Monday, June 25, 2018
Philippians 3:20 – 21 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
Back in the days when all Ketchup came in glass bottles rather than plastic squeeze bottles, it took a long time to get the ketchup onto your burger. The Heinz Company used that to their marketing advantage by promoting the anticipation of great taste. Their television advertising campaign became famous and has been honored as one of the best marketing strategies of all time. As a man holds a bottle of ketchup over his freshly barbecued burger, Carly Simon sings her famous song Anticipation. Suddenly it appears – the ketchup has slowly started to flow, and right at the end of the commercial the first big drop falls onto the meat. What was for most of us an inconvenience that caused us to lose patience had become a selling point for Heinz. Now, instead of grabbing a knife and poking around in the neck of the bottle hoping to hasten the flow of ketchup, we waited and sang along with the song. We anticipated that the thick texture and taste would be worth the wait.
Back in the days when life was slower and harder, and we weren’t so technologically advanced and materialistically minded, there was a greater emphasis placed on the anticipation of Christ’s return in the clouds to call His followers upwards to heaven. But we live in a squeeze bottle world, where everything is being done to make the present experience the most pleasurable in the quickest possible time. Hardship is no longer viewed as a training ground for character but as something to be technologically eliminated. Tough times are no longer valued for the teaching of perseverance, but are despised as an indication of one’s failure to learn the latest self-help principles. We have bought into the evolutionary philosophy that all life is gradually moving towards perfection, and it is within man’s power to produce that perfection.
We have even allowed that philosophy to infiltrate our Christian world view. To many, Jesus is nothing more than a self-help guru. He has become a simple sugar daddy who exists only to make life easier and more satisfying from a worldly perspective. “Solve my problems.” “Make me rich.” “Keep me healthy.” “Give me more…” “Buy me a jet.” These have become the themes of preachers and parishioners in a culture that has lost its anticipation of Christ’s glorious return. Satan has perpetrated a great deception on the Christian church by convincing us that life goes on, and that because Jesus is love, all problems, troubles, trials, hurts and hardships are not of God and to be avoided and quickly solved. We hear evolutionary teaching from our pulpits that appeals to people’s itching ears desiring success and prosperity. Somehow, we have been convinced that God’s plan is for man to perfect this world and his life. Everything about God has been put into a squeeze bottle to be conveniently applied to every situation of our lives, simply to make them better.
I get numerous calls from people in trouble, and they believe that it is my responsibility as a pastor and follower of Christ to solve their problem and release them from the consequences of their own decisions. They believe I am obligated to help them because I represent God to them. What they really believe is that God is obligated to help them and to rescue them. Their spiritual eyes have been darkened to the truth by the deception of Satan. They believe that the flesh can be rescued from the effects of sin without the spirit being transformed from the influence of sin. Unfortunately, many of these people claim to be Christians. More unfortunate is that many Christians also believe that because their spirit has been transformed God is obligated to fix all their problems and remove all consequences of living in the flesh.
My friends, this is a serious issue in the modern church. We have fallen into the deadly trap of teaching the redemption of the body as a present reality. But the fullness of glory will not be fully realized in this life and in this flesh. I also believe that the fullness of glory will not be fully appreciated in heaven if we have not fully experienced the conflict between the flesh and the spirit in this life. That’s not to say that we do not have victory over sin, because we do. The flesh no longer has power over our spirit. But we still live in a corrupt body and in a corrupt world that exerts its corrupt influence on us. That’s why we should be living with an eager anticipation of our Savior’s return, because at that moment our corrupt bodies will be transformed into the likeness of His heavenly body, and we will suffer no more. Every hardship and trial we experience today is a test of our faith to strengthen us and remind us to look ahead with eager anticipation to the day when we will be physically rescued from it all.
Carefully read what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:1 – 5, and have a great day of anticipation – maybe Jesus will come back today!
1Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, 3because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.