Made for Another World

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6)

aotherworldTo be confident is to be persuaded–convinced. In a world of ever changing ideas and shifting cultural sands, it is a relief to know that you can be confident. Where does your confidence originate? Why can you be confident? Paul gives three reasons.

You can be confident because God started the work in you. If you know Christ it is because Christ drew you to Himself. You can no more initiate your own salvation than you can initiate your own physical birth. Jesus said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:44 ESV) You came to Christ because Christ called you. What a gracious God to begin such a work in you.

You can be confident because God finishes what he starts. He will be faithful to complete it. One translation renders this word “perform.” The word literally means “to make an end for oneself.” Your life is God’s opportunity to bring glory to Himself. And He will do that. He will accomplish His purposes in you so that He is glorified. And when He is glorified others are drawn to him.

You can be confident because Jesus is coming back. Until the day of Christ Jesus. God has an end for your life..a goal. And he has an end for all of creation. We see in this tiny verse the micro and macro plan of God. His micro plan is His plan for your life. He cares about every detail. His macro plan is his plan for all of creation. Colossians 1 says that “in him (Jesus) all things hold together.” God will ultimately bring all of this to an end…or rather to an amazing beginning.

C. S. Lewis said, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

You are made for another world.

The Leper’s Song

leperThe Request

On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” (Luke 17:11-13 ESV)

Jesus’s Answer

When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. (Luke 17:14 ESV)

One’s Response

Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. (Luke 17:15-16 ESV)

In order to understand this leper’s response you must read the prior two days’ blogs. Everything in his world had changed. He came out of darkness into the light, out of the land of the dying into the land of the living. I think he very well could have written the following song of thanksgiving. Maybe you can identify:

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved. How precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come. ‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far and grace will bring me home.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail and mortal life shall cease, I shall possess within the veil, a life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow, the sun forbear to shine; but God who called me here below will be forever mine.

When we’ve been there 10,000 years bright shining as the sun, we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we’ve first begun.

And I think he would also have added:

My chains are gone, I’ve been set free. My God, my Savior has ransomed me. And like a flood his mercy reigns; unending love, amazing grace.

(The above lyrics were written by John Newton and Chris Tomlin respectively)

God the City Builder

These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. (Hebrews 11:13-16 ESV)

We measure success by accomplishments, by wins and losses, by money in the bank. God doesn’t. He measures success by faithfulness. Failing does not disqualify you from the race–quitting does. Finishing matters more than achieving. In a world dominated by World Series and Super Bowls we struggle to embrace God’s definition of success.

Hebrews 11 opens with a list of people who lived their entire lives never fully receiving what they believed. They believed promises that were never realized, preached messages that were never fulfilled, wrote prophecies that never came to fruition. They lived and died believing what many thought was a lie. How did they do it? The writer answers that question:  they acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. They never expected life on this earth to be ultimately fulfilling. They lived here with another place in mind.

Think about it. If this is the only place you will ever enjoy life, then you will be compelled to do everything you can do, go everywhere you can go, and experience everything you can experience. Make all the money you can. Capture every memory. Exploit every adventure. Win every game. Take advantage of the latest technology. Why? Because when you die, there will be no joy, no pleasant memories, no money to advance your cause, no adventures. For those who do not believe in eternity, a sure eternity awaits. It is void of the presence of God and filled with the memory of every missed opportunity to know him. When the rich man died he looked into heaven. He saw Lazarus and begged him for a drop of water. He saw his brothers headed to Hell and begged God to warn them. Imagine an eternity where you wouldn’t want your closest family to join you. Some people are experiencing the only “heaven” they will ever experience now.

Not those mentioned in Hebrews. They desired a heavenly country. In other words, they lived on earth with heaven in mind.

Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. God, the architect of the universe, is also the architect of Heaven. For those who desire Him, he has prepared a city. He’s not ashamed of you. He’s proud to call you his, proud enough to build a city–for you.

Plant your feet on the earth. Fix your eyes on the sky.