01 Jan Hope of Heaven
Last Sunday, Brock Bass closed our Christmas series with a sermon from Matthew 1:18-25 and presented us with this glorious truth: God does the impossible; the birth of Jesus Christ reminds us to always submit our plan to God’s greater plan.
Read: James 5:7-11
This Sunday, Pastor Jason Finley will preach from James 5:7-11. Jason will exhort us with the following as we enter 2021: No matter your circumstances, choose patience, choose fellowship, and choose to remember God’s character. As you prepare your heart for our gathering, let this devotional from Milton Vincent turn your gaze to the hope of heaven that is ours in Christ.
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. “How Great Thou Art,” Arr. Paul Baloche
2. “Christ Our Hope in Life and Death,” Arr. Shane & Shane
3. “In Christ Alone,” Arr. Passion