Summary: A look at four of the great things we can anticipate being in our future.
The Big Idea: For the Christian, what’s ahead is better than what’s behind.
- The specific context here is that things are going to be better for Israel.
- In Romans 11 (see vv. 11-12, 28-29), Paul makes it clear that God is not done with Israel.
- Those passages speak of how the church age is not a rejection of Israel, but is ultimately part of God’s plan with Israel.
-This is also true for the Christian:
- Romans 8:18 – Our present sufferings are not worthy to be compared with the glory that will be revealed in us.
- 2 Corinthians 4:17 – For our light and momentary troubles are achieving a weight of glory that exceeds them all.
- As Christians, we should be the most optimistic, most hopeful people in the world.
- I’m not saying we don’t have struggles in this life. I’m not saying we don’t have difficulties to go through. I’m not saying that life isn’t hard sometimes.
- But we know how this story ends. We know what the outcome is: God wins. Not only does He win, but He’s got a great plan for what comes next.
- Quit looking in your rear-view mirror.
- Why do Christians seem to spend so much time looking backward?
- We act like the early church or the founding of America or the 1950s were a golden age that we somehow need to get back to.
- They weren’t – each had major problems.
- The Golden Age is ahead.
- Possible reasons we do that:
a. Easier to be nostalgic than to squarely face the obstacles before us.
b. Allows us to excuse our inactivity.
c. Allows us to ignore that the real issue isn’t the era, it’s the people.
- What this passage points us to are permanent things, eternal things.
- It’s worth mentioning, though, that even within this life we have the promise that the Spirit will continue to work our lives toward Christlikeness.
Some Specifics On What’s Ahead:
1. Jesus is literally the King.
- Jeremiah 3:17 – “Jerusalem.”
- [put in bulletin] Revelation 21:22-24 – “I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of the God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.”
- Jesus has always been the King simply because of who He is, but He has not always ruled as King.
- The first time Jesus came to earth, He came as a Suffering Servant, as was prophesied. That was necessary and essential to the mission. But it will not always be that way.
- Jesus will rule the earth as a King.
- Twice in Revelation (17:14; 19:16) as well as once in Paul’s writing (1 Timothy 6:15) Jesus is called “King of kings.” We often throw that around as an empty phrase, but it’s one that is deeply significant. Jesus will be, literally, the King of kings. He will be rule over all the earthly kings.
- See Revelation 21:22-24.
- Give background on New Jerusalem and what eternity is really like.
- We pursue democracy today because it’s the best of the options on the table. It tempers the inevitable power abuses that come with one person having absolute power.
- The problem with democracy is obvious in the difficulties America presently finds itself in. We have willingly spent more money than we had, leaving the debt for the next generation. We have allowed Social Security to continue on the path to bankruptcy despite everyone acknowledging that something needs to change. All this can be tied to a simple truth: as fallen humans, we sometimes choose was is expedient over what is good.
- Better than democracy (both philosophically and practically) would be to be ruled by a single wise person who pursued what is good and right. Today that rarely happens because so few are able to handle the temptations of absolute power.
- Jesus can handle it, though. And He will.
- And that’s something to look forward to.
2. The make-shift plans are gone.
- Jeremiah 3:16 – “ark.”
- [put in bulletin] Revelation 21:4-5 – “. . . for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’”
- Sometimes you have to do the best you can with what you’ve got. Call it a MacGyver day.
- You don’t have the best plan or all the resources you need, but you do the best you can.