Tears in Heaven?
Let me begin by reading an unusual verse from Revelation 21,
at verse 4. Which says …”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”.
While we see and understand from this verse that tears and crying will be things of the past in Heaven, we can also see that initially there will be “Tears in Heaven” for the verse reads, God will wipe them away? My Sermon today is about those things over which we may cry, when we first experience Heaven, for there are initially “tears in Heaven”, and they will be such that God himself will have to wipe them away for ever. The Apostle Paul writing to the Christians in Corinth says: “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” 1 Cor. 13:12
Heaven is not just about getting our eyes open, but there is a “revelation” ahead of us there, that from our present perspective is cloudy, but in Heaven it will be clear.
Supposing I were to fill a glass with water and add a spoonful of mud and mix it up. I can shine a light through that muddy mixture and it will still appear as light. Yet we know the difference that clear water would make. In other words there will be things made clear to us then, that are not clear to us now? Yet we need to understand that heaven is not all about having our problems solved or our questions and queries answered. That will happen, but Heaven is so much more – thank God!
Now I wish to point out that I have no clear answers this side of
heaven, but I expect that some of the things that I will highlight today, will cause us those initial tears, and there may of course be many more?
First of all I believe that we shall cry over the high price, the cost of our Salvation. Today we only know about our Salvation and we only know the Saviour by Faith. There and then we shall know Him by Sight! There we shall most certainly meet and mingle with those who knew Jesus by sight here, while He walked this earth,… those that watched him as he suffered in agony and pain on the Cross. The imagination of such horrors fill us with remorse and regret and have lead us to repentance and faith in that finished and completed work of redemption, through such pictures – but in the Glory we shall see it all more clearly, we shall know it all completely and I expect it will grieve us to the core that “our sins” cost Him so much. Most of us will have seen film portraits of the Crucifixion, and if you are anything like me, you will have cried your eyes out at the flogging, the mocking, the brutality of the crucifixion. But here we see through muddied waters, there we shall see clearly. There we shall see Him who loved us even unto Death.
Then we may cry over our lack of gratitude. Some of us who have grown up in the Church and have accepted Jesus as our Sin Bearer and Saviour as children, will have become accustomed to our Salvation, almost taking it for granted, and may have allowed a familiarity with the things of God to rob us of that sense of gratitude and thanksgiving that others experience who have been saved from great evils. We should be thanking God every day for Jesus and for the Salvation that cost Him so much being offered to us Freely. Many will know on that day just how much ingratitude they’ve shown by their lifestyle and their living. In Luke 7, Jesus spoke of the woman who had anointed his feet with costly ointment that “Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” Luke 7:47 Are we loving him much for the much that has been forgiven us?
Loving Jesus is not about how much we may put in the offering plate on Sunday, but how much of us we have surrendered to His Lordship? Does God know that you love Him today, is he absolutely convinced that your heart belongs to him, or have you a divided heart and divided loyalties? There’s an old Hymn which I used to sing as a boy soprano which went like this:
“Bye and bye when I look on his face, I’ll wish I had given him more”.
What a tragedy to have had the greatest love of all time and to leave that love unrequited. Jesus loves you, God loves you and he could not love you any more than he does right now. God is not looking so much at what you were, or indeed at what you are, God is more concerned about what you can become, and His love is unequalled, underserved and unending. Nothing you have done can change that love, nothing you are doing can alter that love, and nothing you will ever do can quench that love. But every relationship is double-sided, God is reaching out to you today, but will you reach out and grasp his hand and his heart by faith, – all Heaven is waiting – for there is joy in the presence of the angels over one sinner that repents and turns
to the Love of God. Will you give him love for love?
So too in Heaven we may shed tears over our lack of the knowledge of God and of His word. Hosea 4:6 reads: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because they have rejected knowledge”. I find it incomprehensible that many
within the Church are failing to search and study the word of God for themselves and many are relying on the wisdom, insight or revelation of the Preachers alone. Can I ask you a simple question, … “how do you know how rich you are?” The answer most of you would give me, is that you check your banking and investment statements. So you can never know how wealthy you are Spiritually unless and until you check in with Gods statements. Gods Word is the mirror that reveals to you what you are and what you have and what you will have in Him, both for time and for eternity. But if you don’t know what God has invested in you and in your happiness and well-being, you may well spend your whole life never knowing how much you had, never knowing your true identity.
God has been showing me recently that it is possible for us to get to heaven and have never understood, never known and never grasped the fact that we are supposed to be living as Christ! Victors in this world, not as victims. We are supposed to be different, set apart, sanctified, a peculiar people, Gods own people and some I recon will cry about it in the Glory to come.
Many too have misunderstood the provisions that God has made for our Christian walk, they do not believe nor fully embrace those many provisions. They deny the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit, and they fail to walk in the supernatural. They deny the presence and protection of the angels and fail to see or notice their interaction in life. They deny the power of dreams and visions and fail to understand what God is saying into their lives, settling only for what He has said. They likewise deny the power of Fasting and Speaking in tongues and end up
“short-changed” in their walk and work.
They are too sin conscious and not Christ conscious to make any real impact to change their world, and they know little or nothing about real dynamic prayer and power with God. They expect so little and receive so little when they could have so much. I see their tears in Glory, don’t you?
Many may cry over their lack of faith. In Luke 18, the Lord Jesus is speaking about Faith and Prayer and he tells a story, a parable about an unjust Judge and a wearisome woman. And the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust Judge saith.
And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”
I recon that I have preached more on the subject of “faith” than on any other subject in the Bible, and rightly so, for faith is essential to a Biblical walk and a Biblical understanding.
Jesus was pointing out here that the persistence of this woman who was seeking justice was potentially wearisome to the Judge and that in order to spare himself the continuing hassle, he vindicated her and judged in her favour. Jesus then went on to say that God will do the same, and do so speedily, but that the key is faith.
The faith of which Jesus was speaking is the kind of faith that he wants to see on the earth when he returns. Many have faith but not persisting faith. The lesson here was not about persisting prayer, such is not necessary, for we are supposed to ask and believe that we receive. It is when we have asked and not received immediately or quickly that faith falters and fails.
God will answer speedily, but His timing and ours may be out of synchronization, nevertheless our faith should remain strong.
We should know that the answer is there even though we do not yet see it. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not yet seen”. As I’ve taught you, in the delay fear creeps in, and blows the fuse, so faith cannot work.
Will you cry in Heaven over your lack of faith?
There may be those who will cry over their lack of vision and forward thinking and planning. Many a grand Church lies derelict and in ruin today because there was no vision for the future and no forward thinking. To concentrate on the present and ignore the future is fatal. Amos 6:v1 says “Woe to them that are at ease in Zion…” I believe that there are many in the Churches today who fall into this category, many who are resting on their past laurels, and see no necessity for a fresh vision and a fruitful future. Those who are contented with past blessings, past experiences of God, past understanding of the Scriptures, old ways and old-time religion. Elijah worked so that Elisha could follow him, Paul worked so that Timothy would follow him, so who will follow you? A Church or Congregation that is not actively involving and including the young will crumble and crash. Even the Forestry Commission who will cut down Trees, are planting new ones to replace them. That’s Vision, but “where there is no vision, the people perish”
Then there may be those who will cry over their failures. Many Christians are plagued by the thoughts of failure, but we need to remember that God does not ask us to be successful, but faithful.
It is God who measures our success; and success can ever only
be measured by our union with Christ, without Him, we can do nothing. Let us consider this subject of failure for a moment in the light of eternity. Most of us when we are aware of our failings will examine ourselves to see where we went wrong, or what we did wrong, and in that our focus is wrong. When things are not going right for us, we automatically assume that we have failed in some way, or sinned in some omission or commission, – thereby bringing judgement and chaos on ourselves.
We derive this attitude or reaction from the Old Testament laws of Deuteronomy, “A Blessing for Obedience and a Cursing for Disobedience”. As I’ve said, in this our Focus is wrong and our Theology is also wrong? God does not bless or reward us because we have done the right thing, – That was the way it worked while we were under Law. But now, we are under Grace, – God blesses us because we are Children of Abraham and Heirs with Christ of that Promise.
When we sense failure, our focus first needs to be on our enemy, the Devil. Supposing I go out today and leave the back door open by mistake and a thief comes in and steals my dinner from the oven. I should not blame myself, I should blame the thief. It would be entirely his fault that I had no dinner, not mine. After all, it is my door, my oven and my food. Most Christians will blame themselves for the failures in their lives, without first of all blaming the enemy of their souls. Satan is out to steal, kill and destroy us, so lets blame him first, – then we can talk later with the Lord about the door issues.
Then I recon that there will be some who will cry in the Glory over their successes. These will be those who have measured their success by what they themselves or others have thought of their achievements. Others will cry over their accolades and
awards. Jesus said: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21
There will be many on that day which will have thought themselves successful in Gods sight, only to discover that the fruit of their labours have turned into ashes in the hands of God.
There will be many who will have “done their own thing,
their own will” only to discover that it was not Gods will.
Their performance based accolades and awards will go up in smoke in the fires of Gods testing. Be careful that you are not seeking the applause of men above the approval of God.
Then I recon that there will also be some who will shed tears over their families and friends. Some of you listening (because you’ve told me) are the only one who is Christian in your whole family. Some too are the only Christian in that office, that factory, that school, or that Golf Club. You are responsible to God for “Your World”, and I am responsible for mine.
When Jesus said “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel” he added “begin first at Jerusalem” Luke 24:47
In other words Jesus was telling us that we must begin first at home, with our own families, in our own neighbourhood, in our own town, in our own country before we can take the message to the wider world. Begin first in the world that is yours, because if your testimony is not worth 2 cents at home it will not be worth 2 cents abroad. I am not saying that we should at every turn bombard our loved ones with religion, slap a guilt trip on them, or make them feel uncomfortable in our company. That’s no way to preach the gospel. We are to love them and live before them as befits the Sons of God. If they cannot see Jesus in You, they may never see Jesus. Think about that! What a tragedy to be forever searching Heaven for one you love who is not there because you were ashamed to open your mouth and speak a word for Jesus. Jesus said:
“Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels”. Mark 8:38
I began my work and witness with my mates at School, then my neighbours, then in the town-lands around my home, then in the village, then the towns and cities in every county of Ulster, in Schools, Colleges and Universities, in Churches and Chapels, in Mission Halls and Tents, in Scotland, England and Wales, and then I moved on to ministry in Dublin and the Irish Republic before crossing the world to more than 30 countries in 40 years of Preaching and Reaching the world for Jesus and I don’t intend to stop until God calls or carries me home. I have too many friends and neighbours who are still separated from Christ to give up now. I’d rather cry for their living souls Here – than cry for their lost souls in Eternity.
I expect that all of us will shed tears over lost opportunities.
Who but God alone knows what might have been had we grasped every opportunity that was before us. Sadly for many of us our focus has more often be on the things of time than the things of eternity. When God eventually shows us what we might have been had we truly followed faithfully in His word and His way, then I believe that all of us will have tears of regret over lost opportunities. Plans made for us that we never got to see. Doors that were open to us that we never went through.
People who were there for us, who we never got to meet. Thrones that were reserved for us that we’ll never sit on, and Crowns which might have graced our heads, that we will
If only we had trusted in Him more, walked with Him more, talked with Him more, lived like Him more, how differently the story might have been … yes we’ll cry about it, and only God Himself will be able to wipe away those tears.
NOW THIS FINAL WORD.
In Valladolid, in Spain, where Christopher Columbus died in 1506, there stands a monument commemorating the great discoverer. Perhaps the most interesting feature of the memorial is a statue of a Lion destroying one of the Latin words that had been part of Spain’s motto for centuries. Before Columbus made his voyages, the Spaniards thought they had reached the outer limits of earth. Thus their motto was
“Ne Plus Ultra,” which means “No More Beyond.”
The word being torn away by the Lion is “ne” or “no,” making it read “Plus Ultra.” Columbus had proven that there was indeed “more beyond.” We as Christians know that there is more beyond, that there is a life and a world and a heaven beyond this life, this world and this earth. We know too that there is an eternity beyond this time.
And as I bring today’s message to a close, I do so with a simple question, … How are your preparations for eternity going?
May God Help you to make the right choices and so lay up for yourself treasure in Heaven.