Friday, December 24, 2021
Every one of us should live with a strong expectancy of the Lord's return. Do you? It's important. In the church, too few churches talk about the Lord's return.
Friday, December 24, 2021
Originally Published April 19, 2021
1 Thessalonians 5:1-3
Through the end of the year, we’ll be rerunning some of the best Life Lifters from 2021. We hope you’ll join us each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning!
By saying "times and dates," he means all the things that are going to happen in the prophetic future. He says we don't need to write to you about those things. The reason why he says that is because he already explained this to them in person when he was there visiting them. He says, "For you know very well," referencing what he had explained to them in person about the prophetic scheme. The background of 1 Thessalonians is that they thought they missed the Rapture. It wasn't that they didn't understand the scheme, they didn't understand some of the details. They were told lies that the rapture had already occurred by false teachers. So, he says this, "For you know very well that the day of the Lord..." Let me stop there and explain. The day the Lord is not one 24-hour day. The day of the Lord is the time from the Rapture all the way until the time of Christ's 1000-year-reign ends. It technically covers at least 1007 years. The day of the Lord is not 24 hours, it's a period. Like, you say this, "My day will come." You're not saying your 24 hour period will come, you know there's a season. Paul is talking here about that. It includes the start of the rapture, and then the tribulation, the second coming of Christ, and then him ruling and reigning for 1000 years. So, the 1000 days, plus seven, plus that little bit of time between the rapture and the start of the seven year tribulation, that's the day of the Lord.
Father, this can scare some people. But if we know you, Lord, it assures us. Help us to live godly lives and be found worthy in the way we live when you come. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.
Friday, October 8, 2021
One day, the Bible tells us, death will no longer be existent. death itself will be put to death.
Friday, October 8, 2021
1 Corinthians 15:54-57
What the Apostle Paul's talking about there with the perishable versus imperishable is our bodies. Our bodies are perishable and die. The Bible tells us that on the day when these perishable bodies are made imperishable, when the mortal is made immortal, it will be on that day that death will be swallowed in victory. The word for swallowed there is the kind of swallow that a lion does to its prey. Death has been devoured in the victory that was bought for us by Christ Jesus, our Lord. And on that day we will say, "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" The way it is now, death is the sting that comes with sin. The place where sin got it's power is the law, the law of Jesus, which, in His perfection, points at our lives and says, "You failed, you failed, you failed." But that law and all that stood against us was nailed to the cross of Jesus Christ. When Jesus Christ was resurrected, he gave us the hope and the promise that our lives, too, would defeat death. So, we look forward to that day when the perishable will become imperishable, and the mortal immortal. And on that day, we will ask death, where is its victory, and where is it sting? We will be able to say, both now and then, that Jesus Christ has given us that victory over death by His resurrection, and the promise of our resurrection. I hope that that hope of our resurrection will give your life the lift that you need today.
Wednesday, October 6, 2021
Death is certain for all of us. These bodies are going to die. We know that. But the good news that came to us in the resurrection of Jesus Christ is that just as his body was raised from the dead, so will our bodies be raised from the dead.
Wednesday, October 6, 2021
1 Corinthians 15:40-44
Death is certain for all of us. These bodies are going to die. We know that. But the good news that came to us in the resurrection of Jesus Christ is that just as his body was raised from the dead, so will our bodies be raised from the dead. Just as Jesus Christ was raised imperishable, so our bodies will be raised imperishable. Just as Jesus died and was put in the grave, these bodies will die and be put in the grave. But one day, at the last trumpet, when that trumpet sounds, those who believe in Christ, their bodies will be raised imperishable. That's for all of us who believe. So, friends, when sometimes as we grow old, and our bodies age, as we get concerned about what's going to happen with us, and what will happen with our bodies, know this: The body that is sown, the body that is buried, it's in weakness, it's in dishonor, it's perishable, it's natural. But in Christ Jesus, that body will be raised, and when it is raised, it will be imperishable. It will be glorious. It will be powerful. It will be spiritual. We have that hope because of Christ Jesus and his resurrection. And I hope that that hope will give you the lift for your life that you need today.
Wednesday, September 8, 2021
One day, we will have bodies that don't ache, we will have bodies that don't get sick, bodies that are pain free, sin free, disease free, and problem free. In fact, they will be like Jesus Christ, and that brings me joy.
Wednesday, September 8, 2021
I've been working really, really hard. I have been trying to work out, lose a little weight, work on my conditioning, get my heart rate up for a healthy heart, and work on what I affectionately call Uncle Eddie. Uncle Eddie has gotten bigger, and I don't like how Uncle Eddie is growing. I've been doing a lot of different things, including some core work and some brisk walking. I walk about a mile and a half to two miles every morning. I'll tell you what, it's harder to lose weight as you get older. Those of you who are like me, in your 40s (and who lie), as we get older I get more sore. I mean, I do brisk walks and the next morning I get up and every joint is creaky and old. I've had some stents put in me, I've had health things, you've had health things. Your body just breaks down. Even if you're on the TB12 Tom Brady health plan, or if you don't eat meat, or some other type of diet - those things are really good, I applaud all of that, and I'm going to fight tooth and nail to stay healthy. But at the end of the day, our bodies will lose and our life will be over. We should fight it all we can, but we should also remember that that's how life goes. One day we will not have that problem. One day, we will have bodies that don't ache, we will have bodies that don't get sick, will have bodies that don't have an Uncle Eddie, bodies that are pain free, sin free, disease free, and problem free. In fact, they will be like Jesus Christ, and that brings me joy.
So, I want to tell you about joy and our future bodies. When your body is hurting today, remember that one day you'll have a future body that will never hurt if you are a Christian. I get that from Philippians 3:21. I want to start in the previous verse and explain the context. It says, "But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so they will be like his glorious body." So, Christ will transform our lowly bodies, our broken-down bodies, our sin-stained bodies, our disease-potential bodies, so they will be like his glorious body. That's a fascinating thought. When Jesus Christ rose from the dead, he put on what theologians call a "glorified body." Jesus Christ is God in His essence, but he took on a human body that was tempted in every way, yet never sinned, as Hebrews tells us.Then, that human body was crucified on the cross, put into a tomb, and, if you know the Easter story, three days later rose again. When Jesus Christ rose again, he rose in what is called a glorified body. That means he could teleport to different places, he no longer feels disease, sickness or any of that. The Bible says we will have a body like that in heaven.
What a fascinating thought. We'll have a body that's never sick, never sin-laden, never diseased, and never dies. It will be a glorified body like Jesus Christ's body. Some of you are hurting right now. Some of you are in pain, some of you hate the aging process (I think we all do unless you're young), some of you have the Battle of the Bulge that I have with Uncle Eddie. But here's the thing, one day our bodies will be like Jesus Christ's: glorified and pain free. I hope that brings you joy and encouragement to know that the body we have now will one day be replaced with a glorified body. People ask me, "Vince, when a person dies do they get the glorified body then?" No, we don't get the glorified body until the rapture of the church, the next great event in the future. We'll talk more about that at Lakeshore in our series How It All Ends in October of 2021. I hope you'll check that out. But here's the thing, you will get that new body. Then you ask, "What happens when a Christian dies now?" Their soul and spirit, their immaterial being, goes to heaven. Their body goes to the ground, and one day that body will be resurrected and reconstituted into the glorified body that will never feel pain. I hope that encourages you.
Father, whoever is hurting physically, I pray that you would help them and heal them. Whoever is struggling with health things, I pray that you will help their bodies recover. In the meantime, give us the joy that one day we'll have a new body to replace this lowly body. Encourage us with that thought. In Jesus' name, amen.
Monday, September 6, 2021
If the world is in fact falling apart (it is), and if the world is going to continue to fall apart (it will), what are we supposed to do? Just be miserable?
Monday, September 6, 2021
If you are a Christian, meaning you put your faith alone in Jesus Christ alone, you have an option. That's this, to remember your ultimate citizenship. See, as a Christian, your ultimate citizenship is not as an American, I'm extremely proud to be an American. There's no other country I would rather live in and I'm extremely proud of my American citizenship. If you're from another country watching this, then you should be very proud of your nation. That is, unless it's a totally corrupt nation and you're watching this underground. But I am even more proud of the fact that as a Christian, I am a citizen of heaven. My citizenship is in heaven. That's how you cope with all that's happening in our world. If our citizenship was just in the world, the world will collapse, and it will all end. But our citizenship is in somewhere eternal. It's in heaven.
Our citizenship is in heaven because a savior will come from there. Lord Jesus Christ, verse 21, "who by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly body, so that will be like Him in His glorious body." I'll cover that verse 21, in just a moment, but all I want to say is this: Paul says, if you focus on the world you're going to be depressed, you're going to be morally bankrupt. But if you're a Christian, you need to focus on heaven. One day, we'll be in heaven. One day, all the wrongs will be made right. One day, there'll be no more tears, no more pain. One day, all our sin will be taken away in the presence of the Sin-Taker-Awayer, Jesus Christ. That's why he's called our Savior. He saves us from sin.
I don't know what's got you down about this world doesn't take much five minutes of the news, we'll do it. But I'm telling you right now, your citizenship in heaven ought to remind you that Earth is not your home. You're just passing through, as the old Negro spiritual sang. So, I hope you'll be focused on citizenship in heaven, and I hope you'll know Jesus Christ because that will give you the confidence that you'll be there. Father, thanks for citizenship in heaven. We do pray "on earth as it is in heaven," but we know that's not going to be fully answered until you come back. So help us to remember when times are tough and our life is really really hard, we find joy in our citizenship in heaven one day. It's promised and you'll never take it away. Thank you, in Jesus' name, amen.
Wednesday, August 25, 2021
When life gets hard you have to press on. Sometimes you have to put one foot ahead of the next, can't worry about one mile down the road, three blocks down the road, all you can worry about is your next step.
Wednesday, August 25, 2021
Sometimes life gets hard, and sometimes you just have to remind yourself to press on. When life gets hard you have to press on. Sometimes you have to put one foot ahead of the next, can't worry about one mile down the road, three blocks down the road, all you can worry about is your next step. You ask, "What's God going to do? This is so hard. How am I ever going to get out of this?" And sometimes you just have to say, "You know what, I'm just going to take the next step." I get that from a very powerful passage that the Apostle Paul shares in Philippians 3:12-14. Paul says, "Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
Let me break that down. The "all this" that Paul has not yet obtained is knowing Jesus Christ perfectly. He also says he has not yet been made perfect, which is pretty obvious for all of us, and if it's true of the Apostle Paul, it'll always be true of us, too. He continues, "but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me." In other words, he says, "Things get up, things get down, things get high, things get low, but I'm pressing on to take hold of the prize that Christ took a hold of me for." What he's saying is when you became a Christian Christ took a hold of you. He took a hold of you so that you will want to take a hold of the prize, which is knowing Jesus Christ perfectly. That is only going to happen in heaven, but we want to get as close as possible to that here during our days on earth.
Paul goes on to say, "Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize, for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." See that? That's the goal. God took a hold of you so you'll take hold of the prize of getting to heaven and acting like it. How do you do it? He says you have to forget what is behind. You have to stop thinking about the negative things of your past. Learn from it, grow from it, forget it. Then, you have to have a vision for the future. Press on toward the goal. Then, you have to do it by taking one step at a time. See how he covers the past, (forget about it), the future (have a vision for heaven), and the present (perservere, press on)? Sometimes, when the past is so painful you have to focus on the future, which is so glorious, to help you in the present, which is taking one step at a time. Have you had a bad day, had a bad month, had a bad year, had a bad 18 months with COVID and everything else going on in our world? Sometimes, you have to focus on the vision of heaven. And you just have to put one step ahead of the other. Sometimes, when I don't like what has happened in the past days, I have to think about what's going to happen in future days. That will help me in present days to press on.
What is it in your past that's holding you back that you need to forget? What is it in your future that you forgot is in your future, if you're a Christian? Like going to heaven, like having no more problems, like being in the presence of Jesus Christ nonstop, forever in his house, his glorious mansion, heaven. Press on with those thoughts. Forget about this, focus on that. And right now, today, take the next step. What do I mean by that, take the next step? Do what you're supposed to do, step by step. Do what God wants. Read the Bible, serve other people, come to church, get involved in a ministry, get in a small group, be a witness to your friends, invite people to church, do the kinds of things to help you press on. Press on today. You can do it through Christ who gives you the strength.
Let's pray. Father, I don't know who I'm speaking to and I don't know where they're at. But I know all of us need this exhortation, some maybe more than others, to press on. Help us to press on, God. Help us forget what's behind. Let us remember our glorious future, if we have a relationship with you by faith alone in Jesus Christ alone, and to persevere because of that. Help anybody who's discouraged to be encouraged to press on in you. Give them that courage. I know you will if they seek it with a whole heart, and a honest, true, seeking, open heart. We ask this in Jesus' name, amen.
Friday, March 19, 2021
You know, one of the worst things you can do is practice presumption or assumption. A lot of people presume upon things, and the biggest thing we presume upon is the future
Friday, March 19, 2021
And then James tells us the counteraction to presumption. He says, 'Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." ' So, James is clearly not refuting or debunking planning. He's not saying it's wrong. He's saying, No, you should plan. The Bible teaches that again and again. But he says, hold your plans loosely. The problem with presumption is that you hold your plans tightly. You don't know what tomorrow will be, so your plan is based on an expectation of tomorrow, but you don't know what's going to happen. Your plan is based on you being around tomorrow, and you don't know if you're gonna make it through the end of the day. So, all I want to say is this: plan, take care of the future, but do not be presumptuous. Don't presume upon the future. Don't count on everything being there; be flexible, be agile, be adjustable. And most importantly, submit to the Lord's will, because you just do not know what God will do with your plans. Here's my theology of planning: Number one, God honors people who have a plan. If you have a plan, God will honor you for having a plan. Second, God will not use your plan, because if God used your plan, you would worship your plan more than the God who gave you the inspiration to put it together. That's what presumption is, it's assuming that you have control of the future. God does. He controls tomorrow. He controls how long we live. So don't presume upon tomorrow. Enjoy today. Have a plan for tomorrow. Be agile and flexible with it. Are you willing to do that? Can you break out of the mold and just be flexible? Don't presume, don't assume.
Let's pray. Lord, whatever your will is, give me the ability to adjust my plan accordingly. Father, thanks for this word. Help us to be flexible, nimble, agile, and humble. Help us live according to your will, not according to our fixed expectation about what tomorrow and the day after will bring, because we don't know. Thank you for this reminder, in Jesus' name. Amen.