Seven Things found in Glory – sermonBy
The following sermon outline is a portion of a larger sermon by the well known and loved Puritan preacher, Thomas Watson. It is an excerpt out his sermon entitled, The Death of the Righteous.
At death, the SOULS of believers pass into glory. Death brings Death brings the removal of all evils, and the attainment of all blissful things! Death is the daybreak of eternal brightness. Here I shall lead you to the top of Mount Pisgah and give you a glimpse of the Holy Land.
What is comprehended, in heavenly glory?
"Glory is a state of being made perfect, by the gathering together of every precious thing," Boethius. It is a perfect state of bliss, which consists in the accumulation and heaping together all the precious things of which immortal souls are capable. And truly here I am at a loss; for all I can say falls short of the reality of celestial glory. Appelles' pencil cannot delineate it! Angels' tongues cannot express it! We shall never understand glory fully—until we are in heaven! Let me give you some dark views only, and some imperfect lineaments of that state of glory at which saints shall arrive after death.
1. The first and most sublime part of the glory of heaven—is the full and sweet fruition of God.
We are apt to think the happiness of heaven, is in being free from pain and misery; but the very essence of happiness is the enjoyment and fruition of God. God is an infinite inexhaustible fountain of joy; and to have him, is to have all. Were there glory in God—yet, if there were not love, it would much eclipse the joys of heaven; but "God is love." The glorified saints cannot love God so much—as they are loved by God. What is their love—compared to God's love? What is their candle—compared to this Sun? God loves his people on earth, when they are black with sin and imperfections. But oh! how entirely will he love them when they are "without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish—when they will be holy and without fault!"
"You will be called Hephzibah, (that is, God's delight)" Isaiah 62:4. This is the felicity of heaven, to be in the sweet embraces of God's love—the delight of the King of Glory—to be sunning ourselves in the light of God's countenance. Then the saints shall know that love of Christ which passes knowledge. Eph 3:19. From this glorious manifestation of God's love—will flow infinite joy into the souls of the blessed; therefore heaven is called "entering into the joy of our Lord."
The seeing God, loving God, and being loved by God—will cause a jubilation of spirit, and create such holy raptures of joy in the saints, which are unspeakable and full of glory! "There is a certain sweetness about God, which delights—nay, rather, ravishes the soul!" Augustine.
On earth, the saints spend their years with sighing; they weep over their sins and afflictions. In heavenly glory, their water shall be turned into wine; their sorrow will be turned into joy; the vessels of mercy shall be filled and run over with joy. They shall have their palm branches and harps in their hand, in token of their triumphs and rejoicing. Rev 14:2.
2. The second thing comprehended in glory—is the good SOCIETY there.
There are the angels. Every star adds to the light. Those blessed cherubim will welcome us to paradise. If the angels rejoiced at the conversion of the elect, how will they rejoice at their coronation! There is the company of the saints. "The spirits of just men made perfect."
Will the saints in glory know each other?
Certainly they shall; for our knowledge in heaven shall not be diminished—but increased. We shall not only know our godly friends and relations—but we shall also know those glorified saints whom we never saw before! It must be so; for society without acquaintance is not comfortable. Indeed, the Scripture seems to hint as much to us; for, if Peter in the transfiguration knew Moses and Elijah, whom he never saw before—then surely in heaven the saints shall know one another, and be infinitely delighted in each other's company!
3. The third thing comprehended in glory—is perfection in HOLINESS.
Holiness is the beauty of God and angels—it makes heaven. What is happiness—but the essence of holiness? Here on earth, a Christian's grace is imperfect. At death believers shall arrive at perfection of grace. Then this sun shall be in its meridian splendor! Then shall they not need to pray for increase of grace, for they shall be as the angels—their light shall be clear, and their joy shall be full.
4. The fourth thing in glory—is DIGNITY and HONOR.
They shall reign as kings! Therefore glorified saints are said to have their royal insignia—their white robes and their crown. Rev 7:9. Caesar, after his victories, in token of honor, had a chair of ivory set for him in the senate, and a throne in the theater. Just so, the saints, having obtained their victories over sin and Satan, will be enthroned with Christ in the empyreal heaven. To sit with Christ denotes safety; to sit on the throne denotes dignity. "This honor have all the saints."
5. The fifth thing in glory is—the HARMONY and union among the heavenly inhabitants.
The devil cannot get his cloven foot into heaven! He cannot conjure up any storms of contention there. There shall be perfect union. There is no jarring string in the heavenly music! There is nothing to make any trouble—there is no pride or envy there. Though one star may differ from another, one may have a greater degree of glory—yet every vessel shall be full. There shall the saints and angels sit as olive-plants around about their Father's table—in love and unity. Then shall they join together in concert, then shall the loud anthems of praise be sung in the heavenly choir!
6. The sixth thing in glory is a blessed REST.
"There remains a rest for the people of God." It is a happy transition—from toil to rest. Here on earth, we can have no rest, tossed and turned as a ball on the ocean. "We are troubled on every side." How can a ship rest—in a storm? But after death the saints get into their haven. Everything is quiet in the center. God is "the center where the soul does sweetly acquiesce." A Christian, after his weary marches and battles, shall take off his bloody armor, and rest himself upon the bosom of Jesus—that bed of perfume! When death has given the saints the wings of a dove, then they shall fly away to paradise and be at rest!
7. The seventh thing in glory is its ETERNITY.
"An eternal weight of glory." Glory is a weight. The Hebrew word for glory is a weight. God must make us able to bear it. An eternal weight. Glory is such an eternal manna—as does not breed worms. If the saints' glory in heaven were but for a time—and they were in fear of losing it—it would eclipse and embitter the joys of heaven. But eternity is written upon their joys. The garland made of the flowers of paradise will never wither.
I have read of a river called the Day-river, which runs with a full torrent during the day—but at night is dried up. Such are all earthly comforts—they run with a full stream all the daytime of life—but at the night of death—they are dried up! The glorified saints shall drink of the rivers of pleasure for evermore. Eternity is the heaven of heavens! "At the last, our joy shall be never-ending," Bernard. The joys of heaven are overflowing and everlasting! "You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand." Psalm 16:11.
WHEN do believers enter upon possession of glory?
They pass immediately after death, into glory. The Romans, when their great men died, caused an eagle to be let loose, and fly about in the air—signifying hereby that the soul was immortal, and did not die with the body. Christ tells us, the soul is not capable of being killed, therefore not of dying. Matt 10:28. And as the soul does not die, so neither does it sleep in the body for a time. If the soul at death is absent from the body—it cannot sleep in the body. 2 Cor 5:8. There is an immediate passage from death to glory; it is but the twinkling of an eye—and we shall see God" "This day shall you be with me in paradise." Luke 23:43. By paradise is meant heaven: the third heaven, into which Paul was taken. 2 Cor 12:4. Christ said to the thief on the cross, "This day shall you be with me in paradise." His body could not be there, for it was laid in the grave; but it was spoken of his soul—that it should be, immediately after death, in heaven. Let none be so vain as to talk of purgatory. A soul purged by Christ's blood, needs no fire of purgatory—but goes immediately from a deathbed, into a glorified state!
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