From the Pastor
Ever notice the pattern in the way we recite the Apostles’ Creed" We start out like a house afire: “I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth and in Jesus Christ his only son our Lord.” And we continue: “I believe in the Holy Ghost . . . the forgiveness of sins ....” But by the end, the bottom just falls out and it’s like we run out of gas: “the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.”
This Sunday, we are concluding the sermon series on the Apostles’ Creed with that last statement, “the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.” We are going to be talking about what should be the pinnacle of the Creed for every believer. Jesus said to the dying thief on the cross, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” The Apostle Paul says, “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” There’s no blank space, no intermission. We have unbroken communion with Jesus Christ from this life to the next. However, as Christians, the purpose of this life is to prepare for the next. In the Middle Ages there was great concern for what was called the ars moriendi, the “art of dying.” John Wesley used to brag of his Methodists, “Our people die well.” Believe it or not, in medieval times the death of choice was cancer. Unlike a heart attack or an accident, cancer gave you time to die well. You could get your affairs in order, pay off old debts, reconcile strained relationships, bless the grandchildren, and prepare your soul.
One time, the pastor at an African-American church was preaching about the person who had died and he said, “The Lord said to an angel, ‘You go down there and scrap that body, but bring the motor home.’” Inside this wreck of a body is the real me, and while the wheels are wobbling, fenders are falling off, and the tailpipe is dragging on the ground, this engine can be revving up preparing for its immortal body. Jesus said, “…I go to prepare a place for you…. I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” So guess what? When your heart stops someday, you are going to keep going and going. This world is just the warm-up. Eternity is show time!
Quote of the Week
“The best news of the Christian gospel is that the supremely glorious Creator of the universe has acted in Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection to remove every obstacle between us and himself so that we may find everlasting joy in seeing and savoring his infinite beauty.” John Piper
John Stephen Piper is an American Reformed Baptist continuationist pastor and author who is the founder and leader of desiringGod.org and is the chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Piper served as Pastor for Preaching and Vision of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, for 33 years.
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