One day, we will finally be with the person we were made for, Jesus, in the place we were made for, Heaven. But we are not there yet! So we find ourselves wavering between eagerly anticipating on tiptoes what’s coming, and inwardly groaning because the waiting is excruciating.
Yes, this in-between time, this meantime, certainly is a mean time. The suffering and agony we experience here and now seems tortuous as we long for what’s to come. And yet, no matter the suffering we’re enduring—whether it be spiritual, emotional, or physical, it cannot compare to the glory of what will be revealed in us.
In fact, the sufferings of this life (as intense as they may be) are not even worthy to be compared to the glory of what will be. The Apostle Paul reminds us of this promise: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived—the things God has prepared for those who love him…” (1 Corinthians 2:9)
It’s true! God is preparing a place for us which will include a body that will not only be able to endure eternity, but also able to enjoy eternity. One day, there will be no more decay, no more rust, and no more dust. Everything will be living in glorious liberty, no longer bound to breaking down. But until then, the breakdown is pretty much all we see all around us in just about every category.
That frustration is on purpose by God in hope that we might search for Him and find Him—then look forward to being with Him forever in the place that He has prepared for us—where moth and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal.
So until then, may the Lord lift up your head and keep you on your toes as you eagerly await who and what is to come—Jesus and the place He is preparing to be with you…forever!
There is a longing and hoping among believers in Jesus as we wait for the person and the place for which we were made. This time we’re waiting in now can be so disorienting, frustrating, and non-fulfilling that we find ourselves groaning for Him and His Kingdom.
But this isn’t by accident. Scripture tells us that creation was subjected to frustration by God on purpose in hopes that we would long and look for someone and something—the Person and the Place we were truly made for.
Between seasons of frustration and groans, we get little glimpses of what’s to come. It’s those glimpses that help us keep looking up and looking ahead to that Person and that Place. Watch our study of Romans 8:18-25 from this past Sunday as we considered the person (Jesus) and the place (Heaven) for which we were made.
“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”
In Paul’s letter to the Romans, we read about God’s amazing grace and His salvation that’s available to all through faith. There is nothing we can do to earn it. And yet, Romans 8:17 makes it sound like there is something we must do to maintain it. However, this ‘suffering’ speaks to our identity in Him—a mark of genuine salvation when we begin to become like Him.
When we are a part of God’s family, we begin to experience the same emotion, the same passion as Christ. We suffer with Him as we begin to see things the way He sees things. We begin to see people the way He sees people. We begin to love the way He loves. We’re compelled to live self-sacrificially because of His great love shed abroad in our hearts.
Jesus, living His life through us, compels us with His love to live self-sacrificially for God’s glory and for the benefit of those that we love so much. This is His passion—His emotion. When we suffer with Him, we care deeply about the things and the people that we never cared about before. That can be agonizing at times, but it is the passion of Christ that He is sharing with us and that we share with Him. As we live and love in the same manner as Christ, we are no longer bound by the fear of losing anything because we know we have the greatest thing in knowing Him!
Romans 8:16-17 says, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”
In previous studies, we’ve learned how we can become a part of God’s family by grace through faith. So what does it mean that we “suffer with Him”? Must we experience persecution in order to belong to His family? Or is there more to this idea of suffering than meets the eye?
This past Sunday, we slowly studied just one verse—Romans 8:17—as we carefully considered what it means to suffer with Christ. Watch our study and take time to think about what emotions God experiences.
Who are you in Christ? Are you a carnal creature at odds with and in enmity against God? No! That’s who you were before you yielded to Him. In Christ, you are a new creation—old things have passed away, all things have become new (2 Corinthians 5:17).
You have been set free from your old nature and you have been given a new spiritual nature. You have been born again by the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of God LIVES and DWELLS within you. You are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit—if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you.
That’s why your identity in Christ is so important. You have been given the Spirit of adoption. You can call God “Abba Father Daddy” because you are one of His children. So don’t permit the world, the devil, or your old nature to convince you that you are still a slave to sin, bound to the muck and bound to the mire. They trick you into sowing to the flesh, bringing serious harm to yourself and others.
If the Spirit of God dwells in you, sow to the Spirit. Keep in step with the Spirit. Cultivate a relationship with Him—beginning with acknowledging that He is here, leading us home, available questions and full of answers. He would love to tell you who you are and who Jesus is. He would love to unfold for you what it means to be a child of God and what it means to be an heir of God and a joint-heir with Christ. He would love to show you how you can be more than victorious through Him who loves us.
Talk with Him. Spend time with Him. Consume what cultivates an unhindered relationship with Him. Continually set your mind on the things of the Spirit.
Sowing and reaping are real things. One small seed sown can, in time, produce thousands more seeds. This principle has spiritual applications. The content we consume is seed. If that seed feeds our flesh, then we are sowing to the flesh. If it is seed that feeds our spirit, then we are sowing to the Spirit.
It’s important to remember that there is a delay between sowing and reaping. The Apostle Paul knew this, and encourages us to not grow weary of sowing to the spirit for in due season we will reap if we do not give up (Galatians 6:9).
After a season of sowing, you may find a harvest of right living and the fruit of the Spirit in your life. But the presence of that fruit doesn’t mean we should stop sowing to the Spirit! It’s a continual process of sowing and reaping.
This past Sunday, we continued looking at Romans 8 as we considered the importance of sowing to the Spirit.
In Acts 8, the preaching of the word of God is mentioned seven times. The man at the center of most of those mentions was a man named Philip. He was one of seven men chosen by the apostles to serve physical food so that the apostles could continue to serve spiritual food as the church began to grow.
While Philip was serving, God was teaching, training, and forming Philip for what was next. Philip had no way of knowing where or when he would serve God, but God did. He was preparing Philip not only to be the first great missionary in the church, but also the first great evangelist!
Whether he was serving physical food or spiritual food, the work meant the same for Philip because it was all unto the Lord. Everything was little compared to what His Lord had already done for him. It was his continually formed heart that allowed him to be continually trained for what was next.
What is next for you? Do you know? You may not know now, but the God you serve does. If you have surrendered to serving Him, then you are in a perfect place for Him to form in you the internal integrity and spiritual sensitivity that is ready for any thing at any time. Any opportunity to give God glory—whether that be serving physical or serving spiritual food.
It’s been said that the greatest commentary of the Bible is the Bible itself. There’s so much that the Bible has to say about itself that it illustrates examples of key aspects that it describes at lengths elsewhere.
As we have been studying what it means to follow the Spirit, it’s helpful to look to the many examples of followers of Jesus in the past who have kept in step with the Spirit that we can learn from.
This past Sunday, we considered one of those examples in the life of Philip in Acts 8. In this passage, we see not only what it looks like to have our mind set on the things of the Spirit, but also about baptism—which is a great preparation for our time for baptisms this coming Sunday (September 11) at Wilson Park right after service.
Watch our study of Acts 8:26-40 as we looked to the life of Philip as an illustration of what it looks like to be in step with the Spirit.
From Pastor Dom...
When I first gave my life to Jesus, there were friends in my life who helped me to grow in my understanding of God, through His word, and for those friends