We are in week two of a four-week series called Glorify Surrender to Jesus. Last week we talked about why Christians should seek to increase love for others and grow to trust Jesus more, and that reason is to bring good attention to Jesus and glorify him in the world. Bring good attention to Jesus in the world.
Today, being All Saints. Sunday, we’re gonna talk about an interesting aspect of belief that I think gets overlooked or sometimes completely by a lot of folks, and that is this: that our faith in Jesus forever unites us with all believers, past, present, and future. And that’s not a big truth bomb or anything, but we don’t often stop to think about how we’re connected forever through this faith.
It is the unifier that runs through us all past present and future. So, we should be encouraged by the faith and witness of the saints who have come before us and walk with the saints of the present to provide a witness for the saints of the future.
Lean upon the legacies of the past in order to leave a legacy for the future. We lean upon the past to leave something good for the future. The problem is we try to escape the troubles of our present by looking to the past. And we’ve heard that a ton. The rhetoric in this country is, has been, for a while now, a throwback to the good old days. Oh man. The good old days, we get stuck thinking that the fix to our current struggles is a return to the good old days, but I, I feel it is my duty as your pastor to remind you that the good old days weren’t good for everyone. So, um, when you’re talking about a return to the good old days, think about what you’re saying.
It’s usually a return to the good old days for me. But as Christians, it’s not about me. It’s not about you individually, it is about the collective us and the world, right? And as Christians, this eye to the past, this fixation on getting back to, is absolutely anti-Christian. Our faith is a future-oriented faith.
Everything about Christianity is eschatological. Which is just a $10 word for meaning, future oriented, end times, that kind of stuff, where always everything looks toward the future. Everything we believe and do is with an eye to the future Kingdom of God. Daniel seven 18 said it said this, but the holy people of the most-high will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever.
Yes. Forever and ever.
It points to this future. They will receive it. It’s coming. It’s not as long as we get back to what used to be, it’s gonna happen. Nah, nah, nah. It’s always forward oriented. And all of today’s sermon on the plane from Luke points to a better future. It says those that seek present satisfaction will have received their reward because it’s based on selfish pursuit.
When we try to get what we can now, it’s all because it’s about us. We’ve made it about us, and Jesus says in this passage that if you do that, if you do that fine and you will have received your reward. You’ve got nothing left to live for. You’ve got nothing left to hope.
But those that struggle, whether at the hands of others or as a matter of sacrificing in the name of Jesus, the future kingdom will be theirs. Christian faith cannot be about a return to the glory days when glory is ahead of us. Let me say that one again. Christianity, our faith, cannot be about a return to the glory.
It cannot be about making anything great again when the future is ahead of us. Greatness is down the road.
Greatness is down the road. Why am I talking so much about the future on All Saints Day when it’s a look to the past? That is because of this, the saints of the past appropriately influence our future when we focus on the ways in which they lived for the future kingdom. Our remembrance and celebration of those we have lost and need not be a longing to return to a time gone by.
Yes, we miss them. Absolutely. We miss them. We miss what was. Oftentimes, as is in my case with my mother, I wish what might have been so much of our remembrance is a regret of what might have been, but never came to be. But so often we wanna just get back to that. I just, I just want one more, one more chance,
And I’m sorry that we don’t get another chance to relive the past, but our remembrance of the ways in which those we’ve lost sought the kingdom of God should spur us onward to seek the same. Because when we do that, when we seek to live out the faith of our forebears, we will be united with them.
It’s not the same, but by all accounts and everything that we believe, it should be better. That doesn’t make up for lost time. That doesn’t make up for the pain we feel now, but it does give us something to hold on to, something to work toward. Something to believe in. Our shared faith with the saints of the past unites us in.
And it is through that unity that we can have hopeful expectation of being present with them and God again in the kingdom of God, which is everything that Jesus preached about and taught about, was how to bring the kingdom of God into fullness. Not in some escapist idea that we’re all gonna be in heaven together someday, but.
That we would live under the full reign of love and compassion and self-sacrifice here on this earth. That is the fullness of the kingdom of God, and that is what we are spurred on to work toward. And every single person whose name I read today did something in their life to work that out, to help that take steps forward.
Every single one of them did. Some more visibly than others. But nobody on that list was completely self-centered and arrogant. And selfish to the point that nothing else mattered. No, No. Whether their faith was it solid as a rock or was like the wind blowing here and there as they tried to figure out what it all meant, they still sought the kingdom.
They live their lives in such a way that we could identify it as kingdom living, gospel centered living.
I am thankful for those who came before me who lived faithful, gospel driven lives. It is by remembering their witness that I am reminded of the power of God in the lives of the faithful. The power of God in the lives of the faithful is the power to take completely unworthy people and make them worthy.
That was, that was a point that I made recently, right? God only calls the unworthy. There are no perfect people. The power of God and the lives of the faithful. Is the power to take even the worst of us, transform us and make us instruments of the kingdom. And that gives me hope that I too may live such a witness to the next generation.
Gives me hope that I can do this. Gives me hope that you can do this. May we all have such a. as to lean on the legacies of the past so that we leave a legacy for the future. As I told the kids, it is all connected. What we did here today is just a reminder of that connection.