Kingdom of Heaven, on Earth
Each congregation of the Lord’s body, is an outpost of heaven, on this earth. The entire church is on a mission trip, gathering souls, to be taken to the Father when He calls. Every church member, is on a “work visa”, where we work while it is day, so that we can receive our “just recompense” at the last day.
We’re on a journey, this world isn’t our home. And each day, we pitch our tent, that much closer to our true home, in heaven. Philippians 3, verse 20 says; “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Those are the words of Allen Webster, editor of the “House To House, Heart To Heart” publication.
A writer once wrote; “I’m homesick for heaven. It’s the hope of dying, that’s kept me alive for this long.” That’s an interesting way to look at it.
Everything that’s meaningful to us, is in heaven. As we saw from Philippians 3, verse 20; “Our citizenship is in heaven”, and “our Savior, Jesus Christ”, is in heaven.
Jesus tells us, in Luke 10, verse 20, “..Rejoice that your NAMES are recorded in heaven.”
Colossians 3, verses 1 & 2 tells us; “If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set you MIND on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”
Jesus said in Mathew 6, verse 33; “But seek FIRST, His kingdom, and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” We always say that the things which will be added to us, are the necessities of this life, like food and drink and clothing. But the problem is, we’re not SATISFIED with just the necessities. We want the luxuries! But are we working for these luxuries, at the expense of heaven?
We need to think about that EVERY day. Are we sacrificing eternity, for the pleasures of today? Are YOU, bound for heaven?
Jesus tells us, to “Lay up for yourselves TREASURES, IN heaven..” Mathew 6, verse 20.
And He tells us, in Mathew 5, verse 12; “Rejoice and be glad, for your REWARD is great, in heaven..”
Everything of any real value, is in heaven. The church itself, will spend eternity in heaven. We’re told in 1 Corinthians 15, verse 24; “Then comes the end, when He delivers up the KINGDOM, to the God and Father..”
1 Thessalonians 4: 17 says; “..And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” In heaven, with the Lord.
Human history began in the paradise of God, and for the faithful, it will end in the paradise of God. King David wrote, in Psalm 27, verse 4: “One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I will seek; That I may dwell in the house of the Lord, all the days of my life. To behold the beauty of the Lord, and to meditate in His temple.”
And God Himself, looks forward to us coming to Him. It says in Psalm 116, verse 15; “Precious in the sight of the Lord, is the death of His godly ones.” It’s at our death, that our spirit returns to God. Ecclesiastes 12, verse 7.
God “dwells in unapproachable light”; 1 Timothy 6, verse 16. But yet he tells us in James 4, verse 8; “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” You draw as near to that “unapproachable light” as you possibly can, and God will do the rest.
God, “..Is a holy God”; Joshua 24:19. But yet were told in 1 John 1, verse 3; “..And indeed, our fellowship is WITH the Father, and with His Son, Jesus Christ”. Fellowship, with our “Holy God”.
God’s original intention was to walk with man daily, in His paradise, “in the cool of the day”, as it says in Genesis 3, verse 8. But man sinned, and was cast out of paradise. Verse 24. But yet, God said in Leviticus 26, verses 11 & 12; “Moreover, I will make My dwelling among you, and My soul shall NOT reject you. I will also walk among you, and be your God, and you shall be My people.”
As the story of the new testament begins, we see God literally, walking among man. John 1, verse 14 says; “And the word became flesh, and dwelt among us. And we beheld His glory. Glory as the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
And now as Christians, God’s Spirit dwells in each one of us. We’re told in 1 Corinthians 6, verse 19; “Or do you not know, that your body is a temple, of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price! Therefore, glorify God in your body.”
And then again, in 2 Corinthians 6, verse 16; “For we are the temple of the living God. Just as God said; I will dwell in them, and walk among them. And I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”
In Genesis 1, verse 1, the physical heavens and earth were created. But in Revelation 21, verse 1, it says; “And I saw a NEW heaven and earth, for the first heaven and the first earth, have passed away..” The NEW heaven and earth, are the SPIRITUAL heaven and earth, the dwelling place of God and His children.
Let’s look at a quick comparison, of the first heaven and earth, and the NEW heaven and earth..
In Genesis 1, verse 16, The sun was created, to give light from the heavens. But the “New Heaven”, won’t need the sun. Revelation 21, verse 23 says; “And the city has no need of the sun or moon to shine upon it. For the glory of GOD has illumined it, and it’s lamp is the Lamb.”
Genesis 1, verse 5 says; “And God called the light, day. And the darkness, He called night..” But in the NEW heaven, “..There shall no longer BE, night..” (Rev 22, verse 5)
In Genesis 3, verses 14 thru 17, the CURSE is announced! Cursed is Satan, in verse 14. Cursed is the woman, in verse 16. And cursed is the man in verse 17. Even the ground was cursed, because of them, verse 17. But, Revelation 22, verse 3 says; “And there shall no longer be any curse!”
And also in Genesis chapter 3, spiritual death entered into the world. We’re told in Romans 5, verse 12; “Therefore just as through one man, sin entered into the world, and death through sin. And so death spread to all men, because all have sinned.”
But Revelation 21, verse 4 says; “There shall no longer BE any death.”
God had commanded Adam, in Genesis 2, verse 17; “But from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat! For in the day that you eat from it, you shall surely die!”
But the “father of lies” planted a lie in the heart of Eve. “You surely shall NOT die”, Satan said, in Genesis 3, verse 4. But GOD had said; “For in the day that you eat from it (from the forbidden tree), you shall surely die!”
Well, Adam and Eve, DID eat on that day, and they both DIED on that very day, just like God said they would. They died spiritually. Because that’s what sin does, “It brings forth death”. (James 1, verse 15)
And then they were both cursed. But God says, that in the NEW heaven, “There shall no longer BE any curse”, and, “There shall no longer be any death.”
As a matter of fact, Revelation 21, verse 4 says; “And He shall wipe away every TEAR from their eyes, and there shall no longer be any DEATH. There shall no longer be any MOURNING, or CRYING, or PAIN. The first things have passed away!” And verse 5 says; “And He who sits on the throne said; Behold, I am making all things new.”
Just prior to those two verses, the apostle John wrote this; “And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying; Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men! And He shall dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them.” (Rev 21, verses 2 & 3)
Can you imagine that? “And God Himself, shall be among them.” God Himself shall be among us! That’s more than we can imagine.
I know, that Jesus said; “Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst”. (Mathew 18, verse 20)
And I know, that Jesus said; “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13, verse 5) And Jesus said in Mathew 28, verse 20, “And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” So we know, that God is with us, as we live according to His will.
But can you imagine; Our spirits, actually being there, in eternal heaven, with God Himself among us? Truly, everything of lasting value, and everything, that we could ever want or hope for, will be there for us, in heaven.
No hunger, no sickness, no pain, no tears, no sorrow, no feeble bodies. No anxieties, no mental or emotional distress. No bereavement, no doubts, no sin!
Sometimes people talk about who they’re looking forward to seeing, in heaven. Have you ever thought about that? Some people want to meet Noah, or Abraham, or Moses, or king David. Maybe one of the prophets of God. Maybe some of the apostles. What about your loved ones who have already gone on?
What a great reunion! A child, or a parent, or a brother or sister. A husband or a wife. The relationships won’t be exactly like they are here on earth, but still.. Can you imagine?
But no matter who else you may look forward to seeing in heaven; Do you know who we haven’t mentioned? We haven’t mentioned God! We will get to meet God! That’s incredible! Words couldn’t possibly tell how incredible, that will be.
It makes you want to do everything that’s in your power to do, to make it a reality.
The apostle Paul wrote, in Romans 8, verse 18; “For I consider the suffering of this present time, are not WORTHY TO BE COMPARED, with the GLORY, that is to be revealed to us.”
And he wrote in 2 Corinthians 4, verse 17; “For momentary light affliction, is producing for us, an eternal weight of GLORY.. FAR beyond all comparison.”
We know, that the troubles that we face now, are real, and they’re difficult. There IS sickness, and there IS suffering, and there IS dying. But, God assures us, that these things “are not worthy to be compared”, to our reward in heaven.
Listen please, “It is appointed unto man once to die, and then the judgement.” (Heb 9:27) But if we’re prepared for the judgment, what a truly wonderful day that will be! There is going to be PRAISE at the judgment. Praise from Jesus! Jesus is going to say; “Well done, good and faithful servant! You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the JOY of your Lord.” (Mathew 25, verse 21)
If we would be faithful, in just “a few things”, we will have unimaginable joy in heaven. That’s what Jesus promises. There’s really only TWO things that we have to be faithful in. At least that’s what Jesus said on another occasion.
Jesus said in Mathew 22, and verses 37 thru 40; “You shall love the Lord thy God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great, and foremost commandment. The second is like unto it. You shall love, your neighbor as yourself. On these TWO commandments, depend the whole law and the prophets.”
Be faithful in just those two things, and you will be faithful in everything. Love the Lord thy God, and love each other. And don’t just SAY you love, but DO what love requires you to do.
If you say you love God, then DO what that love requires. Worship your God, every first day of the week, just like His word says. “Do NOT forsake the assembling of yourselves together, as is the manner of some..” (Hebrews 10, verse 25)
If we want to DO God’s will, then we’ve got to KNOW God’s word. “Study, be diligent, to show yourself approved unto God. A workman who needs not be ashamed, correctly discerning the word of truth.” (2 Tim 2:15). Don’t you think, that it would help you to correctly understand God’s word, if you attended the bible studies, that this congregation conducts? I know it would, because I know it helps me understand the word better. And it would help you too.
What about loving each other? And what about loving our neighbors? We say we love others, don’t we? But do we do it? Do we put others first, after God that is? Do we “bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the word of Christ”? Like we’re told to do in Galatians 6, verse 2.
Would you actually deny yourself something, in order to give to someone else? Jesus said, in Luke 9, verse 23; “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.”
Where was Jesus going, that we should follow Him there? Do you know where He was going? He was going where ever there was someone, who needed help. That’s where He went, every day! And that’s where we need to follow Him, wherever someone needs our help. Deny ourselves, and follow Him.
There is absolutely nothing, that God could ask you to do, that wouldn’t be worth doing, in order to gain heaven. And that’s a fact! And the first thing that He asks you to do, is to be a Christian. To have your sins forgiven, and to be added to His kingdom, the church.
And you know how to do that. You know, that you must believe in Jesus, and His word, that’s the bible. (John 8:24)
And you know, that you have to repent of NOT following Jesus in the past. Of not doing, what He has said to do. (Acts 17:30)
And you know, that you have to confess your faith in Him to save you. (Mat 10:32)
And you know, that you must bury your old self, in baptism, so that you can arise a new creature, in Christ. (Rom 6:4)
If you’re not a Christian, why aren’t you? What’s holding you back?
Think about the very best day, that you’ve ever had. Think about it. The happiest, the most enjoyable, the greatest and best day that you’ve ever had. Now, multiply that, so many times, that you can’t even imagine how tremendous that would be, and how happy you would be. That’s what heaven will be like. That’s what you have to GAIN, by being a Christian, and by LIVING as a Christian.
Don’t you believe that Jesus is the Christ? Don’t you believe that only He can save you eternally? And aren’t you willing to come out and say that.. To say, Yes, I believe in Jesus Christ.
I want to quote one more verse.. “Look, water! What hinders me from being baptized?” (Acts 8:36)
What hinders YOU from being baptized? Why don’t you make up your mind, right now, make the decision, to be one of those who Jesus PRAISES, on the day of judgment, when He says; “Well done, My good and faithful servant.. enter into the joys of your Lord.”
Are You Bound for Heaven?