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Glimpses Of Glory - Part 1

"Why Study Heaven?"

by David Legge | Copyright © 2007 | All Rights Reserved | www.preachtheword.com

'Preach The Word'Well now, let's turn in our Bibles - we've got two portions of Scripture that I want us to consider first of all. Let me say that there won't be an in depth exposition this evening of any particular portion of God's word, but we'll be looking at various selected Scriptures as we look generally at an introduction to this great theme that we'll spend more time in detail looking at the specifics of in the weeks that lie ahead, as we consider the title 'Why Study Heaven?'.

What the Bible has to say about heaven will inevitably, over these weeks, give us a glimpse, many glimpses hopefully, into glory...

The first Scripture I want you to turn to is Colossians chapter 3, Paul's epistle to the Colossians chapter 3; and then the second portion, if you want to turn to it as well to have it ready, is Matthew chapter 6 - the Sermon on the Mount. But first of all Colossians chapter 3, and Paul writing to these believers says in verse 1: "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory".

Then turning over to Matthew's gospel, as I said, and chapter 6 this time, verse 19 - Jesus speaking, as much to us as He was to those in the multitude on the Mount, as He delivered this great sermon says: "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also".

What the Bible has to say about heaven will inevitably, over these weeks, give us a glimpse, many glimpses hopefully, into glory. Tonight we want to look, generally speaking, at why we should embark upon a study of heaven. Now 'heaven' as a word is found 582 times within the Bible. It has different senses and meanings, and we'll not be considering them all throughout this Bible study series. Of course, 'heaven' can refer to the atmospheric heaven, the place where the clouds are and the birds fly - that's not the heaven we'll be considering. Then there is the planetary heaven, outer space, and that is not what we will consider. Rather we will be considering God's dwelling place, which is also called 'heaven'.

The aim that I have in preaching this series on heaven is that I want all of us, whoever we, whatever age we may be, whatever health we might have, I want us to become more heavenly minded!

Now I'm very rarely personal when I preach, and I hope you'll forgive me for being such just now, but I want you to understand a little bit of the process of how I felt led to preach a series of studies on the subject of heaven. As I was considering taking up the Bible Readings again on a Monday evening, I had no real guidance regarding what theme, or what book, or what subject to take. Then my grandfather died, passed into the presence of the Lord as a saved man, prepared for eternity - and, in fact, both my grandfathers died in the space of about 20 months. As often is the case when we experience the death of a loved one who has fallen asleep in Jesus, it causes us to think in greater depth about heaven. After both these deaths, I found myself at times lying in bed thinking about what heaven must be like. One evening, as I was lying in bed, I had, I can only say, a flash of inspiration, and I felt that I should take a series on heaven and call it 'Glimpses of Glory'. Now that was before the funeral service of my grandfather that had died most recently, and when it came to that day I knew the hymns that were picked, but they didn't seem too significant, or to relate to this subject at that time - but as soon as we started singing, the first hymn was 'Sing The Wondrous Love of Jesus', that we have already sung, and the third verse confirmed to me the reason why I was to preach on the subject of heaven, and it goes like this - at least the two lines that were relevant:

'Just one glimpse of Him in glory
Will the toils of life repay'.

Just one glimpse, or more than one glimpse, of Him in glory will the toils of life repay! Dr Steven J. Lawson wrote a book recently on the subject of heaven, and he entitled it 'Heaven Help Us' - very insightful, because whatever our lot in life is as one of God's children, I believe, and I think you'll find in your own experience, that as we contemplate and meditate and study in depth over these weeks heaven, you will find that heaven will help us. Now, we're tempted to think, especially those who are perhaps younger, that heaven is really for the old folk, those in the waiting room of Glory, those who are sick and want rid of all these diseases and ailments in their body, those who are dying perhaps with terminal illnesses. Heaven is something that you want to think about if you're in those circumstances, but what relevance has it to me in my twenties or my thirties or forties, or in midlife? Well, the aim that I have in preaching this series on heaven is that I want all of us, whoever we, whatever age we may be, whatever health we might have, I want us to become more heavenly minded!

It is a fallacy to claim that someone, as many say, can be too heavenly minded for any earthly use. The opposite of that statement is in fact the truth...

Now that is not escapism, as some would say, trying to artificially get away from the harsh realities of life around us. It is a fallacy to claim that someone, as many say, can be too heavenly minded for any earthly use. The opposite of that statement is in fact the truth: the more a person has heaven on their mind, the more use they will be on earth and to heaven. If a person is useless on earth, I assure you it's not because they think too much about heaven, it's because they think too little of it. The reasons for and the benefits of studying heaven become self-evident, and will do in the weeks that lie ahead. But let me, this evening, in our introductory night, summarise some of these reasons why we should study heaven and take much time in doing it, that we might be clear as we go through more specific subjects each night why we're doing it. Now this will not be an exhaustive answer as to why we ought to study heaven, but I'm trying to get as much into the time that is afforded to us tonight to help us to understand why it's important, and why it will benefit us immensely.

Now there are five reasons that I have tonight, and here is the first - why is it important to study heaven? First of all: because Christians are going there. Christians are going there! Now the staggering truth is that there is a deafening silence among Christians, and in the church at large, when it comes to this great subject of heaven. Apart from a brief mention in the odd sermon, particularly at funeral services, or in a paperback book, or in the hymns that we sing, or the prayers that we pray - yes, it is mentioned, and we give a wink and a nod toward the reality of the belief and the doctrine of heaven, but very little in-depth study actually occurs regarding this subject. Let me challenge you: many Christians, I think, who have attended church all their lives, especially those in middle age, around 50 and under, can't recall hardly ever hearing a sermon on the subject of heaven - and if it is even mentioned in passing, seldom is the subject developed and explained.

I'm always encouraging you to study Christian history, and it's only recently that the doctrine of heaven seems less important to Christians and the church. For centuries, almost 2000 years of our Christian history, heaven was an important, vital focal point to every believer and to the Church militant as a body. But for some reason today, as one author has very perceptively said, heaven has fallen off our radar screens. It's remarkable when you think about it for a moment, when we consider that there could be no more important subject for the child of God than where we will spend life, eternal life, forever, for all eternity - yet Christians pay little attention to the details concerning their eternal destiny. It was J. C. Ryle, that great Anglican evangelical Bishop of Liverpool, who said these words, listen very carefully: 'The man who is about to sail for Australia or New Zealand as a settler is naturally anxious to know something about his future home. Its climate, its employments, its inhabitants, its ways, its customs, all these are subjects of deep interest to him. You're leaving the land of your nativity, you're going to spend the rest of your life in a new hemisphere, it would be strange indeed if you did not desire information about your new abode. Now surely, if we hope to dwell forever in a better country, even a heavenly one, we ought to seek all the knowledge we can about it, before we go to our eternal home we should try to become acquainted with it'.

Just as many unbelievers around us in our world are thinking less and less about God and eternal truths and realities, it has infiltrated the church, filtered down into our hearts as we become more materialistic and affluent...

That makes sense, doesn't it? But the great question is, and there is much instruction in the answer to it: why is it that we are not more heavenly minded? Now let me give you at least four suggestions why that might be. First of all, I think the reason why we don't study and think about heaven much is because we are too earthly minded. For some, even Christians, heaven has been eclipsed by earth, earth is bigger, earth is brighter, it is more attractive, it is more intoxicating, it has more of a magnetic draw. Someone has said: 'As the world goes, so goes the church', just as many unbelievers around us in our world are thinking less and less about God and eternal truths and realities, it has infiltrated the church, filtered down into our hearts as we become more materialistic and affluent - the thought of heaven doesn't draw us, and woo us, and win us as it used to other Christians of bygone days. I don't know whether you've ever tried holding a tiny penny to your eye and then look at the sun, but what happens is that massive ball of fire is completely blotted out. What happens is that even believers hold the world so close to their hearts and to their vision that they stop seeing heaven.

One of the main reasons why we don't think about it is because we are too earthly minded. But a second reason may be because we are so occupied with the means, the manner, the timeframe of how we are going to get to heaven - that is, the study of eschatology, that is the study of the end times and the last things. Now let me say categorically that that is a very important study, because it's based on God's word, but so much has been written about prophecy, and preached about the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, yet comparatively little has been said and written about our final destination that we will be in forever - heaven! In fact, if you go to your local Christian bookshop, or if you have copies of them in your own library - systematic theologies - take them down from your shelf and flick through the chapters on the second coming of the Lord Jesus, and the last judgement, and you'll find them going through all the views of the Lord's return - amillennialism, post-millennialism, pre-millennialism, and whatever else there might be out there. They take so much time going over all those different theories about the second coming of Christ that the eternal state, the new heavens and the new earth, the place we will be forever is only given a couple of pages. It's as if they have to write something on it, because that's how the Bible ends, but they don't really want to spend the time studying it in depth.

The third reason, perhaps, why we don't think about heaven much is because we don't want to think about our own death. It's often something that we level at the unbeliever, but could it be as true for some of us? I'll leave that one with you. The fourth reason I think we don't think much and study much about heaven, perhaps worst of all, it's because some of us aren't going there. Pardon? Yes! Some of us may not be going there. Let me say, before we go into any more of our introduction this evening, and indeed subsequent studies: if you find that you have a lack of desire even to be willing to think about heaven, and you have a lack of desire even to be willing to want to be with Christ forever, which is far better, that should make you concerned to make your calling and election sure in Christ. That's what the Bible teaches, that if you love this world more than you love God, more than you love Christ, more than you love heaven, the love of the Father does not dwell in you.

What do you know about heaven? What do you know about it? I'm not talking about statements that you say: 'Well, I think... I imagine...', I'm not talking about that. What do you know definitely, categorically, that you can prove from the scriptures about heaven?

I remember being greatly impressed many years ago by reading one of the great Puritans, John Owen, in his book 'The Glory of Christ', he says these profound words that relate to us regarding heaven, this is what he says: 'No man shall ever behold the glory of Christ by sight in heaven who does not in some measure behold it by faith in this world'. Is there a lack of holiness in your life? You know God's process is very clear in Romans chapter 8, that those elect, predestined, are then called, those that are called are justified, those that are justified are sanctified, and those that are sanctified will be glorified. Maybe the reason why you are not sanctified - and I know it is a process, and I know that we all have struggles with sin, and we've all got grey areas in our lives that we are trying to overcome - but the whole point is this: if there is no semblance of holiness in our lives, it is questionable whether we are travelling on our way to heaven, and that might betray the reason why you haven't a desire for it. Listen to God's word in Hebrews 12 and verse 14: 'Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord'. Could it be that some in the church even do not think, or study, or want to go to heaven because they aren't going there?

The first reason I've given to you tonight of why we should study heaven is because Christians are going there. The second reason I want to give you why we should study heaven is simply because we can. That might seem an obvious statement, but let me ask you tonight: what do you know about heaven? What do you know about it? I'm not talking about statements that you say: 'Well, I think... I imagine...', I'm not talking about that. What do you know definitely, categorically, that you can prove from the scriptures about heaven? Let me ask the question another way: where does your knowledge that you have, whatever it is, about heaven come from? Where is it derived? I fear that some of our understandings of heaven are based simply on sentimentalism, it's maybe coming from the songs, the hymns, or the choruses that we sing - many of them, regarding heaven, are distinctly un-Biblical. Perish the thought, perhaps our understanding of Glory comes from some of the near death experiences that we read about in cheap Christian paperbacks, or even in popular magazines, and we think that this is what it's going to be like - looking down a tunnel at a light, and floating out of our body and all sorts of things, being carried and taken on a tour of heaven or hell. Maybe your understanding of heaven is wispy and vague, we think heaven is a non-physical, an ethereal place like the eastern religions teach about. Maybe we have been indoctrinated by some of the new-age philosophies that are very prevalent around us.

I'll tell you this: you would be surprised what a lot of people think about heaven. You might even get surprised as you go through this series what you think about heaven, and how wrong it may be! Now maybe I'm wrong on this one, but I suspect that for the most part most Christians, apart from saying 'Well, I know I'm going there, and I know it is a place where there's no more sin or pain, and Jesus and God are there', they can't give you any idea what heaven is going to be like. They can't articulate what historical Christianity down through the years has thought and taught and reasoned about heaven. Now if that's the case for you and me, we've only got ourselves to blame. The reason why there is a dearth in the understanding and in the contemplation of heaven is because we have failed to explore and explain the Scriptures that deal with this teaching about heaven.

I will endeavour in this series to base everything that I say upon the Scriptures. That must be our starting point, we must think biblically, of course, about everything; we must make sure that our understanding of heaven comes from nowhere else but God's word...

Let me say that I will endeavour in this series to base everything that I say upon the Scriptures. That must be our starting point, we must think biblically, of course, about everything; but as the case in matter tonight and these weeks is heaven, we must make sure that our understanding of heaven comes from nowhere else but God's word. Now, often we explain our ignorance of heaven by this remark, and I must say I have made it myself in the past: 'Heaven is unimaginable'. Maybe some of you have been thinking that, even hearing that I'm taking up this theme: 'What are you going to really say? We don't know that much about it, and the Bible is full of what heaven won't be like but says very little about what heaven is actually like' - that is a common perception which I believe is wrong. 'Heaven is unimaginable!' - let me say to you tonight: heaven is not unimaginable, it is not! Now I'm not a mind reader, but I know where you're going - 'Ah, but what about what Paul said?'. Was it not the apostle who said in 1 Corinthians 2:9 that it has not entered into our minds, or into the heart of a human being, what heaven will be like? Now I admit to you that the half has not been told, and it would be wrong to say that we can know everything that we can about heaven - but in no sense is heaven unimaginable. This is why that statement is important, as Randy Alcorn, who has written a superb book on heaven, has said: 'We cannot anticipate or desire what we cannot imagine'. We cannot anticipate or desire what we cannot imagine!

Now let me deal with, perhaps, your objection to the fact that heaven is imaginable. Turn with me to that portion of Scripture that I mentioned briefly, 1 Corinthians chapter 2 and verse 9, and it is important that you turn to it with me tonight. Many sermons that you will hear, and books that you will read about heaven will quote this verse: 'Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him'. There you are, case closed, heaven is unimaginable! We cannot know things about it, it is inconceivable. Now let me say that many of the false doctrines and misunderstandings in every subject that come are because people either do not take a verse in its context, or they ignore completely the context that it is found in and don't even read the verses that come before it or after it. Read the next verse with me please, verse 10: 'But God hath revealed them unto us' - what? Those things that cannot be known through mere human wisdom, God has revealed them to us as believers 'by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God'. Verse 13 actually shows us how God reveals these things to us by His Spirit: 'Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual' - the word of God! So don't use that verse in the wrong way. These things can be conceived, dare I say imagined, when we take what God's Spirit has revealed in the word, the analogies, the figures, the pictures, the literal things that God describes about heaven, and we allow the Spirit to reveal them to our minds and to our hearts. The reason why we should study heaven is because we can! It's not the case that we say that it's a closed book, and we'll not know until we get there and our eyes are opened and our ears. Yes, we'll not know the full extent of it all until then, but God, by His Spirit, Paul says, has revealed these things to us.

'Ah', you say, 'but what about Paul in 2 Corinthians 12?'. He was taken up, wasn't he, to the third heaven himself, the dwelling place of God. God revealed things to him, and Paul even admits there that he was unable to speak of his visit - does that not mean that it was an indescribable experience? Well, I'm not sure it was, I tell you what it does mean - and you might fault me for, you think, saying things that are not found in Scripture, but I could fault you for the same if you're pointing to Paul in 2 Corinthians 12, because it doesn't say that he wasn't allowed to share his experience because heaven was indescribable. Does it say that there? No, it does not. It only tells us that he could not say what he had seen, for whatever reason, but I'll tell you this much: John the apostle, on the Isle of Patmos, was told expressly to write down the things that he saw, and his last number of chapters are specifically about heaven. So you can't use 2 Corinthians 12 to say that heaven is unimaginable. Once more, Ezekiel describes, in his opening chapters, right throughout his book, visions of heaven; as does Isaiah in Isaiah chapter 6: 'I saw the LORD high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple'. They are describing what they are seeing for our understanding.

We cannot have exhaustive knowledge about this great subject, but I'll tell you this: we can have accurate knowledge about it when we study the scriptures that God has given...

Here's another objection: 'Deuteronomy 29:29 says the secret things belong unto our God, and you're delving into matters here that are secret things that we can't know. We can't see into heaven, we can't hear what's going on in heaven, therefore we should just keep the book closed regarding it. It's a secret mystery of God'. Well, again, the folly comes from not finishing Deuteronomy 29 verse 29: 'The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children' - and God has revealed a great deal of material regarding heaven. It is incumbent upon us that we study it, we grapple with it. I agree with you, we cannot have exhaustive knowledge about this great subject, but I'll tell you this: we can have accurate knowledge about it when we study the scriptures that God has given.

Now I hope that's a revelation to you, because it certainly is to me. The reason why we should study heaven, first of all, is because we Christians are going there - whether or not we feel like going just now. The second reason is simply because we can, the material is there and God has provided it for us. The third reason why we should study heaven is because of the misconceptions, the unanswered questions concerning heaven. Now what am I talking about? Well, let me be very specific, questions like this: where do the dead go now? Have you ever thought about that? When the last couple of chapters of the book of the Revelation talk about an eternal state which is not yet created, where do the dead go now? That is heaven, but can we call the place where the dead go 'heaven' now? Well, we'll see this in weeks to come. Another question: is heaven a physical place, or is it a state of mind where we just float about like disembodied spirits, and have no consciousness but just happy to be out of our bodies and in the presence of God? Another: what will our bodies be like? Will we have a body when we die and go to the heaven that is there now, or will we have to wait for our resurrection body - and when we get it, what will it be like? An obvious question is: will we look like ourselves? Now, I know some of you are praying that you won't! But that is a question: will we look like how we are just now, here on the earth? What comes out of that question, probably as a motivation for it, is: will we know one another in heaven? Will we know that loved one who has gone on to Glory before us? Flowing out of that question is another question: how will we relate to those loved ones, whether a husband or a wife, a son or a daughter, a mother or father, a brother or sister, a best friend?

These are real questions, and let me say: it is not enough just to say: 'Ah, we'll find out well and good when the time comes!' - that's not good enough, because God has revealed many things that instruct us regarding these truths. What about this one: what will we do in heaven? Will we all be bored, singing every day? Although some of the Pentecostals will enjoy that - and I'll enjoy it too! Do you think that's what we're going to do? String a harp, sit on a cloud and sing praise unto God: 'Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia' over and over again, 'Worthy is the Lamb'? Or will we work? Work? I know some of you are wanting to cash in your ticket already! Will we play? Will there be art? Will there be music? Will there be learning? Will we eat and drink? These are questions - here's one that will interest you to find the answer: will there be animals? I'm not suggesting your wee pet poodle has gone to Glory or anything like that, but the Bible talks about a new heaven and a new earth, the Bible talks about a creation that is being redeemed and one-day will be burned up and a new earth will be formed, a new creation! Will there be animals? Will there be time and space? I think I have said on occasion that, well, yes, God is outside of time, and that may be, but will we be?

Heaven should be helping us in keeping us from sin, in keeping us secure, guiding us, directing us, drawing us day by day to live and breathe close to her shores...

Perhaps the greatest question of all is: will we see God? Does the Bible say anything about that? You might have your misconceptions, or even just have these as questions, and we must be very careful over the next number of weeks not to speculate in our answers, but it is profound that the Bible has something to say on many of those things. We ought to study heaven because Christians are going, because we can, because of misconceptions and unanswered questions, but fourthly: because it ought to be our focus on the earth. We read about that in our introductory reading from Colossians chapter 3 and verse 2, Paul said: 'Set your affection on things above'. The Lord Jesus said the same in Matthew 6, and Philippians 3 verse 20 tells us that if we are converted our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. We ought to be focusing on heaven down here, and how can we focus on it if we don't know a lot about it and we never consider a study of it? That's why we must, because through life we need the help of heaven. Our eyes should be heavenward constantly, we should be receiving grace from the Throne of Grace where there is mercy and grace to help in time of need. Heaven should be helping us in keeping us from sin, in keeping us secure, guiding us, directing us, drawing us day by day to live and breathe close to her shores. Then, when we have finished this life, our focus ought to be heaven, for in death heaven is our hope. It is our hope for the loved ones who have fallen asleep in Jesus, it is our own hope when it comes our day to travel through the valley of the shadow of death.

But here's the point: we ought to, as believers, focus on heaven on earth because everything essentially that is precious to us as Christians is in heaven! Our Father who art in heaven, our citizenship is in heaven, from which we await a Saviour, our Saviour is in heaven. Hebrews 11 tells us about a great cloud of witnesses urging us on, the dead in Christ who have gone before, brothers and sisters in heaven. Jesus said to His own disciples: 'Rejoice not that the devils are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven' - our names are in heaven. Our inheritance, the Bible says, is in heaven, incorruptible and undefiled, that fades not away. Our citizenship is there, our eternal reward - if we have much of it - will be there, and our treasure - if we are building it up in heaven - will be there waiting for us. That's why we should focus on heaven on earth!

Jonathan Edwards, that great American theologian and man of God, often spoke about heaven. This is what he said concerning heaven as the focus of our earthly existence: 'It becomes us to spend this life only as a journey toward heaven, to which we should subordinate all other concerns of life. Why should we labour for, or set our hearts on, anything else but that which is our proper end and true happiness?'. Do we subordinate all other concerns of life to focus on heaven, to live for heaven, to strive for heaven? In his early twenties Jonathan Edwards made a set of resolutions to live a more godly life, and here was one of them: 'I am resolved to endeavour to obtain for myself as much happiness in the other world as I possibly can'. What do we do? We seek after as much happiness in this world - but that means that some day, if we're trying to save our lives down here, we're going to lose it up there, we're going to be desperately, bitterly disappointed. It makes a difference, that's why we need to study heaven in great detail, because it makes a difference to our lives if we focus on heaven on earth - and one thing it definitely does is that it motivates us to live for Christ, and to live for heaven.

This study 'Glimpses of Glory' will only truly benefit us if it gives us glimpses of His glory. Well, I hope you see tonight why it is so important to study heaven. I hope, perhaps, I've whet your appetite to come back and learn more about it...

In Matthew 6 Jesus said: 'Build up treasures in heaven' - not on earth. C. S. Lewis said regarding this, listen, this is profound: 'If you read history, you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you will get neither'. What do you focus on in your life here on earth as a believer? That's why we need to study heaven, it ought to be our focus on earth.

Fifthly and finally, we ought to study heaven because Jesus is there. Now, I am not in favour of ecumenism, and I am far from ecumenical - you only need to get my tape on Roman Catholicism and our series on the cults to find that out - but an old Roman Catholic missionary to China in the 16th century, 1579, by the name of Matthew Ricci said a profound thing. Even though he was a Roman Catholic missionary, it doesn't mean he didn't ever say anything that was true, this is what he said, and listen carefully to it, it is warning to all of us as we embark upon a study on heaven: 'Those that adore heaven instead of the Lord of heaven, are like a man who, desiring to pay the emperor homage, prostrates himself before the Imperial Palace at Peking and venerates its beauty'. There is a danger that we get so taken up with heaven, that we forget that the reason for being taken up with heaven is that Christ is there, our Lord, our Saviour, that's why we sing: 'Just one glimpse of Him in Glory'.

We must never think of heaven apart from God, apart from Christ, and I think people often think of prophecy in that way. They think about all the different systems and what's going to happen, and the scrolls and the bowls and this and that, when the greatest book in the Bible on prophecy is the revelation of Jesus Christ! This study 'Glimpses of Glory' will only truly benefit us if it gives us glimpses of His glory. Well, I hope you see tonight why it is so important to study heaven. I hope, perhaps, I've whet your appetite to come back and learn more about it. Maybe it has exposed this evening the neglect of heaven in your own life. Well, come with us these weeks, study with us, and see the difference that heaven will make in your life.

Let me share this story with you as I close: in 1952 there was a young girl called Florence Chadwick who stepped into the waters of the Pacific Ocean off Catalina Island determined to swim from it to the shore of the state of California. She had already been the first woman to swim the English Channel both ways, and on that day she decided to swim from California to that Catalina Island the weather was very foggy, it was freezing cold, she could hardly see even the boats that were around her accompanying her on that journey. She swam and she swam and she swam for 15 hours, and eventually she had had enough, she couldn't take it any more and she begged to be taken out of the water along the way. Her mother was in the boat right beside her, and she said: 'Mother, get me out!', and her mother told her that she was very, very close to the shore, and that she could make it if she just kept going. Finally she was physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted, and she stopped swimming, and she had to be winched out of the water. It wasn't until she got onto that boat that she discovered that the shore was less than half a mile away. At the news conference the next day, this is what she said: 'All I could see was the fog, I think if I could have seen the shore I would have made it'.

Do you see the shore, believer? Have you a glimpse of glory? I'll tell you, listen: just one glimpse of Him in Glory will the toils of life repay, it'll get you through the fog, it will keep you on the road, it will take you to the end of the journey. That is my prayer, that it will be that experience that you will have these weeks.

Can I ask you: will that be glory for you? Are you sure you're on your way to heaven? Make your calling and election sure tonight, repent of any known sin, and believe alone in the gospel of Jesus Christ, the One who bled and died for sinners and rose again to give them eternal life in heaven. Believe in Him, and you can be sure. What about the spiritual state of your life, believer tonight? Will it be glory? Don't forget that before we get into heaven there will be a Judgement Seat. Someone has said it will be hard to look Jesus in the eyes on that day, will that be glory for you?

Oh, our Father, we thank You tonight for Your word. This is only dipping a toe, if we could say it, at the edge of the shore of this great subject of heaven tonight. Lord, lead us by Your Spirit into these weeks that lie ahead, and give us such a Scripture-induced vision of Glory that we will actually want to be there. Bless our hearts, and apply Your word to our need, whatever it may be - to the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.

Don't miss part 2 of the Glimpses Of Glory Study Series: "Is Heaven A Physical Place?"Jump To Top Of Page

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Transcribed by:
Andrew Watkins
Preach The Word.
January 2007
www.preachtheword.com

This sermon was delivered at The Iron Hall Assembly in Belfast, Northern Ireland, by Pastor David Legge. It was transcribed from the first recording in his 'Glimpses Of Glory' series, entitled "Why Study Heaven?" - Transcribed by Andrew Watkins, Preach The Word.

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