Thursday, February 21, 2013

Would you be happy in heaven if Jesus were not there?

In his book, God is the Gospel, John Piper poses this question:
The critical question for our generation --and for every generation is this:
If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all your friends and loved ones there, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, with no human conflict, no human disasters, no physical pain or suffering, and even a new resurrection body, could you be satisfied with heaven--if Christ were not there? 
Would you be happy in heaven if Jesus were not there?  
John 17:3 says, "This is eternal life, that we might know the one true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent." What is eternal life? KNOWING GOD. Beholding God. Eternal life is NOT having your sins forgiven. Eternal Life is being reconciled to God, the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. Eternal Life is being in relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the Eternal Godhead.
By the number of hits on my last post, it appears that this is NOT a popular topic, or maybe I'm not putting this good news across in such a way that it can properly be understood.

Regardless, my reason for attempting to write on this subject is because I don't want to miss out on the Good News and I don't want that for you either. And the Good News is God Himself. I think that I and so many others get sidetracked and miss the fact that we're saved not for all the gifts and benefits, but we're saved to fall in love with Jesus, to let Him love us and to love Him right back. He is the greatest gift, and for many of us, He is the gift that remains unopened, unseen, unknown, not even sought after.

Maybe that's why worship is so hard and so few believers enter into real worship of the Lord, because you can't worship what you don't know. That's what Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4 and it's true for us today as well. If we don't KNOW Him, we have NO desire to worship Him. We may love the trappings of Christianity, love going to Church, love serving in Church, but if we don't worship Him, then we don't love Him and don't know Him.

Consider what Paul writes in Philippians 3:7-9 (NLT)
7 I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done.
8 Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ
9 and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.  
Paul's heart desire is to become ONE with the Messiah, Jesus, Our Lord. His goal is not going to heaven, or having peace with God, or receiving any of God's other gifts, his goal is Jesus Himself. As Matt Redman writes in "The Heart of Worship",
"I'm coming back to the heart of worship, and it's all about You, all about You, Jesus....I'm sorry Lord for the thing I've made it, when it's all about You, it's all about You, Jesus."

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