When we gather for worship, the Bible teaches that we are lifted up by the Spirit into the Heavenly Places. This is why we begin worship every week with that ancient reminder: Lift up Your hearts/We lift them up to the Lord. Hebrews says that we have not come to a mountain that can be touched, like the old Mt. Sinai. Rather, we have come to Mt. Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant (Heb. 12:22-24).
In Ephesians it says that God has made us alive with Christ and raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places. So there is a special sense in which we are lifted up into the heavenly places in worship on the Lordís Day, and there is also a sense in which we live every moment in the heavenly places, united to Christ by His Spirit. Remember Elisha praying that his servant might see the hosts of heaven filling the hillside behind them: there are more with us than there are with them (2 Kgs. 6:16). Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.
And all of this is to say: in the midst of all the chaos and turmoil of this world, do not lose sight of heaven. There is a slander of Christians being too heavenly-minded to be any earthly good, but the fact of the matter is that there was never a Christian who did any earthly good who did not have his eyes and heart fixed on Heaven. But do not merely think of heaven as where you go when you die, or a place in another galaxy, far, far away. The Bible teaches that heaven overlaps with our existence; we just canít often see it. We are surrounded by angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect. We are surrounded by heavenly palaces and here, we are gathered to the very throne of the living God and to the Lamb.
Heaven is the reality; this world is the type. And that reality is coming here. This is why we pray Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven. This isnít something that depends upon us. It is coming inexorably, like spring overtaking winter. The nations scurry around insisting that everyone wear scarves and mittens since it is still winter and “it will definitely be getting colder soon!” they cry. But everywhere around us the ice is melting and we see patches of heavenís green grass poking through the snow.†
Photo by†Ricardo Gomez Angel†on†Unsplash
Steven Opp says