I want to say just a little on the very wide subject of our Inheritance.
By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. (Hebrews 11:8)
We are familiar with this thought of the call of God on Abraham, and we probably dwell more on the idea of him being called and not knowing where he was going than we do in thinking on the inheritance that he was going to receive. That was a tremendous inheritance, and he died in faith that it would come to pass after his death. He believed there was an inheritance there beyond what he had already realized in God. And it is an inheritance that is saved for us. It’s something that God has for us in the future, but also now. Sometimes Christians have been teased and criticized for thinking of the future and ‘pie in the sky when you die’, and Satan is so clever in how he distorts the truth and makes ridicule of something tremendous, wonderful and life-changing, as we realize when we stop and think of the inheritance that is ours in Christ Jesus. He said: I go to prepare a place for you … Father, that they may behold Your glory, that they may be with Me where I am … In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. He has prepared for us a city and a wonderful inheritance that is beyond our understanding. It’s related to the peace of God, it’s related to the glory of God; it is where Christ is, for where Jesus Christ is, that is heaven to our souls and shall be for time and for eternity.
Peter speaks of this inheritance in a passage that in my Bible is entitled The Hope of Eternal Life:
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance – an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see. (1 Peter 1:3–5)
What has brought me to this meditation about the Inheritance is a personal situation during which I felt God bring the passages to me a week or two ago. For some time past we have realized that it would be wise to move house. We loved the place where we were, but due to health considerations particularly, and also to the ageing process that one doesn’t think about in earlier days, we felt it really was the best thing to do. But it was very hard to find anything at all suitable for us in the small area where we wanted to be and where the church is located, and we had more or less put it to the side when the house that we have now bought came on the market, and in a very short time (about two weeks) it was ours, our own was sold, and we moved in a few days ago.
As I thought about the whole situation and became aware of what had happened, I felt it was quite miraculous how certain things had worked out, and I had absolutely no doubt that God had provided for us. This is the bit that I find exceedingly moving: though I had seen God provide for other people in many ways, I knew the difficulties that we were facing, and it actually seemed quite a dark tunnel. I hadn’t really heard very much from God on our own particular difficulties (I’d heard from Him on many other matters). And when this happened, with the suddenness that often characterizes events when God moves, I have been overwhelmed with the sense of His goodness, His kindness, and simply His light: the light had come on in a very dark tunnel, and really He’d been there all the time, and He had stored up the right place for us.
It made me think all the more of the heavenly inheritance. I thought, if God has taken care of three of His children out of millions and millions, and has provided for us something that exactly fits our needs with a lot over (He’s an abundant giver, isn’t He? And lots of things are a bonus) – if He’s taken such care to provide this for us on earth, what care is He taking at this moment in heaven to prepare an inheritance there, the heavenly dwelling place? And much as I love where we are now, if He said to me: ‘You are to come home tonight to heaven,’ I would say: ‘Amen!’ But what care, what preparation, must there have been?
It caused me to think again of these verses in Peter - a favourite part of mine, because God spoke to me terribly clearly, a number of years ago, these very verses. It was at a time when I had lost various of those close to me in my family, and in quite quick succession – which made me feel that for me it was just round the corner, and it would soon be my turn to be going home to be with Christ. A few years had passed, and I always had this feeling. It wasn’t in my mind; it was almost like an inner felt assumption, and yet my mind didn’t really think that. And I remember one Saturday night going home after the meeting and sitting alone in my lounge, when I turned to my daily reading Bible and it opened at these verses in Peter. If ever God spoke to me, I felt Him speak to me that night. And I pass it on to you, because it’s not for me alone (obviously), but it’s for all those who love Christ Jesus and wait for His appearing. He said: All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ … We live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance – an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.
We can have an earthly inheritance, and it might have disappeared before we’re actually due to inherit – all sorts of unexpected changes happen in life. But our inheritance in heaven, the beauty, the joy and the perfection, the knowledge of God that shall be ours there, the dwelling place with Him: it’s priceless, and it’s being kept in heaven, it’s pure and undefiled and it won’t decay – and it’s real, it’s there, it’s waiting. No matter how difficult life might be for you just now, God is preparing that inheritance, and one day, sudden in a moment, the change will have happened, and we’ll be there with Him. And it’s being kept safe for us. But more than that, He says: And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be be revealed on the last day for all to see. He’s protecting you. He’s protecting you from the enemy; He’s protecting you from every arrow that the enemy sends; He’s protecting you from all the unhappiness – and should I say also all the distraction that can come into our lives through joy. He’s protecting us so that we’re ready for the inheritance that He is keeping safe for us. And He says:
So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. (I Peter 1:6)
The people to whom Peter was writing were enduring trials beyond anything that we are enduring. The following verse continues:
These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold – though your faith is far more precious than mere gold … and it will bring to you praise and glory and honour (1 Peter 1:7)
To you – but also to Christ. And there is wonderful joy ahead.
Another verse that really spoke to me during last week I will leave with you. I wasn’t reading it at the time, but as I was praying it came into my mind with a tremendous sense of power and certainty:
Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. (Malachi 3:10)
We often, I think, concentrate on the first part of that verse: Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, and that can sometimes bring a sense of condemnation or trepidation: ‘O God, what more have I to bring? Am I lacking in something? … Oh, if I don’t get blessed, it’s my fault.’
This is not just about personal blessing, though we are included in it, but it’s the second half of the verse that has been really living for me: I will open the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it – or a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in. ‘Try Me: put Me to the test. There is blessing in the cup, there is blessing still in the vine, and it shall overflow. Prove Me now,’ says God. ‘See if I will not open the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to contain.’
In these very present days some of us are returning as congregations to church. Next Sunday night we’ll have a meeting here again in Greenock with limited numbers and all the restrictions. Many of us are returning to church if we can, others are not, and online services are continuing as well as those in the church. And I have just such a sense that the heavens are waiting to pour out blessing upon us all: in our homes, through the online activity, in our services, and in our churches - O blessed, blessed house of God! I know we don’t worship the building, but we worship God in the building, and our building in Greenock, hallowed for over a hundred years, is very precious, because He is here, and He will be here. But He’ll be here with us and at home, wherever you are, wherever you will be over the next weeks, drinking in the blessing, expecting it: See if I will not open the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing. Anticipate it. In these days of real difficulty and gloom and uncertainty, there is an inheritance secure, and we begin to realize it here on this earth, and long for others to receive it also.
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