HEAVEN IS MORE ABOUT A PERSON THAN A PLACE

Bible Text:  Philippians 3:20, 21

Setting out on a Summer Vacation has always been a special occasion in my life. Although I don’t travel on long road trips as much as I used to, I still love planning vacations.

When our children were young, some parts of the journey on a family vacation were much enjoyed…while other parts, not so much (He’s touching me…No, I’m not…She’s touching me!).

I remember going on family vacations with my brother, mom, and dad and on the way we would stop for a fresh peach ice cream cone on a hot Summer day in Bakersville, California, but that wasn;t our destination…our destination was Yosemite National Park and the RESERVATIONS were long in place at Camp Curry.

And if you remember Family Vacations as I do and find after arriving at your destination there are NO RESERVATIONS available and you wind up spending the night in a car with a family of five…behind a park ranger’s cabin…hearing strange noises in the dark….you might want to punch a night prowling racoon on the nose!

Arriving At The End Of The Journey

Our loving Father, who wants us to make it to the end of life’s journey posted many road signs designed to get us and keep focused on the road.

It’s why the Apostle Peter writes… “Once you were not a people [at all], but now you are God’s people; once you were unpitied, but now you are pitied and have received mercy. Beloved, I implore you as aliens and strangers and exiles [in the world] to abstain from sensual urges (the evil desires, passions of the flesh, your lower nature) that wage war against the soul.  Conduct yourselves properly (honorably, righteously) among the Gentiles, so that, although they may slander you as evildoers,  [yet]  they may by witnessing your good deeds [come to] glorify God on the day of inspection [when God shall look upon you Wanderers as a pastor or shepherd looks over his flock]”  (1 Peter 2:10-12AMP).

The Apostle Paul and Apostle Peter are in complete 100% agreement. 

OUR HOME ISN’T HERE!  OUR CITIZENSHIP IS IN HEAVEN, NOT HERE ON EARTH.

We are on a JOURNEY, not to see and taste ice cream or punch a raccoon in the nose, but “We eagerly wait to see our Savior, from heaven.”

We long to glorify God here, because, through that, others might also glorify Him on the day He visits us.

As we look towards the end of the JOURNEY it’s important we realize that HEAVEN IS MORE ABOUT A PERSON THAN A PLACE.

Got whatever the reason we’ve been bombarded, saturated with pictures of heaven showing white fluffy clouds, Angels with halos, and a lot of singing and strumming.

George Bernard Shaw wrote these somewhat cynical words about HEAVEN:

If heaven is nothing more than a place where we sit on white clouds and play a harp day after day, frankly, it’s not a place to really get excited about…

It’s better than HELL–to be more comfortable than being ‘burnt toast’s-but it’s not a great motivation to keep on the narrow road until the end, especially when Satan offers all kinds of side-excursions on the journey.

Behavior and Hearts Will Never Ever Be Changed Spiritually by Viewing Heaven As A Place.

Don’t get me wrong!  I believe HEAVEN to be real, tangible, rock solid!!

Here’s the problem viewing HEAVEN in a place.

1 Corinthians 2:9, 10  (Good News Translation – GNT)

However, as scripture says, “What no one ever saw and heard what no one ever thought could happen, is the very thing God prepared for those who love him–but it was to us that God made known his secret by means of his Spirit.”

I had to re-read the above verses several times before I really understood.  Don’t try to present or understand HEAVEN as the end, your earthly, non-glorified eye, ears and mind are not capable.  But you have a RELATIONSHIP with God through His Spirit.  His spirit made Him “Abba” Daddy to you, and this relationship reveals the PROMISE of HEAVEN, not as a place, but as His people.

I want to share Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:21 with you:  “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’  will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”  

When you think of HEAVEN as a place…trying to be good enough to get there, to keep the Law–the 10 Commandments–do church stuff, and Jesus says “you have to know my Father’s WILL (and the only way we know it is through the Holy Spirit), don’t just do STUFF…have a relationship with Me…know Me…and then HEAVEN isn’t a place you go, it’s a family reunion.

It’s Paul’s understanding that his CITIZENSHIP IS IN HEAVEN…

VERSE 20:  “But our citizenship is in heaven…and we eagerly WAIT…

And it’s Peter who is excited to give glory to God on the day He visits us.

THE WORK OF GOD can only be carried on by the POWER of God.

The CHURCH isn’t an organization (or it shouldn’t be), but it’s a spiritual organism–a living, breathing thing fighting spiritual battles…and only spiritual POWER can make it function as God ordained.

THE KEY…

It’s not money, organization, cleverness or education, the KEY is God, His Spirit and His POWER moving us forward on the journey.

Romans 8:14 reads “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”

“Sons of God”…This is exactly the RELATIONSHIP Paul is talking about.  

God has made us spend eternity in relationship with Him…and we severed that relationship.

How is it RESTORED?

He calls us back…

He pays for our misgivings, our SINS through the BLOOD of His own Son.

We REPENT and ESTABLISH the relationship through the DEATH, BURIAL, AND RESURRECTION.

The Holy Spirit enters this earthly tent…

Lives within…which is God’s down payment for an external RELATIONSHIP.

Our text in Philippians 3 tells us something so important about the relationship at the end of the journey.

The Greatest Miracle…

The most amazing aspect of ETERNAL RELATIONSHIP is guaranteed by Holy Spirit.

JESUS CHRIST THE ALL POWERFUL WILL TRANSFORM US TO BE LIKE HIM!

VERSE 21:   Who will transform and fashion anew the body of our humiliation to conform to and be like the body of His glory and majesty, by exerting that power which enables Him even to subject everything to Himself.  [AMP]

WHAT KIND OF AUTHORITY DOES JESUS HAVE?

“ALL AUTHORITY,” ACCORDING TO MATTHEW  28:18-20 –

Empty tomb with three crosses on a hill side.

WHY?  Because He made Himself a servant, was made in human likeness, came to earth in the appearance of man…and then humbled Himself completely in obedience to His Father, even dying on a Cross.

As JESUS prayed before His crucifixion in John 17, look closely at His request:

This PLAN, this RELATIONSHIP, existed before the world begun as did God’s PLAN for SALVATION through Jesus!

Jesus knew this SALVATION would be presented through the DISCIPLES.  Here’s what Jesus wanted more than anything else while He approached the Cross.

But He wasn’t just thinking about the 12…

John 17:11-19

HE WAS THINKING ABOUT THOSE WHO WOULD BE SAVED THROUGH THEIR MESSAGE.

LISTEN TO THE HEART OF JESUS!!

 

Powerful Stuff, don’t you think?  The RELATIONSHIP that Jesus has with the Father and the Father has with Him, flows powerfully into the lives of His followers through the Holy Spirit… 

Not just for the TWELVE, but even those who would be SAVED by their message,

Those who have been ADOPTED into the Family of God.

You see it’s the Spirit that’s transforming us into the IMAGE of Jesus.  Holy isn’t His first name, it’s the work He performs in us as believers.  He’s molding (as we surrender) our hearts, minds, attitudes into being shaped like Jesus’ heart, mind, attitude…

CROSS SHAPED!

So while this is occurring, our inward TRANSFORMATION through the Holy Spirit taking place in a body that’s wasting away, a TENT, inwardly we are hopefully becoming Holy – H.O.L.Y.

But our earthly bodies are becoming Holey – H.O.L.E.Y. …

  • Holy=filled with Jesus
  • Holey=filled with holes.

“Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal!  (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

I can probably bet that Paul wasn’t focusing on clouds, harps, and golden streets.  He was looking straight at the face of a Savior Who reversed His blasphemous, violent, persecuting hide!  The One Who pulled him out of the angry dust on the Damascus Road one day and redirected his path towards home.

And in that place, we call HEAVEN, in the presence of Jesus…spiritual perfection is attained, and our satisfaction becomes GLORIFICATION.

And then folks, that perfect Spirit will then be housed in a perfect body…

“Transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body.”

Spending A Day Or A 1,000 Years On My Face…

Telling Jesus how much I love Him, how grateful I am for His grace, my salvation, and I’ll get up to my feet, and look for my Dad and ask “Want a fresh peach ice cream cone?”  And he’ll say, “You know, you look great without all your scars.”  And then we’ll both fall at the feet of Jesus again for a day or 1,000 years, it really doesn’t matter, does it?

REUNION

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

CREDITS –

Bible Translations:  New International Version (NIV);  Amplified Bible (AMP) and others as noted in the text.

PHOTOS:  All Photos used for this post were found on Google Image Search, Advanced Search settings.

DICTIONARY:  VINE’S COMPLETE EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY.

 

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2 Replies to “HEAVEN IS MORE ABOUT A PERSON THAN A PLACE”

  1. I once heard this analogy… if you could have all of Heaven – streets of gold, no sorrow, not Hell – but Jesus wasn’t there -Would you want it? No thank you. Jesus is everything. I can’t wait to sit at His feet, hear His actual voice… And the relationship here and now is Amazing. I can’t believe what I was missing when I was all wrapped up in the rules of Religion and not really in Relationship with Jesus.

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