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Common friends or you do today? Good to see you all. It’s just what a beautiful dance, great to have you guys here at South if you’re online, it’s great to have you at home, but here in spirit and all those good things. So I just wanna, before I start, my name’s Alex, I’m one of the pastors here. I just wanted to celebrate with you guys that are part of this community, we run a thing for the first time last week that we’re calling the first mile initiative, we drew a circle around South and said, We would love to help this area of our community just see you just flourish and grow, we love little turn, we’d love to just see it be all it can be. And so we sent about 100 people out last week, and I just wanna give a shout out to Dan, to Jodie, Jessica, the team that put that together.
Let’s give them a round of applause ’cause they worked it out. It was a ton of fun just to be involved, I just drove around the different projects being no practical help whatsoever, but I feel like I did my bit for the culture and all those kind of things
When lifting men’s hearts or whatever you might say, coming down the line, I just wanna give you a little update what we’re doing over the next few months as we think about teaching, what we’re learning together, we’re gonna spend some time… Starting on May 23rd in this book, Luke, it’s one of the biographies of Jesus life. If you’re new to the whole church thing, we’re gonna spend time looking at every time Jesus sits at a table with people, one of the things I love about Jesus is constantly gathering with people that aren’t like him, that don’t believe the same things as him, and yet when they come away from the conversation, something about their life has changed, and so the dream for us is, what would it look like if we became those kind of people actually having those good interactions, Having healthy dialogues and seeing the world become a better place because of it… And when we’re done with Luke, we’re gonna move on to this book Act, which is the story of the early church, how they figured out how to be the followers of Jesus together.
And so we’re gonna go kind of more verse by verse through that, and so I’m excited to do that with you, that’s what we’re gonna kick off on May 23, which is Pentecost Sunday, maybe in term… That’s unfamiliar to some of you. It’s the day that the church… Remember the day that the Spirit came down and everything changed them.
And so we’re gonna celebrate that by doing baptisms, if you have never been baptized, if you would like to, you baptize, we’re gonna have the good old horse truth out the front, and we will dunk you down, and if you have been good, we will pull you back up now, we won’t do that now, it’s just nice of it, we will judge you by how bad you have been, and that’s how long we will hold you down… There’s some scientific press, it is this delight for celebration of new life, and we would love you to take that journey with the other people that are signed up, so
All that say, good things happening. And now we return to this series that we’re getting close to, Dunwich that we call search, exploring questions people are actually asking… We looked at the most Google questions are the most Googled questions about faith. We looked at the algorithms, look at why people were looking at them, and the one that we found is there’s usually a question behind the question, it’s not always the surface question, that seems to be the thing, but the something else going on. So I’m gonna give you the on what I think is behind this one first before I give you the actual question, here we go, how do you know you’re getting older? How do you know? You are getting older. What happens? What changes take place? It makes you say, Oh man. Life is a little different now than it used to be. There are things that are working, functioning in quite the same way, it is a pan every one of us will experience, and I’m too young to stand up here and whine about getting older. I know that would be an insult to some of you, but I’m old enough to know that this is a reality, and so I’m with you, and one of you guys, here are some different ways you’re officially old, if you are injured by sleeping…
If you wake up and things don’t work anymore, or you just starting to take a… Starts coming for your friends. It’s coming for you. I went skiing with a group of young guys once, and I complain the next day to my boss about eating, and he said to me, Wait till you’re my age, then you don’t need to go skiing to eat the next morning.
How about this one? I used to sneak out of my house to go to parties, now I sneak out of parties to go to my house, he’s done with these people, going back to where it’s safe and cozy, there’s a blanket with my name, and I’m sure they’re still showing the office where you run and stuff like that, how about if you are officially old, if you can tell the weather with your knees, some of you guys are like, there’s a storm coming tonight, I can feel… And is starting to build up. And then if you have a direct correlation between these two articles, I will tell you, if you come ask me what was on my awesome party mix, it dates me enough to say that the first album I ever owned was bad by Michael Jackson, which is some time ago now, but I still remember cutting out the DJ’s voice reading press and pours and the record so I could get all of my songs off the radio, and some of you guys like you couldn’t… A vinyl, that was stuff before this, you know… So this all leads to the question, that’s a heavy question.
What happens when you die? This was one of the most Googled questions about faith. What happens is there just nothing… Is there some kind of disembodied evacuation where the spirit part of you gets to go and you just… You fly in there, something up there that’s good for everybody, is that the reality is these bad places on… These good places like, what happens, what’s the process? What can I expect? And just like those other questions that we might reflect on the Say Yes, we all are definitely getting older, we experience the slow disintegration of our bodies over time, there is this thing that that’s leading up to like, Well, what happens when the juice is gone, what happens… There’s no more energy left, what happens when the final breath is taken, and for some of you, that’s a deeply personal question right now because you’ve lost someone that you love in the last few months, for some of us, it’s just a question we contemplate regularly, and for some of us, it’s a question we avoid at all costs, like I’m gonna whistle past that grave, I’m gonna pretend it’s not there and it doesn’t affect me, and yet it does, and so to get into this question a little bit, we’re gonna start somewhat light-hearted with these guys…
So obviously he… APA Captain Hook, a famous story, the boy who doesn’t grow up, he goes after Neverland and he does his thing, life is good for Peter Pan. Captain Hook is the villain that he’s constantly trying to catch him and the last boys constantly trying to do bad things. What I love most about this story is there are so many different ways to read it, there is a reading of J. M. Barris Pepa that says that… Well, actually Pepi, the bad guy, and Captain Hook is the good guy. Peter is very determined that none of his last boys are allowed to grow up, and in the slightly dark to original story, when any of them try to grow up, it says that Peter thins out the herd, he gets rid of them. And you know what I mean by he gets rid of them, Peter will not stand for growing up, and so this theory goes that, well, actually Captain Hook was the first lost boy to escape PETA, and now he looks after those that manage to escape and he’s constantly trying to help the Lost Boys escape from the evil Peter Pan. That’s one slightly interesting reading, but there is a definite allegorical nest to this story, key to pan represents all of us as we would love to be without aging, constantly energetic, no struggles and knees never tell us that the storm is coming.
There is no breakdown. The party goes on forever, that is Pete pennies and Captain Hook, we Hokies who we really are In many eastern religions, like thousands of years ago, the crocodile represented death, and so think What has experienced the crocodile death has got a piece of him. And now for the rest of his life, it chases after him, Titicaca thicken hook is constantly intercostal fleeing this thing that is coming after a tiktok tactic. This is the experience of how… And this is who we are. We are people that constantly ask the question, What happens when it’s the end, either ask it. We avoid it. And so what’s the option… So one option is this, this is the philosopher Marcus really lived sort of a couple of thousand years ago, that smiles at all of us, or we can do a smile back, just give death a smile and just wander into it. We all have to go through. It’s gonna be fine. We’ll just figure it out. That’s one of the options, or do we hope that there’s like this disembodied evacuation where we get to go to the famous pearly gates and there’s like the wings on the gates, for some reason, I don’t know why gates have wings, but these ones do. Be careful with your stock photos, they’ll lead you into some or theological trajectories, but
There’s this expectation that may be… There’s just this thing that will just get to… And spirits will fly away. What does Jesus say about that? What are the writers of the Bible say about? Now, what does the Christian father… Now, if you are sort of new to faith or you’re exploring… That’s a great place to be in. What I would say is this, I’m gonna give you the answer that the Christian writers give, that Jesus gives. There are a ton of ideas in the existential market place of faith, and you are quite free to go and explore as many of them as you want, but I’m not gonna try and give you every path to different arts of… What I’m gonna tell you is, this is what Jesus says, you can expect, and what I love about Jesus and his answers is if we believe the story, Jesus is the only person that has been through it, to come back… Never to die again. So in my mind, has this credibility that I’m really interested in the answers of a man who has been where I’m gonna try, I don’t wanna go mountain climbing with any of you guys that have never been before in me like, No, it’s gonna be fine. I’m gonna go with the experts, and it seems like this is how Jesus presents himself, so we’re gonna jump into this book, if you have a text in front of you, a Bible and paper online, we’re gonna stay in First Corinthians 15-1, if those numbers mean nothing to you.
And that’s absolutely fine as well. Most of it will come up on the screen. Now, brothers and sisters, this is a guy writing called Paul… He was one of Jesus first followers. And he’s writing to a church in a town called current. I want to remind you of the Gospel I preached to you. In this case, the word gospel, what does it mean? It just simply means good news. This guy writing believes that he has given good news to these people, and he’s going back and he sort of reiterating what he said, which you received on which you have taken your stand by this good news, this gospel, you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you, otherwise you have believed in vain. Verse Three, For what I received, I passed on to you as a first importance. And this is it, he’s gonna give us the summary, if we wanted to boil it down to one particular idea that this whole Good News of Jesus means… This is it, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day, according to the Scriptures. Why is he so keen to remind us that Jesus actually died and was buried and three days later came back in Jewish thinking you had a spirit anybody, and when you died, your spirit hovered around for three days until it departed somewhere else away from the body.
So in Paul’s my, when he says three days, this is like after the Jewish people would say, Okay. Now, you’re really dead now. Like dead is dead on three days and there’s no coming back from that. It’s long enough it… It’s like, okay, this really is spectacular, this isn’t something that happens just every day, he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and after that he appeared to see us. It’s a name for Peter, one of his earliest followers. And then to the 12, the 12 earliest followers of Jesus, after that, he appeared to more than 500 of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. This writer Paul is really keen that we know the church and current, and then correspondingly, we know that Jesus definitely died, definitely physically came back to life and didn’t just appear to a couple of people, he appeared to hundreds of people. Why is he concerned about this, this ladder is ridden maybe 20, 30 years after Jesus has died and risen again, and the church has encountered this problem, for some reason, they didn’t believe that anybody would die after Jesus had died and rose again.
They believed that Jesus had gone somewhere and he was gonna come back, and that was gonna happen before any of them started dying, and now… Some of them are dying. So the question has become, well, what’s going on? Did the plan go wrong, what are we supposed to expect… We thought that this thing was gonna wrap up pretty soon, and yet we’re here and we’re doing what has happened to those people that have died, have they gone to some distant place while they come back to life at some point, like do all these different questions were now, starting to circulate, and a whole group of people had started to say, Well, maybe there is no real physical resurrection, maybe we’re not gonna rise again like Jesus did, he came back in a body, maybe we’ll just like there be some disembodied things that will go off to… And maybe it’s all over there somewhere, and maybe that’s what will happen, all
These questions were starting to come up and pauses writing to this church that he cares about deeply, it’s like, I’m gonna give the answers. Jesus came back physically. Some of these earliest followers are falling asleep, but most of them are still alive, and then He appeared to James and then to all the Apostles, James in this case, is a brother of Jesus. If you can convince your brother that you are the son of God, that’s impressive, generally, siblings do not believe those things about other siblings, some of you have siblings, you know like this never, not a chance. And yet James, this brother of Jesus, has come to believe everything Jesus has said. Last of all, he appeared to me pour as to an abnormally born poor wasn’t around, it seems when Jesus was on earth teaching and then when he died, but it seems like he had this experience of Jesus afterwards, For I am the least of the apostles. I don’t even deserve to be called an apostle because I persecuted the church of God, but by the grace of God, I am what I am. And His grace to me was not without effect.
No, I worked harder than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God that was within me. Whether then it is I the… This is what we preach. This is what you believe. He goes back to the time and time again, what we told you is this, Jesus died. You died for you, he rose again. You will do the same. That is a pretty audacious clean, it’s pretty extravagantly, and it wasn’t just a pretty extravagant claim, like just now, it was an extravagant claim, then we can have this view of people in the first century, we kind of think of them as these points of like… It will, of course, they believed in things like resurrection back then, of course, they believed in miracles and things back then, and yet the dead people stayed dead with the same Natan in the first century as they stay dead in the 21st century. This back then was an audacious spectacular claim
As… Move on a little bit next to us, but if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you see that there is no resurrection of the dead? If the RINO resurrection of the dead, they’re not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless, and so is your feet. More than that, we are found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the day he gets a little bit philosophical with them, he starts to push them a little bit, if you’re saying that We won’t rise, then there is no resurrection. That means it didn’t happen to Jesus either, and suddenly the whole basis of everything starts to fall about… One of the interesting things about life in the way of Jesus is everything rises and FARS on this idea, if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, we can all go home, friends, we can take Sunday mornings off. If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, we may as well be at home in a gardens on Sunday morning, planting flowers and things like that, if there is no resurrection, then this whole thing just… It just falls apart. That is how much Paul is willing to base on this one audacious kind of crazy idea, and here’s where I find it interesting, ancient Jewish though like 1st century AD, was in deep disagreement about what happened when you died, or had group of Jewish people that said It just spends there, that’s why it’s so important to get the good blessings, I don’t like…
It’s so important to get married, have kids, so you can leave a legacy, it’s so important to build up wealth, you’ll get to hand it on to them, it’s so good to get the certainties out of life, and that’s where they were so clear in bad stuff happened. It’s ’cause you weren’t less… That was bad. That was no good… You needed to get the good stuff out of life here, because after this, you would done leave your legacy, and then it’s over, there are another group of people that believed in that disembodied sort of thing, there’s a spiritual thing. That’s gonna happen one day, but then there were another group of people that very much have locked into this idea, now it’s physical… No, it’s actually gonna happen as crazy as that sound dead bodies will rise again and pour, you see, at times Hill, you’ll sort of play these two sides off against each other, he’ll tap into this idea just a little bit, this is him in this book, act in the middle of a big argument, then poor knowing that some of them were Sadducees and other Pharisees caught out in the Sanhedrin, brothers, I’m a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee.
It is because of my hope and the resurrection of the dead that I’m on trial. As soon as he said, this a dispute root between the Pharisees and Sadducees. And the Pharisees got up and contended, chapel, we find nothing wrong with this man.
Now, you don’t need to know who all those groups are and all those detailed terms, all you need to know is there were two sides, one that said, Yes, resurrection, one that said, I’m not gonna happen, and poor is playing them off against each other, but he… He’s very much on this side. The resurrection is real. It is practical, it is what we are waiting for. So we’re gonna go back to his letter to this church and current, we’re gonna skip down a bit, if you’re following along in your text, we have a drop down to verse 35, you can read the rest of it, it’s great, but we just can’t get through everything. I would like to get through without overrunning again, and you guys, you just… You don’t have the stomach for overrunning, you will complain and stuff, but someone will ask, how are the dead raised with what kind of body will they come… They want details as maybe we do like what… How specifically is this gonna work? What is it gonna look like? How foolish. What you soul does not come to life unless it dies when you saw, you do not plan the body that well will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or something else, but God gives it a body as he is determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body, poor captures this picture of seeds and what they become, and this works well for this time of year, because some of you are getting out in the guards, the yards, you’re doing your yard work, you’re making all these things happen and you’re planting seeds yesterday, I just scattered some wild seeds because I just wanted to see what comes up, I love the hummingbirds, the butterflies, just the energy that it brings to the gun, so I’m just putting to see Dan, but I don’t know what’s about to appear.
And Paul takes this theme and he starts to talk about how the Jesus story works in line with this idea of seeds and what they grow into, and think about that for a second, think about what that means, think about what it is for a seed to be taken and put into the ground from the seeds perspective, what is that? It’s very light. It’s like death is this moment where the seed is put in the ground and everything is covered over and it goes dark, but what is really happening… Well.
What is really happening is all the right environment is sort of taking place to make something different happen, something way up there calls down to this thing, way down in the ground and everything begins to germinate and suddenly knew the live shoots up from this seed that was dead, and that was barred, and he turns out that the seed wasn’t dead and buried, he was simply planted, and that is this opportunity for new life to begin. And think about how that relates to the Jesus story. There is this moment where Jesus died, he is buried, the ground closes over, everything is done, and then something way up there begins to call to something way down there, and new life begins to take he, and it turns out that he wasn’t really buried, he was simply planted, that is this moment of new life and pulses, that thing that Jesus experience, that is what he’s waiting for you, as audacious, as ostentatious, as extravagant, as absurd as that claim may seem. That is what is waiting for you. The same resurrection Jesus experience, that’s what he’s on offer for you. That’s what He’s claim is. Now, I understand the struggle for some of us to believe that story, but isn’t that a story that is so good that everyone would want to believe it? There is something incredible about the idea that one day the knees that tell me when a storm is coming will work again.
One day, death will work back with one day, I won’t have to worry about the crocodile that keeps chasing after me, tick, tick, tick. One day, all of that will go away, that’s the promise, and it is ostentatious, it is extravagant, and yet it is so good that the longing for it to be true to me, it’s just like, how can you not want that to be true or say some day the seed will die, and you can’t know exactly what it’s gonna look like until it happens, but there are hints moving on, not all flesh is the same people have one going to flesh, animals have another, birds and their own fish, another… There are also heavenly bodies and the fluid, so we’re starting to talk about this next thing that might be experienced, but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind… The splendor of the earthly bodies is another, the sun has one kind of spend of the moon, another of the stars and other in Star if it’s from star in splendor.
So it will be with the resurrection of the dead, the body that he saw and is perishable, it is raised imperishable. It is sown in dishonor. Is raised in glory, it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It’s sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. He’s like, the thing is coming, and it’s kind of like your experience now, but with something a little more, there is no deterioration there, there is no limbs breaking apart, there is no falling, a part of the body, there is no… All of those things we talked about, you may still go to parties and not wanna go home in the resurrection, we will see… Listen, I tell you a mystery. We will not all sleep. And sleep is His word for death. He doesn’t acknowledge the followers of Jesus actually died, he just refers to it as the sleep, but we will all be changed in a flash in a twinkling of another last trumpet for the trump people sound, the dead will be raised in perishable, and we will be changed for the perishable must clothe itself with imperishable and the mortal with immortality. Again, the claims are incredible, and yet they are what they are, this is what He demands almost that this group of people believe…
When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true. Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where O death is your victory? Where O death is your sting? The sting of death is sin. The Parson is the law, but thanks to be to God, he gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Pose commentary over and over again, it is as bad as it seems, you will die, you are broken, and yet on an offer is resurrection. Again, the claim is incredible, the claim was over the top that it is wonderful, and all of those different things as well. I can understand you holding the tension of, Can I believe this, but the deep longing to believe it seems just like, how can you not want this to be true, and just to show you, this is generally how full thinks about these things. We’re gonna skip to this of a letter to a church in Philippi, but our season ship is in heaven, and we early away to save you from there. The Lord Jesus Christ, who by the power that enables Him to subject all things to Himself, will transform our lowly bodies to be like his glorious body.
Paul’s idea over and over is one day your body will look something like Jesus did when he was raised, so we get to do what is traditional at East of tie this time of year, that comes right after Easter, we get to go in glance at some of those post-resurrection appearances of Jesus and say, what did his body looked like, what did Jesus post-resurrection appearances look like? If we wanna know what resurrection looks like. If we wanna know what happens when we die? Well, this is the first thing that we’ll look at.
When he was at the table with them, he took bread, he gave thanks and broke it and began to give it to them. Then the eyes were opened and they recognized him, he disappeared from their site.
They asked each other one on our hearts, burning within us, when He talked to us on the road and opened. The script is to us, a couple of Jesus earliest followers, when Jesus dies, they do the obvious thing, they get out of town, the Romans that I’ve hunted with Jesus are probably looking for them and they say, we’re done with this, and they go, and suddenly this matter peers on the side of the road, walking with them, they don’t recognize him, he’s going to carry on His journey, they say, stop with us, they stop, he does the traditional thing of breaking bread, and in that moment, they recognize him, watch for this patent. You’re gonna see this everywhere he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, ordinary, everyday physical activity, he disappeared from their site, they didn’t recognize him, some kind of different physicality that is going on there, the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus constantly have this mix of ordinary every day mundane touch physical things, and yet they also have this different thing that is starting to emerge, this different way of being physical in the world.
While they were describing these events, they go and tell all their other friends as you might, when you’ve suddenly seen someone who was dead and then was alive again, Jesus Himself stood among them and said, Peace be with you, but they were start of fright and thinking they had seen a spirit. Why are you troubled? Jesus asked, Why did doubts arise in your heart?
Look at my hands and my feet, it is I myself, touch me and see. Her spirit does not have flesh and bones, as you see, I have. When he said this, He showed them His hands and feet which still have the signs of crucifixion, and yet he is not bleeding, not dying while they were still in disbelief because of their joy and amazement, he asked them, Do you have anything here to eat? So they gave him a piece of royal fish, apparently, that was the best they had on offer Royal fish, and then he took it and ate it in front of them, it seems that he is hungry, that he wants to eat. It is ordinary, everyday physical events like breakfast and food, coupled with supernatural, spectacular things, like he appeared in the room amongst them and they were full of disbelief. John chapter 20, a week later, disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them there. The doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, Peace be with you. The doors were locked. He is now wandering through locked doors and standing amongst them, that He said to Thomas, Put your finger here, see my hands, reach out your hand and put it in my side, stop doubting.
And believe yet he can be touched. It is this different physicality and yet still physical, still touchable. And Jesus told him, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. One more, John 21, early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that he was Jesus, they have been with him for three years, and yet they don’t know that it is Him, he called out to them, friends, haven’t you any fish? Know the answer. He said, for you, now, on the right side of the boat, and you will find some. When they did, they were unable to Harvard in because of the large number of fish, they have this sort of awakening moment, wait, we’ve done this thing before. This isn’t the first time someone told us to throw the net in and suddenly fish started jumping in out of their own choice, then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter.
It’s the Lord USO assignment. Peter heard him say, it is the Lord, He wrapped his out of Garmin around him, free taking it off and jumped into the water, apparently in the first century, you fish with no clothes, Huawei, you go swimming, you put clothes on… I don’t even know how to explain that to you, but that’s what we’re told, the other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, they win the traditional way to… Was the guy that’s like, I’m gonna do it my own way. I’m gonna go swimming in a road, so they were not far from the shore, about 100 yards, when they landed, they saw a fire of burning calls there with fish on it and some bread. Jesus said to them, Bring some of the fish. You have just cold. So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat, dragged a ensure, it was full of large fish 153, but even with so many, the net was not to… And Jesus said to them, Come and have breakfast.
These resurrection appearances are filled with the normal breakfast, Royal fish every day physicality, just like today, and yet with the not normal, the resurrection, the walking through walls that suddenly he disappeared and they didn’t recognize. And there is something different going on here. Jesus resurrection appearances are physical with a new expression of physicality, there is a new normal at play, and Paul says, One day for you as followers of Jesus resurrection looks something like that.
I can’t see exactly what he’s talking about, a mystery, but he says one day there is this resurrection to come where suddenly the old rules don’t apply, there is no decreed knees, there is no falling a part of the body, and yet some of the old rules still apply there is breakfast and gathering around fires and community, and food, and all of those good things. Jesus resurrection appearance is a physical… With a new expression of physicality, and that fits within a new creation, still to come, pool, it seems is convinced that Jesus resurrection, your resurrection and my resurrection are connected to something that God is doing in the whole world. That is still to come.
These earliest followers were very comfortable with the fact that Jesus had done something, and yet they were waiting for something more. Has this already done? Does this not yet happened, so we’re gonna skip to a passage for those of you that come every week, which is some of you, lots of you, most of you, I don’t know how to describe that. You’ve all got masked and I can never tell who’s here and who’s not here. Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer. And he see… So we’re gonna pause there. A second. This right, a John, this book, Revelation starts to unpack this. There’s gonna be a new heaven and a new earth. What does that mean? We’ll get to that in a little bit. There’s no longer any… See, this book is what’s called apocalyptic literature, if you read the Bible, my question for you is, how many of you read the book of Revelation in like your daily Bible reading time?
I’m guessing not that many of you, because it gets pretty confusing pretty fast, this book is full of symbolism, different language that doesn’t mean it’s not true, it doesn’t mean there’s not events that will happen, what it does mean is sometimes it will pick on images, and this is a good example that I describing something. Maybe not a parent. What’s the problem with the sea? I want to see, I love my beach vacations, some of my favorite places in the world, or right next to the ocean, I love… Just the majesty, the peace, all those kind of things. Is God saying No more C? In the ancient world, the were no beach vacations. In the ancient world, the sea was a place of mystery, of danger of evil in their primary or history, some of the first Evil creatures had emerged from the sea. If land was where God was, he was where God wasn’t. So when this writer says, there would be no longer, and you see it may be physically true, who knows, but what He’s really saying is one day there’ll be a world where we’re not seeing this part, that God is an un-control of those parts that are lost those parts that are a mystery, he’s starting to say, No, one day God will reshape the world in order, one day he will bring it about so that it is working as it’s supposed to be.
Remember that conversation we had a few weeks ago about a broken world, one day, He’s saying that will be as true of the world as it is of your knees that feel the storm that is coming. All of this stuff is getting restored, just like there was this disagreement about what would happen when you died in the Jewish world, there was a big disagreement about what happened to this world would go… This tree, it said about creating a new heavens and a new Earth, did that mean that he was gonna wipe out this old one for some Jewish people that would be difficult to believe, there’s this moment in this book Genesis where we see there’s a flood, the flood withdraws, and then God says, I will never flood the game to a Jewish person, know the character of God, the implication is, I won’t destroy the world again for them to imagine that really God was kind of like behind his hands of like, Yeah, but wait and see there’s plenty of other ways to destroy the world, I’ll give you fire next time would have been very much out of line with what they understood of God’s character to them, a promise was a promise.
If God said he wouldn’t destroy the world, then he wouldn’t destroy the world, so a big discussion came up, What are we talking about new or are we talking about renewed…Is there a possibility that God is still fighting for this world, still working within it, is there a possibility that something new is still to come, and when this writer John has to pick out of two Greek words, Neo, which means new in time, like it wasn’t there now it is… Or kind of, This is a different kind of thing. This is like new of its kind then, then he picks the second one.
Some reason the second one is the one, he goes, Well, he doesn’t go for brand new just appeared, he goes for kindness. This is a world that we haven’t experienced before, most of you have experienced something new, you’ve got married, you’ve had kids, or something like that, and like, Wow, this is a whole new way of living. Have you lived before? Absolutely, you have… Are you living a new type of life right now… Absolutely, you are. Something significant has changed, this wrestling went on and on with what exactly did he mean when he picked out of these two different words, and so some writers on this book Revelation will even use the language, this is the world renewed his guard, still fighting for it. Still shaping it, and to be honest, I’m uncomfortable with… You believe in whichever you want, you can go and research it, I’m not gonna give you a deaf and answer because I don’t have one… It’s one of those things where you say, I’m not sure, but somewhere. I love this idea that there can be something new, but kind of there before… I was gonna use this as an illustration, but I think we’re running out of time.
So I’m just gonna leave that as a mystery, and that will really rotate some of you who now have knowledge deficit, why was he gonna talk about vibrating-ers running shoes? That was a reason. Near Kino new and tie, or new in kind. Well, renewed what exactly is going on here, what we can say is, regardless of whatever takes place, the promise of revelation is that this is a new that is better than now, it is not just fresh created, there is something of the old still lurking, the… The good things like breakfast with friends and gathering around food seem like they’re still incorporated in this Jesus story, and so we wait and say, God, you promised one day a new world, what will it look like? We are held in that tension and asked to trust that it will be better than now.
I love how human beings are thought about how we might develop this world, how we might protect it. In the 1960s, an architect called a bucer fully came up with a plan. He said, Let’s put a geodesic dome over New York City.
This takes some serious ambition, he said, What we can do then is we can keep it up this nice and be in temperature, no one will have to heat their apartment will pay for this doll in 10 winters, because we won’t have to shovel the snow in that area of Manhattan, it’s parental that expensive to shovel snow in Manhattan.
So we came up with this plan. This was his vision of a new world, and this has not stopped, there were constantly dreaming about how this world might operate better, this is a project going on in Singapore right now where they’ve started to try and flip the script. They’ve said, right now, we think of gardens has been something in amongst a city, what would it feel like? What would it look like if we suddenly said cities were something in amongst Gardens, what if gardens and Space were like the primary way of thinking about it now, do any of these work to any of the soul… Any of them solve the problem now, but I love just what humans are able to achieve just in their own energy.
Imagine what the world looks like, if the God of the universe turns his attention to that moment, it says, I’m gonna renew this world, I’m gonna shape in the way you were supposed to be shaped and there will be no more sea, there will be no more areas where you say God is not in control of that, that is passion for what new creation looks like. It starts with Resurrection individual, it grows to resurrection corporate, A Whole New World. A whole new thing going on. But what I would say is this, to unlock revelation, these are some words that are important, like Genesis, revelation seems more interested in questions about who and why rather than what and when… Most of the conversation as you read this incredibly detailed book is around, well, it will be God that we’ll do it, one day, God will step in and this world will be renewed or new in some way. It’s very interested in the question of why God still loves this world, he is still fighting for it, still developing, it is not so interested in exactly what will happen, we don’t get to know all of that, just like poor said, it’s a mystery.
It is a mystery, and it’s not super interested in when we get to wait, we are asked to wait, we have the way, but we’re told that the thing is coming, I love that this book Revelation uses language that reminds me of my beloved J are talking… I’m surprised I’ve been with you guys eight months and I’ve not quoted any talking, I just find him just brilliant in his way of writing, and this is the language he uses about death, the grey ring turns of this world rolls back and all turns to solve a glass, and then you see it, white shows and beyond a far green country under a swift sunrise when this writer to this letter revelation, when he starts to unpack exactly what this next world looks like, he uses ideas like Gates made out of pals, uses ideas like streets made of gold. Could they be practically true maybe. Do they have to be physically? True, I don’t think so. Driving on streets of gold sounds like an awfully in practical way to drive, and yet the ideas are supposed to give us the sense of the beauty and the wonder of this world that is still to come again, could be physically true.
Could also not be… Could just be symbolic. This is the language that he relies on, there is something that is coming that is beautiful, and we get to be excited for it, but what he does say that his concrete is this, this is a song that has been sung to Jesus in this book, Revelation. You, Jesus are worthy to take the scroll and open its seals. You were slain, you have redeemed us, saved us, rescued us, all those different words to God by your blood, and have every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God, and we shall rain on the earth. Still again, you see that mixture of the normal physicality, there is this world that this is… You and I involved practically walking alongside God, journeying through creation, not just sitting on a cloud somewhere, playing a harp. How many of you, when you have heard haven’t described… Have said that sounds kind of boring. I actually am not sure that I want to just sit and play harp music all day long. The reason it sounds boring is because I know where no place does the Bible say that is what a new world and new creation looks like it is pictured around these things like a world that God is in control of, that you are involved in and with that is the picture that it gives? We are invited into the story that is ostentatious, that is incredible, we are invited to believe they can be a physical resurrection, that they can be a new and different world, and that we can play a part in that world to come.
So that raises the question, and I hate talking about this and I try and do it somewhat quickly ’cause I am running out of time as well. So what about… Well, the other place… What about hell? What does the Bible say about that? So I’m gonna give you the definition from the Westminster articles of faith, which to some of you will mean nothing to some of you will mean everything maybe more than it should, but the wicked who know not God and obey not the Gospel of Jesus Christ shall be cast into eternal torment. And punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power. It sounds serious, it sounds like that’s language that I’m like, Wow, I’m not sure I would use that language, but for thousands of years, followers of Jesus have taken seriously the idea that there is this eternal thing to come, that there is both good and bad sides to that… And for probably the last 00 years, most of the western church has run from this concept as quickly as they possibly can, because it is terrifying. I would love to say that there was no conversation about how within the Bible that would be a joy to me to be able to say, and yet I read ideas like this within Jesus writing, this is not Matthew 5 at 25.
I have to blame the person that did the screens with me, but they were on a way to eternal punishment, but the righteous to a turn on life, there’s this moment where it describes a pathway that splits and one group goes one way and one group goes the other way… Now, what does that mean? Does that mean they will find themselves in a turn or conscious torment to use the classical definition? The truth is, I don’t know, and there’s been some great scholars in the theological world that have fallen out over this argument to throw a couple of names, there will be nothing to refer, not in the church movement, but if you are, you will know maybe these names J. I, Packer and John stop both read this and came to completely different conclusions, one of them said, I see this moment of annihilation where it all ends there, and one of them said, I see these never-ending years of eternal conscious torment, and they fell out over this discussion. Now, you may believe either of these, but what I would suggest is this, we can all agree that Jesus about hell as something that is real, and he talks about it as a direction that he doesn’t want us to go in, and he talks constantly about and invite to life, it
Seems like when you think about it in terms of analogy driving towards a cliff, Jesus is the person who says, I am like the guy that’s saying, Don’t go that way, I am the guy began… You’re saying, don’t make that decision. Now, the person that lets you drive off is really no friends whatsoever, the person that doesn’t want to give you the bad news is not really someone who is on your side, and Jesus is very clear, there is life, there is death, but his constant imploring his huge life, I ask that you would choose life, if we were in any doubt of that, poor gives us this writing in as he writes to Timothy, a young pastor that he’s been training, he wants us… No, no, he wants not only us, but everyone saved, you know everyone to get to know the truth we’ve learned, so there’s one God and only one and one priest mediator, one go-between between god-ness Jesus who offered Himself in exchange for everyone held captive by sin, to set the more free, eventually the news is going to get out this, and this only has been my appointed work getting this news to those who have never heard of God, explaining how it works by simple faith and plain truth, Paris, like I’m saying to people over and over again, there is a fork in the road. She was the right path.
is open to you. Choose it, take it, this is the constant message, I have no idea what… How looks like… I don’t know how that works. And one of the things I’ve discovered is this, this maybe will be helpful to you when there’s something I don’t understand, the writers of the Bible, try and unpack… I have a couple of options, I can try and explain it away. Or I can admit my own limitation and say, I’m not sure how that works, I’m not sure how it sounds fair, I’m not sure how the journey takes place, I’m not sure what it looks like, I’m not sure if the fire is real, but what I can say is this constantly… The right is in the New Testament is saying, there is a choice. And you and I, we get to make it. See, us Lewis, the English writer said this, he said, When it comes down to it, the choice to go to Hell, however that appears, whatever it looks like, you simply down to this, God says to every one of us, I would love that you would say to me You will be done. I would love that you would choose this life that you have offered, but eventually the comes a moment where God says to each of us, where you will be done… You get to choose the path, and when we think about the idea of how…
One of the things that I think is most helpful is this ultimately is the personal choice to separate from God, the separation from God is a torment as great as God, imagine everything good in the world that might disappear. Think about the fact that this is a God who causes his recent rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. There are so many incredible things in this world that each of us get to experience and imagine a world when none of those good things existed, that maybe gives us a way of getting to the bottom of this question of what does new creation heaven… This good choice look like and what does the other look like, again, not super easy to get to the bottom of, and something that I as a pastor would much rather say, I’m gonna pretend that Jesus never mentions any of that stuff, that he just kinda say, how it’s gonna work out fine for everybody in the end, and yeah, that just doesn’t honor the message that he gives, and I wonder if he really honors what he did. Ultimately, the message of the New Testament comes down to a rescue mission, it is God coming into this world for us out of love, for us to do something for us to invite us into this new life.
I don’t know if it honors what Jesus did to say, You’ve really saved us from nothing, the constant message of these New Testament writers is there is a thing to avoid, how has this reality to it, but you are given this wonderful… A choice. Choose life. Come and choose life.
So as I invite jacking the team up onto the stage, we’re gonna walk into communion, I’m gonna ask you this question, how do you respond to the story? Are you participating in Jesus offer of life and the world to come?
How does that story sound to you? I can understand it, feeling hard to believe at times, ’cause it just is so good, and yet I don’t understand, not wanting it to be true. Maybe it’s time you investigated it for yourself in a new way.
We’ve been doing a few weeks of taking communion every week, some of you may know this by different names, you may have grown up calling it Mass, the Lord’s table, Eucharist, any of those different things. It is the same process, it is a moment of Remembrance where we remember that Jesus came and gave his life, this table is open to anyone who is choosing to follow in the way of Jesus, and if you are not doing that right now, you can choose to do that for yourself in this moment, and it becomes open to you, it is both physical and it is spiritual, it is bread and it is wine, but it symbolizes Jesus sacrifice of body and blood.
And so we gather and we do this in remembrance of Jesus who came out of love for us. Who came that we might experience the resurrection, he experienced, that we might experience life in the world to come, that we might rule and reign with Him, that we might see a new world where the sea is gone, not because the sea is bad, but because this world… Is ruled by a God who is in control of all of it.
And the night at he was betrayed, Jesus gathered with His earliest followers. During the course of the meal, he took the bread and he broke it, and he handed it to each of them and said, This is my body, broken for you. Take it and remember me. In the same way, He took the wine, handed it to each of them and said, This is my blood shared for the sins of the world. As long as you gather together, do this in remembrance of me. In this moment, the bridge between physical and spiritual is broken, in this moment, Jesus is present in a distinct way, he walks along side you and says, Come this way, how mental life come into journey with me. Walk in my way, I made you, I know what you are made for, and you are made for this, wherever you are, whatever you have done, however broken you feel you are invited in into this story, as the Bible articulates ideas like heaven and how… At no point does it say, what you have done… Declension from the good life that God has enough. It simply says, Come ye Jesus. In this moment, we ask you to be present for each of us walking our own journeys, we’re gonna go out into bright sunshine into a good gift of life.
May you speak to us in this moment, as we pause just a little longer, as we slow, just a little longer from a life that leads us at an incredibly fast pace that leads a Santa fingering after thing. We do what you asked us to do and we slow down and remember you.