Heaven on Earth

Is it possible to have heaven on earth?  How can we experience the realities of God here and now, amongst a wicked and wretched world?  Can we, should we, and are we to have Heaven on earth?  How can it be, the concept of heaven on earth?

As Christians, we realize that life on this planet compared to heaven is like living in a garbage can.  The Word tells us that our life is like a vapor (Ps 39:5, 11; 62:9; James 4:14) so why would I even want to conceive the idea of heaven on earth?  I can’t wait to get out of here, raptured up to be with Jesus.  The Word of God teaches that the sufferings we endure here will not even compare with the Glory that will be revealed to us on the day we enter into Heaven. This idea has been exemplified in the example of a mother giving birth.  During delivery the mother experienced intense pain but the pain of labor is set aside compared to the glory of their newborn placed on her bosom. We are to be in the world but not of the world so how could it be possible to have Heaven on earth?  During this discourse I will hope to explain the meaning of “heaven on earth,” explain its practicalities towards “Christian Heavenly Living” and hopefully bring you into the fullness that Christ desires for your life.

To begin I would be doing an injustice to give a discourse about Heaven on earth without first making an attempt to clarify what I am talking about.  Bear with me on this one because I am not going to go deep into a discussion about specifics on Heaven our final destination.  The amount of information concerning the topic of Heaven is in fact as vast as our Lord Himself and I cannot entertain the idea that I know everything about our Heavenly Father.  The primary goal of this discussion is to present entertain the idea of living our life today the same as though we are in heaven.

How could experiencing Christ in the here and now be practical, let alone important?    The concept of heaven on earth that I hope to explain is a direct dependency on Jesus and intimate relationship with Him.  Although, Jesus is away from us (physically) preparing a “Heaven” final destination for us, He is also here among us (Matt 28:20).  Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them (Matt 18:20).”  Moreover, Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me (Rev 3:20).”  Have I thoroughly confused you?  Let me reiterate.  There is a final destination for the believer; Heaven the place that Christ is preparing for us.  And there is a habitation (our heart) that the Lord indwells.  The Word tells us that we are the Temple of God (1 Cor 3:16).  Therefore, since we are the Temple of God and God lives within us, isn’t that heaven on earth?  Furthermore, what is the temple for?  The temple is a place of worship, communion, prayer, and hearing from God.  All of that is to take place within our everyday life.

Jesus told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the Helper would come upon them. God indwells lives, cleanses and empowers our lives as His Word shapes and directs us.  All we have to do is simply believe in His Grace and find that place where His blessings are being poured out.  Blessings are poured out to each believer.  Grace, mercy, hope, love, patience, kindness, gentleness, are fruits of the Spirit that the world does not know and neither can it provide.  It is the Spirit of God that abides in us and Heaven = Spirit.  Believer, God has every intention of us living heaven on earth.  Living heaven on earth is not a burning bosom, special feeling, or fragile fleeting feeling that comes and goes like the tide.  It is not based on how we are feeling emotionally or physically.  Living heaven on earth is reality and it is up to us to simply believe it.  Believe that God indwells in you, has the very best in mind for you and desires that our relationship with Him be heaven on earth (Jer 29:11).

However, the Bible teaches that within this heavenly abode there exists a dazzling, high, and holy city called the New Jerusalem. This beautiful and blessed city is therefore not only the center of God’s presence, but will be the permanent home for all the redeemed throughout eternity. Both Old and New Testament believers looked and longed for this celestial city.  “There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High” (Ps. 46:4).  “Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God. Selah” (Ps. 87:3).  “For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God” (Heb. 11:10, 16).  “But ye are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels” (Heb. 12:22).  “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also”

(Jn. 14:2, 3).  “And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev. 21:2).  At the center of this New Jerusalem is The Son, “And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth” (Rev. 5:6).  Here we learn that not only is the Lamb of God an occupant of heaven, but the very source and strength and center of Heaven, without which there could be no Heaven! Thus, we see:  The light of Heaven is the face of Jesus.  The joy of Heaven is the presence of Jesus.  The song of Heaven is the name of Jesus.  The theme of Heaven is the work of Jesus.  The employment of Heaven is the work of Jesus.  The fullness of Heaven is the Person of Jesus.  Jesus is Heaven.  Looking at these verses we see that Jesus is the center of Heaven as the dwelling place.  Just as significant, I hope to demonstrate that Jesus is our source of heaven on earth and as we learn to draw from Him, we will truly live heaven on earth.

 

Why am I taking the time to write this little discourse?  I truly feel as though it is a message from the Lord both for my life personally and practically and if I can just get it out in the right manor, it will be very impacting for your life as well.  You see, I struggle with sin, depression and daily discouragements and during a humbling period of deep despair and wretchedness; I was touched by the power of the Holy Spirit.  It was during this struggle that I began to just talk to the Lord and He reminded me Rom 8:28 “all things work together for good.”  How could my struggling with a sin work together for good?  Why does my struggle continue?  If I am a New Creation, why does the “old man” cry out in my flesh desiring carnality?  It was in that time of questioning that I realized that my flesh is for me keeping me dependant upon Him.  This “thorn in my flesh” keeps me close to the Lord to draw from Him torrents of Living Water.  Even my sin was teaching me about my weakness and need for me to lean upon Him in a more real and practical way.  It was during this time in my life that the subject of heaven on earth came to me as a cleansing from sin, preserver from sin and restoration away from sin.

 

Understanding that Heaven is among me, surrounding me helps me keep my act together.  During my spiritual journey it is so often that I find myself thinking about the Lord or being reminded of the Lord as though He is way out there or “somewhere beyond the blue.”  It is in that state of mind that I allow sin to enter into my mind, which brings desire to my flesh and since my spirit is separated beyond the blue from the Lord, it is easy for me to enter into sin.  If I am living heaven on earth and my spirit is quickened to the reality of heavens surrounding, watching and taking note of my every move then I often find myself keeping myself holy, unspotted from the world.  Moreover, the Lord teaches us that Christians that are waiting His arrival are caught up with the reality of Heaven (Luke 12:37).  Sin doesn’t look so appealing when I am mindful of His eminent return and constant surrounding.  Everything here on earth begins to fade against the brightness of Heavens glory.  And for me I find myself in heaven; on earth.  Jesus warned us in a parable about the wicked servant who was not mindful of his master’s eminent return.  The wicked servant began to beat the other servants and lived recklessly.  This parable applies to us practically in that we need to live as though Christ’s return could be any second now.  In our day in which we live, as we have witnessed the return of Israel and it becoming the center of world conflict; Biblically speaking, Christ’s return is as I believe drawing neigh.

Oh, the Bible is full of incidences of Heaven on earth.  More precisely, During the 33 years of Christ’s life, Heaven was quite literally on earth.  But I was reminded of one incident where a disciple was able to get a glimpse of what it is to experience Heaven on earth.  Their little boat was being tossed around by the waves as the wind raged and the men in the boat were frightened by the real threat that their little boat could capsize.  Suddenly, Christ appeared to them and this time He was walking on the water.  Peter full of the reality of Heaven was blinded by his circumstances and all He could see was His Savior approaching.  Peter, cries out to the Lord, bidding Him to request that Peter walk out on the water towards the Lord.  The Lord bids Peter to come and that man of faith bails out of the boat completely unaware of everything around him because of Heavens Glory and walks with Jesus on the water.  Peter could have stayed with the Lord and walked to the boat with Jesus, but instead he started to change his focus from the reality of Heaven to his earthly circumstances.  Suddenly, the mighty waves and blowing winds started to scare Peter and slowly as he sank into the water, the reality of Heaven began to slip from His mind.  Until, Jesus was able to reach down with one hand and curl that massive physique of a fisherman, out of the water.  In those instances of Peter walking on the water this is idea of living victoriously in the reality of heaven on earth.  2 Kings 6:15 “And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?”  16So he answered “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17And Elisha prayed, and said, “Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”  In 2 Kings, we have Elisha asking the Lord to open they eyes of his servant to witness the reality of heaven on earth.  Overwhelming circumstances have a tendency to keep our minds focused on the reality of heaven on earth.

I can almost hear the words of our Lord, “Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name Your kingdom come.  Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  God’s intention in the original creation was to be close to us, walk with us, and openly talk to us.  A gulf of sin separated us from Him and He resorted to rules and laws to keep man in-line as a temporary means to keep us from causing our race to go extinct.  Now that His Covenant is completed in Christ, we are once again called into that relationship of the original creation.  It is my conviction that Jesus’s prayer of His will being done on earth as it is in heaven is based on this premise.  John Wesley wrote, “Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen; such alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of heaven on earth.”

This heaven on earth has great practicalities that can be hugely instrumental in our Christian walk.  We need not suffer depression because of the Hope of Heaven.  We need not fall pray to the desires of sin because of the presence of Heaven.  We need not fear daily life for the practice of the presence of God is the reality of Heaven on earth.  Psalm 23:4 “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for You are with me, Your rod and staff they comfort me.”  Psalm 17:15 “As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.”  King David wrote in Psalms 139 Where can I go from Your Spirit?  Or where can I flee from Your presence?  If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.  If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me.  If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,” Even the night shall be light about me; Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You.”

Living with the expectation of heavens encompassing presence and future restoration is not dependant upon our present situation.  King David knew that the practice of the presence of God was not dependant on His situation and David found himself in awe of God in that no matter what kind of trouble David got himself into, God was there.  Not only was God there in presence, He was there for practicality.  Not only did David realize that the presence of God was with him, but the presence of God was sustaining and leading him.  In the book of “The Acts,” there are many examples of the early church experiencing heaven on earth.  The early Christians suffered imprisonment, whippings and death at the hands of men for preaching the truth of Christ.  Through it all, Christ was with them and delivered them from their suffering.  There are recorded miraculous events; healings and the Lord added daily to the church those who were saved.

Luke12:34 “For where your treasure is there your heart will be also.”  Where is your treasure?  Is your treasure on earth, really?  Jesus told us to store up treasures in heaven.  Where do we store those treasures, In Heaven?  Where do we collect the treasures or where are we when we are storing those treasures up, on earth?  While we are on earth, we are to store up treasures for Heaven.  The best way I can think of storing up treasures is by living as though heaven is a reality.  Living with Heaven as my everyday reality means that I am willing and joyful to give His ten percent.  Is God a reality for you?  Then give Him that which is His.  We are to live everyday with the expectation of Heaven and everything we do is to be done in light of Heaven’s expectation.  So lets live heaven on earth and we will begin storing up treasures for Heaven.

How do we get heaven on earth?  You might be thinking, “Ok, what must I do?”  The answer is simple just ask the Lord.  We are told that we have not because we ask not.  For me, I have to choose everyday that I am going to serve and I need to ask for the presence of heaven at every temptation, crossroad and choice that is before me.  It is my greatest joy when in the power of the Spirit I can enter into that presence of the Lord, amidst the world’s temptations.  When depression is lurking and I find myself withdrawing from the Lord I need to quicken myself to embrace heavens calling.  When everyone else is heading out to go clubbing; I am confident to draw closer to Him.  When tragedy strikes and my response is to shake my fist at God; it is then that I can open my hand lifted up in worship.

There is one more point I want to make.  To have victory in living Heaven on earth we must humble ourselves as little children.  Jesus responded to the disciple’s question of who is greatest in the kingdom of heaven by explaining that one must make themselves be like a little child.  Matthew 18:4  “Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”  The benediction has gone out that the greatest in the kingdom of heaven is really considered the least in the kingdom of earth.  What does it mean to be like a child?  Does this mean we revert to childish things?  I believe Paul answers this tendency of ours to revert to childish behavior when he says, 1 Corinth 13:11 “When I was a child I spoke like a child, I understood as a child, but when I became a man I put away childish things.”  Christ’s benediction is not for us to revert to childish things.  I believe that Christ is demonstrating the child’s dependency upon their parents for all their needs.  Whoever humbles himself and becomes dependant upon Christ for his daily bread, spiritually and physically will be greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  The benediction is, learn wisdom and put away childish things, but learn dependency upon heaven’s provision.  Looking for heaven on earth teaches us to be dependant upon Christ.  In my house, the child who is dependent upon me gets the most direct attention from me.  Think about it.

Oswald Chambers wrote in His daily devotional on May 12th.  John 14:21 “And will manifest myself to him.” “The Lord Jesus gives special revelations of himself to his people. Even if Scripture did not declare this, there are many of the children of God who could testify the truth of it from their own experience. They have had manifestations of their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in a peculiar manner, such as no mere reading or hearing could afford. In the biographies of eminent saints, you will find many instances recorded in which Jesus has been pleased, in a very special manner to speak to their souls, and to unfold the wonders of his person; yea, so have their souls been steeped in happiness that they have thought themselves to be in heaven, whereas they were not there, though they were well nigh on the threshold of it-for when Jesus manifests himself to his people, it is heaven on earth; it is paradise in embryo; it is bliss begun. Special manifestations of Christ exercise a holy influence on the believer’s heart. One effect will be humility. If a man says, “I have had such-and-such spiritual communications, I am a great man,” he has never had any communion with Jesus at all; for “God hath respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knows afar off.” He does not need to come near them to know them, and will never give them any visits of love. Another effect will be happiness; for in God’s presence there are pleasures for evermore. Holiness will be sure to follow. A man who has no holiness has never had this manifestation. Some men profess a great deal; but we must not believe any one unless we see that his deeds answer to what he says. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked.” He will not bestow his favors upon the wicked: for while he will not cast away a perfect man, neither will he respect an evil doer. Thus there will be three effects of nearness to Jesus-humility, happiness, and holiness. May God give them to thee, Christian!”

The ending benediction is that we should live moment by moment with the full knowledge that we are encompassed about by the presence and Glory of God.  The very Spirit that sustains and binds the atom is holding our lives together.  All we have to do is place ourselves under His grace, by receiving and living for our Lord, Jesus the Christ.

Luke 12:37-44  “Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them.  And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.  But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into.  Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”  Then Peter said to Him, “Lord, do You speak this parable only to us, or to all people?” And the Lord said, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has.”

Christ be with you,

Be sure to: Like, Comment, Subscribe, Share

Lyn Sheperd

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s