Heaven Now 2

Last week we looked at revelations of heaven, what heaven is and how we may have access to heaven.  We looked at Jesus’ prayer to the Father on behalf of his disciples, and we revisit that today.  Jesus prayed this prayer before he went to the Garden to pray, the Thursday evening before his crucifixion the following day.

John 17:24-26 24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. 25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

Jesus says he wants his followers to be where he is, not will be.  Notice that even one of Jesus’ prayers is not immediately answered. They will all in fact go on to deny him in the next 24 hours, let alone even pray with him through the night!  Jesus has a perspective of things on Earth that is shaded by the eternal, heavenly reality!  This is our example too, that we may speak the things that are not as though they are!

Paul prayed similarly for the Ephesians:

Ephesians 1

18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20 which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

Paul asks that the eyes of our hearts may be enlightened to know God’s resurrection power toward us who believe.  It is this resurrection that Jesus was alluding to.  The problem in our experience of this power is not in the nature of the power, but the nature of our eyes!  As John Piper says, “You only appreciate the life saving medication when you know the severity of the disease it cures you from. “  When we deny the depths of our depravity, we deny the power of Jesus’ salvation wrought on the Cross.  Thank God that we aren’t even aware of the spiritual onslaught from the demonic powers Paul refers to in this passage!  They passionately, deeply and completely hate us. 1 Peter 5:8 NIV Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Yet we see that there are tests and trials that come against us.  The only explanation is that these are those that the Father allows.  And he promises that we will not be tested above our ability to withstand.  His grace truly is sufficient for us, and all thing are ultimately to the glory of his grace: Ephesians 2:6NIV And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

In that age to come, we will be marvelling at the incomparable riches of his grace while we marvel at his holiness!

1 Peter 5:10 NIV And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

Application:

  • Before today,  how aware were you of God’s power working for you who believe?
  • If you don’t believe, how helpful/unhelpful has this message been in understanding the resurrection of Jesus?
  • How will you apply today’s message to your FaithWorks and the rest of your Christian walk?
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