N. T. Wright on Jesus’ Second Coming

N T WrightI’ve been studying for a message I’m giving this Saturday morning on “Christ our Coming King” for Eastbrook‘s monthly men’s breakfast. I came across this quotation from N. T. Wright in his book Surprised by Hope, that captures so much in such a small space that I couldn’t help but share it.

What we have here, with minor variations, is a remarkably unanimous view spread throughout the early Christianity known to us. There will come a time, which might indeed come at any time, when, in the great renewal of the world that Easter itself foreshadowed, Jesus himself will be personally present and will be the agent and model of the transformation that will happen both to the whole world and also to believers. This expectation and hope, expressed so clearly in the New Testament, continues undiminished in the second and subsequent centuries. Mainstream Christians throughout the early period were not worried by the fact that the event had not happened within a generation. The idea that the problem of ‘delay’ set out in 2 Peter 3 was widespread in second-generation Christianity is a modern scholar’s myth rather than a historical reality. Nor was the idea of Jesus’s ‘appearing’ or ‘coming’ simply part of a tradition that was passed on uncritically without later generations really tuning in to what it was saying. As with the ascension, so with Jesus’s appearing: it was seen as a vital part of a full presentation of the Jesus who was and is and is to come. Without it all the church’s proclamation makes no sense. Take it away, and all sorts of things start to unravel. The early Christians saw this as clearly as anyone since, and we would do well to learn from them.

(N. T. Wright, Surprised by Hope, page 136)

Lesslie Newbigin on the Resurrection

In a recent posthumously published series of lectures, I came across this statement by Lesslie Newbigin on the resurrection. These words particularly leaped out to me in light of our recent journey through 1 Corinthians 15 at Eastbrook Church called “Resurrection Hope.”

Christ gives us the victory because He has broken the power of sin, and in breaking the power of sin, He has broken the power of death. Death is still a fact. In Adam all die. The barrier is still there. What we are assured of in Christ is that death is not the last word, but that God in His mercy is able out of the ruin of corruption and death of men and of man’s social institutions to raise up that perfect incorruptible society which is our true goal. It is the assurance that that goal is in the end to be reached – though we cannot reach it in a straight line by our own power. (Signs Amid the Rubble: The Purposes of God in Human History, p. 50)

Resurrection Victory (discussion questions)

Here are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “Resurrection Victory,” from this past weekend at Eastbrook Church, the final week of our series, “Resurrection Hope,” from 1 Corinthians 15, looking specifically at verses 50-58.

Discussion Questions:

  1. When you hear about the resurrection of the dead, what sort of things come into your mind?
  2. This week we conclude our series, “Resurrection Hope,” on 1 Corinthians 15. Whether you are alone or with a small group, begin by asking God to speak to you and then read 1 Corinthians 15:50-58 aloud.
  3. Paul brings together the various parts of his discussion of resurrection here, drawing implications both for those who are alive at the time of Christ’s return and those who have already died. Paul states a basic principle in verse 50 that normal, human bodies cannot “inherit the kingdom of God.” Why do you think Paul begins with this principle?
  4. The phrase “kingdom of God” is common in the Bible, appearing eleven times in Paul’s letters, four of which are in 1 Corinthians. In general, the kingdom of God refers to the rule and reign of God entering into human existence. What is Paul referring to here in 1 Corinthians 15:50-58?
  5. In light of the reality that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God,” Paul says that we will all be changed (once in both verse 51 and 52). What sort of change is he talking about for both the living and for the dead at this time (see verses 42-44, 50-54)?
  6. What is Paul’s central, high point of celebration in verses 54-57?
  7. What do you eagerly anticipate at a personal level about the ultimate victory over death at Jesus’ final return?
  8. You might expect Paul to end with verse 57, but in verse 58 he turns the corner into our everyday lives here and now. What specific areas of our lives should be touched now by the hope of the resurrection? Which of these leaps out as most important in your life now?
  9. What is one thing God is speaking to you through this study? If you are alone, write it down. If you are with a small group, discuss these things with one another.

Resurrection Victory

Res. Hope Gfx_FacebookWhat does it mean to live in light of Jesus’ victorious resurrection? What future hope does it bring to us? How should it shape our lives now?

These are the sort of questions we delved into this weekend at Eastbrook Church in my message, “Resurrection Victory,” This was the fifth and final weekend in our series entitled “Resurrection Hope” that draws from Paul’s words on the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15.

The outline and video file for the message is below. You can view the message online here or listen to it via our audio podcast here. You can now access all the messages from the “Resurrection Hope” series here. You can also visit Eastbrook Church on VimeoFacebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

 

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Resurrection Bodies (discussion questions)

Here are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “Resurrection Bodies,” from this past weekend at Eastbrook Church, which is a part of our series, “Resurrection Hope” from 1 Corinthians 15.

Discussion Questions:

  1. When you hear about the resurrection of the dead, what sort of things come into your mind?
  2. As we continue looking at 1 Corinthians 15 this weekend at Eastbrook, we are looking at what resurrection bodies are all about. Whether you are alone or with a small group, ask God to speak to you and then read 1 Corinthians 15:35-49 aloud.
  3. In verses 35-41, Paul offers two pictures of what physical resurrection is similar to in our everyday experience. What are the two pictures and what do they communicate to us about resurrection? What other pictures do you find helpful or getting a sense of what resurrection means?
  4. Paul summarizes the contrast between our current bodies and resurrection bodies in verses 42-44 with four word pairs. What are those word pairs and what do you think they mean?
  5. The NIV translates the last pair of words, “it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.” This phrase has caused some misunderstanding in the western world, particularly in some translations which contrasts a physical body with a spiritual body. The first phrase, translated ‘natural body’, is derived from the word for ‘soul’ and reflects being animated by human nature here. The second phrase, translated ‘spiritual body’, is derived from the word for ‘spirit’ and reflects being animated by the Spirit of God. This is not a contrast between the physical and abstract spiritual, but a contrast between ordinary human nature and spiritually renewed human nature. What do you see as the significance of this?
  6. When you read verses 45-49, what sort of hope do you draw from these words?
  7. What is one thing God is speaking to you through this study? If you are alone, write it down. If you are with a small group, discuss these things with one another.

[Next week we continue our exploration of resurrection themes by looking at “Resurrection Victory” from 1 Corinthians 15:50-58.]

Resurrection Bodies

Res. Hope Gfx_FacebookWhat does the resurrection of Jesus have to do with our physical bodies?

I addressed just this sort of question in my message this past weekend, “Resurrection Bodies,” at Eastbrook Church. This was the fourth part in our series entitled “Resurrection Hope” that draws from Paul’s words on the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15.

The outline and video file for the message is below. You can view the message online here or listen to it via our audio podcast here. You can now access all the messages from the “Chiseled” series here. You can also visit Eastbrook Church on VimeoFacebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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