HEAVEN

THE JOURNEY TOWARD HEAVEN

“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Col 3:2 ESV).

“…there is not only an outward preparation of the place for the people, but also an inward preparation of the people for the place.  Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people….Jesus is…preparing the place for the people…at the same time prepares the people for the place” Charles Ross (ref#241, p71).

“This life ought so to be spent by us as to be only a journey toward heaven.  We ought not to rest in the world and its enjoyments, but should desire heaven” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p72).  “We ought to make use of worldly enjoyments and worldly business as shall best forward our journey heavenward, and no otherwise”  Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p73).  “We ought to seek heaven by traveling in the way that leads there.  The way is the way of holiness” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p72).

“God rests in the unchangeableness of His love towards His saints.  Nothing can move Him from it…He foresaw and foreknew all that was in them….In this day of easy and abounding nominal Christianity; this day when human authority is exalted above the Word of God; this day of error, rebuke, and blasphemy; this day of rapid and excited action; this last solemn dispensation of the world, the events of which are rapidly ushering in the coming of the Son of Man; let us, under the influence of more simple faith, more fervent love, and brightening hope, “ go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach (Heb 13:13).  Let us rest from our conflict and toil where the Father rests, where the sinner rests, where we may rest—in Jesus” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Apr 23rd).

“I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us” (Phil 3:14 NLT).

HEAVEN

REIGNING CHRIST

“…behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him.
And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed”
(Dan 7:13-14 ESV).

“Jesus Christ will come again…He will appear in infinite greatness and majesty, when he shall come again in glory, with all his holy angels and the earth shall tremble before him, and the hills shall melt (Rev 19:11-17; 20:11)” Jonathan Edwards (ref#263).

“Jesus Christ will at the same time appear as a Lamb to his saints.  He will receive them as friends and brethren treating those who believe and have awaited his return with infinite mildness and love….The saints shall all  be sweetly invited to come with him to inherit the kingdom, and reign with him in it for all eternity” Jonathan Edwards (ref#263).

“Everyone has to die once, then face the consequences.  Christ’s death was also a one-time event, but it was a sacrifice that took care of sins forever.  And so, when he next appears, the outcome for those eager to greet him is, precisely, salvation(Heb 9:27-28 MSG).

“…Jesus Christ—Loyal Witness, Firstborn from the dead, Ruler of all earthly kings.  Glory and strength to Christ, who loves us, who blood-washed our sins from our lives, Who made us a Kingdom, Priests for his Father, forever—and yes, he’s on his way!  Riding the clouds, he’ll be seen by every eye, those who mocked and killed him will see him, People from all nations and all times will tear their clothes in lament.  Oh, Yes” (Rev 1:4-7 MSG).

“…Whether we’re awake with the living or asleep with the dead, we’re alive with him!…” (1 Thes 5:9-11 MSG).

“Because of that obedience, God lifted him high [JESUS] and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, even so that all created beings in heaven and on earth—even those long ago dead and buried—will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father” (Phil 2:9-11 MSG).

HEAVEN

FACTS OF HEAVEN

“Death not only cannot destroy a Christian, but it cannot hurt him….a child is frightened in the dark where there is no danger, because he is a child, so a good man may be frightened at the terrible looks of death.  But he will find this awful appearance to be only a shadow, that can look terrible but can do nothing terrible” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p116).

“The city of the great King – heaven – is a place of active service.  Redeemed spirits serve Him day and night in His temple.  They never cease to fulfill the good pleasure of their King.  They always rest, as far as ease and freedom from care are concerned, and they never rest, in the sense of laziness or inactivity.” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, July 12th PM).

“When the soul departs from the body it is received by the blessed angels and conducted by them to the third heaven….Luke 16:22: ‘And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom…” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p118).

“Heaven is far above the stars.  So it is said that Christ ascended far above all heavens (Eph 4:10)” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p119).  “There shall be no more indwelling corruption, wicked thoughts, or sinful dispositions to torment them….Rev 21:4” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p120).

“…more important than all the physical beauty of the heavenly city, more important than the fellowship we will enjoy eternally with all God’s people from all nations and all periods in history more important than our freedom from pain and sorrow and physical suffering, and more important than reigning over God’s kingdom—more important by far than any of these will be the fact that we will be in the presence of God and enjoying unhindered fellowship with him. ‘Behold, the dwelling of God is with men’” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p1164).

2ND COVENANT

LAW VS. GOSPEL

“What is the difference between the moral law and the Gospel?  The law requires that we worship God as our Creator; the Gospel, that we worship Him in and through Christ.  God in Christ is propitious; out of Him we may see God’s power, justice, and holiness: in Him we see His mercy displayed.  The moral law requires obedience, but gives no strength…but the Gospel gives strength; it bestows faith on the elect; it sweetens the law; it makes us serve God with delight” Thomas Watson (ref#225, p319).

“The great and most distinguishing difference between the covenant of grace and that of works is that by the covenant of grace we are not thus justified by our own works, but only by faith in Jesus Christ” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p9).

“…the law…Its purpose was to make obvious to everyone that we are, in ourselves, out of right relationship with God…” (Gal 3:21-22 MSG).

“…we need God’s help not just in the doing part but also in willing to walk in his ways” Jim Cymbala (ref#161, p157).

FATHER, the law holds me captive until I embrace the Gospel.  The law announces I will die because I’m not, in every point, keeping it.  The law holds me in sin.

“But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code” (Rom 7:6 ESV).

I have not just shunned or rejected the old law.  If that were the case I could come back to it. No, I am dead to it—transformed into a new person altogether.  I now have a spiritual nature that has the ability in joy to subject my members to righteousness.  FATHER, Your works move me to an impossible-to-express thanks.

FAITH

CHRIST, MY OBJECT OF FAITH

“The worth and excellency of a soul is to be measured by the object of its love” Henry Scougal (ref#220, p304).

“When we are satisfied with our counselor we will do what he counsels.  But more than that.  True faith delights in all that Jesus is—his character, his personality, his nature.  This means that his counsel itself will be beautiful to us.  We will love holiness because it is an expression of the personality of the One whose personality we cherish” John Piper (ref#220, p250).

“You never saw him, yet you love him. You still don’t see him, yet you trust him—with laughter and singing. Because you kept on believing, you’ll get what you’re looking forward to: total salvation” (1 Pet 1:8-9 MSG).

“…The conquering power…is our faith.  The person who wins out over the world’s ways is simply the one who believes Jesus is the Son of God” (1 John 5:4-5 MSG).

“By the indwelling of the Spirit, and realized by faith, Christ abides in the believer and the believer abides in Christ.  ‘I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one’” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Aug 6th).

“Faith is receiving Christ” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p92).  “The Christian faith is faith inChrist.  Its value or worth is not in the one believing, but in the one believed—not in the one trusting, but in the one trusted” Josh McDowell (ref#275, p4).

FAITH

FAITH IS

“To believe, in the language of the New Testament, is simply to trust….Every one that believes on the Son of God, and trusts his soul to Him, is at once pardoned, forgiven, justified, counted righteous, reckoned innocent, and freed from all liability to condemnation” J.C. Ryle (ref#273, p181).

“…doing something by relying on the strength which God supplies simply means doing it by faith” John Piper (ref#220, p245).  “…it is simply going out of yourself and taking up your rest in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Sept 22nd).

“A true faith includes more than a mere belief; it is accepting the gospel…It is something more than a mere assent of the understanding, because it is called obeying the gospel…(1 Pet 4:17)” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p93).

“…anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him” (Acts 10:35 ESV).

“…faith is trusting God and responding to him” ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p2104, [Acts 10:35]).  “Faith consists in two things: in being persuaded of the promises and in embracing them…(Heb 11:13)” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p94).

“True belief in Christ is the unreserved trust of a heart convinced of sin, in Christ, as an all-sufficient Saviour.  It is the combined act of the whole man’s head, conscience, heart and will” J.C Ryle (ref#273, p183).  “The belief of an individual involves ‘the mind, emotions and the will’” Josh McDowell (ref#275, p4).

“Faith is likened to looking to Christ, and following Christ, and fleeing to Christ….Faith brings nothing to Christ but an empty hand, by which it takes Christ and all that is in Him” Albert N. Martin (ref#221, p18).

“Faith is the ceasing from all nature’s efforts, and all other dependence; faith is confessed helplessness casting itself upon God’s promise, and claiming its fulfillment; faith is the putting ourselves quietly into God’s hands for Him to do his work” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p83).

HOLY SPIRIT

BABES IN CHRIST

“…many born-again Christians remain spiritual babes in attributes which should characterize strong men and women of God.  Paul equated the term ‘babes in Christ’ with carnality, characterized by ‘envying, and strife, and divisions’ (1 Cor 3:1,3).  Paul also speaks of those Christians as ‘children’ who are ‘tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine’ (Eph 4:14)” (Henry M. Morris, Ph.D., Babes in Christ, Friday, March 26, 2010,https://www.icr.org/article/5209)

“…natural men may be the subject of many influences of the Spirit of God (as in Numbers 24:2; 1 Samuel 10:10; Hebrews 6:4-6), yet they are not spiritual persons…” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p90).

 “I. A MAN MAY HAVE THE DIVINE SPIRIT WITH HIM, BUT NOT IN HIM….Every man has the Spirit with him.

  1. In the operations of nature.
  2. In the revelations of the Bible.
  3. In the events of history.
  4. In the lives of all good men.
  5. IT IS A GREAT PRIVILEGE FOR A MAN TO HAVE THE SPIRIT OF GOD WITH HIM. We have one who is ready to
  6. Guide;
  7. Protect;
  8. Strengthen;
  9. Perfect us.”

(D. Thomas, The Spirit With You and In You,[John 14:16], (New York, NY: The Bible Illustrator, 1905-1909, https://www.studylight.org/commentary/john/14-16.html)

It is the greatest privilege, though to have the SPIRIT of GOD in man.  “…a holy baptism by the Holy Spirit—will change you from the inside out” (Mark 1:7-8 MSG).

“…Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord…” (Zech 4:6 ESV).

JESUS

CHRIST’S INTERCESSION

FATHER, Your Son is at Your right hand, interceding for us (Heb 7:25).  But this interceding is not “as if the Lord Jesus Christ were there pleading for us before an unwilling God…” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Oct 2nd).  He is not “trying to persuade the Father…in getting Him to change His opinion” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Oct 2nd).

Those words don’t depict a scene of CHRIST simply sitting beside You either, FATHER.  He does not just sit; He does not just speak.  He does not just craft words to convince You to act in our favor.

CHRIST is not talk but action.  On earth He performed Your will (John 4:34).  Now He lives in us that we might perform Your will.

I know, FATHER, that CHRIST is my permanent guest.  By the SPIRIT He resides in my personality, subdues my sinful desires and transforms me into His likeness (2 Cor 3:18) John Stott (ref#258, p86) so that You, CHRIST, and I all have the same desires.

 “Christ…is to intercede for his people:…the things he intercedes for are…

the consolation of distressed ones;

fresh discoveries of pardoning grace to fallen believers;

renewed strength to oppose sin, exercise grace, discharge duty, and bear up under temptations, and deliverance out of them;

perseverance in faith and holiness, and eternal glorification…” (Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible, [Heb 7:25]).

Thus, His intercession is sweet.  “Christ will…treat you as his dear friend…you shall always be where he is” (John 12:26), “and shall behold his glory, and dwell with him, in most free and intimate communion and enjoyment (1 John 3:1-3; Rev 21:1-7)” Jonathan Edwards (ref#263).

“Christ is our life…We are…chosen, adopted, pardoned, justified, and quickened people.  This is our present state; this is our present character.  We bear about with us the life of God in our souls” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, July 7th).

JESUS

DIETY HUMBLED

“…He appeared in visible form and became Man…”(1 John 3:5 AMPC)

 “In the life which Christ led upon earth, obedience was a solemn reality.  The dark and awful power that led man to revolt from his God, came upon Him too, to tempt Him.  To Him as man its offers of self-gratification were not matters of indifference; to refuse them, He had to fast and pray.  He suffered, being tempted.  He spoke very distinctly of notseeking to do His own will, as a surrender He had continually to make.  He made the keeping of the Father’s commandments the distinct object of His life, and so abode in His love” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p155).

FATHER, Your Son in His magnificence dwelt with You before time began but then emptied Himself of His godly essence to become human (Phil 2:7).  He identified with me as He spent a few years on earth.  But CHRIST is now glorified in my nature at Your right hand (ref#241, p208-209).

“The union of the divine and the human in Immanuel is the reunion of God with fallen man through the second Adam….God in my nature: my God, my brother, my friend, my counselor, my guide, my redeemer, my pattern, my all!  God in my nature: my wisdom, my righteousness, my sanctification, my redemption!…He takes my nature that He may descend to me, and He gives me His nature that I may ascend to Him.  He stoops because I could not rise” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Dec 25th)!

“If the Deity of Jesus is precious, so is His humanity; the one is of no avail in the work of redemption apart from the other…It was pure humanity, bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh, which He took up into intimate and indissoluble union with His Deity….Our Lord attached Himself to the woes of our nature;…It was necessary that our Lord, in order to sympathize fully with His people, should not only identify Himself with their nature, but also in some degree with their peculiar circumstances….He never instructs them to walk in a path that His own feet have not trod first and left their impressions” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, July 31st).

“His humanity lost none of the tender sympathies of our nature which clung to him so closely when on earth.  The same compassionate nature, the same loving heart, the same deep sympathy with all our sorrows, and the same outstretched hand to relieve them distinguish the glorified state of the precious Son of God” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Aug 27th).

“The human nature of Christ…still continues, and will continue to all eternity, to be both God and man” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p20).

ASSURANCES

FAITH AVOIDERS

Faith avoiders become “identity amnesias” David Paul Tripp (ref#190, Jan 31st). They have not explored the cliff where faith jumps, therefore they have no solid proof they are truly Christian.

“Will you live in timidity and fear or in the courage of hope? Will you avoid challenges of faith in fear or move toward them, resting not in your own ability but in the presence, power, and grace of the One who rules all and has become your Father” David Paul Tripp (ref#190, Jan 31st)?

“…there must be…faith…a belief that the law is answered and satisfied by Jesus Christ; and…such a sense of the way of salvation by Christ that…sin should not be punished in us…this…lightens the burden and creates hope. This is to have a sense of the sufficiency of salvation” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p99).

FATHER, You move me to ask myself if I am abiding in CHRIST – day to day trusting Him—regularly fellowshipping with Him in prayer and worship (John15:4,7)? Am I making JESUS my trust? Your SPIRIT challenges me to ask myself if I am abiding in CHRIST or simply acting like a Christian.

Can I give up all the good things about myself and let You make me good. I know it will mean stepping off the cliff to the unknown but I also know that You will bring me to trusting in that jump.