November 12, 2014

The Hope of Heaven, Part 3

“Enter into the joy of the Lord.”  

Matthew 25:21, 23 (NKJV)

Twice in Matthew 25, Jesus refers to Heaven as “… the joy of the Lord.”  That not only tells us something about Heaven but also about the character of God.  In His presence is great joy!  Heaven will be a happy place, full of joy!  That gives us courage to live today in the anticipation of a future filled with great joy!  It is the hope of Heaven that sustains us through the most difficult and unimaginable suffering of life in a fallen and sinful world. In her book, Trapped in Hitler’s Hell, Anita Dittman sums up the twelve tragic years of her childhood in Nazi Germany; she experienced evil at the hands of wicked men, but these words of hope and encouragement sustained her through the worst of it:

“God can transform the most wicked individual if he but acknowledges his need of the one Savior, Jesus Christ!  But if the incredibly evil do not respond to God, if they align themselves with the Evil One – God’s people do not need to fear.  God delivers.  And if He does not deliver, He sustains.  And if He does not sustain, He receives us into His everlasting arms – for He is sovereign!  God be praised.”

Do you have that hope?  It’s the hope of Heaven that gives us courage to serve when we may otherwise feel like giving up.  When Jesus spoke about His return and the signs that would precede it, He encouraged His disciples with a parable about the Kingdom of Heaven.  It’s been referred to as the Parable of the Talents and speaks to how we should live today in anticipation of Heaven.  J. Vernon McGhee offered this insight, “There is a great principle in this parable for us. And it was given in the light of the fact that all of us — you and I included — are going to have to stand in the presence of God and give an account of how we have used what He has given to us.  The Lord is not going to ask us how much we have done for Him but how faithful we have been to that which He wanted us to do. For the child of God, there are two important things: (1) Find out what God wants us to do; that is, determine what the talent is that He has given us, and then (2) be faithful in the use of it.”  When we are faithful with our talent, Jesus said we will hear the Father say one day, “’Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord.’” Matthew 25:21 (NKJV)