03 Aug Hope of Heaven
Last Sunday, Pastor Ken preached Part 1 of “The Church and Her Aged” from 2 Timothy 4:1-6. We considered Paul’s final exhortation to Timothy to faithfully follow Christ to the very end of life. This does not consist of a perfect life but a life submitted to God. We learned the first of three ways this submission is lived out: 1) A person who is fully submitted to God will exhort others with the Word to faithfully follow Christ.
Read: 2 Timothy 4:1-22
This Sunday, Pastor Ken will close out our series, The Church and Me, with Part 2 of “The Church and Her Aged,” from 2 Timothy 4:1-22. We will consider the second and third ways that a submissive life to God is lived out: 2) Being an example of one who faithfully follows Christ (vv. 6-8). 3) Having fellowship with believers who have the same passion to finish well (vv. 9-22). In response to the sermon, we will celebrate the Lord’s Supper together!
As you prepare your heart for our corporate gathering and observance of the Lord’s Supper, pray that the Lord will help us to be a church who leverages our lives for eternity and who encourages each other with the truth of the gospel to persevere in our faithfulness to the Lord until the end. As you pray, let these thoughts from Milton Vincent move you to join Paul in setting your hope firmly on the appearing of our Lord.
Reflect: “Hope of Heaven”
The more I experience the riches of Christ in the gospel, the more there develops within me a yearning to be with Christ in heaven where I will experience His grace in unhindered fullness (Philippians 1:23; 1 Peter 1:13). The reason for this yearning is simple: however great may be the present blessings of salvation, they are but the “first fruits of the Spirit,” the first installments of an unimaginably great harvest of glory which I will reap forever in heaven (Romans 8:23).
The Apostle Paul could not rehearse gospel blessings in Romans 5-8 without being reminded of his anxious longing for the future glories awaiting believers in heaven (Romans 8:18-23). Likewise, the Apostle John could not speak of his and his readers’ status as children of God without also relishing the beautification they will experience at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 John 3:1-2). Neither will I be able to think long upon gospel blessings without thinking also of the infinite glories which will be mine to enjoy in heaven.
Such a gospel-generated heavenward focus yields enormous benefits to me while on earth. The mere hope of seeing Christ in glory releases the purifying influence of heaven upon my life from day to day (1 John 3:3). Also, knowing of the future love that God will show me in glory enables me to love my fellow-saints with a heaven-inspired love even now (Colossians 1:4-5). I love others out of the fullness already given to me in Christ, and also out of the greater fullness that will be given to me in glory!
Hope of eternity with Christ in heaven also enables my heart to thrive during the most difficult and lengthy of trials here on earth. When looking at the sheer weight of unseen glories to come, my troubles seem light by comparison; and when looking at the staggering length of eternity, my troubles seem fleeting by comparison (2 Corinthians 4:16-18). It is only against the backdrop of a glorious eternity that my circumstances can be seen in such a manner; and the promise of this glorious eternity is part and parcel of the gospel itself (Colossians 1:5).
Preaching the gospel to myself every day is a great way to keep myself established in “the hope of the gospel (Colossians 1:23),” so that I might experience the practical benefits that such hope is intended to bring me here on earth.
“Hope of Heaven,” in A Gospel Primer for Christians, by Milton Vincent
Sing: Song List for Sunday
1. “Yes I Will,” by Vertical Worship
2. “The Passion,” by Hillsong Worship
3. “The Rock Won’t Move,” by Vertical Worship
4. “How Great Thou Art,” Arr. Shane & Shane