Summary: What reward are we to look toward to be able to choose to suffer the reproach of Christ? Background to passage: Paul is exalting in the salvation that we share in Christ, mentions the reward.. “The strength to endure present suffering is the fruit of me
Text: Eph 2:4-7, Col 3:1-4, Title: Too Heavenly Minded, Date/Place: NRBC, 7/1/12
A. Opening illustration: “The strength to endure present suffering is the fruit of meditating on future satisfaction.”
B. Background to passage: Paul is exalting in the salvation that we share in Christ, mentions the reward...
C. Main thought: What reward are we to look toward to be able to choose to suffer the reproach of Christ
A. Heaven (v. )
1. In Ephesians Paul gives us a purpose clause for our salvation: in the ages to come we might show the immeasurable riches of God’s grace and kindness. The ultimate end of our salvation (although it never ends) is that we would display the endless glory of his kindness toward us. In Colossians he says that we should fix our minds on eternal (heavenly) things because our life is in Christ and when He comes we will appear in glory. Eph 1:18
2. Illustration: Heaven is not one grand, momentary flash of excitement followed by an eternity of boredom. Heaven is not going to be an endless series of earthly re-runs! some people are “so heavenly minded they’re of no earthly good.” On the contrary, I’m persuaded that we will never be of much use in this life until we’ve developed a healthy obsession with the next. Our only hope for satisfaction of soul and joy of heart in this life comes from looking intently at what we can’t see (see 2 Cor. 4:16-18; Col. 3:1-4). Therefore, we must take steps to cultivate and intensify in our souls an ache for the beauty and perfection of the age to come. CS Lewis: "Most of us find it very difficult to want 'Heaven' at all--except in so far as 'Heaven' means meeting again our friends who have died. One reason for this difficulty is that we have not been trained; our whole education tends to fix our minds on this world. Another reason is that when the real want for Heaven is present in us, we do not recognize it." “The enjoyment of him is our proper; and is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Better than fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, or children, or the company of any, or all earthly friends. These are but shadows; but the enjoyment of God is the substance. These are but scattered beams; but God is the sun. These are but streams; but God is the fountain. These are but drops, but God is the ocean.” –Jonathan Edwards, joy never crests in heaven, "We will constantly be more amazed with God, more in love with God, and thus ever more relishing his presence and our relationship with him. Our experience of God will never reach its consummation. We will never finally arrive, as if upon reaching a peak we discover there is nothing beyond. Our experience of God will never become stale. It will deepen and develop, intensify and amplify, unfold and increase, broaden and balloon. Our relishing and rejoicing in God will sharpen and spread and extend and progress and mature and flower and blossom and widen and stretch and swell and snowball and inflate and lengthen and augment and advance and proliferate and accumulate and accelerate and multiply and heighten and reach a crescendo that will even then be only the beginning of an eternity of new and fresh insights into the majesty of who God is!” –theologian Sam Storms, “New ideas, new revelation, new insights, new applications, together with new connections between one idea and another all lead to deeper appreciation for God and thus fuel the flames of worship. And just when you think you’re going to explode if you learn anything more or hear anything fresh or see anything new, God expands your heart and stretches your mind and broadens your emotions and extends every faculty to take in yet more and more and more, and so it goes forever and ever.” "Monday, Feb. 13. Was calm and sedate in morning-devotions; and my soul seemed to rely on God. -- Rode to Stockbridge, and enjoyed some comfortable meditations by the way; had a more refreshing taste and relish of heavenly blessedness than I have enjoyed for many months past. I have many times, of late, felt as ardent desires of holiness as ever; but not so much sense of the sweetness and unspeakable pleasure of the enjoyments and employments of heaven. My soul longed to leave earth, and bear a part with angels in their celestial employments. My soul said,`Lord, it is good to be here;' and it appeared to be better to die than to lose the relish of these heavenly delights." -Brainerd