Why are we members of the church? Because the church will go on to its eternal place with God. Not only is the church a place of encouragement and edification, it is a place of consolation and it enriches our minds as we face the negative influences of the world. The church helps us not only to seek heaven but to think heaven (Col 3:2).
The church is why Jesus came to the earth (Eph 5:23). He set up His kingdom here on earth, which is a precursor to th eternal kingdom. Being part of the church is a choice — it takes determination and perseverance. The successful church keeps in mind the final destination of heaven. Here are a few points to keep in mind to help us stay focused.
- Realize that heaven is a real place. It’s not some outer space with spirits floating around. Jesus taught that it is a place prepared for the faithful (John 14:1–3). Heaven is a house built by God that is a much better place than what we have now (2 Cor 5:1, Heb 11:10).
- Heaven is God’s place. The bible talks about the first (atmospheric) heaven, the second heaven (space) and third heaven (the dwelling place of God). Jesus is also there in that dwelling place of God. Not only the Eternal Creator, but the One who willingly suffered and died on the cross for us will be there. Jesus is the light of that world (John 8:12). Hes s the way and the truth and the life (John 14:26). The Holy Spirit is also there. He is described as the guide and comforter.
- Heaven is a rewarding place. No matter how good we are, none of us deserve heaven. We can’t ever earn it, yet God still rewards the faithful with heaven (Matt 5:11–12). The beauty of heaven defies or abilities to describe it. Not even the hyperbolic descriptions in the Bible can’t adequately explain it. Yet, it is the reward of the faithful. We need to remember that we cannot have dual citizenship in the world and in heaven (Eph 2:19). We can’t mix the world and living faithfully to God. We may stumble along our path of faith and fail from time to time with the temptations of the world, but that is different from a lifestyle of conscious worldliness. It’s important that our citizenship be in heaven and sin forfeits it (Rev 21:27). Our treasures are in heaven, not here (Matt 6:19–20). Everything we have in this life will be taken away, either by our own death or when the Lord comes back. So put God first and look to His reward. At some point, our time will run out and the opportunity to lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven will have passed.
- We will have a fuller understanding in heaven. There are so many questions we have in this life that we will never get an answer to but in heaven we will have the best understanding that we will need to have (1 Cor 13:12).
What we will know and experience in heaven is so far beyond what we have here that we can’t begin to comprehend it. To take part in the blessings of heaven, God calls us to be faithful (Heb 3:14) and to be a faithful part of the body of Christ, which is the church (Eph 5:23).
Based on a lesson by Robert Moss.
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