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Living Heaven on Earth

Last night a challenged a group of senior high students to live “heaven on earth” this week. Immediately upon offering this challenge I was told by one wonderful young lady that I was being cliche. But the more we talked about it, the more we all realized that the challenge is not cliche but an essential part of the gospel.

Our senior high small group is working its way through Scot McKnight’s Embracing Grace: A Gospel for All of Us. Last night we were on chapter 5: The Epic of the Eikon. The basic thesis of the chapter is this: “There is an unbreakable connection between Eden and Eternity, between Genesis and Revelation, between The Beginning and the Ending” (p. 53). In other words, Eden was the world as God intended it and Eternity is the world as God intended it. In Scot’s words: “Humans will be in union with God and in communion with others, for the good of others and the created order. It is Eden all over again, only better. Eternity is the unleashing of the cycle of embracing grace” (p. 56).

So I asked our students: what are you most excited about for the new heavens and new earth? Their responses included no sin, perfect relationships, union with God, a life of worship of God, etc (yes, they are a good group of Sr. Highers!). Then came the challenge…

I challenged them to live this week as if they were in Eternity. I challenged them to live heaven on earth. Far from being cliche, this is the gospel! The gospel is a call to love God and love others here and now!  Even though sin remains in the world until Christ returns, faith in Jesus Christ and the empowering of the Holy Spirit enables God’s children to live and experience a little bit of Eternity today!  Since these students all have a vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ and are empowered with the Holy Spirit, they have a responsibility to love God and love others this week. An in so doing, they will be living out the gospel and experiencing a little bit of Eternity.

So I give the same challenge to you: live heaven on earth this week.  Do everything for the glory of God.  Use only words that encourage, not words that tear down.  Give to those in need.  Visit those who are lonely.  Tell someone about Jesus Christ.  Take extra time to buy your wife and kids an ice-cream treat.  Whatever it looks like in your context, live heaven on earth this week.

Next week I’ll ask them how they lived and experienced Eternity this week. I look forward to that conversation.

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  1. March 4, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    Excellent post.
    Keep up the great work.
    In Him,
    Kinney Mabry

  2. March 5, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    Brian:
    I have had three funerals in the last two weeks and I have tried to paint a picture of God’s work that redeems every nook and cranny of creation.
    Today I spoke of Adam’s far reaching rebellion (bringing curse and death) and then Christ’s far reaching resurrection (bringing light and life). Unfortunately, we are in the shadowlands between the dawning of Christ’s redemptive work and the full light of God’s dwelling with man where Christ is our light and a new Eden is our home. We groan as we wait for the redemption of our bodies and all creation.
    I like – it’s Eden all over again, but better. Thanks for the post.

  1. March 5, 2008 at 12:06 pm

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