The Redemption of Relationships
A Devotional Communion Service
Study Guide June 30, 2019
Pastor Clay Olsen
We usually have a separate devotional section between the bread portion and the cup portion of the Lord’s Supper. But today we’re going to have our devotional all together and then partake of the Lord’s Supper all together afterwards. And the Lord’s Supper is open to all who have received the Lord Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.
In the Lord’s Supper Jesus revealed many wondrous things to us; like we learned how it spoke to the fulfillment of the Passover, as Jesus was the Lamb of God that all the previous Passover feasts symbolized. We learned that as we partake in the Lord’s Supper that we become ‘proclaimers’, like Paul said in 1 Cor 11:26- “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” NASU We are testifying to the fact of the actual historical death of Jesus the Messiah on an actual Roman cross at an actual place in time. We proclaim that His death was a substitutionary sacrifice for our sins and the sin penalty that resulted from them. We proclaim that Jesus’ death removed our spiritual death penalty and pardoned us from our sins. We also proclaim His life, that because Jesus now lives we will also live with Him, having been saved, sealed, and given eternal life in union with Him.
So you and I are ‘proclaimers’. And we are to proclaim the light of these truths to a world that lives in darkness and falsehoods, so that they, too, can have the opportunity to turn their lives over to Christ and trust in His great salvation for them.
And we also proclaim His coming. We proclaim that He came to redeem us in His first coming and we proclaim that He is coming to reign over a New Earth and New Heaven in His second coming; Jesus will reign in the Kingdom of God forever.
In other words, we are to proclaim to the world and to remind each other that things are about to change. And some of the things that are about to change have to do with this ‘redemption’ of our lives and what it all implies. And the more that we dwell on some of these wondrous things that our redemption provides the more we will not only praise our great Redeemer, but the more we will look forward to His Kingdom that is coming, and the better we will be able to deal with this present kingdom, or this present world in which we now live.
What do we mean? Well, it has to do with something else that our redemption includes and will include. Let’s explore: In our Prophecy series we studied the great revelation of the Rapture of the Church. And one of the passages was 1 Thess 4:16-17- “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.” NASU But again, what we see here is the next step in God assembling His forever family in Heaven. And later in the book of Revelation we see God assembling more for His family from out of the last period of the earth as we know it: Rev 5:9-10- “And they sang a new song, saying,“Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.” NASU
Again, God is redeeming a family for His own to live with Him and to enjoy His New Earth and New Heavens with Him for eternity. And in providing for this very redemption, what is also included in this redemption is not only the redemption of all of these souls to live together, but also the redemption of their relationships, so that they can live together as God intended.
Think about it, this great assembly will be made up of saved people from all ages of world history and from all previous relationships throughout world history, now redeemed from their sins against God and redeemed from their sins against one another; redeemed from all previous problems and schisms and differences and conflicts and wars. And this redemption of relationships extends not only from ethnic groups and nations, but also to family and friends. Remember, in our salvation the Lord not only removes our sin penalty from us, but will one day remove our sin nature from us, so that we can live in His Kingdom together forever in real peace and unity and love.
You recall in our last study we gave Jesus’ spiritual X-ray of the sin nature of man, with all the things which cause the division and strife and jealousies and malice and pride and conflicts in relationships. Well, guess what our Great Physician is going to do about that? He is going to spiritually surgically remove our old sin nature from us when we leave this earth, and all that will remain will be our new nature that we share with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
So now, what does that imply? It directly implies and reveals that all the redeemed people in Heaven will also have redeemed relationships with everyone in Heaven! Just think of the relationship betweem the Apostle Paul and Stephen. Remember, as Saul, he was in agreement with the stoning of Stephen. But when Paul met Stephen in Heaven, their relationship was all changed, all forgiven, all restored, all redeemed. Or think of Jim Elliot and Nate Saint, two of the five missionaries killed by the Auca Indians in Equador in 1956. In the years that followed many Aucas gave their lives to Christ, and some of those redeemed Aucas now live with Jim and Nate in in a redeemed relationship in Heaven; all changed, all forgiven, all restored, all redeemed.
Or even consider this: whoever got saved from the families of the Hatfields and McCoys will have completely redeemed relationships with each other. Will they remember the feuds? Of course they will remember the feuds. Memories in Heaven remain, but the thing is; they will think completely differently about it all now, for their minds and hearts are completely filled with the fruit of the Holy Spirit now, and all the harmful things of their old nature are completely gone.
Still, every revelation in Scripture of someone already gone from this earth clearly shows that memories of Earth are all intact. Both the saved and the unsaved will retain their memories of Earth, as Abraham’s discussion with the unsaved man in Luke 16 demonstrated. Or when God permitted the Prophet Samuel to speak to Saul from the other side, Samuel clearly remembered what had been going on in the nation of Israel. And in Revelation 6 the martyred souls clearly remembered their lives and the conditions of things upon the earth. Even our own very examination at the Judgment Seat of Christ will be a review of our life on Earth, which we will clearly remember. And the scars on Jesus hands will be an eternal testament of His loving sacrifice for our sins, and we will forever remember and know that we are in Heaven because it was His shed blood and His great love that paid the wages of our sins. The memories of our times on Earth that were blessed memories will remain, and our memories of times that were not so blessed will inspire our thanks and praise to God even more for our great redemption.
So yes, we will remember our lives as we lived them on Earth, but here’s the thing; we will think about it all completely differently, because we will think of it through the mind and the thoughts of a new godly nature, and we will think about it through the peace of now completely healed and blessed relationships with others. That peace will be part of what’s all included in the experience of this:
Rev 21:4- “…and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” NASU
We live in a world of broken relationships. And not just in relationships between people of the world, but even in relationships between the people of God in God’s own family. Even in families, even in the Bible, history is filled with broken relationships; in children to parents, children with each other, family members with extended family members, church family members with other members, and so on. And many believers live their lives wishing things could have been different, could have been better, could have been what they had always hoped they would be, but weren’t.
Once again, that’s one of the miracles that the Redemption accomplished, especially including the redemption of relationships. Because of who our Redeemer is, and what His redemption accomplished for us, everything that has been ruined by sin will be restored in the Kingdom. Or, as Randy Alcorn put it in his book on ‘Heaven’, “We will experience all the best of human relationships, with none of the worst.” Think about that a moment.
Perhaps we have known Christian friends or relatives that now live in heaven, with whom we had some conflicts. Maybe when we knew them, we knew them as not so nice individuals or not so nice people to be around. Well, guess what? If you could know them now, now that they really are the person God created them to be…now that all the old nature is completely gone and they are complete in their new spiritual nature…well, now they are one of the nicest people you could ever know. Every divisive thing, every hard thing, every harsh thing, every rude thing, everything that made a relationship with them here on earth difficult is completely gone in heaven.
What does that mean for us now? For children, if your parent was a believer, yet things were still hard or hurtful, everything you always wanted in a Mother or a Father, you will one day have. For they will now be exactly who God created them to be. Your relationship will be completely redeemed…fully restored to the way God intended it to be. If they weren’t believers, our God, who has promised to compensate us for losses in this life, can provide an experience that will make up for it. For remember, our God is able to do beyond what we can even think or imagine. And for believing siblings or church family members, who still had conflicts or difficulties in your relationship with each other, everything you always wanted in that relationship you will one day have. Your relationship with each one will soon be completely redeemed and fully restored to the way God intended it to be.
Remember, sin interrupted God’s original plan for the way He intended human relationships to be, but sin did not eliminate His plan. Oh no! God’s redemption of all things includes His original plan for how He intended parents and children, brothers and sisters…really, just all of God’s family members to treat one another and enjoy one another. And they were intended to treat one another based upon the virtues of the fruit of the Spirit…the virtues of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and so on. And so everything that you ever hoped to have or that you ever hoped to experience on earth in a relationship with your parents, with your children, with your siblings, with other brothers and sisters in Christ, but was broken by sin, you will experience it with them in the New Earth because it will be restored to you through the redemption. No experience of enjoying wonderful relationships with other believers, no matter how they are or were related to you in this world has been lost. It has only been postponed till the day when we each are who God created us to be, and intended us to be, when we are in our real home, and together with our God and one another.
Again, because of Jesus’ redemption, not only is our relationship restored with God, our relationship is being restored and will be fully restored with every other child of God, because that’s the kind of world God is preparing to finally have and for us to eternally enjoy. And the next time Jesus partakes of the Lord’s Supper with us all, that’s exactly the way it will be.