Of Resurrections & Returns

Resurrection return

Sunday 02/07/21

Series: Maintaining this Hope

Message – Of Resurrections & Returns

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Of Resurrections & Returns

We’ve started our year with a renewed determination to live lives of purity, devotion and passion in relation to Jesus our Lord, our Savior and King.

We began with an examination of the passage in 1Jn. 3 which says,

“(1) See what marvellous love the Father has bestowed upon us–that we should be called God’s children: and that is what we are. 

For this reason the world does not recognize us–because it has not known Him.  

(2)  Dear friends, we are now God’s children, but what we are to be in the future has not yet been fully revealed. We know that if Christ reappears we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is.  (3)  And every man who has this hope fixed on Him, purifies himself so as to be as pure as He is.”

Since then we have discovered the overwhelming focus the scriptures place on our joyful anticipation of Jesus’ return. We of course knew about His return for the church which is often referred to as the rapture, but as a church we have spent FAR less time talking about it than did the early church.

We’ve decided to change that dynamic! If our forefathers in the faith found it so imperative that out of the 260 chapter divisions of the New Testament letters, His return is mentioned over 300 times – we need to increase our thinking about this pivotal truth and future expectation!

Go ahead and turn to 1 Cor. 15 & Rom. 8.

We began reading this a few weeks ago, then the Lord brought that video before us which we played, then last week I felt impressed to back up a little before continuing our teaching on this chapter.

 Last week we established how each arrival of Jesus coincides with an entire church age and experience.

His first coming was at His birth and we read a great number of passages which clearly stated that this arrival was for the suffering of death.

We then went through the New Testament examining how this was not only going to be the experience of the first age of the church – which we often call the age of grace in which we live… it is also part of our calling.

1Pet. 2:21, “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:”

1Pet. 3:8-9, “(8) Now finally, all of you should be like-minded and sympathetic, should love believers, and be compassionate and humble,  (9)  not paying back evil for evil or insult for insult but, on the contrary, giving a blessing, since you were called for this, so that you can inherit a blessing.”

Then we looked at the return of Jesus for His church or bride which is His second appearing (not to be confused with what is often called His second coming – terms can be tricky when talking about this). This appearing is associated with glory!

Jesus asked the Father during His hour of temptation and trial in Gethsemane to allow all of us who know, love and trust in Him to be with Him where He was going in heaven – that they might behold His glory which He had together with the Father from before the beginning of the world. He also told his disciples that we were destined to share in that same glory at His return.

So Jesus’ return for His church will be in glory and we, as His bride will be glorified together with Him on that day!

Titus 2:13, “while we wait for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

Rom. 8:16-17, “(16) The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children,  (17)  and if children, also heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ–seeing that we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.”

1Pet. 5:1, “Therefore, as a fellow elder and witness to the sufferings of the Messiah, and also a participant in the glory about to be revealed, I exhort the elders among you:” 

2Cor. 3:18, “We all, with unveiled faces, are reflecting the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

It will be on THAT day that we receive the fullness of our salvation which includes the redemption of our bodies.

This entire process is outlined for us in Romans 8 where I want you to turn now, before we start examining the details of our bodily redemption in 1 Cor. 15.

Rom. 8:1-39, “(1) Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus,  (2)  because the Spirit’s law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.  (3)  What the law could not do since it was limited by the flesh, God did. He condemned sin in the flesh by sending His own Son in flesh like ours under sin’s domain, and as a sin offering,  (4)  in order that the law’s requirement would be accomplished in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.  (5)  For those whose lives are according to the flesh think about the things of the flesh, but those whose lives are according to the Spirit, about the things of the Spirit.  (6)  For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace.  (7)  For the mind-set of the flesh is hostile to God because it does not submit itself to God’s law, for it is unable to do so.  (8)  Those whose lives are in the flesh are unable to please God.  (9)  You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God lives in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.  (10)  Now if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.  (11)  And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, then He who raised Christ from the dead will also bring your mortal bodies to life through His Spirit who lives in you.  (12)  So then, brothers, we are not obligated to the flesh to live according to the flesh,  (13)  for if you live according to the flesh, you are going to die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.  (14)  All those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons.  (15)  For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!”  (16)  The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children,  (17)  and if children, also heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ–seeing that we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.  (18)  For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us.  (19)  For the creation eagerly waits with anticipation for God’s sons to be revealed.  (20)  For the creation was subjected to futility–not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it–in the hope  (21)  that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage of corruption into the glorious freedom of God’s children.  (22)  For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together with labor pains until now.  (23)  And not only that, but we ourselves who have the Spirit as the firstfruits–we also groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.  (24)  Now in this hope we were saved, yet hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he sees?  (25)  But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with patience.  (26)  In the same way the Spirit also joins to help in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings.  (27)  And He who searches the hearts knows the Spirit’s mind-set, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.  (28)  We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.  (29)  For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers.  (30)  And those He predestined, He also called; and those He called, He also justified; and those He justified, He also glorified.  (31)  What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?  (32)  He did not even spare His own Son, but offered Him up for us all; how will He not also with Him grant us everything?  (33)  Who can bring an accusation against God’s elect? God is the One who justifies.  (34)  Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is the One who died, but even more, has been raised; He also is at the right hand of God and intercedes for us.  (35)  Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or anguish or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?  (36)  As it is written: Because of You we are being put to death all day long; we are counted as sheep to be slaughtered. (37)  No, in all these things we are more than victorious through Him who loved us.  (38)  For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,  (39)  nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!”

Now flip over to 1 Cor. 15 so we can begin to see Paul’s encouragement regarding Jesus’ return and the fact that it will be AT His return that our bodies are glorified.

Now we need to give proper weight to Paul’s beginning words as he starts to talk about this topic…

1Cor. 15:1-58, 

“(1) Now brothers, I want to clarify for you the gospel I proclaimed to you; you received it and have taken your stand on it.  (2)  You are also saved by it, if you hold to the message I proclaimed to you–unless you believed to no purpose.”

Notice that Paul says that this topic of the resurrection of Christ, His return AND our physical resurrection is a clarification OF THE GOSPEL.

He doesn’t say, this is an important side topic you should know something about. He places this on equal footing with all other aspects of the gospel and I think you will begin to understand why in these next few verses.

He also says that understanding of and continual belief in these things IS your salvation!

Now many in the body would immediately disagree – claiming that salvation is only in the person and work of Christ Jesus – and it is in fact only to be found there, but it effect upon us is directly related to how and if it is responded to. This is where we have to accept what scripture teaches regardless of how it may upset your current understanding of it.

Paul is communicating under the influence of the Holy Spirit of God and he clearly and unambiguously stated that adherence to and continued belief in these doctrinal points are the basis upon which you are saved!

We also see another point to this address at the end of this chapter where Paul concludes with, “Therefore, my dear brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” In other words, if these things are NOT true, then the Christian faith is a farce and your labor and faith are to no avail!

We will have to pick back up here next week.

Blessings!

Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it right...safety in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" that did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keep authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provides teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!

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