What a Christian Has to Look Forward To
DATE: 12 June, 2005 AM Eleventh Anniversary PLACE: BBC Ballincollig
I. Introduction – The Joy of Having Something Worth looking forward to!
A. C.S. Lewis said, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, New York, Macmillan, 1960, p. 119.
B. There is a steady stream of Scriptures that tell the believer that things in life, no matter how unpredictable, and no matter how low they may dip, will only get better! (1Cor 2:9; Rom 8:28; John 3:16; James 1:12; 1Peter 1:3,4)
C. Let’s study this morning just how good God has already been to us, and how it only gets better!
Heaven is Mine
Heaven is closer each breath that I take,
And when my breath stops, in Heaven I'll awake.
No long time of waiting, just leave here and go there.
One moment from here I'll not have a care.
What's Heaven like? I don't really know,
But my Saviour is there and I want to go.
The greatest and best things here on this earth,
Will seem small and useless when we see Heaven's worth.
Rejoicing and singing and I'm finally on key,
Some of Heaven's best singers will be you and me.
We'll praise our Saviour for giving us life,
And letting us dwell there with no turmoil or strife.
What is my secret to gaining Heaven's shore?
It's depending on Jesus and not me anymore.
It's nothing I earn or buy or trade for,
Only faith in my Saviour will open that door.
II. Background – Psalm 103:1-5
A. It’s easy to forget good times! We remember the hard times, and troubles. But the Christian has reasons enough to focus on God’s blessings more!
B. What Has God Done Already for EVERY believer?
1. Loved us - It’s a Good Thing God loves sinners (John 3:16)
a. He has a peculiar kind of love
b. One that loves us in spite of ourselves, and our hurting of Him
c. One that goes out of its way to work on us and change us
d. One that gives everything so that we might choose to be with Him
e. What has God done for you and me? Just loved us – amazing love!
f. But that is only the beginning… it gets better!
2. He has forgiven ALL our sins (Ps 103:3,12)
a. All our iniquities amounts to quite a lot of sin
b. Somehow, some way, He paid for every last thought, every last act, every last lust that was wicked and wrong
c. And that somehow was by means of the cross (Isa 53:3-6)!!!
d. What could be better than being forgiven? Completely forgiven! If that was all we got, then that would be enough. But, according to God, there are some even better things!
e. Ah, now you see the reality of the Christian life – it just always gets better, and better!
3. He constantly intervenes in our lives and even heals people (Ps 103:3b)
a. The fact that God takes time to hear us pray for help and then helps us – it is amazing to me
b. Never-mind the Doctor – yes, yes, he or she has done their best, but when a person gets better from an illness, it is because GOD has intervened
c. And if a person, does not get better, it is because GOD saw fit NOT to make them well
d. The key is, you had better know God, and had better walk with God, and had better know how to get a hold of God!
e. I am so glad we are “not on our own!” God still steps down from heaven, and comforts us, and acts on our behalf, and answers prayer
4. God pulls us back from certain destruction and ruin (Ps 103:4)
a. He is referring to hell here folks!
b. I am so glad God loves me, and forgave me because of the cross, but all of that was so that I wouldn’t have to go to a devil’s hell!
c. People forget that just as there is a heaven, there most certainly is a hell (Ps 86:13)
d. And God doesn’t want ANYBODY going there, but if you don’t care to do something about your eternity, then He can do nothing more than what He has already done
e. I am so grateful for all the blessing s that I get as a child of God… but here is ONE blessing that is because of what I DON’T get! Amen!
f. And yet, it just gets better!
5. God gives us His lovingkindness and tender mercies (Ps 103:4b)!
a. He crowns the life of a believer with not just love, but loving-kindness – a love that acts kindly when we deserve to be kicked!
b. Tender mercies – MERCY is NOT giving us what we deserve – hell
c. These are the sweet times with God that he waits to spend with you
d. This is the heart of God extended towards us
e. THIS is the kind of relationship that we all wished that we could have with just SOMEBODY in life, and yet it is there for every believer
6. The Lord constantly supplies our every need, and renews our strength (Ps 103:5) – every good thing you have came from God! Remember!
a. Satisfaction is guaranteed (Ps 34:8)
b. God has the desire to overwhelm you sometimes (Ps 81:10)
c. He will supply ALL your needs - if you will let Him (Philp 4:19). Learn to trust Him, rely on Him, get used to praying for everything!
d. What a life, the Christian life
C. But that just barely scratches the surface! In brief:
1. He INDWELLS our lives with the Holy Spirit and makes living worth living, every day, because HE is with us!
2. He plans out the best path for our future – gives us a great purpose
3. He never lets the devil loose – always keeps him on a leash, holding him back from destroying you – only allowing him to work on you for your betterment, not your destruction
4. He puts us together with other believers into a church and makes every week start off on a high
5. He gave us a perfect revelation of truth and the future – the Bible
6. Truly, God is good to us
D. But the BEST is Yet to Come!
E. Let me ask you: Where would you like to live for ever?
1. You can take an map down from the shelf at home and open it up, you will find many beautiful places described
a. Countries, places that you may feel are near to paradise, they are idyllic.
b. It may be the tropical sands of the seashore, it may be the forests of the Amazon, it may be the mountains of the Alps, it may be the outback of Australia.
c. There are many wonderful places on earth that are luxurious, even exotic - and many of them, if we had a choice to live in a place, we would say: 'Well, I would love to live there. I've been there on holiday', or 'I've seen photographs of it', or 'I saw a programme on the television about it, and if I could live anywhere I'd love to live there'.
2. But I'm sure none of us would say that we wanted to live there forever. Is that not true? There's no place on earth that I would want to live forever.
a. Because, you see, the problem with no matter what part of the world you go to, no matter how beautiful it is, the problem is that we can never change what's in our hearts and we can never, fundamentally, change the environment that surrounds us.
b. No matter what place we go to on God's earth we find what the Bible calls 'sin', we find lawlessness, crime, abuse, addictions, selfishness, killers, addicts, speeders, muggers. We find these awful things that mar the beautiful creation no matter where we go.
c. And then there are the natural flaws – natural disasters
1) Example – Beautiful Indonesia and then the tsunami came
2) Example – beautiful Florida coastlines – 4 hurricanes last year
3) Example – Beautiful forest in Kenmare mountains – MIDGETS
3. But the Bible says that there is a place, that there is a country, where there is no crime, where there is no violence, where there is no sickness, no sadness, no more tears. A country where there are no more heartaches, no more pain or death or burdens. A place free from war, free from bloodshed. There's no rich, there's no poor, there's no bond, there's no prison. People never grow tired there, never grow old. No-one ever says: 'Goodbye' there. There are no disappointments there, no failures, no wrong, and no accidents. You can travel for miles along its roads and you'll never encounter a funeral procession, you'll never find a cemetery, you'll never find a hospital or a doctor or a nurse. Thank God you won’t find lawyers or politicians either! There's no chemists, there's no medicine, because there's no-one sick! There's no drunkards, no rapists, no terrorists or child-abusers. There's no broken homes, there's no death. No blind people, no disabled, homeless. What a place!
F. Truly, if anyone could ever say The Best is Yet to Come, a Christian can!
G. Let’s look at just how good the future is for the believer!
III. Message – The BEST is YET To Come! John 14:1-6
A. The Future Un-troubles Our Hearts (Jn 14:1) – Perfect Medicine!
1. It grieves the Holy Spirit to have so many Christians depressed, angry, distraught, discouraged, defeated by sin, troubled by news, troubled by fears – that is NOT supposed to be a part of the heart of a Christian!!!
2. Folks, a believer has a future, and it overwhelms ALL our heart’s sorrows and pains – not that it takes them away, but that is calms them, and overpowers them (2Cor 4:16-5:2)
3. An unsaved person has a future too, but not worth having (Mt 25:41)
4. If you are having trouble staying encouraged as a Christian, repent of having your attention on things below instead of eternal things above
5. What caused multitudes to be able to stand against persecution and torture in the past? Their future! They knew there was a better day a coming!
B. The Future Centres on Jesus – “Believe also in me” (Jn 14:1)
1. You think you know Jesus?
2. Somehow, we will be getting to know Him better and better for all eternity (Philp 3:8-10)
C. The Future is filled with Mansions (Jn 14:2)
1. God works on a grand scale
a. Take this universe for example – limitless in size
b. The city of the New Jerusalem – 1500 miles square
2. How many people on this earth live in shacks and sheds, and slums?
3. Less than 20% live in any kind of permanent housing that is not under constant threat by the weather, or of war
4. Christ tells us that where God the Father dwells is FILLED with mansions for everybody
D. The Future is True – not “pie in the sky” (Jn 14:2)
1. Jesus staked His reputation here on what He was saying
2. None of this was “made-up”
E. The Future is already Prepared (Jn 14:2)
1. Nothing more to do except get ready to go – the twinkling of an eye
2. Jesus prepared everything
a. Built heaven (Heb 11:8-10)
b. Made a mansion for every single individual born
c. Waits for all to come and enjoy – like the wedding supper parable
3. Won’t it be great to finally be able to just go someplace to REST? That’s what holidays are always promoted as, but never really are!
F. The Future is Coming (Jn 14:3)
1. We are not going to meet the future – the future is coming to us – cool
2. Jesus is for-warning His disciples that He has to go away – back to heaven – but that He personally will return and gather His “bride”, His people unto Himself, and take us all home!
G. The Future is Plain (Jn 14:4)
1. Where Jesus went is known – not guessed at
2. The way to heaven is known – not a hope so, maybe so, do my best stab in the dark kind of attempt
H. The Future is a Person – Jesus Christ (Jn 14:5,6)
1. Thomas had spent 3 and a half years with Jesus and missed nearly everything important – didn’t know where Jesus was going, and certainly didn’t know the way
a. Like most religious people
b. Say they believe in God, and in heaven, but don’t know where it is, nor how to get there!
2. People think getting to heaven is all about ourselves – doing good, and living good, and being good enough
3. But heaven is all about Jesus, and accepting the free gift of eternal life at His expense, because of HIS perfection, and His death on the cross
4. Hey! You miss HIM, and you miss everything (1Jn 5:12,13)
IV. Conclusion - The BEST is YET To Come! John 14:1-6
A. The Future Un-troubles Our Hearts (Jn 14:1) – Have let it?
B. The Future Centres on Jesus – No going there without Jesus
C. The Future is filled with Mansions (Jn 14:2) – have you reserved your yet?
D. The Future is True – not “pie in the sky” (Jn 14:2)
E. The Future is already Prepared (Jn 14:2)
F. The Future is Coming (Jn 14:3) – are you ready?
G. The Future is Plain (Jn 14:4) – simple and clear
H. The Future is a Person – Jesus Christ (Jn 14:5,6) – the way, the truth, the life