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The Glory We Await (Part 2 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
February 6, 2024 3:00 am

The Glory We Await (Part 2 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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February 6, 2024 3:00 am

What comforts a suffering Christian that can’t be enjoyed by those who reject God and His Word? Hear the answer, and learn how to anticipate the future eagerly yet patiently, regardless of circumstances. That’s our focus on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.


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This listener-funded program features the clear, relevant Bible teaching of Alistair Begg. Today’s program and nearly 3,000 messages can be streamed and shared for free at thanks to the generous giving from monthly donors called Truthpartners. Learn more about this Gospel-sharing team or become one today. Thanks for listening to Truth For Life!


What is it that brings comfort to a Christian in the midst of suffering that those who reject God and His Word will never be able to experience?

We'll hear the answer today on Truth for Life as we learn how to eagerly anticipate the future regardless of our current circumstances. Alistair Begg is teaching from the book of Romans chapter 8 verses 18 through 25. Now, if creation groans, the Christian also groans.

Groans with sighs of anticipation, longing for all that God has promised. And you will notice if your Bible is open there in verse 23 that we ourselves who have the first fruits of the Spirit groan inwardly as we eagerly await the adoption of sons, our adoption as sons and daughters. Well, you may say, but I thought we already dealt with adoption back in verse 15, that we are God's children, that we have been adopted as His sons. So what does He mean, the adoption? When He's already assured His readers of the reality of their relationship with God.

Well, I think it's straightforward, isn't it? That this present reality which is ours has a future dimension. Sometimes I meet somebody and I say, well, have you graduated? And they say, well, yes, I graduated, but I haven't walked. The first time I heard that, I didn't know what they were talking about.

The two things are together in the UK. I mean, if you haven't walked, you haven't graduated. And so, apparently here you can graduate without walking. And so here we are in Christ, if you like, we have graduated, but there is a ceremony that is yet to take place. Now we are the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when we see Him, we shall be like Him.

That's what He's referring to here. Not only the creation, but we ourselves, our mortal body, frail, fallen, is going to be changed into His glorious body. And the grounding of this is in the very work of God in Christ for the tent that we dwell in, that we groan in. We groan in because we long to put on our heavenly dwelling. Not, says Paul, that we would like to be unclothed, but rather that we would be clothed in this way. Camping is fine. I've done it from time to time, but it's nothing like your own bed.

It's nothing like your own permanent dwelling. And that is why Paul has been saying, who will deliver us from this body of death? There's a question when you're talking with people and they want to talk about all kinds of things. You say to them, what have you planned for your exit strategy? And they'll say to you, well, you know, I've got a number of investments. I think my wife or my spouse will be looked after, my children, they're going to be able to do okay.

And so I said, I didn't ask you about your investments. I asked you about what your exit strategy is. How do you plan to face God? On what basis do you have any hope at all?

You see, because the Bible makes it clear to us that outside of Christ we are without God and we are without hope. So life is hopeless. That's why people say, party on. Let's go on a cruise. Let's do something. Let's fill in the gaps. Only in Christ.

I mean, it's Lewis again, isn't it? If I find in myself a desire that for which nothing in this life is able to satisfy, the problem is not in this life, the problem is that I was made for another life. I'm a chrysalis.

I'm going to be a butterfly. This is where we're on a journey. And of course, the answer comes in Jesus. I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, even though he die, yet shall he live. And whosoever lives and believes in me will never die. And then he says to her, he says, hey, by the way, do you believe this? Martha, do you believe this? Oh yeah, I believe Jesus. I believe there will be a resurrection in the last days. He said, no, no, no, no, you don't.

You're not getting it. No, I am the resurrection. Do we have proof of this? Yeah, his resurrection. He didn't emerge from the tomb as a phantom.

It's fantastic, isn't it? There we see him lighting fires and cooking breakfast and eating fish, recognizable at one moment, unrecognizable in another moment, apparently able to walk in through the normal passageway into a room and able to arrive by means of another passageway altogether. Somehow or another, the physical boundaries that were part and parcel of his pre-resurrected body are no longer confinements to him. And furthermore, relationships matter to him, absolutely matter to him. Goodness gracious, if you think about that, it's amazing, isn't it? Peter, I'll tell you what, Jesus, I know you've picked us all, but you've got some duds on your team. And even if they all give up on you, I'm your man, I'll never give up on you.

Right. And Jesus came to him walking on the beach. Oh, how gracious, how kind was the river kinder shepherd, half so tender, half so sweet as the Savior who would have us come and gather around his feet. Peter, do you love me? I do.

I'm going to ask you a second time and a third time, you may be able to figure that out because you're bright. What a wonder it is. Relationships mattered beyond the tomb for Jesus and relationships will matter beyond the grave for us.

I don't know how it's going to work, but I know it will be fantastic. Chris Wright of the Lantham group studies place that he left behind in a very nice little paragraph, he says, we can rest assured that for those who are in Christ, anything that has blessed and enriched us in this life will not be lost, but rather infinitely enhanced in the resurrection. And anything that we have not been able to enjoy in this life because of disability, disease, or premature death, or simply through the natural limits of space and time, will be amply restored or compensated for in the resurrection life.

I think that's fantastic, isn't it? Oh, you know, I understand the little boy in the Sunday school who, when the teacher said to him, you know, said to the group, how many of you are looking forward to going to heaven? And all the hands showed up except the one wee boy. And she said to him, you know, Tommy, do you not want to go to heaven? He says, yeah, I want to go to heaven, but I thought we were going now.

And so you get that, don't you? Of course, my hope in the resurrection is not something that says nothing matters around here. Everything matters around here. Every friendship, every hello, every goodbye, everything matters.

History matters, geography matters, science matters, art matters, life matters. And in the midst of the suffering that comes, he says the suffering, the reality of living in a fallen world, we do not deny it. We embrace it. We live through it in the assurance that it is actually not worth comparing.

It is incomparable in relationship to this. Now, of course, it's already obvious to us that when we use the word hope or when the New Testament uses hope, it's not hope, it's not like I hope that something doesn't happen, but rather it is the certainty of something that will happen. Hence, in the words of committal again, in the sure and certain hope, the certainty of that. And hope is one of the distinguishing features of the believer's life. Because we're born again to a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. And that's why we're awaiting it keenly for in this hope we were saved. Well, we were saved, but we're not completely saved. We say, well, wait a minute, that sounds like that's wrong.

Well, no, let me explain what I mean by that. Bishop Westcott, who was a New Testament scholar, was a bishop. He dressed up in bishop's clothes.

Well, I shouldn't say dressed up in them, but he would travel to consecrations on transportation in Britain in all of his bishop finery. And he's on a train, he's got his hat, and what do you call that thing on that bishop wears? A mitre?

A mitre? Okay, so he has his mitre up above where people put their bowler hats, and he's sitting there, and he's heading on his direction, and onto the train comes a Salvation Army girl. She's in her Salvation Army uniform, she sits down opposite the bishop, and she immediately assumes there is no way that this guy can know anything about what it means in terms of the gospel. And so she says to him, excuse me, bishop, is you saved? Is you saved? And he said to her, young lady, do you mean, have I been saved? Am I being saved? Or will I be saved?

We don't have her reply, but I would imagine she just sat very quietly from that point on, because what he was pointing out was what we said to you yesterday. Since now, having been justified, he says, back in Romans chapter 5, since then, having been justified, having been put right with God, how much more shall we now be saved? So it's not a question of the finished work of Jesus, it is the ongoing reality of it. And so verse 24 is really pretty straightforward. In this hope we were saved, hope that is seen is not hope, for who hopes for what he sees, but if we hope for what we do not see, then we wait for it with patience.

I haven't traveled very much. Every so often, you get to the airport and you're hoping desperately for an upgrade, and you sit there in hope and hope and hope. If you get it and they announce your name, you no longer have to hope for it, because you've got it. You don't hope for what you already see.

And so the picture is clear, isn't it? That we wait for it eagerly, and yet we wait for it patiently. For if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Verse 25, we wait eagerly for it, so we wait eagerly and we wait at the same time patiently. John Stodd, we are to wait neither so eagerly that we lose our patience, nor so patiently that we use our expectation.

Well, it's a vital part, isn't it? And the great concern, I think, for us is that we learn to live in this way with an eager anticipation of what is before us, and yet engaged in the world around us, aware of the fact that creation groans, that we as Christians also groan. And what we'll see when we come back is that God groans too. Verse 26, likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness, but intercedes for us with groanings.

What a mystery, the groaning of God, praying to God. Well, I think that is as much as we should do. But I do want to say one further thing about trying to, and this is outside of this. I really need to help people with this. And if I can help you, you can help your children and your grandchildren.

And we've got to get this right. And it comes out in this passage, but let me just deal with it separately for a moment. First of all, we have to make perfectly clear to our children and our grandchildren that the creation is not co-eternal with God. The creation is not co-eternal with God. Before there was time, before there was anything, there was God. The Bible explains to us that the universe was made by Him, the universe is sustained by Him, and the universe is utterly dependent upon Him. Colossians 1, that in Him, in Christ, the Creator of the universe, in Him all things hold together. What that means is that God is not in any way dependent on His created universe. And what it also means is that God dare not be confused with created reality.

You say, well, why are you so concerned about it? Because pantheism reigns in contemporary Western culture. If you listen to people talk, you will realize that they actually think somehow or another that God is contained within the universe. And since we are part of the universe, and you'll get this in radical environmentalism, you'll get it in Kabbalah, the Jewish mystical stuff. You get it actually in every self-made spirituality that is out there for opportunity for us. And what all of these ideas have in common is that they are pantheistic.

They're pantheistic. All of them assume in one way or another that nature encloses and contains the sacred, that nature contains and encloses the sacred. And the assumption then is that the way we make contact with God is by finding Him within creation and ultimately then finding Him within ourselves.

The Bible says not even for a nanosecond, not for a moment or two. What the Bible says is that there is an invisible boundary between God the Creator and man as His creation. And furthermore, that boundary exists on two fronts. It exists on account of God's wrath towards sin and on our side, our rebellion towards God. That we cannot cross that invisible boundary by ourselves on our own auspices. That God is, if you like, to quote David Wells, beyond the realm of our intuitive radar. We cannot access Him on our own time, in our own way, and on our own basis. The only way that God is accessible to us is because God has made Himself accessible to us. And as we began in prayer, in His world, in conscience, in His Word, and finally and savingly in His Son. We cannot cross the invisible boundary.

We need somebody to cross the invisible boundary for us. I was meeting some people in their first night here and I said, how thankful I am for my Campus Crusade friends when I was, you know, in my late teens and early twenties because they taught me how to share my faith. And I mean, the four laws had that. You know, God made you for Himself, number one. Do you know that God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life? No, I never heard that. Well, let me tell you about it. And then you give them John 3.16 and a few other bits and pieces and it says, you know, but man is sinful and he's separated from God and he can't know this.

Well, I didn't know that either. But here's the wonderful thing that God has done what we cannot do for ourselves. And you had that little diagram there and the cross and the chasm. And he said, you know, you can't jump over it this way and you can't do it in philosophy because philosophy, no matter how brilliant it is, is marked by futility because he can't get to the answer to his own questions because the answer is found in God as revealed in Jesus. And so we told him, and look what Jesus has done.

He's come and crossed over the boundary. And then we got the pen out if we were doing it by memory as I'm trying to do now. And we drew the circles. There we drew one and then another. We put the chair in the middle.

And in one of them, we had an S on the chair. And Jesus was outside the circle. JC was over here.

And then another one over here. We had JC on the chair and then we had an S inside the circle so we could remind them that he didn't come to eradicate our personality, but he knows us as individuals. And then we said to them, and which circle represents your life? I still do this. There's a guy in my neighborhood. He used to stop me as I went down.

We were living in a cul-de-sac at that time. He would stop me in the summers. So he could tell me dirty jokes. He loved to do it because he knew I was a pastor. So he'd see if he could get me.

So he said it was this and that, and I would have to muscle my way through it and drive off. One day he asked if he could meet with me. And he told me he was thinking of adding spirituality to his life.

And he'd been listening to that big tall guy with his self-help stuff, whatever his name is. And he explained to me everything that was going on with him. And he asked me, what do you think about it? I said, well, I think it's amazing that you're interested in these things.

And it's an indication of the fact that God is a seeking God. I said, but you're completely upside down. And so I did just what I've done with you now. And I took a napkin in the restaurant and I drew on it. And I said, in which circle represents your life? And he said, well, it's this one.

It's a shambles. And I said, in which circle would you like to represent your life? He said, well, I would like this one to represent my life. And I led him to Christ. And he said, what do I do now? I said, you go to the men's Bible study. And then he said, what do I do now? And he said, you get baptized. And he said, what do I do now? And he's there every single Sunday.

And that is 10 or 12 years ago. Because we had a story. We have an adventure. We have the answer.

We have good news. And we're not walking around like a bunch of dimwits. We recognize the whole creation groans. We groan. But the suffering we experience, and some of your lives are marked by physical suffering, because I know I've met you. And some of us are marked by emotional suffering. And some of us are tyrannized by all kinds of things. And we wake up in the middle of the night and it feels like the Matterhorn is at the end of our bed and that we will never ever be able to climb over it again. But we say to ourselves, but listen, the sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed. For the God who made the universe sustains the universe, and one day it will be a land that is fairer than day.

And that—there's not a cruise you could take that will be comparable to what will happen on that day when Christ in glory comes. And that is our conviction. That is our hope. And it is a living hope. And it is time for us to get bold. It is time for us to get out.

It's a time for us to start saying to some of our friends, well, judging by you, you've only got a couple more exits on the free way of life. And I want to talk to you because I love you and I care about you. And I'm prepared to risk my friendship with you by telling you what the Bible has to say. And it's not a story that we need to hide under, because it is the greatest story ever told. You're listening to Truth for Life.

That is Alistair Begg with a message he's titled, The Glory We Await. We are wrapping up today our series, messages taken from the Dangers, Toils, and Snares series. If you enjoyed this topical study and would like to hear the complete series, maybe use it for your next small group study, there is a corresponding study guide that you can download for free at slash dangers. The study guide will lead your group through 14 lessons that will take you deeper into the Bible's answers to some of life's most challenging questions. Like what is the purpose of trials and suffering? Why does God allow them?

How should we respond to them? Each lesson includes a brief commentary on a sermon from Alistair, questions for reflection, and a hymn of praise. If you would prefer printed booklets, you can purchase those for our cost of just three dollars each.

They're available in our online store at slash store. Now, if you have young children in your home or in your life that you would like to talk to about persevering and trusting Jesus in the midst of trials, we're recommending a children's biography titled Helen Roseveare, The Doctor Who Kept Going No Matter What. Dr. Roseveare dedicated her life to medical missionary work in Central Africa.

She was there during a time of political conflict and her faith remained unwavering in spite of the many trials she faced. This hardcover picture book teaches young children how God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things. It's perfect for reading to children ages four to seven. You'll also find printable activity pages that go along with the book. You can download them from our website at slash Helen. Ask for your copy of the children's book, Helen Roseveare, today when you donate to Truth for Life at slash donate or call us at 888-588-7884. I'm Bob Lapine. Death is an uncomfortable topic that most of us would prefer not to spend a lot of time dwelling on, but tomorrow we'll find out why it's beneficial for us to keep our mortality in mind. The Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by Truth for Life, where the Learning is for Living.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-10 09:12:00 / 2024-02-10 09:20:54 / 9

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