A good friend of mine died a few days ago. I was honored to preach his funeral service. His commitment to Christ was complete. He made that commitment just a little over ten years ago. He wasn’t perfect, but he was welcomed into glory. Following his conversion he spent much of his time each week serving the poor. Just before he died, he told me in a weak voice, “that in case I don’t make it [through the illness] he loved me and would see me in heaven!”
His sudden illness and quick death, shocked his family and friends. Like so many others, whose loved ones have died way too young, we are still trying to reconcile with his absence. Here is our great promise and hope though, our friend and brother in Christ is in a very real and safe place with the Lord. Heaven!
Heaven is of great comfort and hope to all of us who have trusted in Christ! It is far more than an vain or empty hope or belief in a myth. Christ’s resurrection, ascension and promise of a place in our heavenly Father’s house is a rock solid promise that is ours. We will not be there because of any good thing we have done or neglected to do. The question is not, did we sin but did we trust God to forgive our sins in Christ! If so we have a home in heaven. The Scriptures assure the believer that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. We are not stuck somewhere to suffer in space or time for failing to do enough good; just as we will not be in heaven because of doing good. We will be in heaven because of Christ!
“Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32-33, NLT)
However, because of God’s grace at work in our lives we want to do good, to produce good works so that men will praise God! It’s what every passionate follower of Christ wants, to see God worshipped! Heaven motivates me for I know my life on this earth is brief.
“In the same way let your light shine in front of people. Then they will see the good that you do and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16, GW)
Contemplating eternity is good for us. I used to believe the old saying “you could be so heavenly minded you were no earthly good.” Quite the opposite is true. Those like my friend, who’s hearts and minds are set on heaven, do great good daily on this earth.
When you believe and act upon God’s Word you are banking for eternity. Let me illustrate. My dad, would plant and harvest sweet potatoes and other root vegetables in the fall and he would build these banks, line them with pine straw, fill them with his harvest, and then cover it with straw and dirt. He would always check to be sure that mice or other rodents were tunneling into his potato banks and destroy his investment. During the cooler months, he would remove sweet potatoes for holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas or any other time mom would ask him to. We enjoyed the fruit of his labor throughout the year. Year after year, my dad would bank on the harvest and we enjoyed the fruit of it. Likewise Jesus said that we are banking for eternity our works of faith that will never fade away. Nothing will be able to diminish or remove those works of faith.
I don’t want to die tonight, there is much work for me to serving Christ, yet. But I tell you, deep inside of me there is a longing for heaven.
- I want to see Christ
- I want to see the sufferings of this world ended
- I want to see my family and friends who have died in faith
- I want to know “everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.” (1 Corinthians 13:12, NLT)
Tomorrow, what the Bible says we will be like in heaven!
Peace and joy in Christ!