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More Than Wishful Thinking

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
October 15, 2020 8:00 am

More Than Wishful Thinking

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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When the three disciples saw the glory of the resurrected transfigured Lord on that mountaintop and it was just for a few moments the Lord revealed to them as it were the glory of that body, the prototype glorified body.

We're told in Matthew 17 that the face of Jesus shone like the sun and his clothing became as white as brilliant light. Beloved, listen, you will one day be a brilliantly shining immortal. Millions of people are pursuing what this world has to offer. They'll enter eternity having gained worldly fame, wealth and influence but in the end when they come to the end of their earthly voyage none of that will matter. All that will matter at that point is where that person will spend eternity. God's Word gives us some glimpses into what eternity will be like when we finally see Jesus face to face in heaven. Heaven is the promise God has given us and the place to which we belong. God wants us to have a proper perspective on heaven and we're studying a passage today that helps us do that. Welcome to Wisdom for the Heart. Today, Stephen Davey concludes a series from Philippians 3 entitled Aiming Higher.

The lesson you're about to hear is called More Than Wishful Thinking. Grab your Bible, open to Philippians 3 and get ready to hear from God's Word right now. Now in his letter to the Philippian church which we're studying together, Paul refers to these same two categories. So let me return you there to Philippians chapter 3 and we can rewrite these two categories this way.

Those who belong to earth and those who belong to heaven. And frankly, Paul doesn't spend any time as he describes the worldlings to defend his statements, to defend against their objections. He simply delivers these four descriptions. And now Paul turns his attention in the other direction to those who belong to heaven. And in like manner, he's going to give four basic principles.

He's going to discuss four different things. First, he describes the place to which the believer belongs. Look at verse 20. Paul writes, for our citizenship is in heaven. This is the place to which we belong.

And by the way, here's the great contrast then. Those who are lost cling to earth. They are earth worshipers. They are earth lovers.

All that matters is the things of earth or the things of earth. Those who are saved belong to heaven. So people are either earth bound, earth focused or heaven bound and heaven focused. The word Paul uses to describe them is this word citizenship. Their citizenship is in heaven. The word citizenship is from the original noun palatuma from which we get our transliterated word politics, politician, or even the ending of English words like metropolis. The Greek word for city is polis or polis. Caesar Augustus had conferred on Philippi the impressive status of being a colony of Rome. Though distant from the empire, their loyalty had delivered to them this wonderful tribute. They were given tax breaks and they adopted the customs of the Roman Empire.

They wore the togas and they referred to one another with Latin expressions. They were proud to belong to Rome as a colony of Rome. In fact, when a baby was born in Philippi, it would be part of the tradition to enter or register their name into the legal records that would be kept in the capital city. In fact, if you look over at chapter 4 and verse 3, Paul refers to this custom by referring to the names of believers being written in the book of life. That's the registry of heaven.

So Paul is drawing a number of analogies from their culture and applying them to the believer in wonderful ways actually. The people of Philippi were loyal subjects to the empire of Rome. They were registered citizens in the role book of Rome. Their city was a colony of Rome, though distant.

It was called in Latin, translated in English, a little Rome. They were proud of that. Well, think about it. A believer is a loyal subject to his emperor, the Lord Jesus. We are registered citizens in the role book of heaven when we came, when we were born by faith into the family of God. And the church then is an extension, a representation of heaven. It is a little heaven, so to speak. That is, we represent, or at least we ought to, what heaven is like. Or to put it another way, the Christian then has been assigned by God as an ambassador to a foreign country and he is assigned to an embassy, which is the local church, which is located in that foreign country, although it represents the interests of its home country. Your citizenship is in heaven.

Your politics is in heaven. Sam Gordon wrote, and I love the way this pastor, teacher, evangelist from the United Kingdom, we've had him several times here, wrote in his little commentary on Philippians, he said it this way, you live on planet earth, but you belong to another world. You set up your tent here, but you don't put down roots here. Christians are not vagabonds without a home. We are not fugitives on the run from home. We are pilgrims traveling home.

Isn't that good? So listen, whenever you travel and some of you travel abroad and I do as well, you dare not leave the house and get to the airport and realize you've left that little blue booklet behind the passport that tells every country where you are traveling, the country to which you belong. So as you go through your life, keep in mind sort of this mental passport, no matter what country you're in, no matter what neighborhood you live in, it's foreign soil, you belong as a citizen to heaven. Secondly, Paul goes on to describe not only the place to which we belong, but the person for whom we wait.

Look at verse 20 again. For our citizenship is in heaven, now notice, from which we eagerly wait for a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. See, for the believer, heaven isn't just about a place, it's about a person. And the believer is eagerly awaiting him.

And who is it that we're waiting for? Paul describes this person, we're waiting by just sort of piling on titles to describe him. He's Christ, Christas, that's the word for anointed Messiah. He's savior, Paul writes.

It's a rare term for Paul, by the way, he only uses it 12 times in all of his letters. Most scholars believe that it's because Caesar's favorite title was Soter, savior. In fact, Roman coins minted during the days of Paul bore the image of the reigning emperor. And all the coins minted in Greek speaking regions bore underneath his image the title savior. Rome had invested upon their Caesar the title savior of the world. Paul was effectively saying, mm-mm, that's Jesus Christ.

Add to that the next title, also given to the emperor, by the way, the title Kurios, Lord. During times of disaster, earthquake, famine, war, the empire looked to their Lord and master, their savior, to be rescued. What Paul's effectively contrasting for us here is the fact that those bound to earth have a savior.

They have a Lord. The believer has his savior. And it's as if Paul asks the question, which savior and Lord would you rather have?

Which one? It's as if Paul tells all of them and all of us we have an infinitely better savior than Caesar. He's bringing us something that Rome or Washington or Beijing or London could ever provide. We're going to a place where we truly belong, to be united personally with the person for whom we eagerly wait. Now follow this, because Jesus is more than a prophet or a priest or a good man or a great teacher because he is the incarnation of Kurios from the Septuagint Yahweh, Jehovah.

Since he is sovereign Lord, he is capable of pulling off something incredibly miraculous. And I know you as a believer, if you're old enough in the faith, you've thought about it a little bit, I want to think about it with you. And let me give you the third point and then we'll move forward. Paul now describes the promise to which we cling. Let's start back at verse 20 and get a running start toward this incredible promise.

For our citizenship is in heaven from which also we eagerly wait for a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Now notice verse 21. Who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of his glory by the exertion of the power that he has, even to subject all things to himself. And you're thinking, whoa, slow down. See what happens when I read one whole verse without stopping? It's too much. It's just too much, isn't it? The lady's going, no, no, no, slow down, ma'am. Let's go back and break it down.

I've got some time left. I imagine the Philippians, by the way, can you imagine with me what it must have been like for them to hear this letter read for the first time, which would have been the custom in the assembly? The letter arrived, it's from the apostle and he's written this to them and they eagerly anticipate what it means. And as they heard that, that I just read rather quickly about the immediate transformation of the body, it would be at the rapture of the church. If they knew what Paul had already written to the Thessalonians, it would happen in a brief moment in time and it would be described as imperishable turning into that which is not perishable, weak turning into that which is strong. If they hadn't read the letters to the Corinthians or to the Thessalonians, if those letters hadn't circulated this way yet, they would no doubt at that point probably somebody would have shouted out, hey, stop! Read that again!

Only slower. Even if a lady in the church doesn't want it. Here it goes. We eagerly wait for a Savior. Who is it? The Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of his glory. How?

Is that just wishful thinking? Is that pie in the sky? Oh no, here's how. By the exertion of the power that he has even to subject all things to himself. Who is it by the way? Who is it that experienced power over death in the grave? Who is it that demonstrated the activity of a resurrected body and gave us a picture of what it's going to look like?

Who is it that revealed the brilliance of a transfigured body where the blinding light for a moment just enveloped the top of that mountain? Who better to perform the miracle of transformation for all who believe than Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior and to him is given the right to do that by the triune God. Now the verb transform here envisions this dramatic supernatural event when Christ will change the form of our bodies. If we have died and we don't live to the rapture, Christ is going to turn back to dust. He's going to take that and reconstitute it.

Paul speaks very clearly here in this language. God is not going to discard his body nor is he going to discard your body. He's going to transform your body.

We don't know how we'll do it. I mean exactly how the dust and the ashes and the bone fragments of millions of believers that would be scattered all around the world and throughout the oceans of the world. We don't know how we only are told who. And because he is omniscient and omnipotent and omnipresent, he knows then where every strand of your DNA resides. He knows where every molecule, every cell, the denigrated to microscopic dust, he knows all of that and has the power to put it all together. And Paul says here that our immortal bodies will be conformed to the likeness of the Lord's glorified body.

Now that's a big clue for Bible students. So what was the Lord's body like? Well, the Gospels record for us that when Jesus Christ was resurrected and he was seen in his glorified body, there was continuity of his physical body from what it was or had been to what it was then. His physical appearance, there was continuity there. In fact, he had even chosen to keep three scars, the two in his hands and the one in his side. Though perfected, he retained the scars that will remind us forever of his atoning work on our behalf.

There was memory, of course, he didn't have to be reintroduced to anybody, nor them to him, unless there were tears in their eyes and they didn't recognize him or he miraculously withheld who he was and frankly, nobody expected to see him. So when you receive your glorified body, there will be a continuity of DNA, a continuity of physical form, a continuity of memory, a continuity of personality. You are uniquely who you are.

God has invested in you everything about you. In fact, one day in a sinless, perfected state, you're going to become everything God wants you to be, perfected in Christ. You will remain uniquely you. If you die as Susan, you're not coming back as Cindy or Sharon or whatever, or Frank for the matter.

If you die as Frank, you're not going to come back as Bill or Susan. If you were tall, dark, and handsome, like some of us, that was intended to be funny, thank you. All right, visitors are going, wow, did he mean that? In fact, I got to tell you this, after last hour, middle hour, I had about a 12-year-old, 13-year-old come up to me and say, hey, pastor, I was sitting over on one side while you preached and the light was just right so that I could count the hairs on top of your head. I said, find another church, son. John the apostle puts it this way.

I mean, we can imagine this. We shall be like him. Now, we're not going to be little gods running around, but we're going to mirror the image of his glorified body. We'll see him as he is, 1 John 3, 2. In fact, it's interesting to me, the angels told the disciples they're standing or watching the Lord ascend in Acts chapter 1 and they're watching him go up through the clouds in that bodily form and then they come and the angels say to the disciples, this Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will come in just the same form, just the same manner, I think in reference to his body as well as location as it were in the clouds, just as you watched him go up into heaven. In other words, the body that the disciples saw go up, the resurrected Christ will be the same body that will be seen when he returns for his church, which means, by the way, among other things and we often don't think of this, that the body of Jesus that went back to heaven 2,000 years ago will appear and it will not have aged one second.

It's the same. What else do we know about our future immortal bodies? Well, Jesus preached to the believers that they will shine forth as the sun, S-U-N, in the kingdom of their father, Matthew 13. How brightly will you shine? Will you literally shine? Is this literal?

Absolutely. Absolutely literal. In fact, we have a glimpse from the biography of Moses in Exodus chapter 34. He's taken into the presence of the glory of God and given the law and as a result, when he comes down, he's got to put a veil over his face.

He's not transfigured or transformed. He's just been in the presence of the glory of God and he's got to veil his face because he's blinding the eyes of the Israelites. When the three disciples saw the glory of the resurrected transfigured Lord on that mountaintop and it was just for a few moments, the Lord revealed to them, as it were, the glory of that body, the prototype glorified body. We're told in Matthew 17 that the face of Jesus shone like the sun, S-U-N, shone like the sun and his clothing became as white as brilliant light.

It was just light, brilliant light. Beloved, listen, you will one day be a brilliantly shining immortal. When you reign with Christ in the kingdom, you will have been given this body and I believe when you walk by reigning over those that have populated, come to faith in Christ during the tribulation, populate the earth, they're going to do this. You are a shining immortal, a future king and queen with Christ. See, this promise is so much more than the fact that we won't have any aches or pains or arthritis and bursitis and we're looking forward to that, by the way.

Okay? We're looking forward to that. But it means so much more that your body, which is now temporary, which is now weak and sinful and struggling, will be transformed in the power of his presence and by his creative might and you will become brilliant, sinless, glorious and eternal in that form. We have no idea. We have no idea the glory that he has reserved for us who believe. Now think for a moment what it means for Jesus Christ to take the dust of our bodies, those in the church, those that have died a hundred years ago or a thousand years ago, and reconstitute and refashion, transform who you were into what you will become. He isn't going to discard your body. He's going to transform your body. So in that transformation, Jesus Christ will create, he will craft, so to speak, Paul writes, by the exertion of the power that is in him. Only this time he's going to work with material on hand that he has for all of us. The mystery of how he's going to pull all of that together and even knowing where it all is, but he's going to work with material so that who you are will be perfected into who you will be. He's going to create then in a way like he created Eve. He worked with material on hand, right? A rib taken from Adam's side and I think that's a sermon in itself, by the way, not from his head as if she should rule over him or from his feet as if he's now going to trample on her, but from his rib as if to say she belongs at his side.

I love the kid I read about recently who's running around the yard and he developed a cramp in his side and he ran into the house and he said, Mommy, I think I'm having a wife. Well, he got some of it right. Now before I leave this discussion on the divine attributes of Christ as it relates to this miraculous recreation, I read the writings of a surgeon, a believer, who really provoked my thinking and just expanded the vision of what this verse means.

Let me share some of it with you. The body contains as many as 100 trillion cells. Each one of them carries out different chemical reactions. Once a resurrection would require phenomenal power to energize life and the transformation of all these individual cells, but it would have to be done in such a way that all of the cells go back to doing what they did, only perfected. Specialized nerve cells would resume their unique function, heart cells to perform theirs, blood cells, bone cells and on and on and on. At death, he writes, all these cells not only halt but they crumble into microscopic dust. A transformation resurrection would require that thousands of processes and trillions of cells must be put back together and then restarted. All of this would require not just incredible power but also unimaginable knowledge.

It is still a mystery to us how the cells in our bodies interact, but Jesus Christ, then we'll have to know all of the information in all the trillions of cells in each of our individual bodies and then have the power to refashion all of it and then be able to restart all of it all in a moment of time. Paul writes it this way to the Corinthians in the twinkling of an eye. Just blink right now.

Just blink. That's how fast it'll take place. From perishable, he writes in the first Corinthians 15, to imperishable. This mortal will put on immortality and we shall all be changed.

I think this is what Paul may be alluding to in the last part of that text, that he will subject all things to himself, meaning that everything will come into subjection under his order, literally his ranking, his arrangement, that is every molecule, every atom, every cell, every strand of DNA, every element arranged back and perfected by our creator God. Well I hope today's lesson has encouraged you as we've looked at what's in store for us in heaven. You're listening to Wisdom for the Heart with Stephen Davey. With today's lesson Stephen concludes a series he's been working through from Philippians chapter three called Aiming Higher.

Today's lesson is called More Than Wishful Thinking. We've taken this series and bound it together as a set of CDs and we'd be happy to make it available to you. Our website is wisdomonline.org and you'll see a link to our online store at the top of the page. We can also help you if you call us today here in our office. You can reach us at 866-48-Bible.

That's 866-482-4253. Friends, the eternity that we've studied today is only possible because Jesus prepared the way for us. If you haven't already done this today, open up Heart to Heart magazine to page 22 and take a look at today's devotional. Jesus knew that what he had to do was something that only he could do.

In today's devotional Jesus was preparing the disciples and even though they couldn't understand it at the time, he assured them of his love for them and told them that what lied ahead was something he had to do alone. Be sure and read that today. Now, if you don't receive Heart to Heart magazine, we'd be happy to send you the next three issues that go out.

This is a gift that we send to our wisdom partners but we'd be happy to show you some issues so that you can see it for yourself and be encouraged from God's Word each day. You can sign up on our website. Once again, that's wisdomonline.org. You can also sign up on the Wisdom International smartphone app or you can call us today. On tomorrow's broadcast, Christian answers some listener questions. So join us here on Wisdom for the Heart.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-04 13:12:04 / 2024-02-04 13:21:24 / 9

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