heaven.
In his book One Minute After You Die, Erwin Lutzer says: Thinking about our final destination give us perspective... Every one of us wants to make wise investments, to get the ‘biggest bang for our buck’... The best investments are those that are safe and permanent; if we are wise, we will spend our time preparing for that which lasts forever.
Rich man’s request was granted to bring gold bricks into heaven- St. Peter says to God, “Ok, but why does he want to bring a bunch of paving stones into heaven”
Jeremy Binns: I think that maybe the greater points that God is making when He speaks of streets of gold, gates of pearl, and a host of other rare and costly building materials is that those things that so many value and exchange their lives for on earth are, by comparison, merely the things to be trampled underfoot in the economy of heaven. Maybe God is really challenging us to NOT spend our lives exclusively pursing what will one day be the dust under our feet.
The world’s treasures have limited value; they fade, decay, or rust... and then they’re gone. ““Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” Matthew 6:19, 20. Missionary C.T. Studd summed it this way: Only one life, ‘twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.
Holding on too tightly to earthly things will weigh us down. Holding loosely to the stuff of earth sets us free. The truth of earth is that whatever we store up here will one day be burned up. Heaven keeps our eyes on the eternal prize
3. Find help for our souls
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” 2 Corinthians 4:17, NIV. Our hearts will not endure the difficulties of this life without heaven before us. But because God eases the weight of our troubles and produces life from our pain and disappointment, we don’t lose heart. We don’t give in. We don’t walk away from Him. And we don’t live as those without hope.
A heavenly perspective helps in our current situation, whatever it is: “because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:14-16, NIV.
Stuart Hamblein- The things of earth will dim and lose their value, if we recall they’re borrowed for a while, and the things of earth that cause this heart to tremble, remember there will only bring a smile, but until then my heart will go on singing, until then with joy I’ll carry on, until the day my eyes behold My Savior, until the day God calls me home
4. Work wholeheartedly, and wait with expectancy
“Was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell.” 2 Corinthians 12:4, NIV. Having a glimpse of the bliss that awaits us, Paul lived a life obsessed with that day when he would have his full inheritance. Any such encounter will surely bring any man to a fanaticism for the hope of glory.
To have eternity in view means to live and work as Paul did. Expectant living is righteous living- doing one’s wholehearted best to do the whole will of God. Expectant living also means “we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18, NIV.
As sons and daughters, our heavenly Father exhorts us to work passionately alongside Him in the field of souls- and to keep working until He comes or until He calls us home. “Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Revelation 2:10, NIV.
That doesn’t often happen with our work on earth. We don’t always get the raise we’re due or receive credit for our work. But in heaven, our every kingdom expanding act here on earth will be remembered and rewarded. ““Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.” Revelation 22:12, NIV. Steve Berger says: Some Christians will get rewards and responsibilities in heaven this will blow our minds. Why? Because on earth their hearts were motivated by heaven.
The work won’t always be easy, but the joy will never dim. And the rewards? Well, they’re out of this world! “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18 NIV. “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12, NIV.
Every human is guaranteed a forever; it’s just a matter of where that “forever” will be
“Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment” Hebrews 9:27 NIV. “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”” Matthew 25:46, NIV.
Here is the reality: from the time we are conceived, we are on course to eternity. Yes, we have a layover on earth, but when we touch down in this world, the clock starts ticking off the hours in anticipation of our final departure. If we have the average lifespan, we will have just under 615,000 hours until takeoff- a matter of some 25,000 days. How quickly it goes! And as quickly as we make our entrance, we are on our way out, headed to our final destination
Depending on which side of eternity’s question we take, death is either dreadful or desirable; the greatest loss or the ultimate gain. Charles Spurgeon said, “Death to the wicked is the King of terrors. Death to the saint is the end of terrors, the commencement of glory.” No one can anticipate advantage, benefit, profit in death- except for the Christian.
The entrance to everlasting life is just as close as eternity itself. Jesus is the door (Luke 13:24) and today is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2). How do we gain eternal life?
The stakes are high surrounding this decision about where to spend forever. “One minute after we slip behind the parted curtain, we will either be enjoying a personal welcome from Christ or catching our first glimpse of doom as we have never known it.”- Erwin Lutzer
We are either here on earth, or we are in the eternal realm. There is no middle ground. David told Jonathan- “Yet as surely as the LORD lives and as you live, there is only a step between me and death.” 1 Samuel 20:3, NIV. Whether we step into eternal life or eternal death depends on what we decide about Christ.