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In Light of Eternity
By Pastor Steve Heath

Isaiah 57:15
15 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. (NKJ)

God reveals Himself as the one who inhabits eternity.
Do we think about eternity very much?  Not really. We don't even think much about the future, especially if we are young. We have a tendency as people to think we are going to live forever. When I was a boy in the ninth grade, I remember distinctly looking forward to when I would be a senior in high school. But I also remember thinking that was so far in the future I would never get there. It was only three years away! Now I am probably three times as old as when I had that thought. But that is the way it is.  The older you get the more you realize how fast time flies. It is then you start to think about eternity.

If you took a rope and ran it around the earth, about 24,000 miles, and then grabbed one spot between your fingers, that spot would be very small in comparison to the whole rope.  But your life on this earth is even smaller when compared to eternity.  That is why the Bible says our life is but a breath. It says it is like grass, which withers and is gone.

Eternity is a long time. In fact, it is outside the realm of time.  God dwells in eternity. And He wants us to dwell in eternity.  That eternity is talked about in the hymn "Amazing Grace."

    When we've been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun.
    We've no less days to sing God's praise, than when we first begun.

God reveals himself as eternal. Jesus says He is the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end.

Eternity is something to think about.  It is also something to live. Do we let eternity affect the way we live? 
2 Corinthians 4:17-18
17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

That passage was written by the apostle Paul, who suffered a lot as a servant of Jesus Christ.  He was persecuted everywhere he went.  He describes his suffering in 2 Corinthians 11:23-28:
23 Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.

Paul suffered a lot!  Yet he calls all his suffering "light and momentary troubles," which "are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all."

Paul is not focusing on his sufferings. He is focusing on eternity. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. Paul knew his sufferings would pass, and would lead to a far greater eternity. Whatever troubles we face will pass eventually.  Those troubles may end in our death, but we as believers we have the great hope of being in eternity with Christ. Through our faith in Jesus Christ, we live in light of eternity.

18 ...... For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

What are the eternal things you cannot see? You cannot see God.  You cannot see the Holy Spirit.  You cannot see Jesus. You cannot see the words you speak, but they are important for eternity. Listen to what Jesus says:
Matthew 12:36-37
36 But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned."

Jesus tells us not to worry about the things we see, like food, drink and clothing; but rather we are to seek the eternal things that we can't see, like His Kingdom and righteousness.
Matthew 6:31-33
31 So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first His kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

The great heroes of faith were looking to eternal things
Hebrew 11:13-16
13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country-- a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

Hebrews 11:24-27
24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king's anger; he persevered because he saw Him who is invisible.

Do you have eternity in view today?  Do you have eternity in your mind? Hopefully, you do. Practice thinking about eternity.  Practice thinking about God.  Do you realize that when we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and follow Him, that the Holy Spirit comes to live in our heart.  And the Bible says God dwells in eternity. We as believers have the Eternal One dwelling within us. Wherever we go, He goes with us.

One time I was going to a meeting of youth leaders. I went to the place where the meeting was supposed to be, but found nothing going on. I knocked on the door, and the sister of the woman who was supposed to host the meeting answered the door. Sure enough, the meeting place had been changed. On a whim, I asked the sister if I could pray with her before I left. Later on, I heard that the sister said it was like God had come into the room when I prayed. I felt nothing, but this woman did. The Holy Spirit was there. The Eternal One goes wherever we go, and He can affect people for eternity in ways we cannot even imagine.

When you start thinking eternally minded, everything gets a different value on it. - Andrew Wommack

One time a woman asked Pastor Andrew Wommack to pray that her husband, who had left her, would come back. He wanted to pray for her salvation.  But the woman said she only wanted prayer for her husband to come back. Pastor Wommack replied, "After you have burned in hell for a thousand years, you probably won't care if your husband came back."  The woman realized that was true, and prayed for forgiveness and salvation through Jesus Christ.

Being eternally minded changes the way we think and act.
A person living in the light of eternity cannot continue in bitterness and unforgiveness.
Matthew 6:14-15
14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Being eternally minded changes the way we relate to other people. 
We begin to look to the spiritual condition of others.  Does he know Christ?  Is she ready for eternity?  We pray, we witness.  We point them to the One who inhabits eternity, so they too can inhabit eternity with Christ.

Father, Your Word says you inhabit eternity. Help me to be eternally minded.  May I see people the way you see them - in light of eternity.

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