21 Jul Hope of Heaven
Last Sunday, Pastor John Henschen preached from James 5:1-6 and showed us that God’s way of living leads to true and everlasting blessing.
Read: James 5:7-12
This Sunday, Pastor Will Jackson will preach from James 5:7-12 and encourage us to be a community of growth and purity as we wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. As you prepare for our Sunday gathering, let this devotional from Milton Vincent help you to “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 314).
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. “God Is for Us,” by CityAlight
2. “The Lord Our God,” by Passion
3. “His Mercy Is More,” Arr. Shane & Shane
4. “Be Still My Soul,” Arr. Crosspoint Music
5. “The Lord Is My Salvation,” Arr. The Worship Initiative