Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Eternity: Slow Train Comin’ -- Day 3

A few days ago I commented about how the evangelical church is once again beginning to understand its place within the broader Church, within the much larger family of God, and within the much, much larger kingdom of God.

God’s kingdom. God’s family. God’s Church.

They’re not the same, but how are they different?

God’s family stretches from Adam and Eve to today and beyond. God’s family includes all authentic followers of Jesus Christ who belong to the Church. It also includes many others who live outside the Church.
Among others, God’s family includes all authentic Jewish believers in Old Testament times.

We see this in Revelation chapter 21, verse 14, where we read that the eternal city of God has twelve gates. “On the gates where written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel.”

God’s family includes even more ancient individuals like Noah, Job, and Abraham who believed in God long before the ancient Israelite nation, the Jewish faith, and the Hebrew Scriptures existed.

God’s family also includes Muslims today who come to faith after Jesus appears to them in visions and dreams. On Friday I spoke with two former Muslims who have become outstanding evangelists proclaiming the transforming power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They and other experts tell me that Muslims are coming to Jesus Christ by the tens of thousands around the world. One of the most amazing things is how many report that they first heard the Gospel from Jesus Christ Himself, who appears to them in dreams and visions.

I am so thankfully we can be sure that eternity will be enjoyed by all of God’s children down through the ages. Among other places, we see this in Revelation 22:16b, where Jesus says: “I am the Root and the Offspring of David and the bright Morning Star.” There He speaks both to the ancient Jewish people who believed in Him—and to others who, like the ancient Magi or the tribal chief, can see God’s reality, power, beauty, and might in creation and passionately long for that reality in their own lives.

Eternity will be enjoyed by all God’s children down through the ages….

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