The Glory of Heaven

Pastor Aaron's message on Nov. 7 gives an excellent review of the concepts we've covered this Fall.  Please visit his message at UPPC.org/media to hear that summary!

There is an end to the two contrasting "salvation schema" of secular humanism vs. the Gospel.  But the ends are not the same.  In the purely secular schema, only the self can get the glory.  But in the Gospel, Christ receives the glory.

Some have argued that we are selling humanism short, and that it does have good to offer.  To be sure, human beings are capable of much good!  But this series has focused on two specific things about secularism.  1) Its ultimate ends (not just its day-to-day, or even generation-to-generation good works.)  2) Its insistence that humanity has no need of any god.  Thus, secular humanism as we have been addressing it removes any god from the salvation schema, and necessitates the glorifying of the self (and not humanity as a whole, since only that which transcends humanity can give it glory.)

Today's scripture is Philippians 3:12-4:1.
What would you do if you got knocked out of the race of life?  Would you get up and try to finish anyway?  Would you believe you could still win?
It would be necessary to keep our perspective.  NOT on the fall, and NOT on the flesh.  But rather, on the FINISH.  In Paul's case, the finish is heaven itself.  

Glory is one of the most important concepts to understand in the Christian faith.  We believe that in the end, only God is worthy of glory.  Period.  Notice that Paul does not see the finish line as "his salvation."  But rather, eternal life "in Christ Jesus."

What do you picture when you imagine Heaven?

An atheist once asked Pastor Aaron, "Why would someone want to spend eternity living in the clouds?"  But that is not the image of heaven the Bible gives.  There is something ineffable about the glory of heaven, and the Bible doesn't give a step-by-step guide to heaven, perhaps for that reason.  But fundamentally, all reality has been altered in Jesus' resurrection, which is a foretaste of heaven, and whose glory illuminates our otherwise darkened lives as we share in his resurrection.  Heaven is life in Christ, imperishable, without fear or pain or death, forever.  Heaven is living in God's new world.  Heaven is living in a new body -- the Body of Christ.  It is a paradox, because it is entirely individual, for you and me, and communal at the same time.  The two are inseparable.  

The communal upward call for all of us is to glorify Jesus in this life and in the life to come.  If that's not enough good news, also consider this -- the power that redeems this life and creates us anew is not generated from within ourselves.  It is the power of Christ, offered freely to anyone and everyone who says "Yes" when he calls us to follow him.

Reflect on the way in which your life, and our church, faces challenges from "the world" all around us...

What would it mean for our community to really live as an "outpost of heaven?"...

Have you ever said yes to Jesus' call to follow him?
If you are ready to say yes to Jesus for the first time, or to renew your life in him, please be in touch.  Give us a call at 253-564-2522 and ask to speak with a pastor.  

Grace and peace be with you!

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