John 14:12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. NASU
Are you one of those that believe?
Jesus had high expectation for His followers. He saw something they could not. He knew His relationship with them would change them. He understood it was divinely ordained, a match made in heaven and therefore destined for great things.
By the time John 14 came about in the life of Christ, Jesus was about to pass the baton of ministry to them. His light would be fading, but His hope and plan was for their light to grow brighter day by day and to exceed His.
John 12:35-36 So Jesus said to them, “For a little while longer the Light is among you. Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes. 36 “While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light.” These things Jesus spoke, and He went away and hid Himself from them. NASU
He knew they would fumble and stumble around in the dark, hence the test of hiding Himself. He wanted them to learn how to find their way. He knew they would bounce back to finish the course He had set for them. That is the nature of eternal life, the Gospel, and divine regeneration (see Proverbs 24:16).
Because of what Jesus believed, I believe the Church has a bright future. As I look ahead I don’t see a Church overcome by darkness, but a darkness overcome by the Church. I see light; I see brightness. I believe exciting days lie ahead of us.
For now we are what we are and what we are doesn’t hold a candle to the light Jesus brought into the world. Jesus did some amazing things when He was here, but He destined His followers to do greater things. Remember, He said…
Matt 16:18 “…I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” NASU
This positive outlook caught on. Paul understood what Jesus was saying. He wove this optimistic attitude into his writing.
Philippians 1:6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. NASU
I’ve always applied this verse to myself or individuals. Only recently, as I began reexamining my eschatology, have I looked at these words more closely. I discovered that Paul used the plural form of the word “you” in this verse. In other words he said he was confident “that He who began a good work in you Philippians will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” He saw the Church, a Bride made ready for that glorious day.
I also discovered that when Paul mentions “the day of Christ Jesus” he was not referring to the Second Coming, but the Rapture. The difference between the Rapture and the Second Coming are as different as day and night. One is extremely encouraging while the other is extremely terrifying. Study 1 Thess 4-5.
Paul was optimistic about the Church’s future, like Jesus he had his own word pictures to convey his message.
Eph 5:25-33 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless…32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. NASU
We see two important points here, but don’t let the lesser truth be eclipsed by the greater one. Husbands, love your wives – yes, but notice too what extent Christ will bring the Church; she will be ready. Paul prayed to that end.
1 Thessalonians 5:23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. NASU
I don’t think we are there yet. I see spots and wrinkles and I know I have a long way to go, but what if God answered that prayer today? What if the Church appeared fit for heaven clothed in fine linen bright and clean at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ? What would life on earth be like then? What would we see? Would the birds of the air be nesting in the branches (Matthew 13:31-32)?
I’ll look into this more next time.
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