March 4, 2018
BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL
Tribe Recap of March 4, 2018 | Lk 1, 12 | Mt 13 | Phil 3 | Rom 8 | Rev 21,22
We live in a precarious place called planet Earth, hanging tentatively between heaven and hell. We humans are eternal beings. We will live forever somewhere; our eternity is about who we belong to. Everybody belongs to someone whether they like it or not, whether they know it or not. Some belong to light, others to darkness.
If we choose to turn away from God’s voice in favor of our own goodness and merits, we will go to a place where God’s goodness and merit is not known. This place is called hell and it is real. Hell is a place of torment (Matthew 13:42 & Luke 8:31) and it was not created for people but for Satan and his angels (Matthew 25:41). While hell was not intended for man, it becomes the only alternative place to be if you reject God’s presence, specially created for those who don’t want to be with God.
Those who end up there have chosen this fate. They will miss the opportunity to find out what it means to be fully alive in heaven. In the book of Romans we read that no one will have an excuse before the judgment of God. We humans know we should choose God and the choice remains with us as long as there is breath in our lungs.
While we breathe, we may choose to believe God. The act of believing God under the duress of a broken life is one of the unique opportunities of earth that will never come again. Never again will we be given the chance to believe God despite our confusion because after we die, all is made clear. Never again will we be able to trust and thank God in the midst of pain because soon, pain will either be all we know or gone forever. And we will never again be able to help the poor and needy. In hell there is only poverty of soul with no opportunity to help or be helped. In heaven there are no poor. So the time to reach out in charity is now, and it will never, never come again.
Luke chapter 12 is a stunning chapter about the lives we live between heaven and hell. Jesus urges us to ‘become rich toward God,’ to store up treasures which are eternal and to seek first the Kingdom of God. The Lord will prepare a great reward for those who put his Kingdom first.
How can we do that? We become rich toward God when we believe that God is good during a trial, when we trust God during a storm of life, when we refuse to doubt his character when we feel abandoned, when we thank him in the midst of pain, and when we reach out in generosity and love toward the poor, needy, hurting, lonely, wounded, and lost. These people are Jesus, and when we reach out to the Lord he does not forget.
Earth will soon pass away and we will face this King of All. Heaven is a place of spectacular wonders where those who love God live forever with a Father who knows how to love us perfectly. Jesus is going to make a new earth to explore. Romans 8:1 reminds us that there is NO condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. No death and doom is to be found in us. What a blessing! Philippians 3:20 tells us that we are citizens of heaven and Hebrews 12:1 describes a great cloud of witnesses cheering us on.
Our lives on earth are very short. We do not know when the last of our days have run their course. Are we living lives that are rich toward God? Have we sought his Kingdom before other things? Do we reach out to the lost and hurting?
You are on a collision course with eternity. You are on a collision course with a face-to-face encounter with Jesus, the King of Glory, the Almighty God. It’s time to pick your chin up to look at the face of Jesus, tilt your ear toward the voice of the Father, and jump to action at the promptings of the Holy Spirit! And you will find a father, a friend, a wonderful cloud of witnesses, and a reward beyond your wildest imagination on the other side of this temporary island in space – between heaven and hell.