< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: The Whole Earth Longs for Heaven

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Whole Earth Longs for Heaven

The more you know about heaven the more you will long for it.

Psalm 84:1-2 How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord Almighty! 2 My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.

We hurt because we live in a fallen world. Natural disasters happen because we live in a fallen world. Wars happen because we live in a fallen world. The selfish appetites today are no different then Eve’s. She was willing to disobey God for what she wanted.

Romans 8:22-23 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.

The whole earth is hurting and waiting. So are we, but we first fruits (people who are born again) are adopted into Christ’s family. The adoption will be fully realized when we get to heaven.

When our hearts are firmly rooted in heaven we can get through life’s pain because our perspectives are right. We also need to understand that pain and sorrow happens to everyone: the just and the unjust alike. Personal and natural catastrophes are going to happen. It’s not true that “if you have enough faith nothing bad will happen to you”. Look at Job – the Bible says he was blameless and upright. Daniel was a man of great faith and he suffered a lot. And look at what Paul went through!

We need to understand that pain and suffering are results of a fallen world before they come into our lives. So that when something happens we know why. And then we’ll know how to get through it.

From the beginning of time God has planned restoration for us:

Jude 1:14-15 Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones 15 to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”

2 Peter 3:13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.

Luke 4:18 Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free”,

Matthew 5:12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Revelation 21:4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Peter understood restoration. He denied Christ 3x and Jesus restored him. He knew Christ’s love from personal experience. Paul kept his eyes on the promise that everything would be restored.

2 Corinthians 4:8-10 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

When we are perplexed and struck down, we can know that God is going to bring life out of it and turn it around if we hold on to Him and trust Him.

Sometimes we hurt so badly we can’t even pray. But what we must understand is, God gets it! And if we keep trusting Him He will begin to turn it around for good. We are never alone.

2 Corinthians 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

We don’t quit. We don’t walk away from Him and we don’t live hopelessly. But we need to be renewed everyday. We need a fresh encounter with Jesus every day.

2 Corinthians 4:17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

Paul gives a list of his “light afflictions” in 2 Corinthians 11:24-28. But he realized his afflictions were working in him a glory that surpassed anything we could imagine this side of heaven. His life wasn’t for nothing. He saw God working in the midst of his pain. He was conforming Paul into the image of Jesus.

Romans 8:18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

God’s glory will far surpass our present circumstances. So we continue to wake up. We continue to breathe. We continue to put one foot in front of the other.

2 Corinthians 4:18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. Another reminder to focus on Heaven, on the promises of God and the coming restoration of all things.



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