24 Jul Hope of Heaven
Last Sunday, Dr. Jim Newheiser preached the sermon: “God’s Good Design for Marriage,” from Genesis 2:18-24. We considered God’s design of leaving, cleaving, and becoming one flesh in marriage. Ultimately, this good design points the watching world to the glory of God in the gospel of Jesus Christ, as the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman reveals what Christ’s covenant relationship with his church is like.
Read: John 14:1-12
This Sunday, Pastor Jeremy Chasteen will continue our I Am series, with a sermon from John 14:1-12. Here, Jesus tells his disciples: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). In a world that is ravaged with sin, brokenness, and uncertainty, we must take heart in the certain hope of Christ’s return to take us to be with him where he is forever. He himself is the way to the hope of eternal, unhindered relationship with our Heavenly Father. As you prepare your heart for our Sunday gathering, let this devotional from Milton Vincent encourage you further with our certain hope of heaven.
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. “Glorious Day (Living He Loves Me),” by Casting Crowns
2. “Jesus Paid It All,” Arr. Passion
3. “Let Your Kingdom Come,” by Sovereign Grace Music