KINGDOM VALUE 2: THE BEST IS YET TO COME
Here are my teaching notes for the Cornerstone Church on Sunday, June 30, 2019.
TWO ESSENTIAL SKILLS
There are two essential skills we need for life with Jesus. One is learning to draw near to him by resting, conversing, and worshipping. The other skill is learning to surrender to Jesus. He's the supreme ruler and we live under his authority.
This teaching series on Kingdom Values is about the second skill: living under the kingly rule of Jesus. Last week, we discovered Kingdom Value 1: The unseen world has the last word about our identity, purpose and worth. We summarized that final word as: "We're in Christ, we belong to God, and we're blessed." Another way to say it is this: In Jesus Christ, God has given us every good thing he wants for us without holding back anything (his love, adoption, freedom, forgiveness, and so on - verses 1-10).
Now we want to look at Kingdom Value 2:
THIS IS AMAZING, BUT THE BEST IS YET TO COME
What we've already received in Jesus Christ is amazing (see Ephesians 1:1-14). God is so good to us. His love is relentless and consistent and intense and just downright mind-blowing and amazing. BUT! The best is yet to come.
Kingdom Value 2 is: What we already have is amazing (verses 1-12), BUT the best is yet to come. The apostle Paul was gripped by this concept. On trial in Rome, he knew he faced prison and death. But he also knew the best was yet to come, so he faced the challenge with hope:
(Philippians 1:23) "I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far."
Everyone who stands for Jesus in spite of life's challenges thinks this way: "I'm so grateful for everything the Lord has given me now. But I know it's even better to be with Jesus forever. The best is yet to come." What is yet to come? Our eternal inheritance.
OUR AMAZING INHERITANCE
A. WHAT WE INHERIT.
"Our inheritance" (verse 14) is summarized as our full "redemption." Put very simply, in Christ we're already redeemed from the power and penalty of sin (for example, Ephesians 1:7), but in the future we'll be redeemed from the presence of sin. First, all traces of sin's impact will be erased from the world and from our lives. Then, everything will submit to the authority of King Jesus. Finally, we'll be part of the new creation, which is heaven on earth. The very best part of the new creation will be full access to God himself.
(1 Corinthians 15:50-53) I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.
(Revelation 21:1-2) 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. 2 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 21:22-24) I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.
(Revelation 22:3-5) The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.
B. HOW WE INHERIT.
When we heard the "gospel of our salvation" and turned in faith to Jesus, we became heirs of God (verse 13) and co-heirs with Jesus. In Christ, we've been adopted by God to be his "sons" (Ephesians 1:5) in order to make us his legal heirs:
(Romans 8:17) Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ ... (See Romans 4:13-16).
We inherit with Jesus, because of Jesus, whatever Jesus inherits. Psalm 2 describes what our inheritance will be:
(Psalms 2:7-8) I will proclaim the Lord's decree: He said to me, “You are my son; today I have become your father. 8 Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.
In Christ and with Christ, we are the "legal" heirs to the whole world - the new creation. We will be a fully redeemed people in a fully redeemed world with God at the center of it all.
The word picture in Ephesians 1:13 is of Father God writing a last will and testament and making us his beneficiaries. The document on which God's last will and testament is written is us; that is, the Holy Spirit seals us - not a paper, but us. The presence of the Spirit is a constant reminder that we are God's heirs.
C. THE CERTAINTY OF OUR INHERITANCE.
The Holy Spirit is a downpayment to us (verse 14), an airtight promise that the full payment is certain. God himself guarantees it by being the downpayment. Not money, not property, God. Himself! Since the downpayment is the Spirit, then the full payment must be the Spirit. I'm grasping for words here, but it appears that the inheritance includes more of the Holy Spirit; that is, more of God in our lives. This is the picture in Revelation 21:
(Revelation 21:3) 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.
(Psalms 73:26) My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion (share, inheritance) forever.
We will inherit God; the presence of God with us, visible, tangible, forever. The maximum experience of God possible to a fully redeemed human being.
LIVING IN LIGHT OF OUR AMAZING INHERITANCE
In light of our amazing inheritance, we should think bigger and live bolder. God's purpose is for our eternal inheritance to dominate our thinking now. He wants us to be so heavenly minded that we are of great earthly use. When your mind is that full of heaven, three things will happen in your life:
Visionary prayer: You'll cry out to the Lord for heaven to invade the earth - now. We want the Lord to put things right. We want our communities to thrive and we know that happens when Jesus takes over. That happens first of all by prayer.
Warfare prayer: There are demonic powers at war against our communities. Spirits of hatred, division, bitterness, hopelessness, and suicide keep so many people in bondage. Think about this: part of our eternal inheritance will be to rule the world with Jesus (2 Timothy 2:12). Why not start now? Turn back the darkness in the name of Jesus. Intercede in your war-room. Make time. Find a partner and pray hell out and heaven in.
Strategic action: The vision of heaven on earth will call you to action. Have you heard of the A21 Campaign? It was started by Nick and Christine Caine because they saw the evil of human trafficking in light of their heavenly inheritance. They knew they couldn't let slavery win. So, they started the A21 Campaign. Read what it says on the website:
Our mission is to end slavery - everywhere, forever. We are a nonprofit organization fueled by radical hope that human beings everywhere will be rescued from bondage and completely restored. We are the abolitionists of the 21st century. We work with you to free slaves and disrupt the demand. Human trafficking is destroying lives, but freedom will have the final word.
Is there a niggling thought in your mind or in your dreams at night. Is it some injustice, or a growing vision of what could be, or of group you could help, or some opportunity for light to cancel darkness? And you know the Lord is calling you to it. To stand up. To speak out. To pour out. To organize. To be the difference. That's how the Lord works. Pay attention. Say yes. Pray and move forward in the name of Jesus.
Think bigger and live bolder as agents of the Kingdom of heaven on earth. Pray. Act. Expect miracles and supernatural success and God's will to be done on earth.