Christ In You, The Hope of Glory
Ho 13:14 "I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. O Death, I will be your plagues! O Grave, I will be your destruction! Pity is hidden from My eyes.
Col 1:24 I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, 25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, 26 the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. 27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. 29 To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily. 2:1 For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh, 2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Lu 18:1 Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart,
2 saying: "There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. 3 "Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, 'Get justice for me from my adversary.' 4 "And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, 'Though I do not fear God nor regard man, 5 'yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.'" 6 Then the Lord said, "Hear what the unjust judge said. 7 "And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? 8 "I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?"
Let’s start today with our epistle and the sufferings of Paul. His sufferings for the sake of the Gospel are well documented in Scripture.
2Co 11:24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness– 28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.
Paul suffered for the sake of the Gospel! He suffered that he might unveil the mystery of the Good News to Jew and Gentile alike. And in our epistle he reveals that mystery to us again, in case we missed it.
“Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
Not around you, not above you, not below you, (although He is all these things) but Christ IN you! No wonder they called Him Immanuel!
Mt 1:23 "Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel," which is translated, "God with us."
Oh, this is such a rich phrase! “Christ in you, the hope of glory!” First of all, you and I have no hope of glory, no hope of heaven, unless Christ is found in us! So how is Christ found in us? What must take place for this to happen?
We must believe (that is, trust in the promises of the Gospel) and be baptized. The Triune God came to you and made His home in you when you were baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Dr. Iver Olson, in his book, “Baptism and Spiritual Life” says the word, “in” here speaks of an actual organic union between the baptized and the three persons of the Trinity. Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Paul writing to the Galatians says:
Ga 3:27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
Christ in you, the hope of glory! Deposited in you at your baptism. Oh, so all I have to do is be baptized and I will get to heaven? No, you aren’t listening. Believe and be baptized. Be baptized and trust in the promises of the Gospel) What does Mark 16:16 say?
Mr 16:16 "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.
Your baptism must be accompanied by faith. Isn’t it interesting that in our gospel lesson Jesus says, “when the Son of Man comes will He really find baptized on the earth?” Is that what He says? Oh wait a minute, He said, will He really find faith. He wasn’t worried about finding baptism, that was a given.
We can assume that the necessity of being baptized was part of every Gospel presentation in the New Testament. Peter speaking on the Day of Pentecost, (Let everyone of you be baptized”) Peter speaking to the house of Cornelius. (Can anyone forbid water that these should not be baptized!”
The conversion of the Apostle Paul, (“and he arose and was baptized”) and the constant mention of baptism in Paul’s and Peter’s epistles, and my favorite is the Ethiopian eunich, who has the Gospel explained to him by Phillip and the first response he gives is, “Hey there’s some water there, what hinders me from being baptized.” Now why would he even bring it up if Phillip hadn’t of mentioned it as a necessity in his presentation of the gospel?
But faith....well, that’s another story. People can’t lose their baptism, but they can lose their faith, making their baptism of no effect. Will the Son of man find faith when He returns? A bigger and more important question is, would He find faith in you today if He were to return at this instant?
I love the illustration that Dr. Olson uses regarding this necessity of baptism and faith. He says,
“Baptism is sometimes compared to the plumbing and water fixtures we have in our homes. These are normally installed only once and are good for life. (His point is we don’t need to be rebaptized) They are in use for cleansing purposes daily
(Good Lutheran theology! Daily return to that fount of the forgiveness of sins and new life that was accomplished for you in your baptism. Daily die to self and rise with Christ)
It is the function that is important, not the installation; YET THERE WILL BE NO FUNCTION WITHOUT INSTALLATION. The presence of plumbing in a house does not insure the flow of water. (Grace can be cut off through neglect on our part.)
The owner may not be in the good graces of the city water department. If the water does not come when he turns on a faucet, he does not try to remedy the situation by installing new fixtures; he seeks to effect a reconciliation with the water department, and as soon as that has been accomplished the water (grace) flows freely again.
The amazing thing about this heavenly water department is His patience. As I look back on my life, when I chose to be cut off from the grace of God...in His great patience, He kept sending me renewal notices, He kept trying to reach me, but I ignored them until one day He finally got through.
Believe me, you don’t want to go down that road of rejecting God’s grace, it brings too much pain and suffering into your life and the lives of others, and there is always the danger of a final and fatal hardening of the heart, resulting in damnation.
We don’t want to go down that road and so that’s why we need daily reconciliation through repentance, it is repentance that gets what was accomplished in us at our baptism flowing again. And the door for repentance is always open. It’s as close as hearing and believing the next Gospel promise that comes your way.
Baptism places Christ in us, but our hope for glory, must also have sustained faith in His promises as it allows us to benefit from His presence.
So far, we have just touched on the preliminaries here this morning because there is much more to be said about this “hope of glory.” Not only must Christ be in us for any hope of glory in our future, but Christ in us GIVES US A HOPE FOR GLORY NOW!
He gives us a supernatural hoping or longing for Judgement Day! How many of you got up this morning and prayed, “O Jesus, come today! Stomp out pain, suffering, and death today!” I fear for the church today, because this longing seems to be missing, and if the longing is missing.....guess who else is missing......Christ.
I fear for myself in this regard. Sometimes, I think, I am just too much in love with this world, and deep down, I want the Lord to tarry, you know, “Let me enjoy the pleasures of this world one more day, one more hour, don’t come back just yet. .....and when you think about it...........how ridiculous!
Lu 9:61 And another also said, "Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house."
62 But Jesus said to him, "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."
Don’t be looking back at the things of this world. Lot’s wife tried that at Sodom and she looked back and saw the smoke left by the burning of material things and God said, “You like ashes? You like the temporary things of this earth? Here, become a pillar of salt and join them!”
But think about it.....are we not just like her? One of the most probing questions we can ask ourselves is this. Do we really want to give up what we got going for ourselves in this world?
Do we desire that Jesus come today!
If these things really don’t mean that much to us, then why are we so hell-bent on acquiring them and keeping them, while we neglect the poor? Why are we so hesitant to pray, “Come Lord Jesus. Return and judge this earth, return and judge me.
Let me show you the end of these things that we wish to hang onto. It’s found in the Book of Revelation. It’s a picture of the destruction of Babylon, (by the way, not the literal city of Babylon, but that which she symbolizes, namely materialism.
Re 18:15 "The merchants of these things, who became rich by her, will stand at a distance for fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, 16 "and saying, 'Alas, alas, that great city that was clothed in fine linen, purple, and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls!
17 'For in one hour such great riches came to nothing.' Every shipmaster, all who travel by ship, sailors, and as many as trade on the sea, stood at a distance 18 "and cried out when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, 'What is like this great city?'
This is the end of your houses. your big screen TV’s, your cars, all your material goods. It will be gone in flames and it will be sudden! And if we were honest, most of us do not want to see that end come, and that’s the issue of our texts today. When the Son of Man returns will He find the kind of faith that says, “Even So, Come Lord Jesus!” (Rev 22:20)
Come and burn! I prefer being with You in heaven, than staying in this sin-sick world. Even creation itself groans for the Lord to come! But do you? Are you allowing the Holy Spirit to create that longing in you as you fall deeper and deeper in love with Jesus, and less in love with the things of this world.
Which direction are you going? Toward Jesus or toward possessions? One day the Pharisees were bugging Jesus because His disciples weren’t fasting.
Lu 5:34 And He said to them, "Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? 35 "But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them; then they will fast in those days."
In context here, what do you think would be the purpose of their fasting? Would it not be for the Bridegroom to come back? Have you ever fasted for the purpose of asking Jesus to return? It seems to me, that it is a very biblical thing to do.
Do you long to be restored to a purity that can never be violated again by sin! Do you long to be razed (r-a-z-e-d) as the earth longs to be razed?
Ro 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. 24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees?
Did you catch that? The firstfruits of the Spirit? This longing is one of the first things the Spirit of God brings with Him. An unspoken longing for things to be made perfect. And while this is one of the firstfruits to arrive, it seems like it’s also one of the first to leave. And perhaps that’s why the Bible warns us so much about fixation on the things of this world.
1Jo 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
According to this passage from Romans, we should be eagerly waiting the redemption of our bodies. We should be praying for that Day when our souls will be united with our perfect glorified bodies, and that will happen on the Last Day!
1Co 15:42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption.
We often ask why God allows pain and suffering in this world.....well maybe, just maybe it’s to cause us to pause and consider and yearn for what awaits us on the other side. Maybe when we are faced with pain and suffering the longing of the Spirit in us will be awakened and start longing again for the redemption of our body promised on the last Day! Maybe that’s why Paul was rejoicing in his suffering, because he knew his suffering would keep him cognizant of a better day!
This lack of yearning for our Lord’s return is relatively new in the church, and I believe it is directly proportional to our standard of living. The highr the standard of living, the less likely we are to want to give it up. Just read the New Testament and you can’t help but catch the mindset of the Apostles, they longed for the soon return of Christ. Where is that longing today?
Will the Son of Man find such firstfruits of faith on the earth when He returns? I’m afraid not much of it if He were to return today. We are much more consumed with the temporary fix. It’s , “What can you do for me today Lord,” not “Come Lord Jesus, make all things new!”
How many of us are willing to join our prayers with the incessant martyrs mentioned in
Re 6:9 When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" 11 Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.
These are body less souls, eagerly awaiting their bodily redemption, and all they’ll get until the Lord returns is a sheet draped over them. Hear the parable of Jesus as spoken in our Gospel lesson today and join your prayers with theirs........How long, O Lord? Come Lord Jesus, avenge this enemy, that has robbed us of the bodies we were intended to have.....death!
Death has been around harassing mankind ever since that first sin. Sin has taken souls that were meant to be permanently in perfect bodies and put them into imperfect bodies, bodies that die and are separated from their souls. This was not the way it was suppose to be.
Can’t you get just a little fired up about this and say, “That’s enough death! That’s enough suffering! O God of life, put an end to this death and suffering that ravages the earth. Put an end to abortion! Put an end to aids! Put an end to Cancer! Put an end to Alzheimers, Put an end to starvation. Put an end to war! Put an end to sexual molestation and abuse. Put an end to emotional pain. Come Lord Jesus!
Lord come and as Hosea prophesied, have no pity on this enemy of ours! The Bible says “the last enemy that will be destroyed is death.” (1 Cor 15:26) Come Lord Jesus finish the job!
Listen, beloved child again to the promise found in Hosea.
I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. O death, I will be your plagues! O grave I will be your destruction! Pity is hidden from My eyes!”
Come Lord Jesus, come with no pity for our enemy death. Crush it forever. Deliver us and this world forever.
This should be our attitude and if it’s not, I’m afraid we still have too much world in us. We are still too beguiled by the material goods and luxuries that we enjoy. We just don’t want to leave. One more Packer game! One more TV show! One more meal! One more round of golf! We refuse to believe that the new world will far surpass all those temporary pleasures.
O God change our heart! Let us long for things above and not things below. Stir the Holy Spirit in us that we might truly pray, “Come Lord Jesus.”