Hope in the Dark

Last Week

Last Week we talked about predestination. And the simple but super important concept of God, predestination and free-will. That God predestines tribes and with free will you choose to become a part of the tribe.

So predestination is true, in that God predestines tribes. And free will is also true in that you have the free will to choose to become a part of God's tribe or not. And when you choose to be a part of his tribe, what's true for the tribe becomes true for you.

It requires courage to believe in free-will. Here's why: If God controls everything, good and "bad", then really, there is no bad, it's only good. If you've ever heard the phrase 'I sleep like a calvinist', you've come across this idea. You sleep good when you believe God controls everything. There's no bad, only good.

But if you believe in the power to choose. To choose your spouse, to choose your job, to choose right and wrong, well then there's a possibility (and obvious truth) of bad stuff that's in the world. Stuff that is opposed to God's will. Stuff that God doesn't want to happen.

So how do you explain and how do you handle the bad stuff of the world?

Hope in the Dark

I thought about calling it: "The realized eschatology of the New Testament", but not quite as catchy.

Luke 1:29-33

Backstory: Angel Gabriel has just appeared to Mary and told her "The Lord is with You"

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. (Luke 1:29)

But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. (Luke 1:30)

You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. (Luke 1:31)

He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, (Luke 1:32)

and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” (Luke 1:33)

So Jesus will get the throne of his father David. David was the classic king of Israel, he was a military and political leader. Essentially what it's saying is:

"Jesus is coming - going to rule over all things."

Sometimes for me, I feel like that didn't really happen. The world is super screwed up still.

School Shootings

If you think about the school shooting in parkland, florida for example. In 2018, we've had 23 school shootings in 21 weeks. That's NOT something where a gun just goes off. That's where at least one person was shot, not including the shooter.

Sing songs : Christ - victory - death

I'm confident that God didn't want that to happen, but the shooter did. It kinda looks like the shooter had victory over God.

So here's an honest question: Do school shootings happen in a world where Jesus rules over all things?

We say God has won the victory over sickness, but our loved one still get sick.

Think if you were Mary - Ok, so I'm going to have this kid and he's going to grow up and rule like King David.

Well here we are 2000 years later - Appears that most the time, it doesn't look like he's "reigning like King David". What makes this even harder: lots of passages in bible, seem to say that this has already happened. He IS reigning. He's already conquered sin, death, the grave. It's already happened.

(God) raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, (Ephesians 1:20)

far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. (Ephesians 1:21)

And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, (Ephesians 1:22)

which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. (Ephesians 1:23)

If God is filling everything in every way and Christ is reigning already, then why does the world seem to messed up?


You suffer - read verses:

  • 'God is reigning on high.
  • Satan has been defeated'
  • 'We're more than conquerors'. - You can't be serious.

You think "You can't be serious."

Tragic: We start to separate our 'Faith' and real life. Because 'faith life' doesn't look like real life. We read about how God conquered sin, death, the grave. But sin, death and the grave keep kicking the crap out of us.

Conversation : Christian author / jewish rabbi. I saw this conversation one time - Christian author - jewish rabbi. - About Jesus Christ. And the jewish rabbi basically said 'Yeah I can't argue with all that. Seems pretty solid. But here's the dealbreaker: when the messiah comes, he's going to save the world. And I don't see the world being saved.' - Innocent people are still being killed in war, kids are starving to death. How did Jesus make things any better?


Good news: there's an answer.

I believe Jesus is the savior of the world. On the other hand, I'm determined to be honest/real. - The world doesn't look like it was saved or is being saved.

Answer: the realized eschatology of the New Testament. Or "Already but Not Yet Theology".


We're living - unique period.

We're living right now, in a super unique period of time that has never happened before and will never happen again.

Explain: There's a difference between something being true and that truth being reflected in our reality.

Cut the lights. Ok, not turn them back on. Amazing: The room was filled with light when Becky turned on the lights. - He hit the switch, the room was filled with light. Do you agree? Pretty much instantaneous. We'd assume. Actually! There was a period of time from when he hit the switch and when the lights came on.

A few nanoseconds:

  • The power to get to the light
  • The light to fill the room.

186,000 mi/second - Very fast. - Still! It takes time.

There was a time when the lights were 'on', but the room wasn't full of light.

'Muon' (Subatomic particle)

Already but not yet - Light in room has spread and is spreading - Muon

Imagine you're a 'muon'. A muon this tiny thing created when the UV light from the sun hits our atmosphere, and they only live for a nanosecond. If you a 'muon' (small subatomic particle) - It would have taken about a third of your entire life for the light to come on after they flipped the switch. If we were a muon, we'd be sitting here watching photons gradually fill this room. But as humans, it just happens instantaneously.

God experiences time differently than us.

With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. - POETRY - God experiences time differently. (2 Peter 3:8)

His timeline is much larger than ours. - His story arch is huge!!! Ours is like 100 years.

Here's how it applies: In principle, light has been turned on. We don't yet see the world full of His light because it hasn't spread yet.

We live in a time where God has defeated the devil, but that reality hasn't spread to the whole world yet. But it will soon.

  • In principle - Christ is ruling over all things. - Don't see that perfectly manifested in the world.
  • In principle - The devil has been defeated. - But we don't see that as fact.

From our Muon perspective it hasn't happened. He's still doing all kinds of horrible stuff.

  • In principle - All opposition has been defeated.
  • In principle, sin, death and the grave - All been defeated.

We have to be balanced in our theology - Already / Not yet

If we don't balance the 'already' with the 'not yet', weird things happen.

If : Over emphasize 'already'.

Christ reigning victoriously. Minimize the 'not yet'. So they come up with an unrealistic theology. Idealistic.

These types of people struggle with understanding the world. There's forces of wickedness screwing everything up. Screwing up nature. Hurting us, hurting our loved ones. And we can't understand why life is still a battle.

There's people who say 'Because the bible says we're healed.' - So they're never sick. Even when they ARE sick, they won't admit to being sick. Trying to honor the bible more than their own experience.

So instead of fighting for their health and healing, they're just denying.

Glasses If you can picture people who say "No I have perfect eyesight in the name of Jesus! And throw their glasses away. Then get behind the wheel and almost kill someone, which is a true story.

If : Overemphasize - 'not yet'.

There's people who overemphasize the 'not yet'. Fatalistic. 'Just hang on till Jesus comes back.' 'God save us from this wicked wicked world.'


Here's the balance:

1. Fight for the 'already' in the middle of the 'not yet'.

Main job as followers of Christ. - Show the world what's coming.

  • There will be a time when all creation will follow Christ. But until that happens, we are supposed to follow Christ.
  • There will be a time when all creation bows at the feet of Jesus. But until that happens, we are supposed to bow at the feet of Jesus.
  • There will be a time when all creation lives peaceably with others. But until that happens, we are supposed to live peaceably with others.

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” (Ghandi)

We see what's coming, live it now. The world is 'not yet' but we are 'already' anyway. By how we live, think.

What's amazing: when we live his kingdom now, that's one of the ways that his kingdom comes. We help grow his kingdom, shrink the kingdom of this world. By being a light, we help make the world full of light.

Co-laborers with Christ - bring his kingdom. Our prayer: "Your kingdom come."

We're not here to judge the world, condemn the world, bla bla, be the change that we want to see. Be the change that we know is coming.


First Fruits

The bible calls disciples of Jesus "first fruits". It's exactly what it sounds like: Soon there will be lots of fruit, but now there's just a little. But this is just the beginning. That's you.

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; (Ephesians 4:22)

to be made new in the attitude of your minds; (Ephesians 4:23)

and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:24)

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. (Ephesians 4:31-32)

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)

Won't be bitterness in God's new kingdom, get rid of it now. We're to be the 'already' in the midst of the 'not yet.'

This explains praying for healing. If you believe God is behind sickness, praying for healing (like the apostles did) would be rebelling against God. No, we believe that in God's coming kingdom there is no sickness, so we come against sickness now. Does it always work perfectly? No. Because we're living in the 'not yet'.


2. Anticipate & find hope in the 'already' in the middle of the 'not yet'.

Last time I checked: the world was still full of suffering, war, starvation, torture, abuse.

How do you stay optimistic in a world that is that messed up?

One of the ways: tasting 'already' - midst - 'not yet'.

Just knowing that this world is temporary. The pain is temporary. Death is temporary, the grave is temporary.

Lady in main. Awhile back I was preaching in main and a lady came up to me after I preached to be prayed for. Her story was that she had just found out her husband had cheated on her and was leaving her and she had 2 kids and they had no idea about any of that. And she just had no idea how to even think about something like that.

Dark // STILL HERE.

I prayed with her and I was so amazed at how I was filled with compassion but also in an incredibly strange way I felt unbelievable hope. I didn't know what to say, I felt awkward, but I KNEW that this person was in a position to experiencing the Spirit of God moving in an incredible way.

Romans 8:18

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18)


Get a vision of the coming perfection. Get a picture of heaven. Perfect peace. - Pain is a distant memory.

Hold that in your mind.

Soon the WORLD will be filled with light. Darkness will be a memory.

That's actually what you're saying when you say "Thy kingdom come". You're praying that God's light would continue to spread in the world.


Prepare - Communion

I want to you think: God's coming kingdom:

As we're waiting for his light to spread, wash away the sea: suffering, pain, disease, cancer, famine, death.

You are a kingdom person. Called to shine his light and erase the darkness.

(Pass)


(Invitation) / (Pray)

Remember death Proclaim resurrection Await return

(Prayer for the Poor)