Last things firstPaperback Living in the light of the future Graham Beynon
Graham Beynon looks at the Bible's teaching about the Day of the Lord, judgment, reward, heaven and hell, life and death, and the new creation, and shows how what is to come should shape practical Christian living now.(more...)
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Why think about the future? After all, 'what will happen will happen', it only leads to controversy and argument, and it’s irrelevant to life now.
However, Graham Beynon shows that the real danger is that we don't think about the future. God in his Word puts last things first - the whole gospel is shaped around what is to come. God has a plan for where he is taking this world, and his people are called to live in the light of that future.
Christians are to be those who look back - to the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. All that happened then shapes our life now. However, they are also to look forward – at what God will do in finishing his plans for his creation through Jesus.
The Bible teaches Christians to store up treasure in heaven; to wait faithfully for the return of their Master; to think of this world as temporary and passing; and to think of the world to come as their inheritance.
Graham Beynon takes a fresh look at this teaching and shows how what is to come should shape practical Christian living now, with regard to godliness, handling of money, service of others, speaking about Jesus, faithfulness to him, response to hardship, and more.
Extent: 176 pages
Publication Date: 15/01/2010
Published by: IVP
Introduction: why read a book on the future?
1. The Day of the Lord
2. Judgment Day
3. Real rewards
4. I make all things new
Revelation 21:9 ? 22:5
5. Away from me
6. Facing death and living life
1 Thessalonians 4:13 ? 5:11
7. Signs of the times
Mark 13 120
8. Will it ever come?
2 Peter 3:1?13 135
9. Living in hope
Romans 8:18?25 150
Appendix: the rapture, the millennium and the antichrist
(From the) Preface
A few years ago I was asked to speak at a weekend away and was given freedom on my topic. I chose the Bible?s teaching on the future. Why? Because I had a sneaking suspicion that we were failing to appreciate all God said about it and especially how it should affect life now. Those talks got worked over as I spoke on further weekends on the same topic and finally I decided to preach a similar series in my own church. By then I was utterly convinced that we ? myself included ? were failing to consider the last things first, failing to live in the light of the future, and that we needed refocusing on what God says to us on this. That conviction finally resulted in those sermons being turned into this book. ?
Introduction: Why read a book on the future?
There are lots of good reasons not to read a book on the future. Some people would say:
? What will happen will happen ? so why spend time and energy investigating it? It won?t change anything.
? You might become weird and wacky: we know of some people who seem obsessed about the Bible?s teaching on the future and they talk about odd things like the rapture (whatever that is) and spend time dating how soon Jesus will come. You don?t want to become like that.
? It will only lead to controversy and debate: we know people have argued endlessly over this stuff. Can?t we just say we all believe Jesus will come back and leave it at that?
? It?s all in the future and won?t make any difference to life now, so it?s irrelevant.
But when we start thinking about it, we see that the real danger is that we don?t think about the future. Here are a few reasons why we should think about it.
The Bible speaks about it (a lot)
Every book of the New Testament, apart from three of the very short letters, speaks about Jesus? return or some other aspect of the future. When you read some well-known bits of the Bible, like the Sermon on the Mount (in Matthew 5 ? 7), Jesus mentions the future something like twenty times. In other words, the future is everywhere in the Bible and so we can?t read our Bibles properly without thinking about it.
It is foundational to what the Bible teaches
Not only is mention of the future everywhere, when it is mentioned it is usually foundational to the argument being made. So, for example, the Sermon on the Mount is not teaching on how to live now that could stand on its own. Take away the future element, and much of what Jesus says falls fl at. His teaching on adultery turns on the reality of hell, and his teaching on money turns on the idea of treasure in heaven (Matthew 5:27?30; 6:19?21). The same runs true elsewhere. If we don?t think about the future, we will end up reshaping the message of Jesus and the apostles.
It tells about God?s big plans
Have you ever seen a building site which looks a real mess ? cranes, half-built walls, mud everywhere? But often outside such building sites there is a picture that shows what the new building or complex will look like when it is finished. When we study the future in the Bible, we are finding out what this creation will look like when God is finished with it. We are seeing his agenda for his creation and this helps us understand and live with the messiness of life now.
In every area of Christian life there is some messy issue that won?t get answered until Jesus returns. ?
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