At the end of service today someone asked about other resources that present a similar understanding of the world to come that I have been preaching in this series of lessons. N.T. Wright has written a splendid book entitled, Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church. (Some may be familiar with Wright’s book, Simply Christian.) I am greatly indebted to him for helping me understand some difficult passages in regards to End Times. The greatest weakness of the book is his near omission of any mention of 2 Peter 3: 10ff which talk about the destruction of the earth by fire. The best analysis I found of that passage comes from a journal article by Allan J. McNicol entitled, “All Things New” and is found in the Austin Graduate School of Theology publication, Christian Studies (Volume 21/ 2005-2006). If you are interested in this let me know and I can send you a copy.

Barbara R. Rossing helped me in my understanding of the message of Revelation in her book, The Rapture Exposed: The Message of Hope in the Book of Revelation. Finally, Joe Beam and Lee Wilson wrote an easy to read book with the title, The Real Heaven: It’s Not What You Think. All of these authors teach that when the Lord returns earth will not be destroyed but renewed. For a better understanding of the Biblical teaching concerning Hell see my post from last week.

Since beginning this study I have been amazed at how differently I look at the earth. I find that I am continually amazed by what God has created. I feel at times like a child with eyes wide in wonder. A simple thing like water is the evidence of such creative genius. Even a blade of grass or a flower or the texture of an apple is cause for pondering at the character of a Creator who would make such beauty. I’m glad to know that it’s not destined for a bon-fire but for redemption. Maranatha! Come Lord and make everything new!

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Byron FikePreaching Minister

Byron has been the preaching minister at Clear Lake since 1999. He and his wife have three grown children, who have also devoted their lives to serving the Lord. In his personal time, Byron likes to read books, watch movies, and play with his little dog Willie. He also is an avid follower of Alabama football, having grown up in Tuscaloosa during the glory days of Bear Bryant.


7 Responses to “Maranatha!”

  1. avatar Jim Fletcher says:

    This series of lessons puts some real questions in the worship leader’s mind–the most pressing of which is: “What do we do with the traditional songs about heaven in worship planning?”

    If you look at Sunday’s list of songs, we sang about:

    Jesus coming to reign–“Sing to the King.”
    Eternal salvation–“Salvation Belongs to our God”
    An eternal home–“O for a Faith That Will Not Shrink”

    The songs that we used did not mention any theology that was in direct conflict with the series of lessons; But it sure would have been east to pick songs that did conflict.

    Certainly there is somewhat of an artistic license when we sing songs that may have questionable theology, but how far do you go? When have you gone too far?

    Just food for thought.

  2. avatar Jim Fletcher says:

    Correction–“But it sure would have been easy to pick songs that did conflict”

  3. avatar ElderChild says:

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  4. avatar Byron says:

    Thank you for your thoughtful song selection this past Sunday. As our theology changes (or perhaps matures would be a better word) our expressions in song will, of necessity, change as well.

    I used to love the old foot tapping Stamps-Baxter songs, but frankly the words simply do not reflect my life. For example, “We are often destitute of the things that life demands; want of shelter and of food, thirsty hills and barren lands.” Or perhaps a more familiar verse, “Living below in this old sinful world, hardly a comfort can afford;…” It’s tough to sing that when I live in more abundance than 90% of the world’s population.

    Keep up the good work of selecting songs that enable us to truly express our hearts to God and to one another.

  5. avatar Jeremy says:

    It’s weird what sticks with a person from a sermon. Here is what stuck with me:

    It is not our job to understand, it is our job to be faithful.

    That spoke to me. I struggle so hard to understand, to figure everything out. I want to make a logical, rational decision based on facts and history.

    I find an abundance of facts and historical data to help support the claims of the biblical text. Yet I still feel like the blind man Jesus healed, I see things but they are not crisp and clear. It is still like looking out through a morning fog. I can see things, but the cloudiness of sight still makes me doubt and be cautious.

    It’s hard to walk by faith, not by sight. I guess that’s what I took your statement to mean. Our job is to walk by faith. It’s pretty hard though.

  6. avatar Jeremy says:

    About worship songs…

    Good food for thought. If the psalms served as a prayer/song book, then there is definitely some poetic license about songs and prayers.

    What about the old songs? Well, I would have to say keep and sing them. How sure are we of this new theology? Even Byron admits that there is some much more that we do not know than what we do know.

    We are sure of what we believe now, but what about in 5 years? In 10? Where will study and the Spirit lead us then? What will we look back at and ask ourselves “What in the world was I thinking?”

    For me theology is a journey, and songs are markers along the journey. It would be sad to leave the markers by the wayside. That’s just me though. In this moment. I might say something different tomorrow.

  7. avatar Byron says:

    I would say the “new theology” is much stronger than the “old theology”! Let the old songs go if they are communicating ideas that we no longer believe or are not moving us in the direction of faith. After all, when was the last time you sang this classic song?

    All along on the road to the soul’s true abode,
    There’s an Eye watching you;
    Every step that you take this great eye is awake,
    There’s an Eye watching you.

    Watching you, watching you,
    Ev’ry day mind the course you pursue;
    Watching you, watching you,
    There’s an all-seeing Eye watching you.

    As you make life’s great fight, keep the pathway of right,
    There’s an Eye watching you;
    God will warn not to go in the path of the foe,
    There’s an Eye watching you.

    Watching you, watching you,
    Ev’ry day mind the course you pursue;
    Watching you, watching you,
    There’s an all-seeing Eye watching you.

    Fix your mind on the goal, that sweet home of the soul.
    There’s an Eye watching you;
    Never turn from the way to the kingdom of day,
    There’s an Eye watching you.

    Watching you, watching you,
    Ev’ry day mind the course you pursue;
    Watching you, watching you,
    There’s an all-seeing Eye watching you.

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