- Text: Jn. 3:16,17.
- The question "Who am I?" can be answered in terms of our IDENTITY: we are God's created children, made in His image to enjoy fellowship with Him.
- But the question "Who am I?" can also be answered in terms of our DESTINY: we are persons being drawn toward heaven through the gospel of Christ.
- Heaven is, quite simply, what the gospel of Christ is about.
- Those who would reduce Christianity to a moral teaching that makes life better in this world miss the main point.
- Paul wrote about the truth that must be faced if we cut the resurrection out of the gospel - 1 Cor. 15:12-19.
- Our point in this lesson is to try to get a fresh grip on what heaven ought to mean to us.
I. Our Destiny: Glory with God
- The principal thing about heaven is that God will be there -- He for whom we were made!
- Eternal life, whether we think of it as present or future, primarily has to do with "knowing" God.
- "And this is eternal life, that they may know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent" (Jn. 17:3).
- To be where God is -- to be with Him -- will be glory for us.
- Glory is our destiny -- it is nothing less than God's purpose for us.
- "For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering" (Heb. 2:10).
- Having been created in God's image for the purpose of fellowship with Him, we are, if we are bound for heaven, on our way to becoming beings of unimaginable glory ourselves - 2 Cor. 3:18; 4:17.
- Heaven is worth everything -- it is worth whatever it takes to get there.
II. Choosing to Go to Heaven
- Heaven is for those who choose to go there.
- Not everybody is making the choice to go to heaven.
- To say that a person is "heaven bound" is only true if it is true!
- If heaven is to be our home, there is a certain decisiveness that we must have about the matter.
- We must long to be with God with a passion that will not be denied.
- Even now, those who will be "filled" are those who "hunger and thirst for righteousness" (Mt. 5:6).
- We need to be careful what it is we really want -- because we are apt to get it.
- We need to discipline our decisiveness - 1 Cor. 9:27.
- We must learn to keep our minds on where we are going. Cf. Heb. 12:1,2.
- We must keep on keeping on -- refusing to let discouragements or detours rob us of our destiny.
- If we honestly and decisively place ourselves under God's protection, there is not a power in the universe that can separate us from God or keep us out of heaven - Jn. 10:28,29. Cf. Rom. 8:31-39.
- Having heaven as our goal is the most empowering thing we can experience.
III. Growing toward God
- Heaven is not an arbitrary reward -- it is the quite logical end result of a growth process.
- Heaven will be populated with people who have grown toward God -- those who have allowed God to conform their character to His.
- He wants us to share the goodness of His character, to become "partakers" of His nature - 2 Pt. 1:3,4.
- The important point is this: heaven will not be our home if our characters are not growing toward God right now!
- We do not spend our entire lives in this world growing our characters away from God and then wake up in eternity and find that we have grown toward Him.
- Every deed, every decision, every choice we make moves us either closer to God or farther away from Him.
- This is why it is so dangerous ever to say "no" to God -- every "no" becomes a part of our character and makes it all the more unlikely that we will ever be anything but rebels against God.
- But saying "yes" to God moves us toward Him. "Yes" is what He wants us to say -- it is what He will help us to say!
- Heaven is for those who want what God wants!
- When our concepts of (1) our IDENTITY and (2) our DESTINY are based on TRUTH, we enjoy a great advantage.
- If we know both who we are and where we are going, we are among the fortunate few in this world who do.
- The person who knows these things is the person who has truly got his "act together."
- To be a Christian -- God's created child and bound for heaven -- is to have a purpose for living that gives meaning and significance to every single day.
- If you're a faithful Christian, be thankful for what that means to you -- let God guide you through whatever life may hold and bring you to be where He is.
- If you're a Christian but you've not been faithful, come back to God and take Him seriously -- if you do not, you will be lost eternally and in this life you will do no more than stagger from one meaningless thing to another.
- If you're not a Christian, right now is the time to become one.
- Will you not let the love of Christ control you? "For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised" (2 Cor. 5:14,15).
Gary Henry - WordPoints.com + AreYouaChristian.com