The Bare Soul
March 14, 2010
The following is the message
text and audio recording of a sermon titled "Eternity" delivered to the homeless
at the Kansas City Rescue Mission Chapel on March 11, 2010.
- March 11, 2010
Ecclesiastes 3:11 - He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.
How does one grasp eternity? Even in all his wisdom, Solomon understood that time and eternity were as different as darkness and light. He knew enough to state the obvious yet not suppose that he possessed any great knowledge regarding the separation or their respective realities. However, he did know from experience that time was the keeper of "everything beautiful" that man enjoys upon this earth. In juxtaposition, the wise king knew that God had also put within the heart of humankind eternity -- a sense that they we are eternal beings yet encapsulated in time-bound bodies. As eternal beings, we groan within looking forward to the redemption of our bodies as they are transfigured into an eternal state (Romans 8:23). Mankind yearns and desires that place of immortality, for its the very center of our existence. Just as we all come from God, we all have a God-given desire to return to Him. Even as a rock when dropped will fall towards its center (i.e., gravitational pull to the center of the earth), so we too long to be once again "centered" within our Creator, the Eternal Father.
Approximately 200 years after the reign of Solomon, Isaiah the son of Amoz describes this place where the Lord God dwelt in all of His majesty. We are told in the sixth chapter of Isaiah that the prophet saw the Lord "high and lifted up" while the heavenly scene of seraphim and the heavenly host played out all around him. The seer saw himself, a time-bound being in the midst of the Eternal Creator that has no beginning or ending of days. Isaiah cried out in this place of eternal majesty, saying Woe is me, I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips ... (Isaiah 6:5). The prophet was changed from that day forward. He was no longer merely an earthly seer but he had taken on the "eyes of the Lord" and saw with broken contrition the plight of the nation of Israel. For the rest of his earthly life, Isaiah found himself standing and prophesying to a perishing nation, yet at the same time seated with the Majesty on High in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6). Through the prophetic voice, Isaiah declares this eternal position of God Almighty with mankind. In Isaiah 57:15 (NKJV) he states: For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “ I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones." The prophet knew that to dwell in the presence of the Most High meant one must live in a humble, eternal state of being. Time no longer mattered because God is the controller of the outcome of all things. The gift of humility (upon seeing the Lord as Isaiah saw) allows the beholder to die to self and to all the preconceptions of what we may think our lives should look like and to ultimately embrace a timeless, eternal life of trust in Him. No more will we wonder what our so-called ministry or "life purpose" might entail, for we will know that we must only live with Him in this place of eternity which He desires to reveal to us all.
St. Augustine is attributed with the quotation: Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee, O Lord ... . So true that rest is equated with dwelling in the very presence of God. For in His presence, we are no longer bound by the cares of this world or our own pursuits in the "Name of God". We have simply and reverently given ourselves to rest in that place of eternal abiding. While we share a place of solitude as we are "hid with Christ in God" in that eternal place (Colossians 3:3), we can also be about the Father's business as those making the most of our time, because the day's are truly evil (Ephesians 5:16). Whoever coined the phrase "That fellow is so heavenly minded he is of no earthly good" must have been working for the devil. Oh, for more Isaiahs that would have their minds and their hearts taken up with God in order to do the work at hand on a sin-soaked earth! That we would see hearts longing to be taken captive once again by the Lord Jesus Christ into that eternal realm, that they might be His agents to release captives of this present life that are like ticking time bombs ready to explode into hell. Beloved, we must experience the eternality of God before we can allow the Holy Spirit within to convince the unredeemed that their time is running out. For as truly as any reality that we will ever know, eternity awaits us all at one time or another. We can either deny its existence (Psalm 14:1), or accept its inevitability. Regardless, eternity will either be something we embrace and love through God and His eternal gift of redemption through the blood of Jesus Christ, or it will be something that will imprison us with horror upon our passing through the veil.
There will be a day that we will all pass from this life to the next -- that day when we step into our eternal homes, respectively. However, the transition to a heavenly abode can be seamless if we will but cry out to our God for wisdom and understanding while in these "earthly tents" (II Corinthians 5:1). If we will seek the Lord, to understand Him as Solomon or to see Him in all His splendor as Isaiah, then we too will glimpse eternity this side of Glory. Our sufficiency in all these things is God (II Corinthians 9:8). He is the One who will answer according to our cry and our desire. While He has truly given us all things to enjoy while in our "time capsule" bodies, He has also given us hearts to understand that we are eternal beings. We will never be truly fulfilled until we rest in that place of eternity with Him. It is our choice, by the grace of God that He gives to those who ask, whether we will rest in His eternity now or merely in the "sweet by and by". May we all find that place of eternal rest both in this life and the one to come. Maranatha (Come Lord Jesus)!
Heavenly Father, bring us to that place of eternity even now in our time-bound existence! Help us to live in that place of eternal rest, provoking others to desire that place of divine comfort. Cause us to embrace the eternity within us all, that we might lead others to life everlasting. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Your Barefoot Servant,
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