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Church Revitalization Do we yearn for Jesus (last)

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Those who have been on a long pilgrimage increasingly desire to reach their destination, especially one as glorious and excellent as Heaven.
Those who’ve spent decades loving and living for Jesus naturally long to see Him. While it’s obvious that such anticipation should characterize older believers living right on the borders of Heaven, these yearnings surge in the hearts of all growing Christians.


In , the apostle Paul calls attention to the groans of the entire creation, and especially the groans of that human part of creation indwelt by the Spirit of God, as they await the removal of the corruption they have endured since sin’s entrance into the world.
Here’s what he wrote: 22 "For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together with labor pains until now. 23 "Not only that, but we ourselves who have the Spirit as the firstfruits—we also groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.” ()
Notice who the groaners are. They’re not the “exceptional” Christians. They are those described as having the Spirit as the firstfruits (v23). In other words, every Christian, every person in whom the Holy Spirit has begun an eternal work experiences these groans. These longings for the coming great change in body and place are simply part of a normal, healthy, growing Christian church.
What did Paul say that we desire in ? _________________
Which leads us to be present with Who (v8)? ____________________
Do you find more and more that the life you long for in Heaven seems more natural to you than the one you are living on earth?
Does it seem that your deepest longings were made to be fulfilled in another world?
These are the groans of a growing Christian, one who knows that God made us for glorious communion with Him and that we are never at home, never fulfilled, until we are there.
Whitney, D. S. (2001). Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health (p. 124). Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.


I said at the outset that growing Christians will groan for Heaven and all it holds. But the reverse is also true—groaning Christians grow.
They set their minds on things above.
One of the ways Christians grow is by thinking much about great matters, subjects that have the power to change their lives. There are no more powerful or worthy subjects to consider than the Lord Jesus Christ, Heaven, and the redemption of the body. Growing Christians take seriously, as well as joyously, the command to what in ? _______________________________ Their great Treasure is sitting at the right hand of God. Their greatest hopes and eternal home are among the “things above,” so their thoughts are often there also. They’ll soon be living there, so they want to visit as often as possible before relocating permanently.
There’s no greater example of such heavenly-mindedness than the English Puritan pastor/writer Richard Baxter. He lived during most of the 1600s, though he was in terrible physical condition for nearly all his seventy-six years. He lay sick and lonely in a house far from his home all during the winter of 1646, “sentenced to Death by the Physicians.” For his own use he began to write out his meditations about the Heaven he seemed so near to entering. Thus began what may be his most important book, The Saints’ Everlasting Rest. Believing that his extended thoughts on Heaven were so beneficial, when he recovered he disciplined himself to meditate on Heaven—often while walking—for at least half an hour daily. The final product, published several decades later, was a monumental, still-in-print work that has been one of the most influential Christian books ever written.
The practice of regular “heavenly meditation,” as he called it, transformed Baxter and it will transform us. While thirty minutes’ meditation on one subject, in addition to the practice of the other spiritual disciplines, may sound unworkable for many in today’s culture, we can adopt Baxter’s intentionality. Resolving to devote some time on a regular basis to reflect upon the coming world and the coming One would encourage, embolden, strengthen, invigorate, illumine, ravish, and de-stress us. And anyone who cannot find time to meditate on Jesus and Heaven is either wasting time or busier than God intends.
The mind never stops. It is like a waterwheel always being turned by the river. Even when we’re asleep it is turning, thinking, dreaming. Shouldn’t we then put the best thoughts into our minds as much as possible? What better things to think about than Jesus and Heaven?
Groaning Christians purify themselves in anticipation of seeing the Pure One.
The apostle John wrote the inspired assurance that when Jesus “is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (). Then note what he says about those who groan with this anticipation of seeing the Lord (read v3).
All those (“everyone,” not just some) who have this hope, who yearn for the return of Jesus, are affected by it. The second coming of the Lord is not a mere curiosity or just a matter of theological deliberation for them. All those who are sincerely longing to see a holy Christ appear are growing more like Christ. How do I know? It’s because each one “purifies himself, just as He is pure.” In other words, you are in the grip of the groan. Your longings for holiness in Heaven pull you toward holiness now. You can’t just wait for holiness; you have to pursue it. The hope of a holy Heaven, to be enjoyed in the company with our holy Savior, is a potent motive to holiness now.
Do you have “this hope” to “see Him as He is”? How has it affected you? How does it cause you to purify yourself? How are you growing in Christlikeness because of your view of Christ’s return?
I am writing these words while on an airplane, just twenty minutes from home after four days and four long flights. The nearer I get to my destination the more I anticipate it. The closer my longing comes to reality the more I think about what and who awaits me. You are nearer the end of your journey than you were when you began this book. Are your thoughts increasingly homeward nowadays? The closer he gets to his heavenly home, the growing Christian will—for the right reasons—think more about what and who awaits him in Heaven. And he will yearn.
Whitney, D. S. (2001). Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health (pp. 129–131). Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.
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