This is a sermon my Dad, Jerry Trammell, preached at his church, First Assembly of God, Dumas Texas on October 20th 2004.
Keep your eyes on your goal.
You know we all have heard the cliche’ in times past of some people who were “so heavenly minded that they were of no earthly good.” And of course the main application of the cliche’ is normally directed towards people who seemed to have some kind of super spiritual mentality.
But you know I can’t find much of an application to that old cliche’ anymore. Because the fact is I don’t think that there are to many Christians today who are too heavenly minded.
I believe that one of the reasons Christians are so susceptible to discouragement is because they have taken their eyes off their heavenly goal, and their attention has centered in on earthly things with all its problems and difficulties.
Church, I believe that God has prepared some marvelous things for His people. And I believe that we need to start giving more thought to those things that God has prepared for us, just like our text says. God has some wonderful things in store for His people, both now and for eternity. And they are so wonderful that they are beyond our capability of even imagining how wonderful they are. But though we cannot possibly comprehend all that God has prepared for them that love Him, yet there are some things that have been revealed to us that we can comprehend.
For a few moments I want to preach to you from the subject, “Keep your eyes on your goal.”
It is my firm belief that by keeping our focus on heavenly things that it will help us to be an overcomer now. For by keeping our focus on heavenly things it serves to encourage us. When we are cognizant of the prize waiting us at the end of this age, it also helps to keep us from getting bogged down in the mundane, discouraging things that we have to deal with here on a daily basis.
By Keeping our eyes on our heavenly goals it helps to instill is us a determination to finish this race.
I believe this is seen in the life of the Apostle Paul. Philippians 3:14 – I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. I think that it is obvious here that Paul never lost sight of the fact that at the end of this life’s journey there was a heavenly prize waiting for Him. I read within the Scriptures where Paul had a heavenly visiton and it was one that impacted his life, and helped him to keep focus on God’s heavenly goal.
2 Corinthians 12:2-4 (NLT) – I was caught up into the third heaven fourteen years ago. Whether my body was there or just my spirit, I don’t know; only God knows. But I do know I was caught up into paradise and heard things so astounding that they cannot be told. Paul never forgot that vision, nor never lost sight of what awaited him in eternity. This is evident by what He says in Philippians 1:23 (NLT) – I’m torn between two desires: Sometimes I want to live, and sometimes I long to go and be with Christ. That would be far better for me. The desire to leave this world and go to heaven was always of paramount importance to Paul. He had a heavenly vision and longed for the time when he would leave this world so that he might experience all the things he had seen while being caught up into the paradise of God.
God’s people, I believe, need to catch a vision of heavenly things. We need to become more aware of what God has prepared for us. We need to catch a vision of that heavenly city, and begin to long for the time when we will be able to wak on those streets of gold.
Even Abraham of Old Testament times possessed such a vision. Hebrews 11:8-10 (NIV) – By faith Abraham made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. Surely if Abraham had the faith to have such a heavenly goal in mind you and I can too.
How can we have a realistic goal? By realizing that much has been revealed to us as to what is awaiting them that love and serve the Lord. John 14:2-4 (NKJV) – In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. Have you ever wondered what your mansion will be like? Have you ever wondered about its furnishings? Oh listen church; you need to catch a glimpse of what the Lord has prepared for you in eternity. You need not have a vision of your heavenly goal. When you are busy pressing toward and reaching toward your heavenly prize it will lift up your spirits, knowing that every soon now you are going to inherit your heavenly home. Keeping that heavenly prize ever before you will help instill within you a determination to make it regardless of the cost you may have to pay.
The Book of Revelation reveals much of our heavenly prize. For it gives us a description of the city within which our mansion is located.
Notice the description John gives concerning the city of New Jerusalem, which is where our mansion is located. Revelation 21:2 – I saw the holy city, the New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a beautiful bride prepared for her husband. Revelation 21:10-21 (NLT) – So he took me in spirit to a great high mountain, and he showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. It was filled with the glory of God and sparkled like a precious gem, crystal clear like jasper. Its walls were broad and high, with twelve gates guarded by twelve angels. And the names of the twelve tribes of Israel were written on the gates. There were three gates on each side–east, north, south, and west. The wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were written the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. The angel who talked to me held in his had a gold measuring stick to measure the city, its gates, and its wall. When he measured it, he found it was a square, as wide as it was long. In fact, it was in the form of a cube, for its length and width and height were each 1500 miles. Then he measured the walls and found them to be 216 feet thick (the angel used a standard human measure). The wall was made of jasper, and the city was built on foundation stones inlaid with twelve gems: the first was jasper, the second, sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were made of pearls – each gate from a single pearl! And the main street was pure gold, clear as glass.
When Paul said what he said in the text he didn’t mean that we have no insight as to what God has prepared for His people; but I believe that he meant that what God has prepared for us is so awesome, so great, so magnificent, and so wonderful that even when being told of its grandeur its still impossible for us to comprehend the beauty of it all.
Oh church, how long has it been since you have longed to go home to be with the Lord? How long has it been since you were consumed by the desire to go home to be with the Lord so that you might obtain your heavenly prize? Oh church, don’t lose sight of the heavenly prize; Keep your eyes on your heavenly goal.