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Living the Christian Life
This book is for those who not only want to understand the Christian life, but also want to live it to its fullest capacity – for those who want to be really involved and make progress. It's a book to study and enjoy.
Working your way through fifty-four studies grouped under the nine sections of Living the Christian Life is like taking a journey. Each section – Starting, Knowing, Growing, Discovering, Belonging, Testing, Serving, and Arriving – focuses on a different aspect of the Christian life in a practical way.
A key truth summarizes the teaching of each study. Then comes a helpful discussion of the teaching, followed by discussion questions and a Bible study.
These studies seem deceptively short and simple. Each one can be read quickly, but if you really delve into them – checking the Scriptures, working through the Bible studies, thinking through the reflection questions – you will find a rich study resource.
This user-friendly text is divided into fifty-four individual studies. You can use the material in a variety of ways:
- As a short daily devotional
- As an in-depth inductive study investigating the Bible references given for each study
- As source material for teaching in home groups, bible studies or preaching in church
Arriving | Life's New Beginning
KEY TRUTH: The Christian’s life has no end; death is the beginning of a new experience of life, love, peace and joy.
All things new
"I am making everything new!" Those are some of the last recorded words of Jesus in the New Testament.
And "everything new" means what it says: the physical earth, no longer corrupt and subject to decay; the organisations and systems which have controlled people's lives, no longer oppressive but creating order and freedom.
Everything which has existed will in some way be renewed and restored, for God wastes nothing. Only truly evil things will be totally destroyed. And this new creation depends as much on Jesus' death on the cross as our own eternal life does.
Bible check: Ro 8:19-23; Col 1:19-20; Rev 21:5-7
A new body
When Jesus appeared to his closest followers after his death, he was usually recognisable. Some people even saw the marks of the nails which had fixed him to the cross. But his body was different, so that he seemed no longer bound to the earth by natural laws.
His resurrection body is the prototype of ours. The Bible says we will receive new bodies in heaven. Through them we shall express our true self; without them we would be frustrated spirits, like those in hell who do not receive new bodies.
It seems as though we shall recognise one another in heaven — but of course, all the old disabilities and infirmities will have been taken away.
Bible check: Jn 20:19-29; 1Co 15:35-54
A new understanding
If you add up everything that is known in the world, it still only comes to a tiny proportion of what could be known. And each one of us only knows a tiny amount of the knowledge which does exist.
We are promised that when we get to heaven, we will understand much that has puzzled us on earth. However, even then we are not promised that we shall know everything — only God can be like that.
We may well understand some mysteries of our life — why God allowed this problem, or seemed not to answer that prayer — unless such issues are no longer of significance!
Bible check: 1Co 13:12; 1Ti 3:16; Rev 7:13-14
A new kind of life
Heaven has often been wrongly pictured — usually by those who make fun of it. Some people think of it as an unending holiday, or an everlasting party. In a sense it is, but that is only a part of the truth. The person who never wants to work will not be happy in heaven.
There will be lots to do, see, learn and experience. We will not cease to be human — in fact, we will have become truly human for the very first time. That means our life will be truly satisfying and stimulating — which a long period of idleness could never be. It is certainly something to look forward to!
Bible check: Mt 22:1-13; Rev 21:22-27
HE IS RISEN! If Jesus did not rise from the dead, there is no guarantee that we shall rise either. That is Paul's confident — and logical — comment in 1Co 15:12-20.
Paul believes in eternal life because he is convinced by the evidence that Jesus really did rise.
The empty tomb
The major piece of evidence is the empty tomb (Jn 20:1-8). The disciples saw the head bandages had been lifted off, and the rest of the bandages were undisturbed — and empty.
The Jews had placed a guard over the tomb (Mt 27:62-66). At least they took seriously Jesus' prophecy about rising from the dead, even if the disciples did not! But the guards saw nothing criminal, although Mt 28:4 says they saw something supernatural. So the Jews spread a rumour that the disciples had stolen the body (Mt 28:11-15). But no one was able to produce it to prove that the resurrection was false.
Jesus appeared several times to his followers (eg Lk 24:28-53). Once, he appeared to over 500 people at once (1Co 15:3-8) — no vision or delusion!
Notice what happened to the disciples after the Day of Pentecost (Ac 2:14,37-41). The cowards who had run from the cross now fearlessly preached that Jesus was risen from the dead. They could never have continued with that message if they had known it to be a lie.
Jesus is risen: and his love and power have been poured out through his Spirit to all who trust him and who ask for it — whoever they are.
If Jesus is to make all things new in the future, he will not be content to leave us unchanged in the present; the change starts now.
TO THINK ABOUT
Think of some of the ways people talk about, and often caricature, heaven.
- How have some people missed the real point of eternal life with God?
- Can you think of anything that you say or do as a Christian that gives a misleading image of what God's future is all about?
- What can you learn by looking at the risen Jesus? What will be absent in heaven? What will be present?
- Will you have a body in the new creation? Is this important?
- Why do you think God wants to reconcile and renew the world, rather than start from scratch? What does this tell you about creation?
- What will you be doing for eternity?
Praise God for his great plan to renew the whole creation! Thank him for including you in his plan, and for the sure hope of living with him for ever. Pray that you will begin to live today in the power of Jesus’ resurrection.
About the Author(s)
Derek Williams comes from Blaenavon, South Wales, and is a retired finance manager. He has served God in the South Wales Valleys through a ministry of expository preaching for over 36 years. For the last eleven years he has been Pastor of Sharon Full Gospel Church, a Pentecostal church in Pontypool, South Wales.
Robert F. Hicks
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Copyright © 2010-2017 by Laridian, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Laridian, PocketBible, and MyBible are registered trademarks of Laridian, Inc. DailyReader, Memorize!, PrayerPartner, eTract, BookBuilder, VerseLinker, iPocketBible, DocAnalyzer, Change the way you look at the Bible, and The Bible. Anywhere. are trademarks of Laridian, Inc. Other marks are the property of their respective owners.
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