It wasn't always the case but over the last century a common view has crept into Christianity that basically suggests the world will get worse and worse until the last possible unbearable moment, then Jesus will come back and snatch us away so we can be with him in heaven to forever in some sort of eternal retirement or never ending church service. It's such a shame because it's such a lie and paints a really small picture of God (he can't even fix his own creation), a really weak picture of us (we can't redeem the planet, it has to be abolished), and it distracts us from our job (we end up longing to escape the world his is trying to sow us into).
We'll look at these things in more detail in the future, but three key points for now:
1) Heaven is coming here...the ultimate plan is for God to restore the earth and for heaven to fuse itself with us. No longer will there be any separation between the earthly realm and the heavenly realm. That's what Revelation 21 is all about.
2) There is no rapture...the only people who are removed from the earth are the wicked. The righteous and the meek inherit it. In Matt 13:30 Jesus tells us that at the end he will instruct his angels to gather up and remove the weeds (evildoers), but to leave the wheat (his children). He doesn't rapture us from the Earth, he restores the Earth to us and then joins heaven with it. Thessalonians 4:17 is the only reference that indicates us being caught up in the air with Christ when he returns, but it is only so that we can join with him in his procession as he comes to earth.
3) God made the earth for us. He said it was good and made it his gift to us. This is our home. It's the world we were built for - our destiny has always been and will always be here. Psalm 115:16 "The highest heavens belong to the Lord, but the earth he has given to humanity."
So why all this waffle? Why does it matter?
Last time we talked about the demonic realm and what they really are and what their relationship to us really is - and why. This Sunday we'll build on that as we come to understand it's this realm, the Earth, the we are contending for. They are not at war with God - no one can fight God. They are at war with us. Why? That will be the focus of our discussion and will set the ground work for our next few weeks and our mission here really. What do you think the answer is? Why is the demonic realm at war with you and I? What is it about?
Look forward to your thoughts :)
If you need a clue, think about what we've been given and what's been taken off them - what's the implications of that?
Bless you all heaps and see those of you who can make it on Sunday!