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Series: Hope; Sonship; Faith
Sun am 11th August 2013 – Pastor Kobus Swart
(1 Cor. 13:13); (2 Tim. 4:7); (Matt. 6:25-34); (Rom. 4:18); Titus 2:11-14; 1 John 3:2-3;
Col. 3:4; John 17:22-23; Phil. 1:5; (Matt. 28:11-15); (John 11:11-25); Rom. 8:23;
1 Cor. 15:20-28; Phil. 3:20-21; Acts 1:11; Hab. 2:14; Rom. 8:19-25; Rev. 21:1-2; (Heb. 10:37)
Much has been said from this pulpit about living in the now, living in the present; do not live in the past or the future. Do not worry about tomorrow or yesterday (Matt. 6:25-34). Western society has conditioned us to always stress about tomorrow or to grieve failures of the past or to revel in achievements of the past, while today slips by and we live in the vacuum.
That does not mean, however, that we do not have a future! What keeps us going is faith, hope and love; woven into it is trust. Paul’s last words: I finished the course, run the race and kept the faith (2 Tim. 4:7). If you have hope, you are expectant, you anticipate, you live on tiptoe; you lean forward in your walk because you hope. Many people hope for many things but the hope we are talking about is called the blessed hope of His appearing (Titus 2:13). For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus … (Titus 2:11-14). The word “appearing” in the Greek is ‘epiphaneia’ meaning ‘manifestation’. The blessed hope does not refer to the ‘second coming’ as it has been defined over the last century or so.
This blessed hope is further strengthened by the following scriptures: Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears (to make visible), we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure (1 John 3:2-3). When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory (Col. 3:4). We are revealed with Him in glory. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, … (John 17:22-23). We don’t become perfect before joining the corporate; we are being perfected in the corporate.
The most powerful coming events are grounded in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. From the time of His resurrection, rumors were spread that it was a lie, that He never died (Matt. 28:11-15). The enemy knew where his downfall was. Satan is fighting this truth. Without the practical, physical resurrection of Jesus Christ there is no Christianity. Our blessed hope is anchored in the fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, because in the resurrection of Jesus we find the following pointers for other events to come. Believing in the resurrection of Jesus Christ should make you a believer in the following:
(1) Out of His resurrection follows our own bodily resurrection. All who died as believers are only asleep and they will be awakened, because Jesus was raised from the dead (John 11:11-25). And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body (Rom. 8:23). It means breaking into resurrection life. But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, … The last enemy that will be abolished is death. … When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all (1 Cor. 15:20-28). He was the first-fruits who rose from the dead, which means there will be more.
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory… (Phil. 3:20-21). We, in our resurrection bodies, are going to be like “This Jesus” (Acts 1:11).
You may look at the present world condition and wonder… But we must remember: But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him. But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus… (Heb. 2:8-9). We do see Jesus having been resurrected from the dead. So we have this blessed hope that not only our body will be transformed to conformity with His body, but also this earth and the entire cosmos and universe will be filled with the glory of God.
How is God going to renew the earth? Like a mother giving birth to a boy! The old is going to give birth to the new. …For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it (Rom. 8:19-25). This transformation is not only for our bodies but for all of the cosmos, all of the universe. His glory will fill the earth as the waters cover the sea (Hab. 2:14). The whole planet will be drenched and filled with God Himself. All of creation is in travail (Rom. 8:19-22), waiting for the manifestation of the Son in the sons. It is this hope that keeps me going.
(2) The resurrection of God’s children will herald new life for all of creation. The future that is promised to the whole world depends on what happened 2000 thousand years ago; all decay and death with be done away with because of what the resurrection of Jesus Christ stands for. Something is going to happen to this creation, that is rooted in the resurrection of Jesus. A new creation is going to be born. There will be redemption and a renewal. Most of the countries of the world are in decay, there is political and financial chaos. We can stand on the truth that the Son of God who was God Himself died and was resurrected from the dead. That is the basis of Christianity and of our blessed hope. It gives hope to all of creation which is going to break into this transformation. He is going to make things new, not make new things.
The greatest marriage is still ahead when heaven and earth will become one. Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband (Rev. 21:1-2). When we were sinners, God did not destroy us but He renewed us. He is going to do the same with the earth. This our blessed hope, this is why Jesus was raised from the dead, to see all these transformations take place. We cannot afford despair, we cannot give up. We have this blessed hope. Let us not draw back into destruction but run the race to the finish, because He who is coming will come (Heb. 10:37). He is coming in His body, He is growing to full stature; a corporate manifestation of Christ in the earth.
The blessed hope must sustain us, for nothing else will stand the test of time.