Just came back from SMBC again after listening to Frank Retief's talk on "The Truth We Don't Really Believe". The Truth here is the second coming of Christ. Frank is a fast speaker, and he can explain the idea without taking a breath! We got there a bit late today - only 10 minutes before the actual meeting started. The hall in SMBC was already packed, even though there were not as many people as Tuesday Don Carson's talk. We rushed home right after the talk, went to do some grocery shopping at Coles (don't you love weird hour shopping), and then here I am trying to keep myself awake to type out this blog entry.
The talk mainly focused on Matthew 24-25, on Jesus' 5 parables about the coming of his kingdom, and how we can apply them while we are waiting for his second coming. Always be alerted and always be ready as the kingdom might come anytime. But for the non-Christians, the challenge would be getting right with God first. When the master is knocking on the door, are you ready for his return?
Again, I will try to summarise sometime tomorrow. Meanwhile, I found someone's blog on Peter Adam's talk on Australia's Biggest Problem and Frank Retief's The Truth We Don't Really Believe. The Permalink might not be right, but you should be able to find the entry somewhere.
Updated at 30 June 2003 2:35pm: Hey. I should never trust myself saying that I will update the entry tomorrow. It turns out that I am finally coming back to it after nearly 2 weeks. Anyway. It is better be late than never, and I will post my summary of the talk below.
The Truth we no longer believe. The truth is about the second coming of Jesus Christ.
There are difficulties on talking about the 2nd coming of Christ. First of all, we are too comfortable with the prophecy concerning this coming. Secondly, we pay no service about it and it has no active role in our lives. We assume his second coming as fairy tales. For people who are not Christians, they might think it is totally irrelevant. However, his second coming has great consequences, otherwise we might as well go home.
Acts 1:10 - it is not a different Jesus but the same that came before. The same that worked wonderful miracles and taught wonderful teachings. The same Jesus that was crucified and died and raised to life - that's the Jesus that will come back again.
There are 3 stages in life -
This world. It is in this world that we were born, and lived our lives. The world we are living today is different from the form it was created. God created a good world. It was a perfect place when God put Adam and Eve in the garden, but all these changed when sin entered the world. When Adam tried to be in the same position as God, it has condemned the world into the darkness that it has not recovered. We are in the darkness, thus in John the gospel "light" entered the world. We love darkness rather than light, and that's why many of us would reject the gospel.
This world is the arena that salvation came to its place. This world is the place our salvation is purchased by Jesus Christ. It is in this world that all these happened. But the world did not recognise him. They all opposed him, and killed him. But in the very act of killing him, God's salvation has been made possible.
In this world we form the context that we will live for Christ, and it will all be done in this world. Bringing glory to Christ. We have different way to serve the Lord in different contexts. When we endure, we will hold firm and glorify God.
But it is not an unlimited world, and we have limited life span. This world is the place that will eventually come to an end.
The next world. Where are we going when we die? Either heaven or hell. If we are Christians, we are told that we will be with Christ. Philippians 1 Paul is better to be with the Lord, and that's what Paul preferred. But he knows his responsibility to stay in this world to preach the gospel. Then, where is the Lord? He went to heaven.
It sounds like fairy tale, but these are all real things that we are talking about. Jesus is the master, on the throne with his Father. What is it like in heaven? But there is not much description? Paul said it is better than our current world by far. How then can you describe? All we can say that it is much better than anything we have experienced in this life.
But even in that world with all the perfection, that is something missing in the next world. Our bodies have not been glorified. Those in heaven are still waiting for the final drama of the salvation to be carried out. When Jesus Christ returned to this world again, and it will be like a blasting trumpet.
Resurrected world. Great pictures, and great events. These are told that will happen. If they are true, then we have real sense of hope in the future. When Christ returns in triumph, the new world will finally be established.
Resurrection body - we will be a whole new person to come. We will be real people, body and spirit. Through the resurrection and transformation, we Will be there. A great judgement will be there, and it is possible. God is the great king of the earth. All the greatness of the space - our God created all of that. He will call all of us to give an account. There is no sense of life at all if there is no judgement. Judgement is a great comfort. It is not vengeance, but justice we are looking for. God created us that seeking for justice is built into us. When the evil walk away in this world, we need to remember that they will not walk away from God. If there is not a day that God will put everything right, we might as well go home as there is nothing to live for.
This world will be regenerated, and we will live in the glorified heaven with glorified saviour. The bridegroom will come and meet the bride, and he will wipe all her tears.
While we are waiting for that to happen. What can we do to respond? What do we do in the mean time? Jesus himself told us how we should view this world in our own time. Matthew 24-25 teaches us how we are going to live in this in-between time.
- 24:42-44 the nocturnal thief. We do not know when the son will turn up so we need to watch. we need to watch like a lover who cannot wait.
- 24:45-51 the disorderly servant. The master will come back on the day that we do not expect. Live our lives in holiness and creditable life. Give credit to our master. Do not identify yourself with the pagan world, rather separate yourself.
- 25:1-13 ten virgins. It is a well know parable. Be ready for the unexpected bridegroom. All the girl looks the same, and all ready. But there is one different - 5 prepared, and 5 unprepared. 5 get in but 5 did not. It is something we cannot borrow. We cannot borrow spiritual reality. We need to have our own spiritual readiness when the bridegroom comes. There is a time it is just too late to save, and we just cannot get back to that line again. It is a great tragedy - too late to repent.
- 25:14-30 Varied talent. Judgement is done on the servant that did not do anything with his talent. We might not be the one with different gifts, but we all have got the faith that God has given to us.
- 25:31-36 Sheep and goat. Two animals are separated. All of us are accountable. We all need to give account for the things we have done while we are in the flesh. Judgement awaits everyone and we are all accountable to the great judge. We are not all going to the same direction. The society today believed that all religions are going to the same direction, but it is not so. Many people will be surprised on that day. What is the one makes the different - your relationship with Jesus Christ and his believers. Rejecting the Christians is rejecting Christ.
If Jesus' teaching is not true, than it does not matter, but if Jesus has told the truth... We see in 2 Peter 3 - what kind of people you ought to be? Our whole life is shaped around with the hope that is to come. We face suffering and trials, and they are not all! There is something more to come, and we need to be ready for it.
Faith in Jesus is the gateway to the new world. Are you right with Christ? Are you doing anything that is wrong. Do you have right priority? Have you got oil in your lamp? One day, the master is at the door... What about now? That depends what you do with Christ in this world.
It is interesting to see how Frank divided the world into three, especially the part between this world and the new heaven and new earth to come. He reckoned that we will be in heaven with Lord Jesus right after we die, and over there we will be waiting for the resurrected body. I kind of see the flow of this argument - From Colossians 3:1-4 we are already sitting at the right hand side of God, together with Christ in heaven. And it is all about the idea of "now and not yet" - we are already in heaven but no, not yet. I guess the implication is - even if we die right now, we will still be in heaven together with Christ. But there is something incomplete, i.e. Christ returning for judgement and our resurrected glorious body.