Summary: A message to encourage us to live in anticipation of heaven and of God fulfilling His promises on earth.

A Life of Anticipation

Living in the hope God Offers

Various Scriptures

November 16, 2003


Today we finish our look at what it takes to have a life lived in the peace of God.

We’ve focused on three strategies for living in the peace of God. First, we said we need to understand the control, or sovereignty of God. Then we looked at how to develop a biblical mindset, and last week we talked about making wise plans for the future.

This morning I want to visit with you about living a life of anticipation.

Do you look forward to heaven? How about tomorrow? When you get up in the morning do you have a sense of excitement, wondering what God has in store for you?

Me neither, a lot of times! But I’m here to help you and me get to a point where anticipation is a major part of our lives.

And in doing that I want to give you two facts regarding anticipation, and then tell you just how to make anticipation a real part of your life.

My hope is that you will leave here today convinced that a life of anticipation is a life worth living.

Let’s get started by looking first at…

Two facts regarding a life of anticipation:

1. God made you to anticipate heaven.

1 Corinthians 15:19 is one of my favorite Scriptures. Here’s what it says:

If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.

The late Keith Green, one of the best songwriters in the history of Christian music has a great song, entitled, “I Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven,” in which he describes his anticipation of meeting Jesus.

And in the introduction to the song, he says this:

“You know, I look around at the world and I see all the beauty that God made. I see the forest and the trees and all the things. And says in the Bible that He made them in six days and I don’t know if they’re a literal six days or not. Scientists would say no, some theologians would say yes. But I know that Jesus Christ has been preparing a home for me and for some of you, for two thousand years. And if the world took six days and that home two thousand years, hey man, this is like living in a garbage can compared to what’s going on up there.”

Allow me to read you the lyrics of the song. I had hoped to play the song for you, but when I found the CD, I also found that the CD case was empty, so you’ll have to just listen to the lyrics for a minute.

Seaside sunset, silver linings round the clouds,

Birds fly, singing, making such a joyful sound.

Thoughts of heaven somehow seem to fill my mind,

But I can’t even imagine, what it is I’m gonna find.

I can’t wait to get to Heaven, when you’ll wipe away all my fears.

In six days you created everything,

but you’ve been working on Heaven two thousand years.

Deep green forests, mountains reaching for the sky,

Grasslands and deserts, your creation fills my eye.

Thank you, thank you Jesus, though this beauty is just a taste,

Of all your glory I’ll see when I pass through those gates.

I can’t wait to get to Heaven, when you’ll wipe away all my fears.

In six days you created everything,

but you’ve been working on Heaven two thousand years.

I can’t wait to get to Heaven, when you’ll wipe away all my fears.

In six days you created all of the world,

But you’ve been working on Heaven,

You’ve been working on heaven, Holy Spirit,

You’ve been working on Heaven, two thousand years.

Isn’t that great? He lived in anticipation of heaven. He didn’t have too long to wait, because 5 years later, he was killed in a plane crash that also took the life of his son.

Do you look forward to heaven? Paul said that we have hope that goes on beyond this earth! In fact, he says that if we who call ourselves followers of Christ don’t have hope, we’re to be pitied!

Folks, I don’t know about you, but I don’t need to be pitied by anyone. I live in hope – I live in anticipation of heaven.

You might have heard about the couple from north Oklahoma who decided to go to Florida for a long weekend to thaw out during one particularly icy winter.

Because they both had jobs, they had difficulty coordinating their travel schedules. It was decided that the husband would fly to Florida on Thursday, and his wife would follow the next day.

Upon arriving as planned, the husband checked into the motel. He decided to open his laptop and send his wife an e-mail back home. But he accidentally left off one letter in her address, and sent the e-mail without realizing the error.

In Houston, a widow had just returned from her husband’s funeral. He was a pastor of many years who had been called home to glory. The widow checked her e-mail, expecting messages from relatives and friends. When she read the first message, she fainted and fell to the floor.

The widow’s son rushed into the room, found his mother on he floor, and saw the computer screen which read:

TO: My loving wife

FROM: Your departed husband

SUBJECT: I’ve arrived!

MESSAGE: I’ve just arrived and have been checked in. I see that everything has been prepared for your arrival tomorrow. I am looking forward to seeing you then! Hope your journey is as uneventful as mine was.

P.S. Sure is hot down here.

Contributed by: Greg Madden (

Let me read you a verse about heaven.

1 John 3:2 says this:

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

Have you thought of that? We get the streets of gold, the promise of no more sorrow, no more war, and then this promise – that we will be just like Him.

Don’t raise your hands, but how many here are less than perfect? How many here are struggling with being totally Christ-centered in their lives?

Well, the time is coming when that just won’t be an issue any more! We will be like Him, and we’ll see Him face to face!

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying we’ll be divine like Jesus. Scripture is mighty clear about there only being one God.

What I’m saying is that we will finally be loosed of our infirmities, able to look upon God Himself, finally able to understand the mysteries of the ages, and finally, finally, finally, at peace and rest.

Hebrews tells us that a Sabbath rest is coming for His people. I think that will be when we are away from the earth.

Our bodies will be transformed. Our minds will be cleared, and our spirits set free to enjoy God the way He created us to enjoy Him.

At the funeral of Doug’s mother, Thelma, I mentioned that one of her favorite passages was Philippians 3:20, which says that…

our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ

She had an “alien” view of life. In other words, she recognized that her life here on earth was temporary, that her citizenship was in heaven, not earth.

And she lived the last part of her life anticipating her home with the Savior, who had purchased that home with His blood on the cross.

Anticipate your home in heaven. The second fact regarding a life of anticipation is that…

2. God made you to anticipate His promises on earth.

Listen to 2 Peter 1:3-4

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

Now look carefully at that. Why did God give you His promises? So we could participate in His divine nature.

Now how does that relate to our living in anticipation?

Just this: when we live in the promises of God, we anticipate His working in us by transforming us to be like Him. And I don’t think anyone here would say they’ve got that all covered, right?

And while He’s working in us, we can anticipate Him working through us to advance His kingdom and enlarge His family here on earth.

As we do that, we experience the promises of God all the more, and we learn to appreciate them like never before.

When we live in the promises of God, and in appreciation of them, we learn to love God more with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, which is the greatest command, according to Jesus.

See how that works? God has given us His promises so that we can be more like Him, transformed in character for better service, resulting in our ability to love Him all the more.

God gave you His promises for your benefit and His glory. The problem is that too many Christians don’t take advantage of them.

There are tons of promises in Scripture that you can apply to your everyday living. Look them up and see what God has in store for you!

Anticipate that as you go through His Word, He will give you something you can use in your life to become more Christ-like, so you can be transformed to His likeness.

Folks, God made you to live in anticipation of heaven, and of His promises on earth.

So how do I let this affect me tomorrow?

“That’s real nice, Brian, but I’ve gotta go to work tomorrow, and you don’t know my boss.”

“That’s real nice, Brian, but you don’t know my wife (or husband). She’s always raining on my parade.”

“That’s real nice, Brian, but you don’t know our situation. The bills are piling up, and my hours just got cut. How am I supposed to live in anticipation of the good things of God in the middle of all that?”

Let me share four choices you can make to help there, okay? First…

 Choose to let anticipation affect how you use your time. Ephesians 5:16 says to make the most of every opportunity.

I’m working on this right now in my own life. I’m trying to use what time I have to the best advantage. I’m not nearly where I want to be yet, but I’m getting there.

Right now I’m doing good just to be able to get up in time for work by 8:00.

In a recent Blondie comic, one of Dagwood’s co-workers asks him how he manages to arrive at just the very last second before he needs to be, so he’s not late, but not early either.

Dagwood calmly explains that he has a foolproof system that lets him sleep until the very latest moment, and then he jumps out of bed, and into his clothes that he lays out the night before. Then he runs through the kitchen while Blondie tosses him his toast and coffee, which he gulps on his way out to the carpool car, where he jumps in the window as it rolls by.

The last panel shows just how foolproof his system is when it shows him without his trousers.

Don’t use Dagwood as an example of anticipatory use of time.

 Choose to let anticipation affect how you work for a living.

Have you ever thought about how hope can help you in your work? Normally we think of the clock Monday through Thursday, and of the weekend come Friday.

Wish I could do that! I have a weekend job!

Adding an element of anticipation grounded in Christ will affect your work.

Your work will be better, not only in its quality, but in your attitude toward it. Because, you see, you’re looking forward to a home in heaven and to God fulfilling His promises on earth, and in the meantime, you have work to do that God considers important, no matter your vocation.

I don’t know about you, but I work better when I’m looking forward to an upcoming vacation.

Well, what about the greatest vacation ever? Let anticipation affect your work.

 Choose to let anticipation affect your family life.

When we live lives of hope and anticipation, it has profound effects on our relationships, particularly within the family.

There was a time when my life was not defined by anticipation. Well, that’s not entirely true. I did live in anticipation – of bill collectors and late notices.

That’s not the kind of anticipation I’m talking about, because that had a negative affect on my family life.

I’m ashamed to tell you that although I was a follower of Christ, I was living not in anticipation of heaven and God’s promises, but rather I was living in fear and despair.

Thank God He gave me hope, even in the midst of my hardest trials.

Psalm 91: 4 says…

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

The picture here is that there is a storm going on, but we can find protection in the midst of it.

What’s this got to do with anticipation, Brian?

Just this: now my family, rather than seeing me go to bed crying, or yelling at a rude collector, or panicking because I thought I had money to pay a bill, they see that I live a much more peaceful life in those regards. I live in anticipation of better things.

Is everything perfect now? No, I still get nervous about things sometimes, but my life is no longer centered on circumstances. It’s centered on the hope that one day I won’t have to worry about mundane things like bills.

One day I’ll live in eternity because Jesus paid the one bill I could never hope to pay, and when it comes time to collect, it won’t be fear, but joy that fills my being!

Living in anticipation helps your family life because you pass on to them that you live for more than today, and that no matter what, you anticipate a better life, both now and in heaven.

You can’t just teach that. They need to see it in your life, when the crunch is on.

Living in anticipation helps your family because it helps you spend your time with them in mind. What I mean is that we’re reminded of the time when our children won’t be with us for one reason or another.

This is probably the biggest area of my life I’m trying to work through now. My work load, as well as my classes tend to crowd out my family, so I need to be proactive about spending time with them.

I have a long way to go. But living in anticipation helps me see these things more clearly and helps me work to get past things that would hinder time with my family.

 Choose to let anticipation affect your relationship with God.

Make the time to be with Him in the morning or evening, or both. Anticipate meeting with God in sweet communion.

Anticipate His talking to you through His Word, through His touching your spirit while you meditate over His words and pray.

Anticipate His ministering to you as you lay your hurts and fears before Him, admitting your inability to get through it all without Him.

Anticipate His strengthening and encouraging hand as you ask for His help in living for Him and your family.

Anticipate His transforming power in your life.

He promises all this. Call Him on it. He’ll pay up, if you know what I mean.

The bottom line of all these things is attitude. You need to adopt an attitude of anticipation. And it’s up to you to do it.


You know the biggest barrier to living in anticipation? It’s living in the present.

In other words, focusing so much on the here and now causes us to not live with the future in mind, nor on how God wants to interact with us in our present circumstance.

People ask, “how ya doin’?” and we say, “Pretty good, under the circumstances.”

Well, what are you doing under there? Get out from under the circumstances and begin a life of anticipation.

I’m not saying all your problems will magically go away. That’s naïve at best and dishonest at worst.

But I want to tell you that when your life is lived in anticipation of heaven and of God fulfilling His promises on earth, God begins fulfilling something else: you!

So let me encourage you to look past the mountain to the Mountain Maker!

You see, God did not create you for the present. He created you with an eye toward eternity. An eternity with Him.

And truth be told, that eternity began when you gave your life to Him, not when you die. So live like it. Be a person characterized by anticipation of heaven and of God working in you today.

Are you willing to give it a shot? I hope so. Let’s pray.