More Than Heaven
Emily Teterud – Associate Marketing Director
Close your eyes and picture heaven. What do you see? Streets of gold? A giant feast? A big big house with lots and lots of rooms?
The majority of Americans would say they believe in heaven, whether or not they believe in Jesus Christ. And a common belief is a general sense of peace, no more pain, and no more tears. But in our final sermon of the Made for More series, Pastor Cal reminded us that we were made for more than heaven.
If we were only made to believe in Jesus and get that ticket to heaven, then it would be logical to assume that we are simply killing time here on earth until the day we die. What would be the point if it was just a future glory we were waiting for? The truth is, we have work to do now while we await the return of Jesus. Cal directed our attention to this through three questions:
- Why doesn’t God just take believers to heaven now?
- What’s the point of believers being left here on earth?
- What are we supposed to be doing in the meantime while waiting for heaven?
Diving into Matthew 25:31-46 gives a sobering answer to these questions. The passage talks about God dividing people like a shepherd would separate the sheep from the goats as He judges the nations. The “sheep” on His right will enjoy their inheritance with Jesus, while the”goats” on the left will be sent away to eternal punishment. Their consequences are directly linked to the way they treated the least of the people among them. We learn that the “sheep” fed the hungry, invited in strangers, took care of the sick, and visited the prisoners. These actions, Jesus explained, were directly tied to how they inevitably treated Him. The “goats” were given the harsh treatment due to their lack of action on behalf of the hungry and lonely.
The fact that people are so closely linked with Jesus should give us a hint. If you want to know how you’re doing with your relationship with Jesus, just look at the way you treat those around you who are hurting or in need. When we are in tune with God, caring for people will be natural. It won’t be a forced action on a check list to make sure we become a “sheep” in the story. But, as Cal states, “Christians don’t do good things to get into heaven; Christians do good things because heaven got into them!”
So, moving forward, what is it in you that stirs your heart? What makes you passionate about God’s Kingdom? Are you making it a priority to discover what Jesus is telling you to do? He’s clearly told us in His Word that we are not just killing time until heaven. In fact, when we look at the outcome of those “goats” who coasted through life without caring for those in need, we should be very aware of the importance our lives are to God’s Kingdom.
He wants to use you. He’s creatively crafted your personality and talents to be used as an influence in some way to make an impact. Two quick checks for this: are you talking to people about Jesus? Are you showing His love and grace in your actions? Let Him renew your mind today and show you what your next move should be. Since we were made for more than heaven, let’s make sure our focus is appropriately aimed. If you’re so driven toward your personal heavenly reward, pray for God to shake up your perspective and give you His eyes and ears to find those who need to learn of His love.
It’s overwhelming when you look too far ahead, so right where God has placed you, be Jesus and show Jesus to each person you come in contact with. There is an eternal impact at stake for both parties.
Verses from the sermon:
Matthew 25:31-46; 2 Peter 3:9
This Is Amazing Grace- Phil Wickham
Let There Be Light- Hillsong
My Heart Is Yours- Kristian Stanfill