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Eternity in Our Hearts

Notes & Transcripts

Eternity in Our Hearts

Ecclesiastes 3:11

Pastor Oesterwind

“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.”

-Ecclesiastes 3:11  

Introduction:

  • Let’s suppose that you’ve been diagnosed with a terminal illness and after a second and third opinion all doctors confirm that at the most you have one year to live.
  • Let’s suppose that the disease will not affect you physically until it has reached the end stages of its course.
  • How would this affect your life?  If you alter the way you live presently after hearing of this illness, that is the distance between your current view of life and the biblical view of life.
  • While God has placed eternal purpose within the heart of man, man has smothered it by pursuing the fleeting, temporal things of the world.

Time, like an ever-rolling stream,

Bears all its sons away;

They fly forgotten as a dream

Dies at the op’ning day.

The busy tribes of flesh and blood

With all their cares and fears,

Are carried downward like a flood

And lost in following years.

Isaac Watts

Read Psalm 90.

Psalm 39:4-7  “LORD, make me to know my end, and what is the measure of my days, that I may know how frail I am.  5 Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, and my age is as nothing before You; certainly every man at his best state is but vapor. Selah  6 Surely every man walks about like a shadow; surely they busy themselves in vain; he heaps up riches, and does not know who will gather them.  7 And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You.”

Isaiah 40:6-8  “All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.  7 The grass withers, the flower fades, because the breath of the LORD blows upon it; surely the people are grass.  8 The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.”

James 1:11  “For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits.”

James 4:14  “…For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”

What is real?

  • Our stay here is briefer than we would like to think according to the Word of God.
  • This is a realistic, biblical approach to life, and it is filled with hope.
    • Realistic because it is better to know things the way they are not the way they seem!
    • “The statistics on death are impressive.  One out of one dies.” –George Bernard Shaw
    • Hopeful because there is more to life than what we see.  We walk by faith not by sight.

Two ways to look at life –

  • At one time everyone thought that the sun and planets orbited around the earth
  • Copernicus came along and said that everything revolves around the sun
  • He published his findings after his death because he realized how radical the shift he was making; he also realized how hostile the response would be
  • We may look at life in one of two ways:  the temporal and eternal perspectives
  • These perspectives compete with one another – we can live in this world like this is all there is or we can live as if on a brief journey to eternity

The heroes of Hebrews 11 had their eyes on eternity, Hebrews 11:13  “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”

  • The problem we’re facing today is that we get caught up in the temporal because that’s where we live
  • It takes a Copernicus-type shift in our thinking to challenge what the world reinforces daily
  • The only way this shift comes about is through the renewing of our minds with biblical truth and the reinforcement of that truth through our relationships with one another as children of God.  When we do this, we see more clearly that we are on a brief journey to eternity.
  • The Copernicus analogy breaks down.  The problem is that we flip-flop between the temporal and eternal perspectives every day as Christians.  We will face this ongoing struggle throughout our brief journey to eternity.

“The days of the years of our lives are few, and swifter than a weaver’s shuttle.  Life is a short and fevered rehearsal for a concert we cannot stay to give.  Just when we appear to have attained some proficiency we are forced to lay our instruments down.  There is simply not time enough to think, to become, to perform what the constitution of our natures indicates we are capable of.”

-A.W. Tozer

  • Few people have the wisdom to see what Tozer is saying in the first 3 or 4 decades of life.
  • After 40, man seems to grasp the fact that he is going to die.  We can’t run, hit and slide like we used to!
  • We realize that we won’t fulfill many of the earthly hopes and dreams that we have had.  That’s pretty traumatic if your expectations are tied this earth. 
  • For believers…our hope is tied to the character and promises of God.  Our affections and ambitions need to be tied to eternity.

“How completely satisfying to turn from our limitations to a God who has none.  Eternal years lie in His heart.  For Him time does not pass, it remains; and those who are in Christ share with Him all the riches of limitless time and endless years.”

-A.W. Tozer

1 John 2:15-17  “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  16 For all that is in the world -- the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life -- is not of the Father but is of the world.  17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”

James 4:4  “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”

Luke 16:15  “For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.”

“We must care for our souls as if we were going to die tomorrow.”

-Augustine

Can one be so heavenly minded that he is no earthly good?

  • When people become heavenly minded, they treasure the present opportunity of this life.  They react to each moment as if it were their last moment.

Ephesians 5:15-17  “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise,  16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.  17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

  • When we pursue the claims of both the temporal and eternal, “we are holding onto two horses that galloping in opposite directions.”
  • Many try to have it both ways, but this is just putting a spiritual façade over the house of the world’s philosophy.  You cannot have control and security on your terms according to the Scriptures.

2 Corinthians 5:7  “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”

Romans 8:24-25  “For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees?  25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.”

  • The world wants us to pursue pleasure and minimize pain.

James 3:13-17  “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.  14 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth.  15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic.  16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.  17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.”

  • Warfare exists between a heavenly and demonic wisdom.  We make a choice.  Which will we believe?  How consistent is our behavior with our belief?
  • “Everyone ought to fear to die until we have done something that will always live.”
  • Since people are all that go into eternity, we must center our lives around bringing them eternity’s perspective by making it crystal clear for them.

Jeremiah 45:5  “And do you seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them; for behold, I will bring adversity on all flesh," says the LORD.”

  • Sometimes God brings adversity by taking away our temporal dependencies so that we will transfer our hope from creation to Creator.

1 Peter 5:6-7  “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,  7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”

1 Peter 1:8-9  “…whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,  9 receiving the end of your faith -- the salvation of your souls.”

  • Do we believe that the best is reserved for last?  When Jesus turned the water to wine at Cana, He saved the best for last.  Do you live life with a deep sense of joy knowing that the best is yet to come?

Hebrews 13:14  “For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come.”

Hebrews 11:8-10  “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.  9 By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise;  10 for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”

Conclusion:

  • Why do we chase the shadows of the temporary when God has given us the substance of eternity?
  • Priorities should shape our practice.
  • Practice will reveal our priorities.  That why we need to renew our minds in the Scripture and cultivate a prayer life with God.
  • As one man put it, “What are you taking under your arm to the ultimate show and tell?”

Illustration:  Years ago, a preacher waited in line to have his car filled with gas just before a long holiday weekend.  The attendant worked quickly, but there were many cars ahead of the preacher.  Finally the attendant motioned him toward a vacant pump.

“Preacher,” said the young man, “sorry about the delay.  It seems as if everyone waits until the last minute to get ready for a long trip.”  The preacher chuckled, “I know what you mean.  It’s the same in my business.”

Is eternity in your heart this morning?

Hymn – O God, Our Help in Ages Past

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