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Thanksgiving for God's Future Providence

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We are going to close our night thanking God for the future.

Don’t read this - The future is bleak

The world around us isn’t very hopeful about the future.
Which makes sense.
As we’ve been studying Ephesians on Wednesday nights, we saw this back in Ephesians 2:12.
Paul described the unconverted as being without hope in this world.
They don’t have an optimistic outlook on the future.
And they can’t.
Because you live.
Then you die.
And that’s it.
There’s nothing to look forward to.
If you’ve ever read H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine, you see this same hopelessness described.
It’s a dreary look at what’s coming.
HG Wells once said, “Mankind had failed because evolution had failed to produce in us the right kind of brain.”
Wells conclusion for mankind was that “we will destroy ourselves, die out as a species, and revert to the mud and slime from which we arose.”
He added, “We … deserve our fate” and believed that the human race could only exist for 1,000 more years, then be forgotten.
I wish that Wells‘ opinions were limited to himself only, but this hopelessness is reflected in the art of the world.
Think of the different theories that exist concerning the fate of the world.
People think that Climate change is going to destroy this earth.
Rising waters will drown out the edges of the continents.
Men like Elon Musk come to these conclusions:
Humanity is doomed on earth.
And our only hope is to get off planet earth.
Mars is our hope.
I love sci-fi and I think space is awesome.
But that is not where our hope is.
Placing our hope in technology and space travel is misguided at best.

The church should not be so pessimistic

Through the Bible we know how it all will end.
Our hope is not in the dismal failure of humanity, ending in scenes from Terminator 2 or Hunger Games.
Briefly there are 3 reasons for a hopeful future that we have to look forward to and in turn, we can pre-emptively give thanks to God.
Victory of Christ
Victory of the Church
and the Victory of Eternity

Victory of Christ

The world might be correct in seeing the slow demise of the earth around us.
Things are deteriorating.
This fallen world is becoming only more fallen.
Yet, God’s word tells us not to be focused only on the world around us.
Paul told the Colossians to “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” - Col 3:8.
Think of it this way, Acts 1, Jesus has just ascended to the Father.
Maybe you know this scene.
The text says that Jesus was talking with his disciples, and as he was talking to them, he was lifted up on a cloud and disappeared out of their sight.
There they are, all just staring up in the sky.
Nothing’s there.
Jesus is gone.
All of a sudden two angels appear next to them and say “They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”
The promise is that He is going to return.
Just as He left, He will return.
What does this mean for us?
It means we have no reason to be pessimistic.
We have every reason to be optimistic.
Creation is not doomed to random cause and affect, but to the purposeful, planned, and predestined triumphant return of Christ.
Malachi 4:2 says, “But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.”
As you look at the future, this should be your outlook.
Skipping like calves.
After all, what is our hope.
That Christ will return just as He has promised.
He’s not dead.
He’s not gone.
He’s resurrected and very much alive, and will return.

Victory of the Church

There’s another victory, and that pertains to the church.
This is us.
The church has not had an easy existence.
She has faced serious periods of persecution throughout the ages.
According to Open Doors ministries, there are 340 million Christians living in places where they experience high levels of persecution.
I think that we are going to see increased pressure on the church.
Especially as worldviews continue to become more and more polarized.
But this does not mean the church is hopeless either.
Nor does it mean we should live as if we are hopeless.
Matthew 16:18 says, “I also say to you, that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.
Those are wonderful words.
This is a confidence that you have to look forward to.
Remember, that the church’s strength and victory is not in your ability to fight.
The church’s existence is not dependent upon Christians taking over the government and reforming the laws, or instituting a new Christian government.
According to Matthew 16, how will the church stand?
Jesus said “… I will build my church”
This is Christ’s church.
He is the one building it.
Next time you fear for the future and you wonder if the church can withstand another attack, remember who is building the church.
Jesus Christ is.
He has promised that she will stand to the end.
And I thank God for that.
I never tremble at loss of freedoms, or greater pressure.
Because I know that this is Christ’s church, and He is building her.
I thank God for the hope that we have.

Victory of Eternity

The final victory is where our hope lies, there is an incredible eternity ahead of us.
Revelation describes some terrible events.
You’re familiar with many of the events of the Tribulation.
They are what movies are made of.
If you’ve ever read through Revelation, there certainly are some scary moments.
Just as things get real bad, John’s vision is interrupted by these words in Revelation 7:
“After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”
This is the song of the Tribulation saints.
They suffer.
They die.
They are resurrected.
They give thanks!
Their purpose, their song, their praise, should be our purpose.
The day is coming when your feeble body will breathe its last breath.
You will die.
But there is a promise of a resurrection.
There is a coming day when we will get to stand before the Lamb, and sing praise to the Lamb slain.
And where will the Lamb be?
On His throne!

God’s Future Providence is Planned

I know we aren’t there yet, we are waiting for the future to arrive.
But the future is recorded in the Bible, within His Word.
God has promised that His word will not go out in vain.
What He has predestined, planned and purposed will be achieved.
Think through where we’ve been tonight.
We’ve looked at God’s faithfulness in the past.
We’ve seen how God is faithful right now.
And we’ve seen how there are securities for the future.
Christ will return.
His church will survive.
We will meet our conquering king!
Just as we did with the other 2 areas.
Now let’s spend some time in prayer thanking for for His future providence, the things that He has promised us.
It’s good to hear other Christians pray and speak of God’s coming victory.
Now let’s sing to Him.
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