Sunday, April 15, 2007

A Heavenly Celebration

In Luke 15 Jesus narrated three short stories that illustrate a moral attitude or a religious principle. Each story spoke to the subject of something that is lost and subsequently found: The Parable of the Lost Sheep... The Parable of the Lost Coin... and The Parable of the Lost Son.

Each parable comes gift-wrapped with its own celebration invitation: the shepherd's celebration, the housewife's celebration, and the father's celebration.

We see the point being made that when something lost is found rejoicing shows up at the party or celebration every time!

But, there is one celebration or party that stands out as a celebration or party to beat all celebrations or parties - and that is the heavenly celebration that takes place when one sinner repents!

Luke 15:10. Even so, I tell you, there is joy among and in the presence of the angels of God over one person who repents.

The late great Anglican theologian and author, Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834 - 1892), once wrote: "There are Christmas Days in Heaven where Christ’s High Mass is kept, and Christ is not glorified because he was born in a manger but because he is born in a broken heart. And these are days when the Shepherd brings home the lost sheep upon His shoulders, when the Church has swept her house and found the lost piece of money, for then are these friends and neighbors called together, and they rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory over one sinner who repents."

Tell me, how does one explain such joy - unspeakable joy?

What is there about the repentance of one sinner that causes such a stir in Heaven? We are simply not talking here, about a nation of people, or a province or state of people, or a county, city, or town of people. We are talking about joy - unspeakable joy - when one sinner changes his heart and life!

How could a single individual cause such excitement?

Who could ever imagine that the actions of a single person could ever create such an impact on Heaven?"

The majority of us can live and die on this planet called Earth - leaving behind nothing but an obituary - our greatest actions as living human beings, for the most part, going largely unnoticed and unrecorded! Armed with such knowledge, dare we think that an Omnipotent (all-powerful), Omniscient (all-knowing), Omnipresent (everywhere at once) God would be paying attention to us?

Well, we just read in Luke 15:10 that Almighty God is, indeed, paying attention to us!

Someone wrote: "Our actions, played upon the keyboard of earth, trigger the hammers on the piano strings of Heaven! Our obedience to Almighty God pulls the ropes which ring those golden bells in Heaven’s belfries! The Angels begin to sing!

Let a child cry out and the ear of Almighty God inclines!

Let a Saint of God weep and tears begin to flow from above!

Let a saint die and the "Gates of Heaven" are opened!

Let a child of God pray and watch God work!

But, more importantly, let a sinner repent, and every other activity ceases, and every Heavenly Being joins the celebration rejoicing!"

Isn’t that a remarkable thing? Just look at Heaven’s response to our conversion!

There is nothing else - "under the sun" - that brings forth such excitement and joy in Heaven!

As far as I can tell, Heaven does not break out with a celebration or "Heavenly Party" when we are born, when we graduate from high school or college, when we get married, when we start our own business, when we become independently wealthy! NO, NO, NO, my brothers and sisters, there is no grand celebration for those events - as far as I know - which leaves the question:

"Why now, why the big deal in Heaven over our individual conversion? Why?"

The Bible tells us that we are created in the image of God, are we not?

So, do we drop everything we are doing and celebrate when we hear of one of our brothers or sisters being saved?

Is our day made just a little better or has our "bad day" been salvaged? Perhaps, we are pleased with that knowledge, but where is the exuberance, where is the joy, such as Heaven displays? Where are the fireworks, where is the band, where is the cake, where is the party?

So, tell me, why do the angels of God rejoice over one single sinner that repents. Do they know something that we do not know. Do they see something that we do not see?

The answer is "YES!" to both things.

They know the value of that soul! (It cost Jesus His life!!!!!)

They know what Heaven holds for the sinner saved by grace -

They have seen the table prepared for the "Marriage Supper of the Lamb" -

They have heard the music - and, they simply cannot wait for our arrival at the party! Why?
Because they know that "something good is going to happen" - for when we finally join the Heavenly Celebration, a final transformation will take place and we will be just like our Elder Brother, just like Jesus, Himself!

Isn’t that "good news"?

I John 3:2 "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is."

Out of all the blessings that are found in the storerooms of Heaven, isn’t it good to know that we will be one of the greatest blessings there - that we are Almighty God’s greatest achievement -

Almighty God’s masterpiece of creation - a "piece of work" - a "work in progress" that has now been completed - a sinner saved by grace - a work that brings joy to the eyes of God?

John 17:24. " Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world."

Ephesians 2:5-10."Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 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."

When we reach our Heavenly Goal - the final Heavenly Celebration for us - we will be shouting for joy - "Redeemed! Redeemed! Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb!"

Why? Because we will hear those immortal words spoken by Jesus, the Christ, in Matthew 25:21 in the "Parable of the Talents: "Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."

We will have a "heart" like Jesus, we will love with a "perfect" love, we will worship with a "radiant" face, we will hear "firsthand" every Word that Almighty God speaks, we will be just like Jesus!

Our hearts will be pure, our words will be like the "Crown Jewels" of Heaven, our thoughts will be like Heaven’s greatest treasures, we will be guiltless, fearless, thrilled beyond compare, tireless in our worship of Almighty God, flawlessly discerning in every thing - we will be just like Jesus - and, my brothers and sisters, what is even more, everyone else will be just like Jesus as well!

All tears will be wiped from our eyes, there will be no sickness, no death, no trials or tribulations - why? Because that Perfect Day will have come and we will find ourselves in the Perfect Place for a Perfect People - a place populated by brothers and sisters - saints -

Those who have allowed Almighty God to change their lives for the better!

Even greater than that, our Elder Brother, Jesus Christ, will rejoice over our arrival at the celebration - at the party - knowing that Eternal Life is our reward - knowing that we have been saved from Eternal Damnation - knowing that we will live forever in a place where "GOD IS" and not in the place where "GOD IS NOT"! Knowing that His death was not in vain!

There are some things that each and every one of us needs to know and understand:

1.
We are either proceeding down the "Highway to Heaven" or we are heading down that "broad way that leadeth to destruction"! Jesus, the Christ, tells us in Matthew 7:13-14 (KJV): "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: (vs. 14) Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."

2. We are either wise people - sending up our timber - building our house upon the "Rock" or we are foolish people building our house upon the sand!

Jesus Christ, tells us in Matthew 7:24-27 "Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it."

3.
We are either wise and prepared or we are evil and unprepared!

Jesus, the Christ, tells us in Matthew 24:45-51 "Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of. And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

In our lesson this morning we find that heaven rejoices when we are saved.. All the angels rejoice. God rejoices !

It’s at this time that the Holy Spirit can began to work! It’s at this time that God the Father looks at the Angels and says, "Get down there and help that soul!

Psalm 91

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.

Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.

A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.