As I age and think about getting closer to the promised land, the following thoughts come to mind.
When I die,…
whether there be one person at my grave…
or one hundred…
I would want these things told…
I would want the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ preached and Jesus Christ exalted and glorified.
I would want any unsaved person there to hear that they must be born again if they ever hope to enter heaven.
I would want told that my Saviour, Jesus Christ, saved me from a very sinful life.
1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship
one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
I would want told that in Jesus Christ there is hope in a very hopeless world.
I would want told that the promise of the Father, the Holy Ghost is real and that the Lord does not disappoint. This fallen world gives us empty promises that disappoints us time and time again, but “all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen”.
2 Corinthians 1:20 For all the promises of God in him
are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.
Last of all I would like the praises of God sung by any born again Christian there, with hands lifted up in praise to our God.
Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
In 2016 we lost a family member, a sister, to Cancer. She was only in her 40’s.
And now, a sister in Christ who we’ve known for a very long time, recently became suddenly ill.
It made me think about heaven, where the redeemed dwell.
This very real place called heaven.
The following phrase of Scripture came to mind as I meditated …
“the spirits of just men made perfect”
Here’s some interesting commentary on that verse…
Hebrews 12:23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
MacLaren Bible Commentary:
Faith carries us while living to the society of the living dead.
Immediately on the thought of God arising in the writer’s mind, there rises also the blessed thought of the blessed company in the centre of whom He lives and reigns.
We can say little about that subject, and perhaps the less we say the more we shall understand, and the more deeply we shall feel.
We get glimpses but no clear vision, as when a flock of birds turn in their rapid flight, and for a moment the sun glances on their white wings; and then, with another turn, they drift away, spots of blackness in the blue.
So we see but for a moment as the light falls, and then lose the momentary glory, but we may at least reverently note the exalted words here.
‘the spirits of… men made perfect’
That is to say, they dwell freed from the incubus and limitations, and absolved from the activities, of a bodily organization.
We cannot understand such a condition.
To us it may seem to mean passivity or almost unconsciousness, but we know, as another New Testament writer has told us, that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord; and that in some deep, and to us now undiscoverable, fashion, that which the corporeal frame does for men here, immersed in the material world, there the encircling Christ in whom they rest does for them.
We know little more, but we have a glimpse of a land of deep peace in which repose is not passivity nor unconsciousness; any more than service is weariness. And there we have to leave it, knowing only this, that it is possible for a man to exist and to be, in a relative sense, perfected without a body.
Here … we pass within the palace gates, and the writer tells us what we find there.
This interweaving of the presence of God with that of the creatures that live in His love witnesses to the great truth that our God dwells in no isolated supremacy, but in the midst of a blessed society; …
and that the solitary souls who find their way into His presence have a welcome, not only from Him, but from all their brethren of His great family.
… it suggests to us the close and indissoluble connection between God Himself and all those who, in every place, whether the place above or the place beneath, call upon the name of Him who is both their God and ours.
Oh, if we could rend the veil as death will rend it, and see the things which are, as faith will help us to see them – for it thins, if it does not tear, the envious curtain between – would it be possible that we should live the low, mean, selfish, earthly, sinful lives, devoured by anxieties, defaced by stains, depressed by trivial sorrows, which, alas! so many of us do live?
And so the souls beneath the altar, clothed in white, and rapt in felicity, do yet wait ‘for the adoption, even the redemption of the body.’
men who have been redeemed, who being unjust, have been made just, and have had experience of restoration and of the misery of departure,
But the more important consideration is the real unity between poor souls here who are knit to Jesus Christ, and the spirits of the just made perfect who stand so close to the judgment seat.
Ah, brethren! we have to alter the meaning of the words ‘present’ and ‘absent’ when we come to speak of spiritual realities. The gross localized conceptions that are appropriate to material space, and to transitory time, have nothing to do with that higher religion. It is no mere piece of rhetoric or sentiment to say that where our treasure is, there are our hearts, and where our hearts are there are we.
Love has no localities. It knits together two between whom oceans wide roll; it knits together saints on earth and saints in heaven.
To talk of place is irrelevant in reference to such a union; for if our love, our aims, our hopes be the same, we are together.
And if they on the upper side, and we on the lower, grasp each the outstretched hand of the same God, then we are one in Him, and the same life will tingle through our earthly frames and through their perfected spirits.
He is the centre of the great wheel whose spokes are light and blessedness; and all who stand around Him are brought into unity by their common relation to the centre.
Our sorrows would be less sorrowful, our loss less utter, if we truly believed that while apart we are still together.
Our courage and our hope would rise if we came closer in loving contemplation and believing thought to the present blessedness of those once our fellow-travelers, who, weak as we, have entered into rest.
Heaven itself would gain some touch of true attractiveness if we more clearly saw, and more thankfully felt, that there is ‘the Judge of all,’ and there also ‘the spirit of just men made perfect.’
But howsoever great may be the encouragement, the consolation, the quieting that come from them, let us turn away our eyes from the surrounding and lower seats to fix them on the central throne.
Let us ever realise that we are ever in our great Judge’s eye.
Let us spread out our hearts for His scrutiny and decision, for His discipline if need be.
Let us commit to Him our cause, and, in the peace that comes therefrom, we may understand why it was that psalmists of old called upon earth to rejoice and the hills to be glad because He ‘cometh to judge the earth, to judge the world with righteousness, and the people with His truth.’
And church of the first-born – these all, from the beginning to the end of the world, forming one Church to which every believer is already come.
Which are written in heaven – they were not, as the church at Sinai, of an earthly enrollment, registered here to know their families and descent, whether right Jews and priests or no, whose genealogy was preserved to that end, … but had their register in heaven, were written in the Lamb’s book of life, to be of heavenly descent, born of God, partakers of the Divine nature, and who had a right and title by faith in Christ to the heavenly inheritance, and were free denizens of it, and have all heavenly privileges derived to them. How obliging, influencing, and promoting are these privileges of every Christian’s pursuit of holiness!
Revelation 21:4 -5 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.
What must I do to be… saved ?
Here’s a photo of a tract entitled A MATTER OF LIFE OR DEATH. I only had one of these tracts left and I found it recently when I was looking for something else. I wrote it many years ago. This testimony has already been posted with a different title but I believe it bears repeating. Here’s the tract with some minor editing. When the Lord does such an awesome thing in your life you just have to keep telling it again and again. I pray it will encourage someone today. All the glory to Jesus!
A MATTER OF LIFE OR DEATH
In the summer of 1992, at the age of 74, my mother was diagnosed with uterine cancer. After having a hysterectomy she had radiation treatments for 25 consecutive days. The doctors told her that intestinal distress would be a side effect of the radiation, and that it could last as long as two weeks after treatment was completed.
In November the treatments were finished and my mother was experiencing the side effects she was told to expect. But instead of getting better she seemed to be getting worse. I didn’t know what to think. My uncle who was always joking and very upbeat took one look at her and started to cry. On Thanksgiving weekend she began to hallucinate. We later learned the hallucinating was the result of dehydration. My father and brother rushed her to the hospital emergency room. The diagnosis was a ruptured colon. She was a dying woman as she went into emergency surgery late that night. The doctor told us that it was one of the two or three worst cases he had ever seen. He didn’t give us a lot of hope, he was telling us to prepare ourselves for her death.
When we realized the gravity of the situation I went, with my husband and daughter, into an empty waiting room at the hospital and began to pray.
I prayed within …
“Jesus, if my mother were to die tonight and if she were to go to heaven that would be alright with me because she’s very sick and she’s suffering. If she would go to be with you I know she would be much happier there, than here in this world.”
Then I prayed…
“BUT Jesus, you know and I know that according to your Word, if she died tonight she would not be going to heaven because she’s not ready to die, she’s not born again. Please spare her life and give her more time to repent.”
We had been praying no longer than about 15 or 20 minutes when the phrase “a man under authority” came to me. (The phrase was from Matthew chapter 8:9)
At that moment I knew that my mother was going to survive and that Jesus Christ would bring healing to her body and extend her life. I didn’t say anything to anyone, I was afraid to stop praying, but within a few moments my husband said “your mom is going to be OK” so we stopped praying and went back to be with the rest of the family.
When I woke up the next morning I began to doubt. Did I really hear from the Lord. Was my mother really going to live. I read the words of Jesus in John 4:48 . . . “Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe”. Then I realized it was all about faith. I was doubting because I had not seen anything yet with my physical eyes. My mother had not hopped out of bed and said “I’m fine now, let’s go home”.
It was Sunday morning and we went back to the hospital. My mother was in intensive care recovering from the surgery. Her whole body was swollen and she had tubes everywhere. When I looked at her she reminded me of one of those helium filled balloons at the Thanksgiving Day parade. She really looked pretty awful.
But she did recover.
The Lord did spare her life.
He did answer my prayer, and my mother lived for another 15 years!
And at the end of those 15 years she was born again, and washed in the blood of Jesus Christ, and my mother witnessed to my father of his need for the Holy Spirit if he wanted to go to heaven.
Revelation 1:18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
Where would you go if you died today?
See also …
Man Under Authority – II– My mother’s road to the Lord
Man Under Authority – III – What I spoke at my mother’s funeral service