Turning Confusing Problems into Clear Principles, Pt 2
Study Guide – May 27, 2018
Pastor Clay Olsen
Let’s start with a ‘by the way’. So, by the way, how is your ‘RD’ vision working for you? That’s what we focused on at our Easter service; using ‘RD’ vision to look at all of life around us; that is, using ‘Resurrection Definition’ vision. It concerns looking at everything around us through the truths of the Resurrection of Christ and the implications that has for all of life.
So let’s expand on this concept of how we see our world around us because when we practice seeing our world around us the way the Scriptures instruct us to, then it clears up a lot of otherwise confusing problems.
For example: Traveling can be confusing, even with GPS. Have you ever had your GPS give you some wacky directions? That’s why I still love maps. Maps give you the ‘big picture’ instead of having to depend upon where to turn next. However, I do use the GPS when I can’t look at a map. But the point is, the overall view of wherever you are is always the clearest view there is.
It’s like our visit to our Son’s graduation at Liberty University. It’s quite a big campus and the various sites and event locations can be a bit confusing to find, even with a map. But then they recently built a 275 foot 17 story Freedom Tower. It also holds the college of Biblical Studies. But from the perspective and vision that you get from the Tower you can see exactly how things are laid out.
A point we are making here today is this: the Bible is our Freedom Tower. However, this Tower extends all the way to Heaven. And from here we can see how our world and even our lives are all laid out. From here we can even make sense out of our seemingly senseless world. Even with this being Memorial Day weekend, as we remember the sacrifices of those who gave their lives for our freedom, by standing on this upper platform of the Bible we see that for those who served God and country as followers of Christ, their sacrifices were not in vain, but rather they were offerings that have lasting value and lasting rewards. Their temporal battles are yielding eternal blessings for them as well as for others. Remember, that’s what the Apostle Paul pointed out about these things: 2 Cor 4:17- “For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison…” NASU
Remember that: For believers, God is going to make even the afflictions from this world produce things of lasting value for His children. Remember, the world wastes our pains, but God doesn’t. God even keeps records of our tears, as the Psalmist pointed out in Ps 56:8- “You have taken account of my wanderings; Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book?” NASU In the Biblical Museum at Liberty U we saw several ancient tear bottles on display. So God even keeps a record of our sorrows in order to compensate us for them. How like our wonderful Heavenly Father.
That’s something else we see from the high perspective of the Freedom Tower of the Bible. And that is, in the world it often seems like trials and troubles and problems and pains and deeds, good and bad, just go on without consequence. But in reality, everything that happens in this temporal world is being recorded and will have eternal consequences. You recall, that when the unbelieving world stands before God at the Great White Throne Judgment, that they will be judged according to the record of their lives that have been meticulously recorded. Remember this? Rev 20:11-12- “And I saw a great white throne and the one sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from his presence, but they found no place to hide. I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books.” NLT
Do you think most people around you have any idea that everything they are doing each day, from their thoughts and words to their motives and deeds are being recorded in the ledgers of Heaven? Really, at the end of every day, from everything they have done to everything they have said has all been recorded in those books that the Apostle John told us about. Now, for believers, the Book of Life has the names of all those who have been born again into God’s family. That’s what Jesus was reminding His disciples to rejoice most about in Luke 10:20- “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.” NASU By the merits of Jesus’ life and death on our behalf, we who have come to the Savior for forgiveness and a new birth of our spirit in union with Christ have, at this very moment, our names written down in Heaven in the Book of Life. Amen?
But for the unconverted, or the dead, meaning the spiritually dead, which is the title that Revelation 20 gives to unbelievers, their every work and deed, every day of their life, is being recorded to determine the degrees of their sentencing in a land of separation from God. And yet most people have no clue of this reality of these ‘Ledgers of Heaven’. But again, you can only see this picture of reality from the Freedom Tower of the Bible.
Now, we mentioned the Book of Life with the names of all of the saved. That’s like the ‘God’s Gift Book of Salvation’. That book records the names of those who received God’s free gift of salvation of eternal life through Jesus Christ. But there is also another book in connection with believers that Malachi called the ‘Book of Remembrance’. Notice: Mal 3:16- “Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who esteem His name.” NASU This ‘Book of Remembrance’ is the ledger that holds the words and works and motives and such for which all believers will give an account at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Paul describes this in 2 Cor 5:10- “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” NASU
So again, for unbelievers, there are the books with the record of their works which God will use to determine the degrees of their sentencing in a land that the Bible calls ‘Gehenna Hell’. And for believers, there is the Book of Life, which records the names of all the saved who received the gift of eternal life in Jesus Christ. And then there is also the Book of Remembrance, which records believers deeds as children of God, to determine their rewards or loss of rewards in the Kingdom of Heaven.
But again, you can’t see any of these realities without going up in God’s Freedom Tower of the Word of God. And from God’s Tower we can then begin to practice the principle that Paul pointed out in the rest of that passage we read in 2 Corinthians, because he went on to say this: 2 Cor 4:18- “while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” NASU The only way you can see the things are are not seen are from God’s Tower of the Bible. But when we do look at our world around us from the perspective of God’s Tower not only do we see how the things of the temporal world are laid out, but we also see how things of the eternal world are laid out as well. From God’s Tower we better understand not only the temporal things of our world, but we also better understand the eternal things of God’s world. In fact, from the perspective of God’s Tower we can superimpose the eternal world onto our temporal world. And when you do that you then begin to see the things that are not seen by others. Think about it: If you only see what is seen, but do not see the unseen around the seen, then you will miss seeing most of what there actually is to see.
For example, one important way to look at life is look at everything in life from the perspective of the last chapters of the book of Revelation. From the realities of Revelation we can look behind the scenes of the unseen, or look upon the things that are not yet seen. And as we do so we then gain a clear picture and a clear understanding of where life is headed.
One of the fixation of some scientists is either the need to solve the problems of the depleting resources of our planet or pursue the future colonization of another planet or planets. But fortunately God has another plan for our planet. Rev 21:1-4- “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away…And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God… And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them…22:16-17- “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star. The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost…20- “He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.” NASU
From God’s Tower we can see what others cannot see – plans for a New Earth already in the works, along with a new capitol city, the New Jerusalem, even now being made ready by the Master Builder of the Universe, the Lord Jesus. Jesus is making plans for His return just like He said. And in return, we are to also be making plans for His return. In other words, we are to be living each day in this temporal world in light of these realities of our eternal world. And as we do so, just like the song states, the things of this world grow strangely dim in the light of God’s glory and grace.”
Again, perspective is everything! Jesus calls for us to walk by faith, and not by sight. But faith is not fantasy, like the world’s twisted version of faith. When the world talks about faith, they are talking about things which have no basis in reality. But Biblical faith is based upon reality. Biblical faith is acting on the realities and the proclamations and the promises that we find as we climb God’s Tower, the Tower of God’s Word. And from here we can see the things that are not seen by so many is this world. And we can then focus less on the things that many others think are the most important things to see and dwell upon in life. Certainly, we have to deal with the temporal things of life, but we are commanded to do so with eternity in mind and with eternal things in sight. We are commanded to set our minds upon the things above, the heavenly things, the eternal matters.
For example: people can go ahead and enjoy the temporal things of this world that God has given us to enjoy. Like: People even enjoy taking ‘selfies’…they are having fun with that. But even in the midst of fun things like this we are to remember the eternal things; like ‘every selfie is a soul’. Every temporal ‘selfie’ is an eternal soul. Every selfie that people take is a reflection of a soul that is either saved or lost. And if their soul has not become saved then that means they are one of those people whose lives are being recorded in those books for the Great White Throne Judgment. And if all of their focus has been on the things of this temporal life at the expense of preparing for the eternal, then no matter how much they may have enjoyed their temporal life, their eternity is going to be a tragedy, because they are going to live in a land called Hell…that’s what God is warning them about from the Tower. For not only can you see all the way into Heaven from God’s Tower…you can also see all the way into Hell from there.
Don’t forget about Hell. A lot of churches have, along with most of our society it seems. People don’t talk much about Hell anymore. Most people have lost sight of Hell. Jesus didn’t. In fact, Jesus talked more about Hell than He did about Heaven. Sometimes I feel guilty for not talking about Hell more than I do, since I’m responsible for teaching the things that Jesus taught. Listen to Jesus on this: Luke 12:4-5- “I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!” And here’s another instance: Matt 5:29-30- “If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell.” NASU Of course, Jesus wasn’t talking about self mutilation, He was talking about self repentance in order to escape going to Hell.
Remember, Jesus always looked at life from God’s Tower. As such, He always saw where the paths were leading that people were walking. All the paths that people travel in life lead to two different gates: one is wide, the other is narrow. Remember what He said? Matt 7:13-14- “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” NASU
Every person is either on that path that leads to destruction, Gehenna Hell, or they are on the path that leads to life, life in Heaven because they found life in Jesus on the path to Heaven. We trust that each of you here are walking that narrow path with Jesus as your Lord and Savior. If you are not sure about that, you need to make sure before you walk any further down the road of your life. Ask Christ to come into your life and save your life and make you His child forever. And then walk the rest of life on God’s path with Jesus.
But you only see these paths of life and those gates from the perspective from God’s Tower. Yet you can also see how God has laid out everything else in God’s world, now and in the world to come. What a view!