Monday, May 28, 2012

Living in Light of Heaven

Part 5 of a Bible study series called Heaven



"They desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city" (Heb. 11:16). 


Introduction 

The world says, “You can’t go home again.” But as Christians, we look forward to our future home: heaven. Theologian Donald Bloesch suggests, “Our greatest affliction is not anxiety, or even guilt, but rather home-sickness—a nostalgia or ineradicable yearning to be a home with God” (Theological Notebook, p. 183). 


Discussion 

C. S. Lewis wrote, “Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for our home” (The Problem of Pain, p. 115). When a Christian dies, he doesn’t leave home; he goes home. When you hear the word “home,” what comes to mind? 


Explanation 

Randy Alcorn writes, “When it comes to our eternal home, we often fail to think biblically in two ways. First, we imagine we won’t be fully human and our ultimate goal won’t be physical and earthly. Second, we imagine that this world as it now is, under the Curse, is our ultimate home” (Heaven, p. 456).

Read Luke 6:21; 15:10. “Christians faced with terminal illness or imminent death often feel they’re pointed, thinking of all they’ll miss when they leave. But the truth is, the real party is underway at home—precisely where they’re going. They’re not the ones missing the party; those of us left behind are. (Fortunately, if we know Jesus, we’ll get there eventually.)” (Heaven, p. 457). How is heaven like a party? 

Anticipating heaven doesn’t eliminate pain, but it lessons it and puts it in perspective. Read Luke 6:22-23; Col. 1:24; 1 Peter 4:13. How is meditating on heaven a great pain reliever? 

John Newton, author of “Amazing Grace,” said, “When I get to heaven, I shall see three wonders there. The first wonder will be to see many there whom I did not expect to see; the second wonder will be to miss many people who I did expect to see; the third and greatest of all will be to find myself there.”

Read Isa. 25:7-8. Death is merely the doorway to eternal life. Just before he was hanged by the Nazis, Dietrich Bonhoeffer prayed aloud, “Oh, God, this is the end; but for me it is just the beginning.” How does the hope of heaven help us against the enemy of death? 


Application 

Missionary C. T. Studd said, “Only one life, ‘twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.” What will last for eternity?

Read Phil. 3:13-14; Heb. 12:28; 1 John 3:3. How can living in light of heaven affect our present lives?