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Heaven – The Disciple-Making Lifestyle

“…Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)

 

Part One

When Moses wrote the first verse contained in the Bible, he was inspired to explain a beautiful truth about our world’s history. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) Paul later taught us about three heavens. Two of them are physical in nature and the other one is spiritual. It is the spiritual heaven that Jesus referred to in His model prayer. He said, “…our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Your name.” (Matthew 6:9) It is this perfect spiritual dwelling place that Christians and the first covenant Hebrews have always referred to as their final home.

The two physical heavens are first, the distant stars and planets throughout the universe and second, the close canopy of beautiful clouds above our heads. Notice the order of creation and the word beginning. Physical time had a beginning and it will also have an end – but eternity will not!

 

Part Two

When God said, “I Am Who I Am.” (Exodus 3:14) this means that for Him present tense endures forever! This was the only way our human language could describe His eternal existence! This is also why the Lord Jesus could much later say, “…he who has seen Me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9b) The Lord was claiming to be just like His eternal Father. On still another occasion, this same spiritual truth was again made unmistakably clear, “Jesus said to them, ‘I assure you: Before Abraham was, I Am.’” (John 8:58)

In reality, heaven exists in two dimensions – the lowest heaven, which is the sky above the earth, will pass away. However, the third heaven referred to by Paul is solely spiritual and it will be the eternal home of all who are born again believers. During the Lord’s memorable instruction on that subject, He explained that our hearts should not be troubled. Why? Because He will be returning to personally take us to His Father’s home.

Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:1-3)

 

Part Three

Eternity is the absence – of time! The words “In the beginning…” written by John are referenced twice in (John 1:1; 1:2), and they do not relate to human years or our solar system. Nor – do they relate to the measurable decay or aging process of God’s physical universe. Everything He made of molecules was planned to be temporary – only what is spiritual will endure. This is why when God revealed Himself to Moses, He referred to Himself as “I AM.”  That means having no future or past, only the timeless present!

“God said to Moses, “I AM that I AM.” And He said, “You must say…, ‘I AM has sent me to you.” (Exodus 3:14)

Home, for Christians, as redeemed creatures made from the earth’s dust – will ultimately be in God’s eternal spiritual dimension. This is the realm where He resides, and Jesus referred to that spiritual world as His Father’s kingdom! In His model prayer He taught us to call that kingdom – Heaven!

 

Part Four

Historically, it was God’s eternal nature that mankind had great difficulty understanding. This amazing knowledge was slowly revealed and it was finally understood by the Lord’s Apostles. God’s Word explained that from the beginning – He was “with Himself” and yet still One (see John1:1-2)! Since our finite minds cannot begin to comprehend His everlasting triune nature, He lovingly chose faith rather than analytical knowledge to be our way home. That literally made everything required to reach heaven, universally fair for everyone.

The Bible explains “…he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
(Hebrews 11:6)

All healthy people freely share in the same God given ability to exercise personal faith. The Bible says, “…God has dealt to each one a measure of faith…” (Romans 12:3) This is even true of young children, so from Adam to Abraham, to Moses, to Peter, trusting in what God said and did was our appointed pathway to heaven. God’s living Word, through whom He spoke – the universe into existence, actually came and dwelt among us (see John 1:1-14).

 

Part Five

Because of His incarnation, all of humanity’s previous understandable questions regarding God’s nature and personhood were finally answered. We could, now, experience His joy and peace with a clear understanding of His eternal purpose for our lives. The New Testament also explains God’s mission for believers (see Matthew 28:19-20) and our appointed way home. Prayerfully meditate on Jesus’ timeless words, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)

The Lord Jesus was God’s eternal Word who became flesh (see John 1:14). This is why He could say, “Before Abraham was, I Am.” (John 8:58b) Pause to consider the meaning of what He was teaching us, “…The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.” (John 6:63) He was declaring life-giving spiritual truth at the deepest possible level!

 

Part Six

When the Lord Jesus speaks to us, it is God who is speaking to our spirit. He is showing us how to worship Him while we are still on our upward journey home. Remember what Jesus explained to the woman at the well, “…an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him…” (John 4:23-24)

In profound simplicity, our loving Father sent His beloved Son so “…whoever believes in Him would not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) Think about this next verse. “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” (v. 17) God wants heaven to be full, so we are called to be His witnesses.

 

Part Seven

Can we even begin to comprehend how much God loves us? Can we adequately appreciate what He has done to give us a way home? Just like every other journey, we must all personally choose to walk with Him. This requires faith. Teaching the Lord’s early disciples, Paul clearly explains, “…we walk by faith, not by sight.”  (2 Corinthians 5:7)  God’s path of discipleship begins right here, and it leads us safely home (see Matthew 7:13-14).

I am going to invite you to join me on this upward journey. If you are certain that you want to enter the Father’s Kingdom the moment you die, and you are equally sure that you want to know and please Him here on earth – then He wants you to place your faith in His beloved Son!

To do that, will you sincerely pray what is called the sinner’s prayer?

“Lord Jesus, I have been tempted and made many foolish sinful decisions. I am truly sorry for these sins and with your help I want to turn away from them. I am now asking you to cleanse and forgive me. Please enter my heart and take control of my life. From today forward, I will love you, faithfully read the Bible, pray, and tell others about you.

Thank you for your sacrificial death for my sins and for your victorious resurrection! My life, and everything it has the potential of becoming, now belongs to you. Thank you for hearing my prayer and coming into my heart. I am now yours – for all of eternity! In Jesus name, Amen.”

By Billie Hanks Jr.

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