Sunday, May 13, 2007


When The Thief Saw Jesus - Luke 23:39-43 'Glimpses of Glory'

What the Bible has to say about heaven will inevitably, over these weeks, give us a glimpse, many glimpses hopefully, into glory. 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'. Glimpses of Glory.
When the dying thief was on the cross, he saw a Glimpse Of Glory.
Mother’s day.
That fellow on the cross had something in common with us all: he had a belly button.. which means he had a mother.
That thief was one of 3 thieves to be crucified that day.
Perhaps they were part of a gang.
Mark 15:7 There was one named Barabbas, who was in prison with rebels who had committed murder during the rebellion.
Luke 23
John 18 . They shouted back, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a revolutionary.[10]
Perhaps his mother had taught him well from a babe.
But she had passed away, and her influence had diminished with the years.
Perhaps he had gone from stealing donkeys, to burglary, to something worse.
Somewhere down his life things did not go well
Perhaps his mother had died when he was still a child.
When as man is dying he remembers many things. Perhaps this robber who had blasphemed the Lord Jesus had begun to remember some of the things he had said or done.
Perhaps his mother’s face had come back to him as he hung there on that cross.
And he began to feel regret for the life that he had lived.
'Just one glimpse of Him in glory Will the toils of life repay'.
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!
Why is every culture fascinated with the after life..Eccles 3:11 He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also put eternity in their hearts, but man cannot discover the work God has done from beginning to end.
There is more to lie than pleasure and pain joy and entertainment.
Pressures.. no time for heaven… and the next life. So focused on now.. yet we will be there forever.
Philip Yancey although most of us believe in the afterlife, very few talk about it. Isn’t it a little bazaar that we ignore heaven living as though it doesn’t matter.
Why is it important to study heaven? First of all: because Christians are going there.
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'.
Not every one is going to heaven.
I. When The Thief Saw Jesus He saw PARADISE GOD’S PRESENT HOME “Our Father which art in heaven….” Lk. 11:2b “In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day He was taken up to heaven.” Acts 1:1-2a “Hear the supplication of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive.” 1 Ki. 8:30 “If my people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Ch. 7:14 “But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.” Acts 7:55
We want to be in a place where God is. Heaven starts with beginning and building a loving relationship with God.
Heaven is a real place. Paul 2 Cor 12:2 I know a man in Christ who was caught up into the third heaven 14 years ago. Whether he was in the body or out of the body, I don’t know; God knows. 3 I know that this man—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— 4 was caught up into paradise.
Heaven is often described in metaphors.
· A banquet (Matt. 8:11)
· A wedding feast (Rev. 19:9)
· A city of incredible beauty (Rev. 21)
II. When The Thief Saw Jesus He saw GOD’S PERFECT PROMISE
The Promise of Unlimited Forgiveness
“‘We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’” Vs. 41-42
“‘The time has come,’ He (Jesus) said. ‘The Kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news.’” Mk. 1:14-15
Thou art gone to the grave! but we will not deplore thee, Though sorrow and darkness encompass the tomb;
Thy Savior has passed through its portals before thee, And the lamp of His love is thy guide through the gloom.
"Thou art gone to the grave! We no longer behold thee, Nor tread the rough paths of the world by thy side;
But the wide arms of Mercy are spread to enfold thee, And sinners may die, for the Sinless has died
The Promise of Unhindered Access“Jesus answered him, ‘I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.’” Vs. 43
“And Jesus said, ‘Today you will be with me in Paradise. This is a solemn promise.’” Vs. 43 LB
o No Purgatory
o No “Soul Sleep”
o No Waiting Whatsoever
“So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.” Rom. 11:5, 6
"Over the river they beckon to me, Loved ones who've crossed to the farther side;
The gleam of their snowy robes I see, But their voices are drowned in the rushing tide.
There's one with ringlets of sunny gold, And eyes, the reflection of heaven's own blue;
He crossed in the twilight gray and cold, And the pale mist hid him from mortal view.
We saw not the angels who met him there, The gates of the city we could not see;
Over the river, over the river, My brother stands waiting to welcome me."
III When The Thief Saw Jesus He saw MAN’S PRESENT HOPE“Jesus answered him, ‘I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.’” Vs. 43
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.” Col. 3:1-2
Col 3:1 So if you have been raised with the • Messiah, seek what is above, where the Messiah is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with the Messiah in God. 4 When the Messiah, who is your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.
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'.
Ephesians 2:6 He also raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavens, in Christ Jesus,
“Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” Rev. 21:27
Airplane “People look like ants from here.! Dummy they are ants, we haven’t taken off yet.”
Challenges of life look unsurpassable, but when you see it from heaven’s perspective its not such big deal.
Tozer we do well to think of the long tomorrow.
The church is constantly being tempted to accept this world as her home. And sometimes she has listened to those who would woo her away and use her for their own ends. But if she is wise she will consider that she stands in the valley between mountain peaks of eternity past and eternity that is to come. And the past is gone forever and the present is passing as swift as the shadow on the sundial of Ahaz,
Even if the earth should continue a million years not one of us could stay to enjoy it. We do well to think of the long tomorrow where we will spend most of our existence.
John Owen, in his book 'The Glory of Christ', says these profound words that relate to us regarding heaven: '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'.
'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?'.
In Matthew 6 Jesus said: 'Build up treasures in heaven' - not on earth.
Matthew 6 :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".
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.
Schindler’s list final scene depicts him as looking on the faces of those he has rescued, a moment of clarity, I wish we could have saved more. Look at the generations of the people you’ve saved, we could have saved more. That car..10 people, that gold pen, 2 people, and he compares what we value here on earth to what is truly valuable in eternity.
What is really valuable in your life?

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Free Hit Counter