Tuesday, 21 December 2010

The Spirit's work after death

This Sunday I completed a sermon series on the person and work of the Holy Spirit:
1) Who is the Holy Spirit
2) The Spirit in the Old Testament and Christ
3) The Spirit in conversion
4) The Spirit in new birth
5) The Spirit and sanctification
6) The Spirit and service
7) The Spirit and spirituality
8) The Spirit and glorification

The last two were included outof the conviction that we think little about them.

Talk seven sought to apply the previous in terms of our relationship with God, often missed out as we systematize the Spirit's work. We thought on how the Spirit uses and engages with us in church, scripture, praise, prayer and guidance, building devotion and faith in our hearts. Psalm 86 was used as a springboard to this.

Talk eight then focused on his three works in:
1) Perfecting our spirits at death and keeping us in Christ in heaven
2) Raising our bodies at Christ's return fit for the kingdom to come
3) Recreating the heavens and the earth for us to inhabit to God's glory

This seemed to be of great encouragement to folk worrying about their own death or who had lost believing loved ones, but the key application was that of Colossians 3 - the more heavenly minded we are, the more productive now as we seek to live in the light of the future. This suggests a willingness to teach on this subject really is very necessary.

This is how the sermon began.
"I have recently enjoyed a TV series called ‘Flash Forward.’ In it, the entire world are struck unconscious, and given a glimpse of what they will be doing in six months time.

What’s most interesting, is how people respond to what they learn. So we’re introduced to Bryce who was on the verge of suicide after being diagnosed with cancer. But having seen himself alive and happy, he experiences a renewed desire to live.

It’s a fascinating idea from a Christian perspective, because WE ARE given a glimpse of our future. And this is intended to impact our life now.

Colossians 3 makes just this point. Paul writes:
“Since then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above.”
He goes on to affirm we should live holy lives because that is what we are destined to be, we should be thankful because of all we have been given, and we should work hard in the world because we will be rewarded with an eternal rest.

So we should not buy into the view that Christians are so heavenly minded they are of no earthly use. No. The more heavenly minded we are, the more productive our earthly lives will be."