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Keeping a Heavenly Perspective

July 2, 2017

Keeping a heavenly perspective

Revelation 4

 

1After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this." 2At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. 3And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald. 4 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads. 5From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God, 6and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal.

And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: 7the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight. 8And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say,

 

"Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,

who was and is and is to come!"

 

9And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

 

11 "Worthy are you, our Lord and God,

to receive glory and honor and power,

for you created all things,

and by your will they existed and were created."

   

The Stability of our Sovereign God! v1-3,5&6

1After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this." 2At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. 3And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald.

 

5From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God, 6and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal.

 

The Presence of the Redeemed

4 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads.

 

The Praise of the Angels

And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: 7the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight. 8And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say,

 

"Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,

who was and is and is to come!"

 

SO WHAT?!?

 

The Praise of the Redeemed

9And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

 

11 "Worthy are you, our Lord and God,

to receive glory and honor and power,

for you created all things,

and by your will they existed and were created."

LifeGroup

Week 5 - Keeping a Heavenly Perspective

 

Two years ago, Pastor David used a quote in a sermon that I will never forget.  It was from John MacArthur and it referenced a “jaded perspective” of heaven.  Let’s review this quote below:

 

“The church today doesn’t hope for heaven, they hope they won’t go to heaven. They don’t want to go to heaven until they’ve had all that earth could possible deliver them. ‘But please, GOD, don’t send me to heaven yet. I haven’t been to Hawaii. I haven’t gotten my new car. God, please, no, not heaven’…What a jaded perspective.”

 

Take some time as a group and discuss this quote.

Do we ever think about heaven?  If so, do we think rightly about heaven? Today’s study will examine a perspective of Heaven that was certainly not jaded and one that is certainly worty of being imitated. The Apostle Paul’s perspective of heaven, from Phil. 1, is a very biblical, healthy perspective.

  1. As a group turn to and read Phil. 1:19-26.  As a group identify and discuss Paul’s end goal in these verses. (Hint: it is mentioned twice.)

 

Now, let’s carefully examine the rest of these verses to see how Paul plans to achieve this Honor and Glory for GOD.

   

   2.  Look at v19-20. How does Paul plan to bring Honor to GOD in these verses?

 

   3.  Compare Paul’s words in v19-20 with the MacArthur quote at the beginning of our study. What is the difference between Paul’s perspective and the jaded perspective MacArthur describes?

 

 

Let’s really drill down on v21-24. 

 

   4.  Paul follows up his statement in v20 (“CHRIST will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death”), with v21, (“to live is CHRIST, to die is gain”). How is v21 a continuation to v20?

 

 

Have you ever made a “pro’s and con’s” list in light of a pending decision? That is what Paul is doing here in v22-24. He states explicitly that this is a very tough decision in v22. 

 

   5.  What is the “pro” that Paul cites for “living in the flesh” in v22?

 

   6.  What is the “pro” that Paul cites for dying and going to be with CHRIST?

 

   7.  This pro’s/con’s list is a bit lopsided as both alternatives are good! But what is it in v24 that pushes Paul toward staying here on earth?

 

   8.  Finally, in v25-26, Paul announces his decision. For what reasons does Paul say that he will remain in the flesh?

 

 

Impact Statement

What a powerful few verses that have we studied today! They are so compact, but there are so many truths and applications held within them! When Paul says in v23, “My desire is to depart and be with CHRIST, for that is far better”, he shows us what a healthy and biblical perspective of Heaven looks like! There is nothing that Paul values more than going to be with CHRIST! Paul says that going to be with CHRIST is “far better” than living on earth! Paul would not rather visit Hawaii first, retire first, have kids first…he says that his desire is to go be with CHRIST! But then, despite the case that he just made that going to heaven is better for HIM--Paul said that he would stay and continue to serve and minister to these people (v24-25). He does this so that they will have more reason to Glorify CHRIST. Paul had a great perspective of heaven, but was willing to delay it for the spiritual well-being and development of others! There could not be a more divergent perspective of heaven from which MacArthur quoted at the beginning of our study, than that of the Apostle Paul. Paul saw the infinite value of Heaven, but instead chose to stay and minister…not for his benefit, but for the benefit of others! In staying and subsequent discipleship and ministry, Paul secured the spiritual development of his people. Paul also knew that, whether in life or death, CHRIST would be honored (v20). Knowing that CHRIST’s Glory was secured either way, Paul made his decision based on the needs of others, so that they too would be able to have a biblical healthy perspective of heaven.

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