Scriptural Insights from Biblical Overlooks, Pt. 6
(Heaven: It’s Where We Belong)
Study Guide, September 17, 2023
Pastor Clay Olsen
Today, as we pull over for a while on our Biblical Overlooks adventure, through the Scriptures themselves, as well as through our eyes of faith, we can see all the way into Heaven. And as we look into Heaven, we not only see what is there, but we especially see ‘who’ is there. And just like we so often talk about, whenever any of our loved ones who are ‘in a saved relationship with Christ’ go home to Heaven, as with our Sister Ginny Cundiff, we marvel over the reality that, as soon as they leave Earth and enter the Kingdom of Heaven, they set their eyes upon Jesus! It’s like has been said in writings and songs and poems and such, that all the questions, all the confusions, all the problems, all the pains, all the struggles, all the sufferings…all of those and more will all melt away when you see your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, face to face! Yes, the Lord is certainly going to heal-up and clear-up and make-up to us each and every one of those hard things that we had to deal with in this life, but we will be so caught-up with seeing and being in the very presence of our Creator and Redeemer for then and forever, that we will be overwhelmed with the joy of our Lord Jesus Himself!
Just think, when our Sister Ginny left Earth from this side, she left, for a time, those who knew and loved her here. And that’s why it’s hard for us when loved ones leave, because ‘love hurts’. Our love for others creates a place for them in our heart…creates like a room in our heart where that person lives. It’s like when a child leaves home, they are still in our heart, and we still get together, but still, they’re no longer in the room where they were in your house…they are in another house. You know where they are, but, still, they are not in their room…and that separation makes for a sadness, even though it is temporary.
That’s why when our loved ones leave this temporal home of Earth for our eternal Home of Heaven, it has some sorrow with it, even in the midst of the joy of knowing they are Home. There is still that room in the home of our heart where they lived…before they moved away. Thankfully, for followers of Christ, that time is only for a brief time, as the reunion will be forever, and then that room will be filled again.
One of the countless remarkable things about Heaven is that it is not only filled with the family of God; Heaven is also filled with the stories of the children who make up the family of God. The Bible records the stories of many throughout the ages for the purpose of helping us see how they came into a relationship with God, and how God related to them, and dealt with them, as well as passing on to us the lessons and examples of their lives, in order for us to learn from and then to follow the good things. But the thing is, God has revealed to us that every person’s life is a story, it’s their story, its’ your story, and God has a record of everyone’s story, just like He has of those in the Bible.
As was said of Abel, ‘though he is gone, his works live on.’ And we know that our works follow us, in part, for that becomes the basis of our service privileges and assignments in the Kingdom of Heaven. We know the Scriptures speak much about that: 1 Cor 3:12-15- “Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward.”
2 Cor 5:10- “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” NASU
Fortunately, the negative aspects of our judgment will be reviewed and settled in a timely way, and then we will get on with the joys and works of our lives in the Kingdom. But, think about it, just like we know all about Abraham and Sarah, about Gideon, Daniel, Esther, Mary, Peter and Paul…about the works of their lives, the lessons of their lives, the influence of their lives, and so on…in the same way, they, too, will one day know all about you, about your life, about the works of your life, the lessons from your life, the influence of your life…basically, about your story that you are writing day by day.
Many in Heaven there, are learning about Sister Ginny’s story here. They are learning that when Ginny was about 11 years old, she went to a church camp and there accepted Jesus as her Savior and was Born Again. Ginny loved her Savior and her church families and made it known that she wanted others to also have the assurance that Jesus is The Way, The Truth, and The Life.
They will also come to know that Ginny was in the Women’s Army Corp, where she not only served her country, but also met her husband, Joe. And they have come to know about her family. I’m sure Ginny has told many about her children and grandchildren and great grandchildren. She has probably told many about the special love and care that was shown her by Doug and Alice and others. That’s right, the Saints above are learning about the stories of the Saints below…those still here on this side of Heaven.
They are learning about her story…things I also learned from Doug and Alice, like her love for biscuits and gravy…oh yeah, that’s one of the tops of my list, too…about her love of sports, especially sharing in that with Doug, and her love of travels…even cruises. You remember that Jesus had a special fondness for the Seas, especially walking on them! I imagine He will teach us how to do that on the waters of the New Earth.
And one of her care partners wrote that Ginny told her that when it was her time to go that she didn’t wany anyone to cry for her, because she was in a far better place. She certainly is, but there are still some tears when our loved ones leave, even if it’s just for a brief time before we are reunited with them.
But Sister Ginny’s works live on…her story lives on, and many will be telling her story of the ways she blessed their lives, helped them, supported them, shared God’s word and shared things about God’s truths with them. Those things follow us each through all eternity. Just like the Bible is really all about the stories of God and of God’s people, so Heaven will be about the stories of all God’s children. Again, you are writing your story every day…the story that will be the story of your life on the First Earth, the story of your faith, the story of your works…your works for your family, your church family, your works in your vocation or vocations, your works in your community and country…the story of your faith and the ways you sowed, planted, and attempted to share the Gospel of Jesus and His salvation with others…the story of the influence of your life and faithfulness to the Lord Jesus in how you lived and what you did about it all.
Oh, be sure, each day is another page in the book of the story of your life. You are the author of your story, but God is the recorder. And that reality is cause us to heed what was recorded from a prayer of Moses: Ps 90:10- “The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” 12 – “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” KJV
How amazing is that? The Earth has been around for thousands of years, but each person’s stay upon it has only been a few years…threescore and ten, or fourscore and a few more, by extra grace. I often marvel over the irony of people’s fascination with wondering when the end of this world will be. And the irony is not in the fascination itself, as we certainly ought to be as Biblically informed as we can about the prophetic timeline of this present Earth’s ending, as well as communicating the reality of God’s plan for His New Earth and New Heavens and all of the events that occur in the Rapture, and the Tribulation Age, and the Millennial Age…for these are all amazing events that are now just on the near horizon of history.
But again, the irony of either believers or even unbelievers about wondering when the end of the world will be is because every person on Earth should primarily be focused upon when the end of their world will be for them…as in, upon this First Earth. For the end of each person’s world on this Earth is somewhere around threescore and ten, maybe fourscore…maybe even five score, but not much more. A few live a few more than five score, but ever since the days of life on Earth not long after the flood, the lifespan of man has pretty much topped out at five score.
Which means that everyone already has a really good idea of when the world will end for them on this side of Heaven…just subtract whatever age you are from five score…from 100, and number your days from there. That’s the number of years before the end of this world is for you, again, the end of your time in this present world.
For me, I therefore know that within thirty years, again, could be a few more than that, but that’s highly unusual, so within thirty years I am actually going to see Jesus Christ face to face, unless He returns for us all before then. But by the grace of God, I’m going to be seeing Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior!
But back to Moses’ counsel: So what I’m supposed to be doing, since knowing that within thirty years I’m going to see Jesus, I am to now be applying wisdom to my days concerning whatever I do and whatever I say…because I also know that every day I am writing another page in my story that God is recording…and so are you. And by our story others will know who we were, how we lived, what we did, especially from the time of coming into a saving relationship with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Here’s another help in both looking at your life in this world, as well as dealing with life in this world. We find it in what Jesus said in what we call Jesus’ ‘High Priestly Prayer’ to the Father in John 17. Let’s take a look: John 17:13-16- “Now I am coming to you. I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with My joy. I have given them Your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I’m not asking You to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do.” NLT Friends, is that not one of the clearest spoken reasons explaining why it is that those who love and try to follow the Lord Jesus Christ and His words so often feel so out of place in this world? It’s because neither you nor I belong to this world. We belong to another world! We belong to Heaven…we even belong in Heaven. The blessed world of Heaven is where we belong…not on this cursed world of Earth!
So many people across the world are so concerned about the climate changes of Earth, when what they should foremost be concerned about is the changes that the curse from sin has made upon the Earth! Ever since the Fall of Man in sin, sin has changed the Earth and everything upon it with its curse. And the only remedy for Man from the curse of sin is redemption through the salvation of Jesus Christ. And the only remedy for the Earth from the effects upon it from the curse of sin is its own redemption, through a complete renovation and then a complete resurrection of the Earth. And that is coming when King Jesus returns to Earth. But until that time, the changes upon the Earth from the curse of sin are far worse than any change from anything else.
So, the curse that is upon this Earth is just another reason that Christ’s people do not belong to this world. It’s not our home; Heaven is our home. As has been said about what you and I are actually doing in this life is this…We’re all just walking each other Home…Home to Heaven. Life on this Earth is just a long walk to our life forever in Heaven, our eternal Home. And in a way you can even sense, just like Jesus said, that we don’t belong to this world any more than Jesus did.
Sometimes Christians wonder about why, even when they can be filled with the Holy Spirit, and even when they can experience the fruit of the Holy Spirit, and even enjoy some of that fullness of joy that Jesus said He would share with His followers, still there’s something not quite fulfilled in their soul…and they often feel kind of guilty for feeling that way, like they shouldn’t feel that way, but they do. And they are confused about that sense of some unfulfilled longing in their soul.
If you have ever felt that way, or even often feel that way, you certainly don’t have to feel guilty or troubled about feeling that way. Rather, you are to realize that what you are feeling is exactly what Jesus was saying…that we are not yet where we belong…with Him and in His Home…our Home. In one of his works called ‘Mere Christianity’, C.S. Lewis wrapped up this unfulfilled longing in Christians this way: “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” That’s it, isn’t it? We weren’t made for this cursed world. We were made for God’s perfect world. And so, just like the gravitational pull on the tides of the oceans, there is like a gravitational pull on our souls from Heaven…calling us Home…reminding us that Heaven is our Home.
And so, for the remainder of your days on this Earth, fulfilling as they may be at times, wonderful as they may be at times, rewarding as they may be at times in our worship of God and in our service for God with others…still, there will also be some sense of restlessness for the rest of your days upon this present Earth, because your spirit and your soul longs to be Home with your Creator and your Savior…longs to be Home where you belong!