Future Hope

This past weekend at Eastbrook, I continued our series on 1 Thessalonians entitled “Hope Rising: 1 Thessalonians for Today.” This fourth week of the series I preached from 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11 on how belief that God holds the future brings hope into the way we live with God now.

You can find the message outline and video below. You can access the entire series here. Join us for weekend worship in-person or remotely via Eastbrook at Home.


“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13)

Grieving, but with Future Hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13)

The Thessalonian believers’ grief

The rest of humankind grieves without hope because without Christ

The importance of grieving – even Jesus at the tomb of Lazarus

God’s Truth About Future Hope (1 Thessalonians 4:14-18)

What we believe about Christ and ourselves (4:14)

The teaching of Jesus on this, summarized by Paul (4:15-17)

Encourage one another with this future hope (4:18)

Living Now with Future Hope (1 Thessalonians 5:1-11)

The reality of the “day of the Lord” (5:1-3)

The contrast of night and day, darkness and light (5:4-8)

The truth on which we build our hope for the future (5:9-10)Encourage one another and build each other up with this future hope (5:11)


Dig Deeper

This week dig deeper in one or more of the following ways:

From there he will come to judge the living and the dead

This past weekend at Eastbrook, we continued our preaching series entitled “Living the Creed: Connecting Life and Faith in the Apostles’ Creed.” This series walks through the Apostles Creed as a basic summary of our faith but also as a way to live our faith out with God in the world. Each weekend of this series will explore the biblical and theological roots of the Apostles Creed, while also providing specific spiritual practices and approaches to living out what we know as we ‘proclaim and embody’ the Creed in our daily lives.

This weekend I preached on the last phrase of the second article of the creed on Jesus the Son, which concludes with this statement: “From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.”

You can find the message video and outline below. You can also view the entire series here. Join us for weekend worship in-person or remotely via Eastbrook at Home.


“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.” (Matthew 25:31)

“From there he will come” (Acts 1:11)

“To judge the living and the dead” (Matthew 25:31-32; John 3:16-17)

Jesus and Judgment Now

Judgment now as Jesus speaks truth (Matthew 7:28-29; John 5:24)

Judgment now as Jesus bears the Cross (John 12:31-33; Isaiah 53:40-6)

Jesus and Judgment in the Future

Jesus and our death – encountering judgment at death (Hebrews 9:27-28)

Jesus’ return – the revelation of Jesus as judge at His second parousia (Matthew 25:31; 2 Timothy 4:1)

Jesus and the final judgment – King Jesus sets makes things new (Luke 12:8-9; Matthew 7:21-23; 1 Corinthians 3:12-15; Revelation 21:1-5)

Living in Light of Jesus’ Return and Judgment

Walking with Jesus now everyday

Speaking of Jesus to othersLooking forward in faith and hope to our future with Jesus


Dig Deeper

This week dig deeper in one or more of the following ways:

  • Memorize Matthew 25:31-32 or Revelation 21:1-5
  • Draw, ink, or paint Revelation 21:1-5 as a basis for prayer. Take time to talk with God as you depict these verses in your own way. What is God speaking to you?
  • Consider reading:

Why Does Jesus’ Ascension Matter?: 3 reasons worth knowing

John Singleton Copley, Jesus Ascending to Heaven; oil on canvas; 1775.

This past weekend at Eastbrook Church, Will Branch continued our series on the Apostles’ Creed by exploring one of the later segments of the second article of the creed: “He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.” It was a wonderful message, and I strongly encourage you to listen to or watch it. I wanted to carry that theme over into this week on my blog a bit more by talking further about why Jesus’ ascension matters.

I believe the ascension is one of the most-neglected aspects of the life and ministry of Jesus.  Forty days after His resurrection, after appearing many times to the disciples, Jesus ascended into heaven with the Father (Luke 24:49-51; Mark 16:19; Acts 1:3-10). The ascension of Jesus is significant for many reasons, but let me draw attention to three reasons why the ascension matters:

  1. after His ascension Jesus is enthroned with the Father
  2. after His ascension Jesus intercedes for us
  3. after His ascension Jesus will return

The Ascension Confirms the Enthronement of Jesus

When the Apostles’ Creed states that Jesus “ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty,” we are being told that Jesus is enthroned as King in His ascension. When Jesus ascends from earth, the disciples witness of Jesus taken into the heavenly realm where God dwells: “he left them and was taken up into heaven” (Luke 24:51). Stephen’s vision of the heavenly realm before his martyrdom expands this even further: “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:56).

With these two visions of Jesus’ ascension and the reality on the other side of it, we find in Jesus’ ascension the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy:

In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. (Daniel 7:13-14)

Jesus often referenced this passage in relation to Himself. With the ascension we see that Jesus not only enters heaven, the place where God lives and operates, but receives His appropriate enthronement at the right hand of God in an unshakable kingdom. This is echoed in further New Testament pictures of the heavenly scenes of worship:

  • “To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne” (Revelation 3:21).
  • “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” (Revelation 5:13).

The ascension of Jesus reminds us not only that God’s kingdom been inaugurated with the incarnation of Jesus, but also confirms that Jesus’ throne is established at the Father’s right hand until He returns at the consummation of His kingdom in the new heaven and new earth. We know even now that Jesus reigns as King, no matter what happens around us.

The Ascension Affirms Jesus’ Eternal Intercession on Our Behalf Before the Father

Forty days after completion of His work in the Cross and the Resurrection, Jesus ascended into heaven to rule as King at the Father’s right hand. His sacrifice was a once-for-all event (Hebrews 9:24-28) that secured His place as the unique mediator between God and humanity (1 Timothy 2:5).

The writer to the Hebrews builds upon these truths to help us understand Jesus’ role in the presence of God not only as King but as eternal intercessor: “he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them” (Hebrews 7:25). Some may envision this as Jesus forever bowed in prayer for us, but the picture is richer than that. Jesus stands in the presence of the Living God simultaneously as our Advocate and High Priest and Sacrificial Lamb before the Father. His eternal sacrifice is eternally effective and eternally offered before God on our behalf (Hebrews 1:3; 7:25; 8:1). Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection and ascension, there is no one and nothing that can condemn us before God (Romans 8:34; 1 John 2:1).

Even more, since Jesus’ stands in the presence of God, His effective advocacy on our behalf transcends geography and time. Jesus is not limited by time and space as He was in the incarnation. Now, as He stands in the presence of God, He hears and answers our prayers no matter when or where we lift them. In fact, we can always “approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:15–16).

As fully God, Jesus the Son intercedes before the Father with authority as King, yet as fully man, Jesus the Son intercedes before the Father with empathy and understanding of our circumstances as the New Adam. We can be encouraged that the death and resurrection of Jesus’ are always effective on our behalf because Jesus has ascended as Eternal King and Mediator. And let us always know that the grace of God flows abundantly through Christ to us when we reach out to Him in prayer.

The Ascension Points to Jesus’ Eventual Return in Glory

After Jesus’ ascension, two heavenly beings, or angels, speak to the disciples: “Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). Throughout the New Testament, many writers tell us that there will come a day when Jesus will return to establish His kingdom fully “here on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

Five things we know about Jesus’ return from Scripture are:

  1. It will happen (Acts 1:8; John 14:3)
  2. It will happen in God’s time (Acts 1:6-7; Matthew 24:36)
  3. It will be recognizable to all (1 Thessalonians 4:15; Revelation 1:7-8)
  4. It will bring the fullness of Christ’s victorious kingdom over all (Revelation 19:11-16; 21:1-5)
  5. It will bring vindication for God’s people in the sight of all (1 Thessalonians 4:11-5; 1 John 3:2)

Jesus, the Ascended King, will return in glory, bringing the fullness of God’s kingdom and righteousness that will lead into the establishment of the new heaven and the new earth. Just as He ascended to the Father’s right hand after His resurrection from death, so Jesus will descend as King to usher in a new heaven and new earth. As His people, we will enjoy that new heaven and new earth, secure in God’s final judgment because Jesus intercedes for us as the once-for-all Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. The ascension of Jesus becomes a source of hope and encouragement for us because it draws our attention to His eventual return and the consummation of all God’s purposes and plans. Let us persevere in light of the resurrection and ascension until the day of His coming or when we see Him face-to-face, whichever arrives first.

The Sheep and the Goats

This past weekend at Eastbrook, we continued our new series entitled “The Beginning of the End.” This series explores the resurrection of Jesus in tandem with some of Jesus’ teaching about the fall of Jerusalem and the end of all time. This weekend Pastor Ruth Carver preached from Matthew 26:31-46, the parable of the sheep and the goats.

This message is from the tenth and final part of our longer journey through the Gospel of Matthew, which includes “Family Tree,” “Power in Preparation,” “Becoming Real,” “The Messiah’s Mission,” “Stories of the Kingdom,” “Who Do You Say I Am?“, “‘Tis the Reason,” “Jesus Said What?!“, and “Scandalous Jesus.

You can find the message video and outline below. You can also view the entire series here. Join us for weekend worship in-person or remotely via Eastbrook at Home.


The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40)

The Meaning of Maranatha

  • Watchword of Early Christians
  • Jesus’ 2nd Coming and Last Judgment

Jesus’ Parable of the Sheep and Goats

  • Who are the sheep and the goats?
  • On what basis are people sent to heaven or hell?
  • The “Big 6” human needs
  • Who are the “least of these”?

Be Ready for the 2nd Coming and Last Judgment

  • A litmus test for true, saving faith
  • Maranatha as our watchword

Dig Deeper

This week dig deeper in one or more of the following ways:

Stewards of the Kingdom

This past weekend at Eastbrook, we continued our new series entitled “The Beginning of the End.” This series explores the resurrection of Jesus in tandem with some of Jesus’ teaching about the fall of Jerusalem and the end of all time. This weekend Gabriel Douglas preached from Matthew 25:14-30, the parable of the talents.

This message is from the tenth and final part of our longer journey through the Gospel of Matthew, which includes “Family Tree,” “Power in Preparation,” “Becoming Real,” “The Messiah’s Mission,” “Stories of the Kingdom,” “Who Do You Say I Am?“, “‘Tis the Reason,” “Jesus Said What?!“, and “Scandalous Jesus.

You can find the message video and the sermon outline plus discussion questions below. You can also view the entire series here. Join us for weekend worship in-person or remotely via Eastbrook at Home.


“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day or the hour.” (Matthew 25:13)

  1. Be excited about Jesus’ Return
  2. Know what Jesus teaches by reading His word
  3. You cannot live off of someone else’s talents
  4. Surrender your talents to Christ and be ready for Him

Discussion questions

  1. When you think of Jesus’ return, what emotions do you feel?
  2. What talents and abilities do you know that God has given you?
  3. Are there times where you have used those abilities for your own gain?
  4. What servant do you resonate with? The one who returned on investment or the one who kept the talent for themselves?
  5. Read Hebrews 12:2, what does it mean to you that Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith?
  6. What is one way this week you can honor God with what He has given you?