The Lewis and Clark Expedition! They were that bold group of explorers that Thomas Jefferson sent to explore the largely uncharted Louisiana Purchase. The expedition was under the leadership of Captains Lewis and Clark, and it faced blazing heat and bone-chilling cold. They had some close calls with vicious animals, they were attacked by insects, they had the prospect of massacre by many Indian tribes whose land they were crossing, there were perilous passages, and even the death of one of their own. After a year and a half of paying a really high price, Captain William Clark stood one day in the bow of his boat, pointed west up the Columbia River, and shouted, “Ocean in view!” Later he wrote in his journal: “Ocean in view! O joy! Great joy in camp! For we are in view of the ocean, this great Pacific Ocean which we had been so long anxious to see!”

I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about “That Breathtaking Finish Line.”

When I saw that incredible moment dramatized in a movie recently, something happened in my heart, because I saw myself at the bow of my boat some day, pointing ahead and shouting, “Heaven in view! O the joy!” There it will be – the gates of heaven – the entrance into the personal presence of the King I have tried to serve for so long. The place and the person that I had been “so long anxious to see!” The ultimate, triumphant finish line!

I don’t know what kind of struggle you’ve been through lately. I don’t know what the hardships are, the hurts, the disappointments of your life. But I do know that when you see your great reward, you’ll never think again about the great struggle to get there. The Apostle Paul was one of Jesus’ all-time great warriors. And in the last chapter of the last book of the Bible he ever wrote, he reflects on his journey and looks just upriver to his glorious finish line. It’s in 2 Timothy 4:6, our word for today from the Word of God.

Paul tells his young protégé Timothy to “discharge all the duties of your ministry.” Why? “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord … will award to me on that day.” Okay, let me translate this into how we might say it today: “Yee-hah! It’s worth it all!” Or something like that.

Remembering your finish line really affects how you make today’s values choices. You invest in what’s going to matter in heaven, not what matters on earth. You’ll spend on what will last forever. And with heaven in view, you realize you cannot let the people around you miss heaven because you didn’t tell them about Jesus and how to get there.That isn’t just about then. It’s also about now. Because when Paul was in the middle of the hardships, he said, “We do not lose heart … for our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” Today’s crushing troubles weigh in much lighter when you put heaven on the other side of the scale.

Maybe you’re not so sure you’re going to heaven when you die. Did you know how you can be? The Bible plainly says, “He that has the Son (that’s Jesus, the Son of God), has life.” So if you’ve put your total trust for going to heaven in Jesus, the One who died to pay for the sin – the sin that would keep you out of heaven – then you “have the Son of God” and you have heaven.

If not, honestly, you are risking an awful eternity every day you live without Jesus. But this could be the day that you tell Him you’re all His. When you give Him what He died for – your life. And this could be the day you change your eternal address from hell to heaven.

Our website is all about helping to get across that finish line. And if you go there today, I promise you, you will find some very helpful information. That’s

Death has no fear for the person who knows, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that heaven is on the other side. That Jesus is on the other side. For one of these days, the long, hard journey will be over and I hope you’ll be shouting, “Heaven in view!”