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Summary: To deny the reality of an eternal realm simply because we haven’t experienced it yet may be like the days of ocean travel before Columbus. They assumed they would sail off the edge of a flat world.

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Why Does Eternity Matter…Now?

Series: AfterLife

Brad Bailey - May 25, 2014

Intro…

I can feel something beginning to happen inside my kids…yearbooks are coming out…parties… plans….summer is coming…and even though still weeks away there is a restless excitement. Just ask any school teacher whether an approaching summer vacation stays in the future. Of course not! Kids get restless and rowdy in the weeks before, because their future is impinging on their present.

Our family has a larger transition at hand…our firstborn…oldest…finishing High School…preparing to go to college…to leave home. He’s full of anticipation… wearing his Point Loma College sweatshirt…

The future often gets to us (in our thoughts and feelings) before we get to it (in our actual experience).

> In a similar but even more powerful way…Christ bore a connection to eternity in himself and brings eternity to get in us…to be stirring and effecting us even now.

Past several weeks…been in a series entitled “AfterLife.” Before concluding, let me REAFFIRM..

We’re like children… tell a child that it’s a big world out there…and they may think about the small neighborhood outside the front door. Then we learn we live in a city…then we are introduced to maps...then a globe…and finally solar system. And we think now we know all that exists.

The more we look into what God tells us about eternity…the more I think we may think we’ve grown up and grasp it all… but may still be far more like children.

Herman Weyl an eminent mathematician and physicist of Gottingen and later a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, opened the Terry Lectures of Yale with these remarks

“Mathematics and physics make the world appear more and more an open one, as a world not closed but pointing beyond itself.” - Herman Weyl

To deny the reality of an eternal realm simply because we haven’t experienced it yet may be like the days of ocean travel before Columbus. They assumed they would sail off the edge of a flat world because from their limited perspective they could not see the larger curve that revealed the world was round.

What changed? Someone returned from the new world…and declared it’s existence.

That is what Christ has done… and made possible in himself.

Christ reveals that the world is bigger…and that the Living God reigns over all…the Father of all life… and that separation was never what God intended as our end…but separation reflects our own unsurrendered hearts of autonomy.

“God has put eternity in our very hearts” (Ecclesiastes 3:11)…to keep us seeking beyond ourselves.

Christ came to defeat death and offer eternal life… life which we gain through being united with him…to entrust our lives fully to him.

Romans 6:5 (NIV)

If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.

If we want to state the most extreme opportunity possible…we say “It’s the opportunity of a lifetime.” What Christ offers, to those united to him, is more than “the opportunity of a lifetime” God offers you an opportunity beyond your lifetime.

And while we normally think in terms of the future…because naturally we are bound in time. It is also now. There is a more dynamic relationship to heaven than merely it lying in our future. It has always intersected with our temporal realm bound in time and space. [1]

Jesus said…”The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.” He brings that intersection to bear in a new and profound way.

And so as we are united with him…we are in perhaps a very REAL sense ….already placed into eternity.

Colossians 3:1-4 (NLT)

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. …3 For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.

Your life IS ALREADY hidden in Christ…in the eternal realm.

The Scriptures are clear that we won’t fully experience the eternal heavenly realm on this current earth …but we have already been given a place in it.

So he says… we should “set our sights on the realities of heaven.”

Some might think…if I have my reservation for a future life…it doesn’t make any difference in this world.

The great trend today in the western affluent world has been that of a declining interest in heaven and a focusing of our hopes and expectations on earth.

We can become so stimulated we think we’re satisfied.

We have such a sense of power and control we are in denial of our mortality.

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