Listen to Audio

The Cross and the Sea 8 Already But Not Yet

Already. (but not yet)

Could have called it – “The realized eschatology of the New Testament”, but not quite as catchy.

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)

Jesus – Throne of David – Military/Political force

“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.

Personal Life – 9 funerals so far this year.

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

Charleston / Racism

Sing songs about Christ having victory over 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.

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 conqured 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, if Christ is reigning already, why is everything so screwed up?

You suffer, and then read verses like ‘God is reigning on high. Satan has been defeated’ ‘We’re more than conquerors’. – 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.’ – As many wars, 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 / Already/Not Yet theology.

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 in principle and being true in reality.

(Cut the lights.) / (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.

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 Becky flipped the switch. – Muon this tiny thing created when the UV light from the sun hits our atmosphere, and they only live for a nanosecond.

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 won, 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.

Ex: Over emphasize the ‘already’. – Christ reigning victoriously. Minimize the ‘not yet’. So they come up with an unrealistic theology. Idealistic.

These types of people struggle with the way I understand the world – There’s forces of wickedness screwing everything up. Screwing up nature. Hurting us, hurting our loved ones. “No no no. My bible says that Christ has defeated the devil!”

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 far as I can tell, they all end up looking silly, because they all die even though the bible says that God has defeated death.

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. We’re called to live 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. Racism, Hatred, Jealousy will be a thing of the past. 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.

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)

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 the ‘already’ in the midst of the ‘not yet.’

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’.

That was: Number 1 – We’re called to live the ‘already’ in the middle of the ‘not yet’.

2. Taste 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.

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.

Close the series

I’ve talked a lot about how we used to be people of the sea. – Swaying – chaos – own thinking. – Wondering who God is.

Instead – people – cross.

Through it – finally – understand – God is like.

Fun – Go through some of the topics we’ve covered in the series.

Contrast: People – Sea & people – cross.

Sea: Believe in Retribution
Cross: Believe in Grace

Sea: Think The Sea & The Leviathan are the reason for suffering.
Cross: Know that God has an enemy that goes against what God wants.

Sea: Think the God’s are angry
Cross: Know the One true God loves us all, even the moral failures.

Sea: Say “I’m suffering. God must be punishing me or teaching me a lesson.”
Cross: Say “When I suffer, God is there with me.”

Sea: Think that The Holy Book is the final word.
Cross: Believe that Jesus is the final word.

Sea: Read the bible, find out what it says, and follow THAT.
Cross: Read the bible, find how it points to Jesus, & follow HIM.

Sea: Believe that the God’s demand that we sacrifice everything to appease them. Even our children.
Cross: Believe that the bible story is not about what we do for God, it’s about what God does for us.

Sea: Believe that God’s faithful as long as we hold up our end of the deal.
Cross: Know that God is faithful even when we’re not. He has committed to upholding both ends of the deal.

Sea: Think that God chooses which individuals He will save and which he won’t. We ought to be glad he saves anyone at all.
Cross: Know that God wants all to come, but they know there are people who will choose to not get on the train. But not because God doesn’t want them to. He loves all his children.

Sea: Think that you’re wicked and that’s why bad things happen to you. Moses said so. Or heck, maybe it’s because God and Satan have a bet on you.
Cross: Know that the righteous and the unrighteous both suffer. We are not to judge those who suffer and we are never to blame God for what we don’t understand.

Sea: Think that the world is how it is because that’s how God wants it to be.
Cross: Know that the kingdom of God is on it’s way. All suffering, pain, death, disease, are soon to be distant memories. The victory has been won, and the light is moving in and erasing the darkness. And His kingdom will never end.

Thy kingdom come.

Saved – One final scripture.

Revelation: John – vision of God’s coming kingdom. The light spreading completely, and the darkness being completely gone.

Started this series: talking about the sea: representing the darkness & the pain that’s part of the human condition. So one last time. Picture a stormy sea: represent the struggle of loss, fear, death.

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 any sea. (Revelation 21:1)

I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. (Revelation 21:2)

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. (Revelation 21:3)

End series – Communion

Pass out the bread and the cup, and we’ll take communion together.

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.

What you to say: ‘Thy Kingdom Come’.