March 1, 2010

Chapter 11 Ascended and Coming Again

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and His kingdom will have no end.

  1. The doctrine of ascension requires that all of history connects to a destined end or purpose.
  2. The ascension gives meaning to history as a specific series of events designed to move us forward under the rule of Christ toward the final judgment by Christ.
  3. St. Augustine's famous book on history is titled "The City of God."
  4. Pagan historians believed that history was just a meaningless cycle of events, in cycles of growth & decline.
  5. The fall of the Roman Empire in AD 476 shocked the classical world.  Rome had been considered 'urbs aeterna', the eternal city, and at the fall, people were devastated.
  6. Augustine wrote City of God in response to this event.  He recognized the fact that kingdoms on earth rise and fall but that the Kingdom of God is eternal and therefore is the focus of history.
  7. The phrase in the creed "He shall judge the living and the dead", shows us that our personal lives are connected in the scheme of history.  It makes history personal.
  8. This perspective offers very practical help in how we should live our lives day-to-day.  In light of Christ's coming and judgment, we know with certainty there will be perfect justice at some point.  This teaches us patience and dependence on God.  We, as believers, live with an eternal perspective (or we should!)  We have a purpose as a people of destiny because, just as history has been written by God's providence, so the future is His also.
  9. This doctrine is sobering as well as joyful.  Judgment is certain for all - this means we need to live with the full knowledge that every part of our lives - actions, words, thoughts - all - come under the scrutiny of Almighty God.
  10. Judgment by God is therefore part of the gospel message.  Good news comes with bad in order for it to be fully grasped.  people must understand that they have a need for the Savior who will judge.
  11. This knowledge provides hope for the future and strength to live in faithfulness each day. Because of Christ's work on the cross, our final judgment as believers will be under grace.  This drives us to live in humility an dservice to Christ, to godly living as befits citizens of the Kingdom that shall have no end.
  12. Verses:
    Matt 12:36  "But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken"
    Romans 2:16  This will take place on the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.
    Hebrews 9:27  Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment
    1 John 4: 9-18   This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.