Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Presence of the Future: Part 2

When the Holy Spirit fills people (like the crowd at Pentecost in Acts 2), those present are brought into the presence of three things:
  1. The presence of the future
  2. The presence of the Lord
  3. The presence of the nations
1) The Presence of the Future

When the Spirit fills you, you are brought into an eschatological presence. The word “eschaton” means “the last” or “the end.” It is a taste, an experience of what is to come fully in the future. For example, when farmers went out to receive the firstfruits of the summer harvest they could tell what the harvest was going to be that year. The firstfruits showed the laborers what to expect.

God is saying something by filling us with the Spirit.

Romans 8:18-23 “for I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”

Along with all of creation, we long for this freedom. I look in the mirror and it testifies to my own bodily decay. We long for that day when Jesus comes back and this present world is made new. Creation will be liberated from decay and we will have resurrected bodies on a resurrected earth. The glory of God will come down and make all things new.

Paul writes (Rom. 8:23) “we ourselves… have the firstfruits of the Spirit.” Paul is saying that the Holy Spirit who comes to fill you brings you into the presence of the future glory of heaven. The Spirit gives a taste of the beauty and splendor of God’s glory, a taste of the life, power and joy coming in fullness.

In Romans 8, Paul informs us that we’ve been given power beyond our imagination. Every Spirit-filled follower of Jesus is walking around with something under their flesh of far greater value and power than this entire world. The Spirit is eschatological, bringing you into the presence of the future. The Spirit is the firstfruit, the very Spirit of Christ himself.

Do you know what you have? Do you realize what you have been given? We have been given the power of God which today can work against all manner of decay: social, emotional and spiritual. Give up small ambitions and have hope beyond your imagination for your ministry, church and city.

We have a taste of what’s to come—where there are no more tears of pain and suffering, no more groaning under the burden of sin. It may only be a taste but it’s powerful beyond imagination. We can confront social issues, poverty, injustice, lost humanity because we have this firstfruit power.

Jesus declared, “You shall receive power after the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you shall be my witnesses…to the uttermost parts of the earth” (Acts 1:8)

Do you know who you are? Do you know what you have?

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