< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: Lesson from Between Heaven and Earth by Steve Berger

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Lesson from Between Heaven and Earth by Steve Berger

I began teaching a lesson to the Women's Bible Class today using the book Between Heaven and Earth by Steve Berger. I'll share it over the next few days.

Today’s believers think little about heaven and much about the comforts, challenges and distractions of this life. But Colossians 3:1-2 says, Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.

We must have a heavenly mind-set even while God leaves us on earth, to make a difference in peoples’ lives.

You may have heard someone say, “So and so is so heavenly minded she’s no earthly good.” But that’s the opposite of the way we should be. Knowing about heaven – really knowing – makes us more earthly good! It should change our entire approach to life and mission.

The news is terrible today. Violence, addictions, natural disasters. People have despair and they are looking for answers. Jesus is the answer! And when believers understand His eternal perspective and share it with others; needs are met, hope is given and everything changes!

We aren’t called to sit passively in church every Sunday, but to reach out and share Jesus with the world. We are to produce fruit. The expansion of the kingdom of God is our priority.

Paul is a good example for us. He was totally committed to bringing people to Christ, but in Philippians 1:21-24 he wrote For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. 23 But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; 24 yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake. Paul’s heart was passionately fixed on heaven while his hand was purposefully working to produce fruit. God wants us to have our hearts in heaven, but our hand on the harvest.

Heaven and our eventual joyous homecoming as Christians are great truths that we should long for. It will be a homecoming and family reunion like never before. Heaven is a place. There is exciting supernatural activity, we will worship God and reign with Jesus, spend time with loved ones and meet saints we’ve read about! It will be anything but boring! Resurrected people will live in resurrected bodies on a resurrected earth with a resurrected Savior!

1 Corinthians 2:9-10 However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”  the things God has prepared for those who love him—10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.

2 Corinthians 12:1-4 I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. 3 And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— 4 was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell.

The 1st Heaven is the air we breathe and where birds fly. 2nd Heaven is the sun, moon and stars. And 3rd Heaven is where God lives. Paul was “the man” he’s talking about and 14 years earlier would have been a little before he wrote the 1st Corinthians passage. Scripture doesn’t tell us why he didn’t tell us about it then, but it did cause him to say, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard” etc.

4 years later Paul wrote Colossians 3:1-2. He implores them to seek the things above. In Heaven. He says while on earth let Heaven be a focal point and filter for your thoughts. Let heaven give you eternal perspective for your earthly life. When we meet Jesus and get a glimpse of Heaven our life is changed. We can not not talk about Him! We can not not serve others! People should see a change in us. It is not ok for us to be spiritually unproductive. Find a way to get involved. Find a way to love and serve others. Living for Christ has nothing to do with our job or occupation. Our lives are not defined by our career. Our true identities are found in Christ and living for Christ.

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

When we live for Christ “to die is gain”. Christians graduate from life to life! Our spirits weren’t meant to live in this sin filled world. We were created for Eden. For heaven! How we live today matters for eternity.



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