Summary: Questions about Heaven
WHY IS CREATION GROANING FOR HEAVEN?
Romans 8: 18-25 (p800) January 8, 2012
What would you want God to do for you if He told you your life is going to be filled with suffering and trials?
I guess, first of all I’d ask---“Would you really want to know that about your life? Would you really want God to tell you….”Yes I’ve called you….yes I’ve saved you…but let me show you how much you’re going to suffer and struggle because of this calling.”
The answer to that question is complicated…I’m not sure I’d want to know about all the suffering I’d go through if it’s on a somewhat normal level (whatever that might be) but if it was going to be extraordinary…ongoing…I don’t know…maybe.
And what would I want God to do for me if he told me about this life of suffering for Him? I’d want Him to show me why it would be worth it….I’d want to see heaven!”
When Jesus appears to Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus…it’s personal and powerful…”Saul, Saul why do you persecute me!” Saul asks “who are you Lord?” and the response “I am Jesus”
Jesus knows Saul…Saul now meets Jesus…up close and personal… Jesus tells Saul, “go into the city and you’ll find out what you must do”. He does…through a disciple named Ananias. Ananias has been given this instruction by God…
Acts 9: 13-19 (p 777)
Saul has encountered Jesus…Ananias has been to lead Saul in his faith…Saul surrenders to Jesus, dies to his old life and is reborn through the Holy Spirit. Saul is now “the Apostle Paul”
Acts 9: 20 says “At once he began to preach in the Synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God”
Here’s a question…what nation of people worship in Synagogue … Easy, right? The Nation of Israel, Jews…Saul; is a Jew…He had been persecuting “the church” for the Jewish leaders….He lead the opposition against Jesus…Now he goes and preaches Jesus is God’s Son…He’s alive….
What do you think will be the reaction of the Jews in the Synagogues? Acts 9:22 says “They conspired to Kill Him”
It doesn’t take very long before “the suffering in the name of Jesus begins” As we answer the question…Why is creation groaning for heaven?” It’s important we understand…
I WE LIVE IN THE PRESENT BUT LONG FOR THE FUTURE
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
I’m not sure why, but people… (saved and lost alike) have the tendency to equate comfort with blessings for riches) If I’m comfortable I’m blessed…or I’m rich…Satan loves to speak those words…If God loved you he’d heal you…If you had more faith your struggles would go away…since God wants you to be comfortable He must be punishing you. (LIAR!)
WHERE IN God’s plan or His word does we see God wanting His people to be comfortable or promising that comfort equals His blessings?” Paul’s barely dry from his baptism when he starts preaching Jesus is God’s son…and the persecution and pain rains down. It’s immediate; intense and ongoing…He’s changes sides and the consequences are uncomfortable…
Here’s a radical concept….if you are proclaiming Jesus is Lord and living it’s truth…preaching He’s alive…do not be surprised when trails and difficulties come along…Present sufferings are a better indication of God’s work in your life than comfort…(don’t get me wrong…I’m thankful for the “rest Stops of comfort”..But don’t believe Satan when he tells you this is where you should live.
If you are really headed towards heaven…and following the calling of Jesus…God will protect…but Satan will attack…and that arena becomes a great testimony, for your faith! What was Paul’s present like? Prison, Shipwrecks, hunger, stoned and left for dead…while in prison he writes to the Philippians and says “Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel” (Phil 1:12)
Remember when David Platt wrote in “radical” that God doesn’t call us to be the safe place, but the most dangerous…He sends us out as sheep among wolves.. Satan says, “Be safe”, seek comfort…that’s what God wants “And God says, “If anyone would follow me they must deny self, take up a cross and follow me.”…Jesus says “If you want to find your life…lose it for the sake of the gospel…lose it for my sake”.
When God’s people forget this calling we become more of a country club than a life, saving salvation…Instead of being a “going” people who make disciples we become stationary people who criticize the world for not coming to us.
Instead of living in the present and longing for the future…we live in the past longing for comfort.
Persecution…the same persecution Saul had been a part of…spread the message he was trying to stamp out!