Heaven is a World of Love
September 18, 2022 | Andy Davis
1 Corinthians 13:1-13
This sermon was preached on September 18, 2022 at Brainard Avenue Baptist Church in Countryside, IL.
- sermon transcript -
Good morning. It's a joy to be with all of you. Such a delight to be part of the Universal church, the Body of Christ with brothers and sisters from around the world, and for us to share that fellowship in the spirit. So sweet and been welcomed so richly already by members of the church and enjoying fellowship with you.
I'd like to ask that you turn in your Bibles at 1 Corinthians, Chapter 13. We're going to have a marvelous time today as we consider the topic of heaven. We're going to think about heaven and try to meditate on what our heavenly life is going to be like. And as I was thinking about this, I was remembering a time I had with my son, my oldest son, Nathaniel, and we were hiking in a mountain in New Hampshire, Mount Washington. We were hiking up a trail called Tuckerman's Ravine. As we were going up that I had been telling him for weeks of the spectacular view that there is from Mount Washington over the entire Mount Washington Valley, especially from this perspective on Tuckerman's Ravine. The problem was that the weather was very poor that day, and as we were going up this very steep incline, we were laboring and laboring, but getting no reward for it because we were surrounded by fog. He wasn't complaining but with all of this labor, we hoped to get the payoff of this spectacular view that I had been boasting about for weeks, and it just wasn't happening.
As we kept moving higher and higher and laboring and going up this mountain, I was praying that the Lord would reward the effort at some point. We got to a certain place, maybe 80% up the hike or 90%, we were up quite high, and suddenly there came a break in the fog and we could see for miles, just for a short time. Looking down over that spectacular view, it was fall, the foliage was beautiful, it for just a moment rewarded all of the effort that we had had in getting up there. Then the fog closed back in again and that was it. As a matter of fact, that was the only view we ever had from off the mountain, except the immediate boulders right in front of us.
I think sometimes life can be like that. We can be in the midst of our circumstances and it's like a fog surrounds us, surrounds our minds and our hearts, and we can't see much more than the boulders right in front of us as we make an arduous climb, and it's difficult. But the Lord means for us to be constantly renewed in hope by meditation on our future heavenly life. Now when I mean hope, hope is one of the most important features of the Christian life. What is it? What is hope? Hope is a feeling, a sense in the heart that the future's bright. That's the way I define it. Non-Christians can have hope and people can say, I hope it'll be good weather for the weekend, or I hope the Cubs win the World Series. People use that word “hope.” But for non-Christians, it's a vague and flimsy thing. It's like generally contrary to what you think will happen. I hope, but I don't think it's going to happen.
Christian hope is different though. Christian hope is a sense, a feeling in the heart that the future's bright based on the promises of God and that makes it a sure and certain thing for God cannot lie. He has promised us much about our future world, and we are commanded actually to meditate on heaven to think much about it. Colossians 3, 1-4 says, "Since then you have been raised with Christ. Set your heart on things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things for you died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, you also will appear with him in glory."
So if I could just take Colossians 3, 1-4, it's a command to set your mind on things above and things to come. The things to come are glorious and you should think about them, not on earthly things. You should think about heaven more than you do.
Now, a number of years ago I got hold of Randy Alcorn's book called Heaven and read it. I thought it was great. There's a lot of aspects to it, a lot of things we could talk about, but the thing that he gave me in that book is a view of a dynamic heaven, not a static or I hate to say it, but boring heaven. In some of the research he did, he found that some Christians were actually somewhat dreading heaven. They pictured sitting on a cloud with a harp singing Amazing Grace forever. “When we've been there 10,000 years, bright shining as the sun. We've got no fewer times to sing Amazing Grace than when we first begun.” And that just seemed a little flat, a little boring.
He was sad by this and he thought, this is so wrong. How could it be that the creator of the ends of the earth, the creator of the cosmos, could ever create a boring heaven? It's a satanic lie. So therefore we should go beyond the boundaries of that narrow confines of a boring static heaven where we're sitting on a cloud and you've got that harp... I think there was a “Far Side” cartoon years ago, some of you will remember that, Gary Larson. There was an angelic saint person sitting on a cloud with a harp and a tear coming down and said, "Is this all there is?" I think no, heaven is a dynamic place. But what's it dynamic with? Now we're going to talk about that. We're going to talk about that today and we're going to use 1 Corinthians 13 as a kind of meditation focus for our conception of heaven.
When I preach on 1 Corinthians in my church, I preach many, many sermons. I did nine sermons on this one chapter, 1 Corinthians: 13 and I culminated my preaching in 1 Corinthians: 13 with two sermons focused on heaven and leaning on my 18th century mentor, New England Pastor Jonathan Edwards who had a whole book of sermons on 1 Corinthians: 13: Charity and its Fruits culminating in a sermon entitled “Heaven is a World of Love.” I would commend this book to you. You can get it on online free, it's public domain, or you can buy the book.
But the problem for me coming here today is how do I take my two sermons that I preached at my church and consolidate them down to one sermon? And how do I take Edward's like 46-page essay and boil that down? So I've decided to preach today for two hours, I thought that's the only way that I can do that. No, I got my stopwatch up here. I'm very conscious of time.
Let's give some context. Paul is writing 1 Corinthians to a highly dysfunctional church. It is a church that he planted by the preaching of the Gospel, but it was a church that was rent with factions, it was struggling with sin. It did not have a right conception of itself in the world age that they were living in. There were disciplinary issues they should have attended to and hadn't.
They had defective views of sex and marriage that he had to deal with very directly. Some of their members were still visiting temple prostitutes and they needed to be taught about sexual purity. They had a faulty conception of divorce and marriage and he had to address that. They were rent by problems with meat sacrifice to idols and religious sensibilities, and they weren't getting along in that regard.
One of the problems that he addressed is the problem of spiritual gifts, and spiritual gifts are special abilities given to us by the Holy Spirit that enable us to serve the Lord and build the church. There are different kinds of gifts, and he addresses that in 1 Corinthians 12 with the body having different members and each member has different function and so it is with the body of Christ.
The problem is that some of these Corinthians were boasting over their gifts, especially the showy gifts, the upfront gifts, and that would be speaking in tongues and prophecy. They were very boastful about these gifts, and others not having those gifts felt denigrated and worthless as though their gifts didn't matter much and there was the problem.
Paul has to address the issues and he does so in three chapters, 1 Corinthians 12-14. In 1 Corinthians 12, he gives that body image with one body, many members and then he goes into details and specifics in Chapter 14 on speaking in tongues and prophecy. But in between we have this chapter, 1 Corinthians 13, and it's in the sub context of addressing spiritual gifts. He wants to focus their mind on what the purpose of the gifts are, and what's the reason that God even gave them to us. He zeros in on love.
He begins here in verse 1-3. Look at it if you would, "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels but have not love, I'm only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains but have not love, I am nothing. And if I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames but have not love, I gain nothing."
So you can have these gifts and you can use them, but if you do it in an unloving manner, you're actually doing damage. If you don't have love in your heart, you're not storing up treasure in heaven, you're not going to get rewarded, nothing. The purpose of the gifts is to build a world of love in which we're going to spend eternity. That's the reason for the spiritual gifts.
Then he describes love's enduring qualities in verse 4-8, Look at it. "Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast. It is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight an evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trust, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."
That's the demeanor, the way you should carry yourself when you do everything for Christ. If you're speaking in tongues, do it kindly. Be patient with other people. Be gentle with other people. It's the demeanor. I you're not, it doesn't matter if you give all this amazing money to the poor, but if you're doing it in an irritated, angry manner, you've gained nothing. Nothing good has come from that.
Now having done that, he shows the superiority of love and actually the purpose, the focus of love for all the spiritual gifts. All of the gifts are designed to build an eternity of love, and those gifts are temporary. They're like scaffolding on a building that's being constructed , but the love that it builds is eternal. The gifts are temporary, but love is eternal. All spiritual gifts will cease, but love will endure into eternity. That is into our heavenly life itself. Look at verse 8, "But where there are prophecies, they will cease. Where there are tongues, they will be stilled. Where there is knowledge, it will pass away."
He also says, "The knowledge we have of God here on earth is like so much baby talk, like so much baby talk compared to the knowledge we will have in heaven." Now that's staggering. What spiritual gifts produce is like baby talk compared to the level of knowledge we'll have in heaven. That includes the Bible. The Bible's written in a language, it's got grammar and vocabulary. People like me get up week after week and explain it. We do exegesis, we do theology, we do words. Will it not be better to see Christ in all his glory with your own eyes and hear him with your own ears and be immersed in him for all eternity? It will be better. So I'm not denigrating the Word, it is everything we need now, but it's like so much baby talk. Prophecy was included in the baby talk and this is a work of prophecy, all of this.
So what does he say? We look at 9-12, "We know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child. I thought like a child, I reason like a child. When I became a man I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror, then we shall see face-to-face. Now I know in part, then I shall know fully even as I am fully known.”
From that text comes our meditation on heaven, now versus then. What is the then? It's heaven. That's what we're talking about when we at last see face-to-face. What is that dynamic by which we know more about God and Christ in heaven than we do now? One simple word we use for it here in this world is education. We are going to get educated in the greatness of God. What percentage of the glory of God and of Christ do you think you know right now? Anyone want to say 10%? I got 10%. I know 1/10th of everything there is to know about God and of Christ. You are deceiving yourself, my dear friend. It's an infinite subject. Really, only an infinite subject can take up an infinite amount of time. What do you think is going to be taking up our time for all eternity? Learning God, learning the glory of God. That's exciting, isn't it? We're never, never going to be omniscient. We'll be glorious, we'll be free from sin. We'll be redeemed and glorified in an awesome way, but we'll always have more to learn or else we'd be God, omniscient. So forever we're going to be learning God.
Now that's what we're going to talk about with the rest of the time we have. Heaven is a world of love. We know in part then we shall know fully even as we have been fully known. He concludes in verse 13 with this statement: "And now these three remain faith, hope, and love but the greatest of these is love."
Now what does he mean by “these remain”? These are focal points of our present Christian life. They're vital in our present Christian life, but two of them are temporary and one of them is eternal. Our faith is temporary because faith has to do with things not seen. As Hebrews 11:1 tells us, someday our faith will be sight., and we won't need it anymore. And what about our hope? Is that temporary? Yes, Romans 8 tells us: "Who hopes for what he already has?” We won't be hoping when we're in heaven, we'll be there.
Faith and hope are vital, but they're temporary. But love, now that's eternal because in heaven you'll be perfectly fulfilling every moment of your existence. The two great commandments, "You will at last, love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength,” every moment of your heavenly life. And you will finally “love your neighbor as yourself” for all eternity. Therefore, heaven is a world of love. That's where we're heading.
"Faith and hope are vital, but they're temporary. But love, now that's eternal because in heaven you'll be perfectly fulfilling every moment of your existence. "
Now let's lean on our brother Jonathan Edwards, who's already in heaven so he doesn't have to do preaching and theology and exegesis, but he left behind a legacy of words so that people like me can read them and we can study them. Let me say something about reading Jonathan Edwards, he's one of the hardest authors I've ever read in my life. I had to read his treatise on “The Freedom of the Will “out loud and translate it into English from English, so I could understand some of it. He is a deep thinker and he's a dense writer. The way his mind works, he works and works and works and works the details in ways that sometimes seem repetitive. He starts out with things that just seem kind of obvious and works them. But as he works and works the obvious, he starts adding more and more things together and then suddenly your eyes start to widen, you’re seeing things you hadn't seen before.
It's little bit like CS Lewis' Narnia Chronicles with the lion, the witch and the wardrobe. Some of you know what that wardrobe was. It was a standalone closet that this little girl goes into and she's playing a game of hide-and-seek. She goes into the closet and it's a bunch of clothes. She feels the sleeves of the coats and all that. She purses further and further back in the game of hide-and-seek but then suddenly she's not feeling clothes anymore, she's feeling branches and she feels snow and she's moved through the wardrobe into another world, Narnia. I'm not up here preaching Narnia, that's a made-up fictitious world. I'm talking about a real world we're going to and in meditation, in theology and exegesis, that's how we can learn. That's the meditation we should do.
I'm not big on books based on near death experiences, I’m not a fan because they contradict each other, and it's like dreams. It's like people telling you their dreams. I want to base my understanding of heaven on Scripture and go as far as Scripture goes, and I'm telling you it goes farther than you think it does. Edwards does a great job with this “Heaven is a World of Love." He divides his essay into six headings. We're not going to get to all of them, but I'll tell you the headings and then we'll work with it with the time we have left. First, The Cause and Fountain of Love that is in Heaven; and then, The Objects of the Love that is in Heaven; The Subjects of that Love that is in Heaven; The Principle or Nature of that Love that is in Heaven; The Circumstances in which Heavenly Love is Exercised, Expressed and Enjoyed; and finally, The Blessed Effects or Fruits of that Love that is in Heaven. That's his essay, and you can read it. I'm just cherry picking some of it to give you a sense of the teaching.
I. The Cause and Fountain of that Love that is in Heaven
The God of love himself dwells personally in heaven. The new heavens and the new earth and the new Jerusalem will glow and shine and radiate completely with the light that comes from the glory of God. Heaven's all about the glory of God and what is the glory of God, but the radiant display of the perfections or attributes of God. His mercy, his power, his love, his compassion, his justice, his wrath, his patience, those are the attributes of God. Heaven radiates with the glory of God. Heaven is a world of love because God is love and God dwells there personally. Of course you'll say, “What do you mean God dwells there?” Isn't God omnipresent, isn't God everywhere? Psalm 1:39, "If I rise on the wings of the dawn, go to the far side... Even there, you're there, you're everywhere." God is indeed everywhere, but God chooses to locate himself for us.
For example, the burning bush. Remember what God said to Moses as he approached the burning bush, intrigued by what he saw" "Do not come any closer.” Then he said, "Take off your sandals for the ground on what you're standing is holy ground." What does that mean? What it means doesn't mean God's any more there than He is a hundred yards over or down the mountain. It's that He's going to reveal himself there more than in those other places. There's a sense that He is more there than He is the other places.
In the Old Testament, God was in that sense more in the nation of Israel than He was in other nations. And God was more in Jerusalem than in any other city in Israel and God was more in the temple than in any other building in Jerusalem. And God was more in the Holy of Holies than any other part of the temple. And God was more located in that manner of speaking in the mercy seat above the arc than any other part of the Holy of Holies. I'm saying to you, God will be more in heaven than any experience we've ever had before. He will dwell with us in our midst with his open glory and we will see him as it says in this text, face-to-face, the very thing Moses could never experience. "No one can see me and live," God said to Moses, but this text says we will see God face-to-face and live.
God will in some sense descend from his heavenly home down, and heaven and earth will become one in some sense and we will dwell together around the throne of God, heaven and earth having been made perfectly one. In answer to the Lord's Prayer, "May you will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
Now this triune God is a God of love within the Godhead, within the Godhead, from eternity past to eternity future. The three persons of the Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Spirit have loved one another. It was not out of emptiness or neediness that God created the universe, or loneliness. There was a perfect warm fellowship and relationship within the Trinity before God ever said, "Let there be light.” The persons of the Trinity are infinitely dear and precious to one another. There is an incomprehensible, flowing and re-flowing of love between the Father and the Son and the Son and the Father, between the Son and the Spirit and the Spirit and the Son, and between the Father and the Spirit and the Spirit and the Father. So the Father loves the Son with a perfect love. Twice in the Gospel of Matthew expressed this: "This is my son whom I love, with him I am well pleased." One of the great understatements in human language, “ I love my son, I am pleased with him.” You can't measure. It's like the brightness and the heat of the son and the solar system, that's how passionate the Father is for his Son.
But He also loved the world and gave his only begotten son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. So God loves the world too, but He loves his son with a perfect love. And the son, Jesus Christ perfectly loves his father, deeply loves his father, and He loved him so much as to obey him in everything the father told him to do. Jesus said, "I always do what pleases him." Why do you do that? "Because I love him.” He loved him so perfectly as to die in our place on the cross bearing our wrath and our judgment, drinking the cup of our wrath to the bitter dregs because He loved his father and wanted to obey his father's command and also because He loves his people, He loves his bride, the church, and wanted to cleanse her from her stains and from her corruptions and get her ready for her wedding day. So He drank the cup of God's wrath in our place.
Jesus is perfect in love and the Holy Spirit is the one who personally has delivered the love of Christ to your soul if you're a Christian. The Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity is the delivery system of the love of Jesus to you. You wouldn't be a Christian if it weren't for the work of the Spirit. It is by the Spirit that God's love is poured out into our hearts. Romans 5:5, "He is the spirit of love."
This triune God is the center of heaven, therefore, heaven must be a world of love because God is a God of love, and we will have perfect fellowship with this God of love. In heaven our fellowship with God will be perfect, face-to-face without any blockage or hindrance or distance. We will drink in God's love and swim in it for all eternity. You can think of it as a limitless river and as an infinite ocean. It just flows and flows and flows and it's deep and you can swim in it, in that sense. Revelation 21:1&2, "Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life flowing clear as crystal from the throne of God and of the lamb down the middle of the great street of the city." Heaven will be a world of love, an infinite expression and experience of love because God is there.
II. The Objects of Love in Heaven
There will be nothing but lovely objects in heaven. Everything that you will experience in the new heaven, new earth and new Jerusalem will be lovely and will draw from you love. What does that mean? What is love? What is it? It's like the heart's ability to be magnetically attracted to something, to be drawn to something. We use the word love for trivial things like, "I love ice cream," or significant things like, "I love my wife," or the most significant thing, "I love God." What is united to all us? The heart is drawn to something as liking or magnetically attracted and so we will be attracted to everything there will be in that new world because there'll be nothing but lovely objects there. There'll be nothing odious or ugly or blemished or disgusting or malformed or corrupt or diseased or repulsive or broken or dark or evil in heaven. But all things as the result of the fall will have been completely redeemed and transformed and made like they were originally intended and made perfect by God. Revelation 21:27, "Nothing impure will ever enter the new Jerusalem, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those names who are written in the lambs book of life.”
"There will be nothing but lovely objects in heaven. Everything that you will experience in the new heaven, new earth and new Jerusalem will be lovely and will draw from you love. "
All the angels in heaven will be the holy, good, loving, pure angels, not the dark, wicked, fallen angels that we know as demons. They will all be in the lake of fire eternally as will their king, Satan. Only holy angels would be there. The only people permitted in that world as Revelation 21:27 says, will be those redeemed from every tribe and language and people in nation from earth. They'll be therefore no hypocrites there, no false professors of Christianity, no nominal Christians, Christians in name only. None of that and certainly no open rebels or followers of other gods and goddesses, but only those who love God and love Christ and have been redeemed through the blood of Christ.
All of the redeemed themselves will be finally perfectly lovely, radiant. Jesus himself said in Matthew 13:43, "Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their father." Aren't you looking forward to that? To shine like the sun in the kingdom of your father. Matthew 13:43, "You'll be radiantly beautiful.”
In this world even the most eminent of saints have significant flaws. David said, "My sins are more numerous than the hairs of my head." The Bible's very honest about the flaws and the faults of even its greatest heroes. But in heaven, all of the saints will have been glorified, perfectly formed to Christ in every respect. We will be like Jesus. We will think like him. We will love like him. We will be like him in conformity to his resurrection bod, and love will be fulfilled in all of the redeemed. They will be perfectly kind. They'll be nice people. Love is patient, love is kind. All of that. But then so will you finally. We'll all be nice to each other in fulfillment of 1 Corinthians 13:4 and following. You won't need patience anymore because no one will tax your patience, but you will be kind, love will be fulfilled.
And the place itself, I don't have time to even talk about it, but Revelation 21:22, "The place itself will be perfectly beautiful." The new heavens, new earth, briefly described in Revelation 21:22, "It will be ravishing to the eyes." Think about the new world, like the world we live in now, only not corrupted and not twisted by sin, a beautiful world.
III. The Nature and Degree of Heavenly Love
What will heavenly love be like? It will be an altogether holy and divine love, totally conformed to God's love. We will love like God does. Our love for God will be perfected. Our love for God will be based on a perfect knowledge of God. We will know him fully and understand him fully even as He has known us fully. Now again, that doesn't mean... I used to think this. When you were glorified, you would know God as He has known you. That means you'll know as much about God as He knows about us and as much about God as He knows about himself. That cannot be. Don't you understand that cannot be, for then we would be omniscient.
But what I do think it means is we will begin the process of more and more perfectly knowing God. Think about that multitude from every tribe, language, people and nation that were saved by the Gospel of Christ. Think about that. Will you be interested in their testimonies? Will you be interested in how God saved them? What missionaries He sent to their people, or what evangelist to that person? Will you be interested in that? Please not say, "Yes, I will. Pastor, I will be very interested in how God saved all those people." Do you know how many of them there will be? I have no idea. A multitude greater than anyone could count. A billion? How long will it take to really get to know a billion people? A long time. Will you want to know them? You will. Will you have time to know them? You will. Will you have the desire to know them? You will. Will God be glorified by you learning how God saved them? He will. Well, you got a lot of work to do in heaven, friends. there's a lot to learn.
So our horizontal love will be perfected. Our love for others will be perfectly free from all evil motives, carnal lusts or selfish principles. There'll be no pride, no envy, no greed, no boasting, and our love will be perfect in degree. We will love God vastly more in heaven than we do now. And our love for God will be intense and strong.
Now, one key concept here, which is mind blowing, is that not all of us will have the same heavenly experience or have the same level of glory. Some will be more glorious than others, honestly. "Star differs from star in glory," that's in 1 Corinthians 15, "So will it be with the resurrection of the body."
So we're not all going to be equally glorious. Why not? Because we didn't all live an equal life. I mean, you are aware that some of your brothers and sisters paid more in their sacrificial service to Christ than you did. I mean you must be aware of that, and they'll be rewarded in heaven for it. But you know what? You won't be jealous about that at all. You'll see the rightness of it and you'll delight in it and you'll be glad they got it. As a matter of fact, part of my life now as a pastor is to help all of you who hear me be as rich as you possibly can in glory on Judgment Day. I want you to be rich in rewards, so I get to feed you the Word of God. You get out there and get busy and do good works and store up treasure in heaven.
What is the treasure you're storing up in heaven? It is glory to God and an honor to yourself because Jesus said in John 12, "My father will honor the one who serves me." And if the Father honors that person who serves Jesus, we'll honor them too. We'll not worship them, but we'll honor them and we'll not be jealous of those who have greater glory than us.
We'll be at the banquet table and we'll be feasting on the glory of God, metaphorically, maybe even physically a banquet. And Edwards wrote this, "All shall have as much love as they desire and as great manifestations as they can bear and so all shall be fully satisfied. And where there is perfect satisfaction, there can be no envy.” Imagine a big Thanksgiving feast with limitless different dishes and a limitless supply of each dish, and you can eat what you want and there's no end to the supply. Like Elijah's widow her container never ran out of flour and oil. That whole thing, it never runs out. But you will reach a limit, you’ll come to a point where you've had enough, you're satisfied.
How could anyone be jealous of what you ate or you be jealous of what someone else ate? You'll eat as much as you want. How much will that be? Well, here's the thing, concerning our service to God, the measure that we use here on earth will be the measure we receive in heaven. The more generous you are in serving God and others now, the greater appetite for God's glory you'll have in heaven. How much of heaven do you want? How much of God do you want? Put sin to death. Put lust to death now. Rip your mind and your heart away from worldly things, focus on God and expand your heavenly appetite.
It’s the same thing with evangelism. Service, winning others to Christ, have an appetite for that so that they can be in heaven with you and also you can have a greater appetite of God's glory in that eternal world. "The measure you use now..." Jesus said, "... is the measure you'll receive then." So be generous now so you get a big measure then.
In any case though, you will be perfectly satisfied. Imagine the Pacific Ocean and different vessels completely submerged, all of them submerged. A thimble, a cup, a bucket, a water tower, a super tanker, all of them submerged in the Pacific Ocean. They're all full, but they're not equally full, are they? They're all 100% full, but they don't have the same volume. Is the Pacific Ocean drained by the super tanker or any of these? No, there's more beyond what that super tanker can end, and so it is with us. You can expand your diameter, your heavenly diameter by how you serve now, by putting sin to death, by holiness, by service, by sacrificial giving. You expand your heavenly appetite for the glory of God.
In any case, however you end up, you'll be perfectly satisfied. And you say, “Well then, why expand? I'm going to be happy no matter what I do.” It's like, can I just say don't think that? Think bigger than that. Think, “ I want to find out more about God, I really do. I want to go after God.” It's God-centered and God-honoring.
I am so far behind in my timing on this sermon. I don't think I've ever been this far behind. I timed it yesterday, I should be at 22 minutes now. I'm at 37 minutes, so there's no way we're going to get through all this. Let me go to applications and then if you want to know more about what I might have said, read Edwards.
One of the beauties though of all of this is you start saying, you asked me yesterday, "What about your heaven book?" I said, “It just doesn't ever end.” I feel like I'm in this vast Smithsonian museum and there's these whole wings that there's no lights on, and I just flick on the light and it goes on to the horizon. This whole museum of things I could investigate. That's what heaven's going to be like. It's going to be dynamic. All the things that could ever be known in every subject, physics, chemistry, history, linguistics, poetry, in Christ are hidden ,all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. You tell me, Christ doesn't know much about physics. Oh, Christ knows about physics. He knows about everything and you will learn Christ in heaven.
These are all good things here, but I'm just going to move on. What application can we take from all of this? Well, first of all, let me just say this. I don't know any of you. Well, some of you I just met, but I trust that there might be at least one person here who is as yet unregenerate up to this point, who walked in here, not yet a believer in Christ. I don't know, but I don't want you to miss that world. I don't want you to miss the beauty of it. I don't want you to miss seeing God face-to-face because of your wickedness and your sin and your defiled conscience . Jesus is enough for sinners like you and me. All you have to do is confess that you're a sinner, you’ve violated God's laws. You've not loved him with all your heart, soul, mind, strength. You have not loved your neighbor as yourself. You've not, and you've done that for years.
But Jesus' blood is sufficient. He shed his blood on the cross for sinners like you and me. All you need to do is repent and believe in him and you will be forgiven. You will be forgiven and you will be adopted into the family of God and he will not lose you, but he will, as he said in John 6, "Raise you up on the last day," for that world that we've been talking about. So repent and trust in him.
"Jesus' blood is sufficient. He shed his blood on the cross for sinners like you and me. All you need to do is repent and believe in him and you will be forgiven. "
Now, if you're already a Christian, been in Christian for many years, I would say number one, spend more time than you've ever spent before meditating on heaven. Go and read Revelation 21:22. Say,” Lord, show me something new here.” I'm not talking about speculation. I'm talking about good theology. Read it and meditate and say, What does this mean? Think of yourself, secondly, more and more as an alien and stranger here, don't get used to this life or the blessings of this life. They don't matter really. I mean, there are matrices by which we serve God and there are good blessings God gives us and enjoy them. He means for us to enjoy them. But don't get addicted to them and don't focus on them. We are aliens and strangers just passing through. No, you're on your way to heaven, that is your home.
Thirdly, let's let the study of heaven as a world of love move you to love God and love others more than you ever have before. Say,” Lord, I want to have as much heavenly love for you now as I can. Work that in me. Make me love you. Make me love you and make me love my neighbor as myself. I don't Lord, but I want to, transform my love life.” Then pray Ephesians 3:17-19 over yourself and others. That's just a great passage. Ephesians 3:17-19, Paul there prays for the Ephesian Christians, "That they would have power together with all the saints to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. And that they would know that love that surpasses knowledge, that you might be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” I don't think there's a more expansive prayer in all the Bible than that one. I pray that you would know the infinite dimensions of Christ's love for you, that you would be overflowed with the fullness of God. Pray that for yourself and for others based on these kinds of meditations.
Let thoughts of heaven's holiness and purity drive out corrupting dark lusts. You'll have no part with them in heaven, so have no part with them now. Kill them. They are not heavenly, they're dark and corrupted and the Holy Spirit is in you to give you the power to put them to death. Do that, and then let the zeal for the glory of God in the salvation of others drive you to make sacrifices in witnessing. Take some chances this week. Talk to somebody at the workplace or somebody in the neighborhood about Jesus. Tell them, “Say on Sunday, I heard this sermon about heaven, what do you think about heaven? Do you think about death? “Something like that. Get in a conversation and let that lead you to talk to them about Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
Close with me now in prayer. Father, thank you for the time that we've had briefly to walk through this today. I thank you for the truths of God's Word. And I pray that you would take all of the things that we've meditated on and even those things we haven't that have been suggested to people's minds, just drive them into our hearts. Thank you Lord Jesus, for paying the bill for all of us that we would be able to dwell in such a beautiful world. We pray that in Jesus name. Amen.