Why Focus on Heaven?

Gary Combs ·
April 14, 2024 · heaven · Colossians 3:1-4 · Notes


Many Christians today seem to doubt and know nothing of heaven. What do you know about heaven? What do you believe about it? Are you focused on heaven?

Do you have questions like: “Do Christians immediately go to heaven when they die?”“What kind of body will we have in heaven?” “What about hell?” “What about the near death experiences people have reported about visiting heaven?” “What about the new heaven and the new earth?”

In the apostle Paul’s letter to the Colossians, he called believers to focus their hearts and minds on heaven.


Good morning, church. Good to see all of you here today. We're kicking off a new series today. Are you excited? We're going to be talking about heaven.

Heaven. It's better than you ever imagined. And over the next six weeks, that's what we will be talking about. Now, before we dig in, I want to give glory to the Lord and thankfulness for his faithfulness. On Easter Sunday a couple weeks ago, if you were here and you showed up a little bit late, you couldn't find a seat at either service.

Both services were packed. And I give glory to the Lord for his faithfulness. That he gave us a vision to make room for more people a few years ago and that we were able to be faithful. That he made it possible for us to be generous and sacrificial in our giving so that we could launch our other service that meets next door in the gathering place, so that we have the gathering place. If we hadn't had the gathering place, we wouldn't had enough.

We would have had to turn away about 60 people, both services. And it's pretty amazing the way the church is growing right now. So we're excited about that. And we want to give God glory, and we want to continue to be faithful, don't we? We want to continue to see God's faithfulness, and we want to continue to be faithful with our generosity and our service, so that we can be the kind of church that collaborates with other churches in our city to see the gospel saturate this city, so that every man, woman and child has repeated opportunities to see and hear the gospel.

And so we're excited about God's faithfulness. Yay, God, right? Amen. And so I wanted to give God glory for that, for the way he's growing our church right now. In fact, we just had a membership class last month, and now we're having another one today.

And at the end of the service today, we'll be presenting to you some more new members. And so the church is growing, and God is faithful. Well, now back to our sermon series. Over the next six weeks, we're going to be talking about heaven, and it's something that a lot of people have questions about and don't know a lot about. In fact, most of what we know about heaven tends to be from not the church, but from Hollywood or from some commercial or something on television.

We are christians, and we say that we are citizens of heaven, but we tend not to know much about it. Now, over the next few weeks, we're going to be trying to answer questions such as this. What's heaven like? Will we know one another in heaven? What will we do in heaven?

What do you do while you're in heaven? I had a member of my community group pull me aside a couple weeks ago, and he said, I know you got this sermon series on heaven coming up, and he got this look on his face like he was hesitating. I said, well, go ahead and ask, brother. What is it? He goes.

He goes, is it going to be like just one big, long worship service? And I said, no, it's not. I mean, that's what a lot of people think. A lot of people think heaven is going to be like. Like a thousand years of us in white robes playing harps, floating on clouds with fat, flying angels flying around us, you know?

You know, that's not what the Bible says heaven is like. That's actually an Angel Soft television commercial. That's what that is. And so he was relieved.

He's like, whew, okay, I guess I'll come, you know, to this thing. He's worried about what heaven was going to be like. We're going to discuss questions like, who goes to heaven? I recently listened to a sermon by doctor David Jeremiah, and he told a story about a Sunday school teacher. She was teaching a fifth grade class about heaven, and she said, look, if I sell everything I have and I give it all to the church, will I go to heaven?

And the children all said, no. And she goes, well, if I clean my house every day and I help my husband and I mow the grass and I do all this work, well, then will I go to heaven? And they all said, no. And she was like, well, if I love everybody and I love animals and I just love everything, will I go to heaven? And they all said, no.

She goes, well, what do I have to do to go to heaven? And it was quiet for a minute, and a little boy that was visiting for the first time, he was sitting in the back row. He shouted out, you have to be dead. You have to be dead to go to heaven. And you know what?

He's really right. You know, the death rate is 100%. The death rate's 100%. Everybody dies. Everybody dies, and everybody faces eternity.

And the Bible says there are two destinations for all of us in eternity, and it's heaven or hell. But we're going to be talking about heaven and those kinds of questions. Here's some more questions we're going to consider over the next few weeks. Do christians immediately go to heaven when they die? Do they immediately go to heaven?

What kind of body will we have in heaven? What about hell? What about the near death experiences that people report having where they claim to have visited heaven before they return? What about the new heaven and the new earth that we read about in the book of revelation? Well, these are some of the questions we'll attempt to answer over the next six weeks.

And as you're sitting in this service today, don't expect us to be able to answer them all in one sermon today. What we want to commit to is saying to ourselves that this is an important endeavor, that it's important that we learn to focus on heaven. That's the question we're going to answer today, is, why focus on heaven? Why should we seek after it? Why should we desire it?

Why should we be heavenly minded? The late Sci-Fi author and well known atheist professor of biochemistry, Isaac Asimov once said, “I don't believe in an afterlife, so I don't have to spend my whole life fearing hell, or fearing heaven even more. For whatever the tortures of hell, I think the boredom of heaven would be even worse.” He had a low view of the afterlife. He really didn't know what the Bible taught about heaven.

He saw it as a boring place. The brilliant British physicist and atheist Stephen Hawking said, “I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail… There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.” That's a sad testimony on these two men that now have found themselves in eternity without any knowledge or faith of what the Bible says about heaven.

But even more sad is how many christians today know very little about heaven, have never really given much thought to heaven. I must say to you that I have been focused on heaven since I was eight years old. It took this to get me there. And maybe some of you could relate to this. My father died when I was eight years old.

I'm the oldest of four children. I was a daddy's boy, and I looked up to my dad. He was my hero. He died when he was 39 years old of cancer. And I had questions.

In fact, my family was so concerned about me, they called the preacher over to the house to talk to me, and he had everybody leave the room. And he took me into my mama's kitchen, and we sat down at the kitchen table. His name was Fred Potter, preacher Fred Potter. He's with the Lord now. He said, Gary, I understand you have some questions.

And I said, I got some questions. I said, my first question is, where's my daddy now? Where's my daddy now? That's what I wanted to know. He goes, the Bible says, absent from the body, present with the Lord.

Your daddy was a believer, son. I knew your daddy. He trusted in Jesus. He's with Jesus now. Heaven.

I said, okay, well, I got another question. Can he see me? Can my daddy see me? Because it was really important to me. I reported into my dad every day, like, and I wanted him to be proud of me.

And I was used to talking to him about the things I was doing in sports and in school and those kind of things. I missed that. And I said, can he see me? And he says, well, I'm not as sure about the answer to that, but I think he can. The Bible says in the book of Hebrews 12:1, that there is “great cloud of witnesses” who watch us run life’s race, of saints who have gone on before, who are cheering us on and watching us as we run life's race.

He said, I suspect that your daddy can see you. I don't know how much he can see, but I believe he can see some of what you do. Now, may I say to you, I still. I'm 65 years old and I still remember asking him those two questions when I was eight years old. And ever since then I've been on a journey that I've never been able to get heaven far out of my mind.

Now, if you're here this morning and you've ever had a tragedy in your life, you've ever encountered the reality of death, then I guarantee you, you got some heaven on your mind. You got some afterlife thinking that you had to do. Now, for some of us, you stuffed it and you pressed it aside. But for others, like myself, maybe you said, I need to get to the bottom of this. And I believe that the Bible tells us all we need to know on this side of heaven, what we need to know about heaven.

And the first point I want to make today is the Bible encourages us to focus our minds and our hearts on heaven. In the book of Colossians chapter three, the apostle Paul told the Colossian believers there that they were to focus their hearts and minds on heaven. And I believe today that we can do that. We can learn to focus our hearts and minds on heaven. And as we look at the text today, we'll see four reasons why we should focus on heaven.

Let's dig in. Colossians 3:1-4 (ESV) 1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.  This is God's word. Amen.

We're going to be looking for four reasons to focus on heaven. Here's the first:

1. Because we are called to seek it.

We are called to seek it. Look at verse one.  Circle the word seek. If you're taking notes today, see that word seek?

In the Greek, it's in the present active imperative. In other words, present tense means ongoing. That you should seek and keep on seeking continuous action. And that it's an imperative means it's a command. The apostle Paul is saying to the church of believers at Colossae, I know there's a lot going on in your city right now, and I know there's persecution, I know there's difficulty.

But you should keep on seeking the things above. Keep on seeking the things of heaven where Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he says, keep on doing that. That's what I command you to do. That's what I call you to do, is to seek the things that are above. Why does he mention that Christ is at the right hand of God?

To say he's at the right hand of God is to say he's in the position of power and authority, and that we are to seek his authority and his power to live this life as Christians. And so to seek the things above are to seek his will for our life and say, Jesus, what do you want me to do with my life today? How do you want me to do this? Or how do you want me to do my job? Or how do you want me to take this test at school?

Or how do you want me to behave inside of my marriage? Or whatever it is you're doing as a believer? To be heavenly minded, to seek the things that are above is to seek God's will for your life. To seek the Christ who sits at the right hand of the Father, to seek his will for your life is to seek heavenly things. It's to seek things of heaven rather than earth.

And when we speak of earth, we speak of that which is temporary, temporal. But when we speak of heaven, we speak of that which is eternal. And so you're to seek eternal things, not just temporary things, not just things that would satisfy for a moment, but things that would fulfill for all time. And so that's what he's calling us to, to seek Christ and to seek his will and to pray for his will. Jesus said in Matthew 6:33 (ESV) "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."

Perhaps you've heard it said, "He was so heavenly minded that he was no earthly good." Have you ever heard that statement? Well, that statement's not in the Bible. And it does speak of that person who has their head in the clouds. And maybe they're not practical, but the Bible says quite the opposite.

The Bible says to get a heavenly mind, to be heavenly minded, to order up your life in such a way, if you're a parent, the way you're raising up your kids. Yeah, I want to feed them and clothe them and make sure they get an education. But more than anything, I want them to go to heaven with me. I want them to go. I want them to be in eternity with me.

And so I want to order up my life as a father and as a grandfather, so that my children and my grandchildren join me in glory someday. And so I want to be heavenly minded. I want to seek the things that are above. And so this is what we're called to. If you will seek that first, all these things will be added to you.

C.S. Lewis said this, “Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in’: aim at earth and you will get neither.” And so we're to aim at heaven. We're to seek heaven.

And you might be saying, some of you that have been readers of the Bible, doesn't the Bible say that you can't really imagine heaven, that it's really beyond your scope of thinking? Gary, why are you telling us to think on it when we can't really even imagine what it's like? Well, maybe you didn't read the whole passage. Let me go to that passage that you might be thinking of.

1 Corinthians 2:9-10 (NKJV) 9 But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”— 10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit…"  Now, this is what I'm saying to you. Yeah. You can't imagine what heaven is like on your own. It's beyond the veil.

It's beyond this world. But the word of God has revealed it to us by his spirit. There's so much in the Bible about heaven, you won't even believe. I want you to be convinced over the next six weeks. There's a lot to look forward to in heaven.

Oh, it's good. It's better than better. I want to get us all to that place where we become heavenly minded so that we're ordering up our life according to heaven. Did you know how prominent the word heaven is in the Bible? It's in the Bible in the ESV translation, 692 times the word heaven or heavens or heavenly in the Bible. It's in the Old Testament 426 times and  it's in the New Testamen  266 times. The Book of the Old Testament that has the most occurrences is the book of Psalms. That's not surprising.

The Book of Psalms has its 76 occurrences. 76 times the word heaven or heavenly is in the book of Psalms in the New Testament. Might you guess what would be the most prominent book in the New Testament? It's Matthew. And mostly from  the mouth of Jesus, 75 times, which is more than any other place in the Bible except for Psalms, which is 76 times. The second most prominent place of the word heaven in the New Testament is the book of Revelation. It has it there 46 times. Gary, why are you telling us about all the occurrences of this word? Because of its prominence.

Because the Bible has a lot to say about heaven. Have you studied on this? Have you considered this? It's prominent. Didn't Jesus teach us how to pray so that we seek God's kingdom of heaven?

He says in “Matthew 6:9-10 (KJV) "Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven…" This is what it means to seek the things above. It means to seek God's will so that as God wills it in his throne room in heaven, so it is carried out through our lives on this earth.

To seek heaven, to be heavenly minded means to order up our lives in such a way that we know we are heaven bound, that that's where we're headed. So that's the first reason to focus on heaven. I guess I could just state it like this, because the Bible said to. The Bible called us to.

It said to seek things that are above, and it commands us to think on heaven. That's a good enough reason for me, but I've got three more, and so does Paul. So let's cover them. Here's the second reason:

2. Because it’s where Christ our true home is.

Notice the word where, in verse one, it says, seek the things that are above where Christ is. That word, where,  is a location word, isn't it? It's saying that heaven is a location. And the detail doesn't give us a very good gps coordinate here.

If you were trying to find your way to heaven, you might say, well, I don't know if I can get there based on that, but I would say to you, it's sufficient, it's a sufficient gps. How do you get to heaven? Well, it's where Christ is. Well, how do you get there? You got to know Christ.

It's where Christ is. And the only way to get there is via Christ. He's the key to being in heaven, and he's there now. He ascended to the Father. He's at the right hand of the father.

He's in heaven. And all the saints who have gone on before are there with him. And they await you and I as believers for our arrival. That's where he is, and that's where our true home is. That's where our heart's desire, our deepest heart's desire is.

Now, as I think about heaven, the word in the Old Testament, the Hebrew word in the Old Testament testament is "šhāmayim.” In fact, we find that word in the very first verse of the Bible, Genesis 1:1, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth."

"Bereshit bara Elohim et hashamayim ve'et ha'aretz " it says in the Hebrew. "šhāmayim” means lofty, high and above. "šhāmayim” is the Old Testament word, the Hebrew word for heaven. The New Testament word is, and maybe that sounds familiar to you, it's the name of the 8th planet, "ouranos." And so it means heavens in the Greek.

Both mean lofty high and refer to the heavens, and both occur throughout the scripture. And yet the scripture also uses another word to describe heavens. It's the word paradise. Paradise. And some have been confused about what Paul says about it.

Let's read that today from 2 Corinthians, chapter 12. This is the apostle Paul talking about paradise. He says in 2 Corinthians 12:2-3 (ESV) 2 "I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. 3 And I know that this man was caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows—"

And so he equates the third heaven with a place called paradise. Now, some cults have misunderstood this third heaven as if there were some kind of levels in heaven. That's not at all what the apostle Paul is talking about. To the Jewish mind, this would have made perfect sense upon hearing it, because we see throughout the scripture there are three heavens, or at least three ways the word heaven is used.

The first way the word heaven is used is found in Genesis 1:20 (ESV) And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.”  And so the first heaven is the atmospheric heaven. It's the heaven that if you walk out today as you're leaving the church, you'll see the blue sky. That's the first heaven, the atmospheric heaven. You see it all the time. That's the first heaven.

The second heaven is also found in Genesis 1:15 (ESV) And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years." Now, he's talking about the stellar heaven, and it's best seen at night when you look into the black sky and you see all the starry hosts. And so that's the outer space, the stellar heaven.

Paul is not speaking of either of those heavens, neither the atmospheric nor the stellar heaven. He's speaking of the third heaven, which he's calling paradise. And the third heaven is the present heaven. It's the place where Christ is at this moment. It's the place where our loved ones who believe in Christ have gone on before us.

It's a real place, and that's where it is now. Paul was caught up. He doesn't know if it was a vision or somehow God grabbed his body and snatched him up there. He doesn't know. It was so real to him.

He doesn't know which one it was,  but he was snatched up to that place. Now, the word paradise only occurs three times in the New Testament. It only occurs three times in the Bible, and it's where we just read it in 2 Corinthians. But we also see it where Jesus is talking.

Remember, we just went through our series about the cross recently, right? We did five weeks of meditations on the cross, and one of the weeks we really focused in on that thief that was on the cross next to Jesus, who said, "Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom." And what did Jesus say to him? He says, "Truly, I say to you, today, you will be with me in paradise." And so that's one of the three occurrences.

Paul says it in 2 Corinthians. Jesus is quoted saying it in Luke. He says something very clear here, that we'll unpack more in the coming  weeks. He says, "today you will be with me in paradise."

And so we have that occurrence, and then we have a third occurrence in Revelation 2:7 (ESV) He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’ That's the third occurrence of the word paradise.

The word paradise seems to be a synonymous equivalent with present heaven. Now, the word paradise literally means a planted garden, a beautiful garden. And when the Greeks translated the old  testament from Hebrew to Greek, that volume is called the Septuagint. When they translated Genesis, whenever they encountered the Garden of Eden, they would say, the paradise of Eden. And so the word paradise is significant in the Bible.

In fact, if you looked at the ark of scripture from Genesis to Revelation, you would see the purposes of God. Begin the first two chapters. Now, mark this. The first two chapters of Genesis speak of that planted garden that God himself planted and placed Adam and Eve in. In perfection.

And in that was the tree of life. Okay? And then the last two chapters of the Bible in the book of Revelation speak of the tree of life and that paradise, that heaven comes back to earth and that God abides with man. He started it here, but then he pulls it away. I think paradise.

I think the garden of Eden, the tree of life, as we just read in revelation two seven, is currently in the presence heaven of until it will be revealed again in the future. Heaven is a real place. It's a prepared place. It's a future home for all of us. In the father's house.

Look what Jesus said to his disciples in John 14:1-3 (NKJV) 1 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also."  It's a real place. It's the father's house.

It's a real place. Heaven is a real place, and it's a home for which our heart longs. Solomon talked about this in Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NLT) "Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end."

It's like we have this longing for a home that's not here we're looking for. It's like every one of us is looking for something that would last without change. It's like God has set eternity in heart, and so he has. C.S. Lewis says, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” And so we are. We were made for another world, and so we have a longing for heaven built within us.

Now, my mother passed away in 2001; her home was in Bristol, Virginia. Whenever I take my children and my grandchildren back up to visit, we'll often drive by the home place, the home. And whenever she died, we emptied the home and we divvied up the possessions between the four children, and we sold the home to a family friend.

That person still lives there, and we've had an open invitation all along that we could visit any time if we just wanted to come in and see the old house that we grew up in. We've never taken them up on it. I just don't want to really see how he changed the place, if you know what I mean. But I do drive with my kids and my grandkids now. My kids, if I drive by, they all get, like, you know, their lower lips stuck out because they remember being there.

They remember every room of the house and being there with Nanny and with all of us and having a great time and all the smells of the food and all the love and laughter. Now, the grandkids, I said, now, that's where I played ball, in that yard right there. And see that tree? I used to climb that tree. They all go, that's nice, papa, what are we going to do now?

They don't even know what I'm talking about. You know what I mean? But the kids get it. But you can't go home again. You know why it's not home anymore?

Because Mama's not there. Daddy's not there. Just a house. Your heart's hungry for, something that you can't get back to. Do you know what I'm talking about? Do you?

There's a longing that only Christ can fulfill, because Christ is our home now. If you believe in Jesus, your heart's home is in him. And where's he at? Where's Christ? He's in heaven waiting for you.

He's prepared a place for us, it says. Have you felt this longing for your true home, for Christ, our true home, that nothing on this world can satisfy? That's the second reason that we're to focus on heaven. Here's the third:

3. Because we are called to set our minds on it.

There are two imperative verbs in this passage. The first I've already covered, seek the things. Seek. That's an imperative. And here's the second one.

Set your minds. Set your minds on things above. And that's also in the present active imperative in the Greek. And it literally means to direct one's mind, to cause your mind to think on, to set your affection on.  As it says in the King James version translation, "to be heavenly minded." To choose to think about heaven, to peer in and to allow your mind to imagine the things of heaven.

We're called to this, and so we're called to set our minds on it, not the things on earth, not worldly, temporal things. It's so easy to get caught up in earthly things. Yesterday, the nation of Iran sent hundreds of drones and missiles at Israel, and they came from various locations, from Syria, from Iran, and apparently very few of them got through because they have that ability there, that shield that that's been helpfully provided from the US. And so the Brits and the French and the US predominantly also joined the Israelis to protect that. And so you might be here today and go like Gary, what in the world is going on in the Middle east? Is the end at hand? Is Christ coming soon? Perhaps. The Bible says no man knoweth the hour.

So I'm not going to choose a time, because the Bible says no man knows. But the signs are present, aren't they? The signs are present. But am I concerned? No.

Look, I've got my mind set on heaven. Yeah, these things will happen, but I know my destination. How about you? This is the purpose of this series is as we launch, this is the launching pad of the series today is to agree with me, we need to set our minds on heaven. We need to set our minds on things above and not to be overly caught up in the things of the earth, so that we become anxious and troubled.

"Let not your hearts be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me and my father's house."Right? Be focused on the father's house.

Set your minds. Why? Because you died. Your old life, this worldly life, is dead. And your, your life, your new life says, is hidden with Christ.

Verse three, "For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ."  We don't even know what it is God's up to with us. Oh, the glory that awaits us. The true life that you have is not even revealed to you yet. It's hidden in Christ.

In God. The word hidden in the Greek is the Greek word,  "kruptō." It's where we get the word crypto. Your life is encrypted in Christ. It's hidden in Christ.

But one day, verse four says, your life will appear. When Christ appears, it will be manifest, it will be revealed. But for now it is hidden. Your life is hidden. And so set your mind on where your life already is.

It's hard to get your mind around this mystery, but the fact is that we are already positionally in Christ at the right hand of the Father. Experientially, I'm still here. Positionally, I'm already there. I just hadn't caught up with that reality yet. That's what theologians call the "already not yet" of this promise.

We're "already there, but not yet."  But we should live like we're already there. We should focus our minds. Romans 8:5-6 (ESV) 5 "For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace." And so it's motivating to us to set our minds on heaven. In fact, Warren Wiersbe says this,  “Heaven is more than a destination; it is a motivation. Knowing that we shall dwell in the heavenly city ought to make a difference in our lives here and now.”

Knowing that we shall dwell in the heavenly city ought to make a difference in our lives here and now. And it is. It's more than a destination, it's a motivation. And setting our minds on heaven means living like strangers and exiles here. It often means that we'll feel like we don't fit in, because we don't, we're made for a different home.

Hebrews talks about it. Hebrews 11:13-16 (ESV) 13 "These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city."

And I see several synonyms for heaven here, a better country, a homeland, a city. And these are all ways of talking about heaven.

It means that we are to be wise in numbering our days so that we are focused on heaven. In Psalm 90:10-12 (NIV) "Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away… Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom."  Recognize this. The death rate is 100%. Number your days so that you order up your life with heaven in mind.

Recently, we all reset our clocks because somebody said it was daylight savings time. We all just agreed nothing happened in the stellar heavens. The sun and the moon didn't change in any aspect of their orbits.

We just decided we're all going to agree to spring forward. And so we did. And for about a week or two, our bodies had to catch up. We felt a little bit lethargic and like, oh, my goodness, spring forward. I always like, fall back in the fall better than spring forward.

Can I get a witness on that? When I always feel better about fallback than I do spring forward? But it's all a little game we play with time. We just say, you know, we're going to reset our watches and our clocks, and we convince ourselves that actually this time is now, that time, and we all agree on it. And before long, we all believe it.

In a way, this is kind of what Paul is talking about here. He says, stop setting your time on temporary earthly time. Set your clock, your heart clock, your mind clock on heavenly time, so that you're thinking with eternity in view, and do this intentionally, choose to think, will this matter in eternity? What I'm worried about today, what I'm concerned about today, what's got me all worked up today? Or will this other thing matter more?

And so I say to you, what really matters is what you can take to heaven with you. People say, you can't take anything to heaven with you. Well, yes, you can. Everything you give away, you send ahead. And every person you tell about Jesus to, they join you there.

And so I would say to you, keep your mind on heaven. Now, here's the fourth reason. We've gone through three. We've talked about how we're called to seek it, how it's our true home in Christ, how we're called to set our mind. And then, finally:

4. Because it’s where our true and future life is.

We're on verse four now, and it talks about here, when Christ appears, who is your life.

Verse 4,  "When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." When he appears, that which was hidden, your true life, which was hidden even from you, will now appear. When he appears. Now, when he appears here, what is it speaking of? I think it's probably speaking of his rapture of the church as my belief here.

But it might also be speaking, or perhaps speaking of his second coming. At either aspect, either one of these. It's when Christ appears and our bodies are changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, and so we become glorious with him. And so what? We're going to be friends.

You have no idea. As believers, one day you're going to look around at each other that we see together as family, this church, and we're going to go, oh, my goodness. How glorious, how beautiful, how magnificent you are. I knew you were my friend, and I knew I loved you. But I had no idea what God was doing in you.

It's hidden right now. But one day, we will be like him. We will appear with him, and the most glorious of all will be our redeemer, Jesus Christ. Our true home, our true savior will be like him. In fact, we read in 1 John 3:2 (NLT) "Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is." That verse right there, in 1 John 3:2 is one of my life verses. Because when I was a little boy, I wanted to be just like my daddy. That was my I want to be.

I want to grow up to be just like my daddy, like that. But as I grew and as the Father in heaven became my father, and as I would call out to him, that wound of losing my daddy when I was a little boy was replaced by the comfort of the father. This 1 John 3:2, I know it in the King James," We know not yet what we shall be, but when we see him, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is."

I want to be like Jesus, and I'm glad, because that's what he's doing. When Christ appears, we'll go, oh, that's what you were up to. You're making us like him.

And he's not the only one we'll see there. We'll see our redeemer. We'll see our relationships. Those have gone before us. Is there anybody over on the other side of Jordan that you want to see?

I know we all want to see Jesus. Do you know somebody that's already over there? You know, the older you get, you often will start thinking, you know, I feel like there's more people over there than there is over here with me. And so it is. And our riches and our reward is in heaven.

But mostly important. Do you have a reservation for heaven? It says in Revelation 21:27 (ESV) "But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life."  Do you have a reservation for heaven? Have you got your reservation in?

Are you headed to heaven? You know, Hollywood says everybody's going to heaven. People think, oh, well, I think if you're good enough, you're going to heaven. But that's not what the Bible says. The Bible says, "narrow is the way and broad is the path to destruction." Narrow is the way to heaven.

Remember earlier when I was talking about John 14, where Jesus was talking to his disciples about how he was going to be crucified and raised again on the third day? And he saw that they were troubled, and he said, "let not your hearts be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me. In my father's house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go there to prepare a place for you, that where I am, you may be also."  But he doesn't stop there because he goes, and you know the way to where I'm going. You know where I'm going. And Thomas goes, time out here.

I got a question. It's very practical. We don't know where you're going, Lord, so how can you say we know the way? I'm glad for Thomas because I have those kind of questions, too. And Jesus said, I am the way.

I am the truth. I am the life. No man comes to the father except through me.

You see, that's your gps right there. You want a reservation for heaven? There's only one way. It's through Jesus. He's there waiting for us.

Over the next few weeks, we're going to talk about the beauty and the wonder and the magnificence of heaven and why we should think about it. But today, do you have a reservation? Here's the good news. God is still open for reservations. Heaven is still taking reservations.

And how do you get one? Well, you ask Jesus to save you. You ask Jesus to be your lord and savior. As I was preparing this sermon this week. I kept hearing a song in my head.

And I hear old hymns. Because back in the day, people used to write a lot of songs about heaven. And this is the one I heard in my head this week because of my mama. And it's an old song by Jack Brumley called. I'm bound for that city.

My voice is not in good shape today. But I think the Bible says to make a joyful noise. So I'll try that.

There's a city of light where there cometh no night
for the sun never sets in the sky
In the bible we're told that the streets are pure gold
and a cool gentle river runs by
I'm bound for that city, God’s holy white city, oh yes I am
I’ll never turn back to this world anymore any more
No matter how rough may be the way
No matter how oft I stop to pray
I'm bound for that city on that evergreen shore

You got your reservation? Are you bound for that city? The Bible says that we're to focus on heaven. Let's pray.

Lord, thank you for your word. Thank you for Jesus. I first of all pray for the person today. That maybe it's you. My friend, you've never made your reservation.

You've never asked Jesus to be your lord and savior. He's the way to heaven.

You can pray with me right now, right in your seat. Prayer is just an expression of faith. Pray like this. Dear Lord Jesus, right where you are. Dear Lord Jesus, I'm a sinner.

I repent of my sin. And I turn to you. I believe you died on the cross for me. For my sin. And that you were raised from the grave.

And that you live today. Come and live in me. Forgive me of my sin. And make me the person you want me to be. Adopt me into your family.

I want to be a child of God. And I want to follow you all the days of my life. As my Lord and Savior. If you're praying that prayer of faith. Believing he'll save you.

Others are here today, and you're a believer. You already know that you're a follower of Jesus. But you've had your mind on so many things. You're worried. You're troubled, you're anxious.

Would you lift your eyes right now and say. Lord, forgive me. Forgive me for being so caught up in the things of this day. Lord, help me to begin to think more and more about you and about what your will for my life is and how. Am I teaching my family?

Am I teaching my kids? Am I grandkids? Am I teaching? Am I telling others about you? Because, Lord, we don't know how soon it'll be, but we feel like you're coming soon.

Lord, help us to prepare for you and to make sure those we care about are prepared for you, too. Lord, forgive us for being so caught up in other things. Help us to focus on you. In Jesus name, Amen.