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Living by Faith (Vol 81) - The Pinnacle of Faith #17: The Already and the Not Yet (Part-5)

Sunday English Service - 14 JUN 20

Transcript

Let's turn to Hebrews chapter 11. I want to read from verse 35 to 38, the passage that we have been considering. Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated — of whom the world was not worthy — wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. As you know, we've been dealing with Hebrews chapter 11, verse by verse, and some time ago, we came to this passage. And we have stayed here for quite some time because this is a very challenging passage for Christians to interpret and to understand really.

The reason is this. Hebrews chapter 11 is about the heroes of faith and it talks about their achievements. And all of a sudden, it's talking about these heroes of faith suffering. Christians generally find it very difficult to connect faith with suffering. Because somehow they have understood faith as something that keeps you from suffering, protects you from suffering. So they cannot connect faith with suffering. And this passage connects faith with suffering. And it says that they suffered not because of a lack of faith, they had faith, they're commended for their faith, but yet they suffered. So we are spending some time explaining certain things here. And I thought we'll deal with it extensively, so that it will be a blessing to all those who hear this series.

Now in order to fully understand that, we had to go to Romans chapter 8. Because here in Hebrews chapter 11, it’s very limited because it simply says they suffered, but it does not give us the details of what they believed that helped them to endure these sufferings and so on. So we needed a more complete teaching on suffering to connect with this. Therefore, we went to Romans chapter 8 and we considered verse 14 to 23 so far. A wonderful passage talking about suffering.

Now there, we brought out seven truths that the Apostle Paul teaches and we are right now on the seventh truth. And we have titled the seventh truth as “The Already and The Not Yet.” And I'm speaking for the fifth time on just “The Already and The Not Yet.”

What does “The Already and The Not Yet” mean? “The Already” means the blessings of redemption that is available for us to receive and to enjoy at this present time, in this life. “The Not Yet” means the blessings of redemption that are kept waiting for us in eternity, in the future age to come. It is not available for right now.

The great Apostle Paul makes the difference between the two because the people are having some confusion about suffering. Just like all of us have some confusion understanding faith and suffering, the Christians of the first century also had some trouble understanding faith and suffering. And therefore, Paul teaches and in the teaching, he makes this “Already and The Not Yet” a very prominent thing.

Roman chapter 8 begins with the statement that there is now therefore no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus. Talking about the believer and how there is no condemnation. And then he stacks one proof after the other, giving it to the believers to assure them of their salvation, that they are indeed saved. And the final proof, the climax of those proofs, is the fact that they are now sons, they’re children of God and that the Holy Spirit bears witness with them in their spirit that they are indeed sons of God. That is found in verse 14 to 16, all right?

But then that is where the problem arises. Paul knows that the people who will read this will have some questions because he's talking very strongly about how they are sons of God, how they're saved, and so on. But the people are suffering in the world of that time, in the first century. They're suffering because of their faith in Christ. They’re suffering in so many ways. Horrible sufferings going on here and there. So, they're going to question saying, “Well, you say that we are saved, you say that we are sons, you say that we are children. Why are we suffering then? If we're children of God, what right do these people have to torture us like this? To persecute us like this?”

And Paul begins to answer them. He says, “Look, it works out like this.” He says, “If you are sons, then you are heirs. If your heirs and you’re heirs of God, and that means your joint heirs with Christ.” That's verse 17. Heirs means that you receive the inheritance that belongs to heirs. What is the inheritance you will receive? The wonderful blessings of redemption. But not only that, you will also receive the sufferings of Christ because remember, when Jesus was in this world, they crucified Him. They treated Him unjustly. They persecuted Him, they beat Him, they killed Him on the cross. And Jesus Himself said, “If they do this for Me, what will they do for you?” And that's exactly what was happening to them.

So he says, “Listen. You are heirs, you’re joint heirs with Christ. Therefore, you receive the blessings of redemption. But not only the blessings of redemption, you also end up receiving, because you’re heirs, the persecution and the suffering that belongs to Christ. You suffer with Him. And if you suffer with Him, you'll be glorified with Him.” And then he says, “The sufferings of this present time,” that’s verse 18, “suffering of this present time is nothing to be compared with the glories to be revealed later.” So the sufferings of this present time is nothing when it is compared to the glory that is going to come. So he's trying to comfort them.

And then he begins to give some reasonings and some information about what God has done concerning this problem. Is the suffering going to end or is it going to continue forever and ever? Is God turning a blind eye to all the suffering that's going on in this world?

And I have mentioned two sources of suffering for a Christian. One is that the Christian belongs to the kingdom of God but lives in the kingdom in this world. And there is a conflict between the two sometimes. And when there is a conflict, the world persecutes the Christian because the Christian is loyal to the kingdom of God, right? That's one reason.

The second reason I told you is that the world is an imperfect condition. It is a world that is under bondage to corruption. And our body also is a body that is under bondage to corruption. It’s a body of sin, the Bible says. And because of this, because of the corruption that has set in into the system, into the world as such, and into our body, therefore, we suffer in so many ways. Like right now with the COVID 19 problem, the whole world is suffering literally. And we as Christians also enter into that suffering in some way or the other. There is not a person in the whole world that doesn't suffer in some way or the other. It impacts everybody in so many different ways.

So the two reasons. Has God done anything about it or is He turning a blind eye to all this? Is He going to leave it like that? Paul says, “No, no, no. God has got a wonderful plan. Right now He has provided redemption through what has happened on the cross of Calvary. That work is over. So we can have forgiveness of sin, we can come to God, we can become sons and daughters of God. We can belong in the family of God. We can receive the blessings of God. But along with that, the suffering also is part of the package.” In this present world, God is leaving the present world as it is because He wants to wait until the gospel is preached so that everybody hears the gospel and has an opportunity to turn to Christ, to repent, and to take Him as Lord and God.

Then the end will come. Then this world will come to an end. The world in this present condition will be no more, it will come to an end. And God will usher in new heaven and new earth and a new world where there is no sin, there is no devil, there is no imperfections. There is none of these things that you see. Therefore, there’ll be no suffering. It'll be a world which is different. That is what is called heaven.

So he's unveiling the plan and purpose of God as it has been unveiled in the Holy Scriptures from the Old Testament as well as in the New Testament, right? So that is what all those verses are about, verse 19 onwards. Even the creation is waiting for our bodily redemption, because when that happens, it will also experience its redemption. It's also coming to shape and so on, because it has also entered into corruption as a result of man's sin. It is also going to be reverted. And it's going to be redeemed and so on.

So he goes on into that very strongly, and talks about how we are waiting for our bodily redemption. These are things going to happen. God has not turned a blind eye. He has done something about it. People are saying out there, “Where is God? What has He done?” He says, “He has done something about it.” Read the Bible. The Bible gives the reason for it. He has done something about it. Bible is the good news about the gospel. It’s the good news about what God has done. God has got you and I in His mind. He has done something. That’s the good news. That's how the story goes in chapter 8.

So we considered up to verse 23. Verse 23 ends with saying that we are waiting, groaning within ourselves. Waiting for adoption as sons, which is the redemption of our body. And then it says in verse 24, I want to consider 24 and 25 today. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. What is he talking about here? He is trying to emphasize the hope element here. In other words, he's saying, “Hey, there is “the already and the not yet”. There is the faith element and there is the hope element. Faith looks backwards to “the already”, at the finished work of Christ, to what He has achieved for us, to receive and to enjoy all that is available for us right now. That's faith. The hope looks forward in expectation, to “the not yet” so that it can enter into it because it has been kept ready for us, waiting for us for the future age.” So faith is reaching to what has been completed and made ready for us for right now. Hope is reaching to what is waiting for us in the future age to come.

The devil has always caused confusion between “the already and the not yet”. And the confusion is regarding both the already and the not yet. Here Paul is talking in these two verses about “the not yet”. But the confusion is generally regarding both.

The confusion regarding the already is this, that the devil doesn't want people to know everything that people can receive and enjoy for right now. So he usually influences them to claim too little and think that nothing is available right now. Everything they have to wait until they get to heaven, until they die and go to heaven. That's what a lot of Christians do.

On the other hand, there is the other extreme. He influences people, the devil influences people to think that what is “not yet”, what is kept for the future age is already available now.

Let me show you this by illustrating it for you. For example, the claiming too little group. They say, “There are no miracles today.” They completely cancel out miracles. They say, “When the last apostle died, miracle stopped.” I can't believe it. How come miracles stopped? God is not dead. God does not change. God's power is not taken away, it is not diminished.

We're living in an age of grace. We’re in the new covenant. It’s a better covenant than the old covenant. We're living in an age of grace. You mean to say there's not going to be any miracles? Miracles are impossible? That God won't do miracles? That God has somehow decided that there won't be any miracles? I find it very difficult to believe

Healing, even healing they refuse to accept because they say, “Well, you know, you get sick, you better get ready to die because you can't expect God to heal you right now.” You can expect God to take you to heaven but God cannot heal you right now. That also I find it difficult to believe. Because Jesus never stopped being healer and God never stopped being healer from the Old Testament times to the New Testament and until today, He’s the healer. “I'm the Lord that healeth you. I’ll bless your bread and water, remove sickness from your midst,” He says. He's our healer. Jesus demonstrated it. I don't think His compassion has reduced now or diminished now in some way that He will turn a blind eye that He does not heal. That He refuses to heal, I find it very difficult to believe that.

Not only do they not believe in healing a lot of them, they actually say that God is the one who gives sickness in order to teach you something, in order to perfect you, in order to make you fit for heaven and so on. And they interpret it like that. That healing is not available and that sickness is something that God Himself gives.

See what will happen to a fellow who’s sick now. Even if he thinks of going to the doctor Monday morning to see if he can get rid of the sickness, he'll think twice because if God has given it to you, you better not tell a doctor to work against God on your body. Try to get your healing. If God wants it for you, for some reason, how can you seek healing for it? People are confused because of these things.

But Jesus said exactly the opposite. “The sick need the physician,” He said, “They need the physician.” They need to go to the doctor. They need to pray. They need to believe God. They need to believe in healing. God is happy if you went to the doctor and you got healed. He's not mad that at that. God wants you to be well, God wants to heal you. God can heal you. God does heal. God does do miracles.

Regarding prosperity also, the people that claim too little, regarding prosperity also, they make the same mistake. They believe that earthly blessings are no-no. They've gone to an extreme. Not only do they believe that God doesn't bless people materially, now they believe that material blessing itself is evil. It's not good. It's better to be poor. And it is impossible for you to go to heaven if you're rich. And they got verses for this, forgetting that God was so rich. He is our Heavenly Father. Look at His house in heaven. They’ll read the last two chapters of the book of Revelation, where He lives. You’ll be shocked. But these people say that you can't go to heaven if you're rich, material prosperity is evil, God wants you to be poor. “And all that live godly will be poor,” they say.

You cannot have any more than what you really need. These are things that have been taught, and I suffered under that for many years. “You cannot have any more than what you really need. Even one penny more than what you need is a sin,” they said. You cannot even have more than two sets of clothing, one hanging on your body, the other hanging on the clothesline drying.

I mean even today, there are guys who preach all the time about this is too much, that is too much, and criticize all of these things. They’re worried that people are spending too much money to put up a stage and turn the lights on and have a good meeting or a concert or something like that. They're upset that so much money is spent on that. It is all luxuries.

The problem is they have a problem with their mind I think. That's not luxury at all. For them, everything looks like a luxury. Only one little bulb is good for you. Anything more than that is luxury. That's the way of thinking. Something has happened to their way of thinking because of the way we have grown up many times. So that is claiming too little. They go to one extreme.

The ones that claim too much, they think that the things that are available for the future is already available. They are also an extreme type. For example, let me just illustrate that. They teach things like you will never have any suffering. That the Bible does not teach. I told you there are two reasons why people suffer. To teach saying that Christian will never have any suffering and to suffer is not Christian is not a biblical teaching.

And then there are things like, for example, I've been sharing about entire sanctification. That you can be 100% sanctified in this present life, which is something if you teach that, so many people are going to be so discouraged. The first time they do anything wrong, they're going dump their whole salvation and their position in Christ, everything. Instead of beautifully teaching them about how to depend on a day-to-day basis for power to overcome sin, how to depend on the Holy Spirit, how to depend on the Word of God, how to use it in order to overcome and live a life of victory over sin. If you just simply… You know, there are people that are saying, “You come to my meeting and fire will fall from heaven, and all the sins will be burnt up and thereafter, you will be 100% sanctified.” Just imagine what that will do to a person.

And then there is this teaching about immortality. How that if you don't want to die, you don't have to die, one person said. Amazing. Because you can just live on forever. That because we are living in days when there is going to be a manifestation of the sons of God and glory is going to be revealed and nothing about the coming of Christ. “This is going to be done and only then He will come,” they say. The Bible teaches exactly the opposite. Bible says when He comes only this is going to be done. The sons of God will be revealed, the glory will be given.

It's amazing how the devil purposely takes these issues to confuse people, to set them off on the wrong track so that they mull over these things and try to sort these things out. They cannot do anything for God. They cannot be fruitful in their lives, they cannot be a blessing to others. And they're battling with these things today. How many people are battling with these things?

Wrong. So in the days of Paul and Peter and John, people had problems like this. And that is why some of them were surprised when they suffered. That's why Peter is right. He said, “Don't be surprised as if something strange is happening to you when you face tribulation.” Because people are thinking, “Oh, how strange this is. I thought I am living in my faith and I will never suffer.” He says, “Don't think that something strange is happening to you.”

Charles Spurgeon said to his college students, when he was having a pastor's college and he was teaching there, he said, “If you stand out in the street and preach, and somebody slapped you on your face, don't be surprised. You ought to be expecting it.” What do you expect in this world? “You're to be expecting it. It can happen,” he says.

All right. So, there is a big mix up between “the already and the not yet” and this is where the devil keeps confusing people. We need to understand it very well. Now, the fact that we have to hope and wait for “the not yet” is something that even little children understand. When we tell them we're going to go on vacation, the month of May on such and such a date, to that place, they're ready to wait. They're hoping and waiting for the day to come so that they can go on vacation, right? Very simple. We do this hoping and waiting, eagerly waiting and hoping for something all the time regarding so many things. And Paul takes that and uses that to talk about how believers are also eagerly waiting. That God has planned and purposed so many wonderful things. God has not turned a blind eye. He has not left the world as it is. He's got a plan for the world, the future age and everything. He’s going to make everything perfect. And he's presenting the plan and telling us, “Please wait. Hope and wait. Eagerly wait for this thing that is going to happen.” Right? That's the whole teaching.

So let me explain this, particularly the verse 25 where it says if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. All right. So we must hope for that which we do not see, for that which we do not have right now. Things that we don't have to enjoy right now, we must hope.

Now hope for some people means negative resignation somehow. Because they say, “Well, I got to hope. I can't do anything about it right now. There's no other answer right now. I just have to hope.” And so they turned very negative and they resigned themselves from all hope. Actually, instead of hoping, they quit having any hope. And they say, “Well, I hope that God takes me. I'm ready to die. I just want to be out of this body. Why all this suffering? Why I have to go through all this? I don't want to live anymore. Because when I get out of this body, and when I die and get rid of this body, then I'm going to be very well and fine. That is the problem. This body is a body of sin. This body is a body of corruption. I want out from it. I want out from this world right now. Why should I wait until the future age comes? I want out right now.” This kind of attitude is there among people.

That is why Paul writes in 2 Corinthians chapter 5, very interesting passage. In 2 Corinthians chapter 5:2, For in this tent, referring to our body, tent, we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling. We groan not to die and put this tent off, get rid of this tent and go to the... go to heaven. In this tent, we are not groaning saying we want to die, we want to get rid of this, and we want to get out of this world, go into that other world. No, no, no. In this tent we groan. Longing for what? To put on a heavenly dwelling. In other words, the Christians are not hopeless people that just want to die so that their problems can end. Christians are people that have got a solid hope, solid hope of a solid future, a wonderful, perfect future. And therefore, they're not waiting to just get rid of the body just to die, just to go to heaven. They are waiting to put on the body that God is going to give to them, that glorious body that never dies.

Look at verse 4 For while we are still in this tent, the groan being burdened — not that we will be unclothed, but that we will be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Let me explain this. What is it saying? It says while we're in this tent, we groan being burdened — not that we will be unclothed. We are not groaning, being burdened, we’re not groaning to get out of this body and die and so on. No. He says, “We are not groaning to be unclothed.” We are groaning, waiting to be clothed. Clothed with what? So that death may be swallowed up by life. I want that kind of body, the undying body, a body of immortality. I'm waiting for the body in which there will be no deaths.

I don't want this body. I want that body. For that, I hope. And I'm groaning and waiting, he says. So Christians have solid hope. They're not waiting and hoping to die and just be rid of this world and the problems. No, Christians have solid hope. The Bible teaches solid hope about a future age, future state in which we will live which will be perfect state because God has done something about all of these things, to fix all of these things. People are asking all the time. “What has God done? Why has He not done?” The good news is God has done. There is an “already and not yet”. With that light you need to live right now. You have possessed “the already” you will possess “the not yet” also. That's the way the Bible goes about it, right?

This is the difference between Christianity and all other ways. Christianity, there is solid hope. There are some ways in which religions in which they teach that it’s better for you die because when you get out of the body, then you can reach a state of peace. You won't have to deal with it. Go to the other world. Bible doesn't teach that. It doesn't teach escapism. It teaches a solid hope of a new body, new world, a new life where everything is perfect with Jesus as planned and purposed. We have tasted of the powers of the age to come right now. We know a foretaste of it already now. In this present time, we know what it's going to be like, all right? All right.

Then, how are we to hope for that which we do not yet see? There are two things we need to do, that is to wait and there is patience to be exercised. There is a waiting for and there is patience. Let's talk about both of these things.

What is this waiting for? What does this mean? What is meant by waiting for? We're waiting for the glory that is going to be revealed, right? The glory that is going to be revealed is so great that we are waiting for it. If we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. We wait for what? We wait for it. We wait for what? We wait for a glorified body. We wait for an undying, immortal body. We wait for a world in which everything is perfect. We wait for it but the wait here, the word “wait” that is used here is not enough, they say, because in that there is an element of joyfulness which has not been brought out in the translation, they say.

Waiting is not simply waiting. It is a joyful waiting. For example, even in the context, if you look at it, you'll understand it. In verse 19 it says, For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. The brute creation, the sun, moon, and the stars, the trees and the hills and the mountains, they're waiting. They're waiting for what? They're waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God, the revealing of the sons of God. Why? Because when that happens, when the sons of God receive their glory, when they receive their immortal bodies, the Creation also will receive its redemption. So they're waiting, not simply waiting but eagerly waiting, right? Eagerly waiting.

But look at some other passages. The kind of waiting that it talks about is eagerly waiting and it's a wonderful idea and we read about it in the Bible, particularly in Psalm 130. Let me read to you from verse 5 itself. I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His Word I hope. See, here’s a man hoping and waiting. He says, “In His Word I hope. I wait for the Lord, my soul waits. My soul waits for the Lord more than the watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning. Look at the repetition there. In other words, he's saying, “I'm not simply waiting, I'm hoping in the Word. I'm hoping for the Word of God to be accomplished. I wait for the Lord, my soul waits. And my soul waits more than the watchmen for the morning, more than the watchmen for the morning.” Again, it is repeated. That kind of waiting

In Philippians chapter 3 verse 13 and 14. Brothers, I do not consider that I've made it my own. But one thing I do; forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. Look at the kind of waiting, on tiptoes literally. Waiting to see that, waiting to enter into that. Wait eagerly, longing for that. That's the idea.

Titus chapter 2 verse 13, waiting for our blessing hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Look at the way it’s put, waiting for our blessed hope the appearing of the glory of our great God and our Savior Jesus Christ. That's the kind of waiting the Bible is talking about.

2 Peter chapter 3 and verse 12. 2 Peter 3:12, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to His promise, we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Peter believes that the Bible has promised, the Word of God has promised a new heaven and a new earth in which righteousness will dwell. “So it will come about,” he says, and therefore, he’s waiting, waiting and hastening the coming of the day of God. Waiting and hastening the coming of the day of God, right? So wonderful.

We can go on reading in many places like this. And that is exactly what Romans 8:25 says. Romans 8:25 says, if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. In other words, if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it. That's the way you should read it, they say. That is missing here. The element of eagerness or joyfulness in waiting must be added to it, they say. All right. So that's waiting.

Let's talk about the patience with which you should wait or patience through which we must wait. That is a better translation, they say. Patience through which we must wait. What is patience? Patience is about endurance, right? It includes constancy, firmness, and unwearying. Constancy means being the same in all situations, just going steady. Firmness means standing your ground, never giving up. Unwearying means never getting tired, never giving up, right? That's a wonderful quality, isn't it? That's what patience is. Patience is a firmness. It's a character trait that's wonderful.

Now people often think of patience as a passive virtue many times. But it's actually an active one. They think of it as a passive virtue because they've noticed that some people claim to be patient, but in actuality, they are not patient. They're just dull. They just don't react and they don't have enough of what it takes to react. They're just dull. They're not sensitive, they don't react. And that is not patience.

A lot of people have mistaken that for patience. They say, “Oh, he's so patient. Whatever happens, he's just there.” Well, he is just there because he is dull. But patience is an active virtue. And that is why we are constantly exhorted to cultivate it, grow it, develop it, and so on. So patience is a very strong virtue. It is firm.

And look at what Paul says about it in Romans chapter 5. He talks about it wonderfully in Romans chapter 5. And let me read to you from verse 2. Through Him, we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Now he's getting into talking about hope, hope of the glory of God, right?

So he says, through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope for the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance and endurance produces character, and character produces hope. Paul says, “We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” So he's really talking about hope as something that involves rejoicing, right? That joyful element is there. It's not just waiting. It's joyously waiting, right?

And then he talks about it saying, we rejoice in our sufferings. Why? Because suffering produces endurance and endurance produces character, and character produces hope. And hope does not put us to shame and so on. In other words, he says that patience grows and develops as the result of the very things that we are having to endure. He’s talking about sufferings. When you endure sufferings, you go through the sufferings in this world, the trials, the troubles, the tribulations, they actually lead to patience. It actually strengthens our patience. And it brings experience and eventually increases hope.

And we started with hope and we end up with more hope. That's what he's saying. You see, it begins with hope. We see he starts by saying we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our suffering. That's how he begins. He starts with hope. And because there is hope, he rejoices in sufferings. And knowing sufferings produces endurance and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame. So, it starts with hope and ends with hope and ends with producing more hope and more patience than there was already before.

So patience is a very strong virtue. And when that happens, what happens to a person who's growing like that? Who’s becoming stronger and stronger because of what he goes through and what he endures, what he experiences, what he encounters, by way of trials, sufferings, and so on? Psalm 112 is a wonderful Psalm that describes a person who has his heart established. Psalm 112 verse 6, for the righteous will be moved, he will be remembered forever. He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. His heart is steady; he will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph on his adversaries. Look how it presents him. He’ll never be moved. He’s not afraid of even bad news. His heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. His heart is steady. I like those words. He’ll not be afraid. That's the way God wants our heart to be. That's the way He wants us to shape up. And when we suffer, when we face challenges, when we endure through the sufferings, that we face in this world, I'll tell you something, you develop the character, patience grows. And when you understand this, you begin to rejoice. Instead of lamenting about the problem, you begin to rejoice because you know what is happening. All right.

By the way the Apostle Paul presents in Romans chapter 8, this whole matter of hope, and how we wait eagerly with patience for this thing that we are hoping for, by the way, he says it, he reveals certain things. First of all, he reveals certain things about a Christian man, he gives a wonderful picture of the Christian man, the man with a Christian character.

What is the Christian man like? The Christian man can combine eagerness and patience at the same time. That's the most difficult thing to combine. In the world, if you see people who are eager, they have a lot of eagerness then they have very little patience because the two don't match.

Eager guy wants to just go ahead and just immediately have it. He doesn't have patience. And if a guy is very patient, then he doesn't have eagerness. The two don't match in the world. The nature of man is such.

But when a Christian man is influenced by the Holy Spirit and God is working in his life, he is a person who has got eagerness and patience. He’s got both. He's got both. Therefore, that person is constant, he is reliable. He goes on doing what he's doing and persisting in the thing that he's in. He is not one moment excited and the next moment dull and depressed. He is not a negative passive man. He’s a lively man, he’s a living man. There is a perfect balance. He doesn't have one thing too much more than the other. He’s got both in balance. He is the otherworldly person. That is he understands that he doesn't belong to this world. He has been chosen to live in another world that is his future. That is the permanent thing. This is only temporary. He understands all of that. So he's otherworldly.

But he's not useless in this life. Some people are so heavenly-minded they're no earthly-good. They become useless in this world because they're so heavenly-minded. In 2 Thessalonians, you have an instance where Paul is rebuking such people. There are some people sitting around waiting, looking at the sky, waiting for the coming of the Lord. And they just go eat breakfast and come and wait. And eat lunch and come and wait. Somebody is preparing dinner and then they eat and come and wait. Next day they do the same thing. They keep asking everybody, “Are you ready? Are you ready? Are you ready?” And they don't do nothing. They're just useless people. And if you ask them, they say, “I'm getting ready. Jesus is coming soon.” They look so spiritual, sound so spiritual, but they are so useless.

I heard a theology Professor say this. I remember back in 1970s, a book came out which sold literally millions of copies. It was about the second coming. In it the man claimed that Jesus is going to come back between 1948, when Israel is formed as a nation, and 1988. Between those 40 years, He’s going to come. Some calculation he’s got. He’s taken the book of Revelation, Daniel, and all of that, interprets it and gives some amazing explanations about whatever is said there and comes up with the calculation that by 1988, He’ll be there, between 1948 and 88, right? So there was a church it seems and that believed it so much. And they actually said that 1988, October 30th, before October 30, Jesus is going to come.

They fixed the date. They're preaching it, they have fixed the date. And this theology professor is always invited to that church to preach every year. So he said that year they invited him on November 1st to preach there. That professor says, “Well, if Jesus is going to come by October 30, then why did you invite me for November 1st to preach? What am I going to do there? Preach to an empty church? What is your plan? It looks like you've never even believed that this is going to happen by 1988, October 30th.” Strange, isn't it? I've seen people like that.

One man told me, “He's coming in 1981.” 1983 I met him. I said, “Where is He?” He said, “Well, we made a small calculation mistake. He’s going to come in 87.” Some people are busy in this kind of thing. They're going into this thing and they stay busy with this kind of a thing. They become very crazy about this thing. They become useless in living and effectively working for God in this present world, because they're so otherworldly minded, okay?

But Paul is not like that. Paul rebukes the guy in 2 Thessalonians. He says, “If a man does not work,” this guy that's looking up the sky, waiting for Jesus to come, he says, “If a man does not work, let him not eat.” He is not rebuking laziness. Laziness is not the problem. He is rebuking the spiritual craziness of waiting for the second coming. All right.

Secondly, the way that Apostle Paul gives the verse 24 and 25 in chapter 8, it reveals the nature of the longing and the eager expectation. It tells us something about the nature of that longing. What is the nature of that longing? The nature of the longing is that it's not a theoretical, academic longing. Some people are like that. They say, “Well, what does that white horse mean, brother? What does that black horse mean? What is…? When do you think Jesus is coming? You think it will be this year and you think that we are very close?” They’re into this kind of thing. All the time, they're into that. I've seen people like that. And they want an explanation for every little thing, things that you're not really sure of. And they can interpret it in so many ways, and they want an explanation for the “Do you know?” They're asking everybody. That's an academic interest they have.

Paul doesn't have such an interest. If you read Philippians chapter 3 where he talks about how he considered everything as nothing for the sake of knowing Christ, it is a different kind of longing. He is pressing forward on tiptoe trying to attain that for which he has been apprehended. It’s a different kind of thing. It is a personal…something that is happening inside of a person. His heart and mind is involved. The man's life and feelings are affected. It's a personal thing. It's not an academic theoretical interest in the things of second coming, all right?

Okay. One more thing. How can we through patience, waiting eagerly and become like this? How can we through patience wait eagerly like Paul says? The way to wait eagerly like Paul says is to first of all consider what the world is all about. Be aware of what the world is all about as the Bible describes it. The world is this present world, the Bible talks about. It's going to come to an end. This is not permanent. This is imperfect. This is not what I was chosen for. God has greater plans for me. I'm going to be part of that world that is going to be perfect, glorious.

I'm right now here in this present world, but that is my destiny. So I don't get attached to this world. I'm here doing God's work. I'm here accomplishing what God has called me to accomplish. But I am not going to be attached with it. I'm not going to love this world and be attached to this world. I'm just going go through this world, do what I'm supposed to do for the kingdom of God and keep waiting and hoping and looking eagerly for that to come. Because I know very well that that is the purpose for which I'm called, all right?

So if you want to know what it is to be eagerly waiting for these things, see what the present world is. If you look at the present world, its imperfections, its problems, right now in this COVID times, it seemed like more real to me. That as I look at this more and more and more, I realize, thank God, I'm not part of this world. I'm chosen to be part of that world and this world is soon going to come to an end.

It's all going to come to an end. God has got a program. God has got a glorious, beautiful world for me. That is God's plan. And I'm always praising God for it. I’m looking eagerly, waiting on tiptoes, waiting to see it happen, amen? While at the same time doing what He has called me to do.

Secondly, you need to remember who you are and what you are. Who are you? You're dead to sin, risen with Christ. You're a new creation. You're a covenant person. So be aware of that. Don't get lost in this world. Don't become a worldly person. Don't identify too much with this world. Be a person who is conscious of the fact that you're in this world for a purpose and you have to do certain things here. But your calling is for that world, amen?

And that kind of a person when he thinks about Christ's return, the adoption, the redemption of our bodies, and the glorious liberty of the children of God and so on, that person really understands what it is and he's truly looking for forward for it and his heart is yearning for it, amen?

Are you there? Are you like that? Fix these things in heart. There are things to be enjoyed at this present time. But you're living in this world tasting of the powers of the age to come. Already you have a foretaste of what is to come. That should create a great hunger and a thirst for that and a desire to see that happen. Live with that. Always be able to separate “the already and the not yet”. Let the “not yet” be your hope. Believe it, hope for it, hope for it with eagerness, desiring to see it. And I’ll tell you, it is going to come about and we are going to be part of it. May God bless you. We'll continue next week. Let’s pray.

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