“Do You Believe in Heaven?” [Part 3 of 5]

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It was on the 15th of January, in the year 1649, when the English puritan, Richard Baxter, put his final quill-pen strokes on his mammoth treatise of Heaven, entitled, “The Saints Everlasting Rest.”

This double-columned, folio-sized, 300 page plus tome, ended with the following dedicatory remarks to the magistrates and people of Kidderminster, England, “...I shall beg for you of the Lord, ...that I may see your faces with joy at the bar of Christ, and we may enter together into the everlasting rest. Amen.” Baxter based this conviction on the following words, in the epistle to the Hebrews, “So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God” (Hebrews 4:9). This quotation taken from Psalm 95 was physically-fulfilled, when Joshua and the Israelites, took possession of the promised land, in their conquest of Canaan (Joshua 22:1-4); but, it also awaits its ultimate spiritual-fulfillment when God’s people enter eternal glory. And, most certainly, one of the many benefits of Heaven will be our literal experience of this spiritual rest! However, it will not be a rest void of activity; but instead, will be a rest: (1) with God, as well as, a rest (2) from all of our labors (both physical & spiritual). Notice then, how Heaven is, first, a rest with God. Baxter said that this rest “would entail our perfect enjoyment of all of God’s perfections uninterrupted.” This speaks of our worshipping God (Revelation 19:1, 5-6) and serving Him (Revelation 22:3-4), forever and ever. Thus, we practice for Heaven, each Sunday, on His day, “the Lord’s Day” (Revelation 1:10), a day emblematic of our eternal rest, when we worship Him “in Spirit and in Truth” (John 4:24). Second, Heaven is a rest from our labors, both physical and spiritual. In the original Greek, Revelation 14:13 describes the believer’s physical rest as being a rest from “bone-weariness.” Every faithful and aging saint, should be able to identify with John’s appropriate choice of these words (1 Corinthians 15:58, “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain”). Further, our spiritual rest in glory will come “after” our living godly, in this spiritually-fallen realm (John 16:33; Acts 14:22; 2 Timothy 3:12), and from our being engaged in spiritual warfare each day, with the World (1 John 2:15-17), the flesh (Galatians 5:17-26), and the Devil (1 Peter 5:8-9). O just think of these restful truths about Heaven! And to top it all off, there will no longer be any more: sorrow, pain, suffering, hunger, thirst, violence, war, tears, temptation, sickness, grief, and death (1 Corinthians 2:9)! So, beloved, may we soberly consider the following words of another English puritan, Thomas Manton, who said, “Christians are more cold and careless in their spiritual lives because the do not think often of heaven.” Dear believer, it should be your aim, each day, to be thinking about and meditating upon this beautiful doctrine, longing to live in light of it, with joyful preparation for encountering our living God tomorrow morning in public Worship, through our participation in the praises and prayers of His people; and through our reception of the reading and preaching of His Holy, inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word! For today, the Lord’s Day, should be the peak of our week -- a day emblematic of Heaven itself! Soli Deo Gloria! Amen and Amen!!

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