The Cloud of Witnesses: Waiting for Us to Finish (Hebrews Sermon 61 of 74)

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The Cloud of Witnesses: Waiting for Us to Finish (Hebrews Sermon 61 of 74)

March 18, 2012 | Andrew Davis
Hebrews 11:39-40
Life in the New Creation, Glorification

Waiting to be Made Perfect

Well, this morning, I am in awe. I continue to be in awe of the sovereign plan of God, God's ways are deep and rich and full beyond our tracing out as Paul celebrated in Romans Chapter 11. "O the depth of the riches of the wisdom of the knowledge of God, how unsearchable His judgments and His paths beyond tracing out. Who has known the mind of the Lord or who has been His counselor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay Him? For from him, and through him, and to him are all things, to him be glory forever and ever, amen." And so, we stand at the end of Hebrews 11, finishing the Chapter today. What a journey it's been as we have looked back in the past, back to the Old Testament saints, brothers and sisters who served Christ before we were born, and who ran their race. And the very next passage that we're going to look at, not today, but I'm going to quote from it a little bit. Verse 1 of Chapter 12, it says that "we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses," and because we are surrounded, "let us run with perseverance [endurance] the race marked out before us."

And so, we are in a very mysterious and powerful way surrounded now by unseen witnesses, by people who have run their race before us and who are now waiting for us to finish. But this text that we're looking at today now, not Hebrews 12:1, but Hebrews 11:39-40 says something amazing about them. In a very amazing way, the more you meditate on this, the more amazing it is. They're not really finished being saved yet. They're not perfect yet, though they are perfect. And it's a mystery. You look at it and say, "How could it be that they're not yet perfect, and yet they're perfect?" But I believe that they are not fully saved yet, because they are not yet in their resurrection bodies. There, I just lay out my cards on the table. I think that... I think this is what the text is saying, that all of these Old Testament saints were commended for their faith, every one of them. We're going to talk about that briefly. But they're all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what was promised.

Verse 40, they're really... The key to understanding that. "God had planned something better for us, so that only together with us would they be made perfect." That's the text that's in front of us. And so, we have in mind this great cloud of witnesses that the next verse refers to. And if this text speaks to our hearts, we understand its mysteries, it's saying that they are not yet perfect, and they're waiting for us in order that they may be perfect. So we have to understand what this perfection is, understand what the author means by perfect, to try to dig into this. But it's a marvelous thing. And so, in effect then, our brothers and sisters are up there waiting for us to finish, and it's not a disinterested waiting. They're waiting with great passion for us, for all of us to finish our race. Because then at last they can come into their full inheritance, namely the resurrection of the body, and of the perfect world to come.

That city with foundations, already mentioned earlier in this Chapter that they died waiting for. That country of their own that they had not yet come into and they ran their whole Christian race, they ran their whole life race by faith, and they finished their earthly life not having received the promises. And it goes beyond that, saying that only together with us would they be made perfect, teaching that they're waiting still. So we're going to understand all of that, God willing, today. They're up there waiting for us. The idea of waiting saints in heaven is Biblical. In Revelation Chapter 6, we're told that when He opened the fifth seal, "I saw under the altar the souls of those who have been slain, because of the Word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, 'How long, sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the Earth and avenge our blood?' Then each of them was given a white robe and they were told to wait a little longer until the number of their fellow servants and brothers, who were to be killed, as they had been was completed." So there you have a clear indication of saints up in heaven waiting for something on Earth to finish. This Verse just goes beyond that and it says that all of the Old Testament saints are waiting for all of the elect of God to finish their race. And only then will they be made perfect. So also, in Romans Chapter 8, we're told that the creation is waiting for this too. The universe as a whole is waiting for us. Romans 8:19-21, "The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed." Now for me, I'm reading revealed to be revealed in glory, then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their father. The creation's waiting for us to be unleashed as glorious. That's the resurrection is what that is. The creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of him who subjected it in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the sons of God.

So dear friends, we the elect, the people of God, we are the center of attention. Now, that may make you a little uncomfortable to have a cloud of witnesses around you all the time, watching what you're doing, observing how you're running your race, but don't let that cloud of witnesses disturb you,  because the real deal is, the one with eyes of flaming fire is watching everything you do, and he's what really matters, amen. And there are no secrets before him, everything's uncovered and laid bare. But they're watching and waiting for us to finish our race, so they can be perfected in the end, and receive the gifts.

I. Heroes’ Faith Commended, Not Consummated

So we come to Verse 39, it says of these Old Testament saints, that they were all commended for their faith. And so, there's a kind of a bracketing in this Chapter 11 of the idea of commendation. Hebrews 11:1-2 says, "Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." This is what the ancients were commended for. So we have in verse 2, and then in Verse 39, the topic of commendation. To be commended means to be praised. And the idea here clearly is to be praised by Almighty God. If that doesn't take your breath away, think again on it. Think again, that Almighty God, the perfect God would actually praise you that He would commend you. But the Scripture teaches it again and again, that we can be, we will be commended by Almighty God. "Well done, good and faithful servant. You've been faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share in your master’s happiness."

So, that commendation, it comes by faith, it comes by faith alone. And so, this drama, this marvelous Chapter Hebrews 11 unfolding in three main sections Act 1, pre-flood, you have all the way back to Abel mentioned, Enoch and Noah, all of these pre-flood saints, all of them commended for their faith, yet they didn't receive what was promised. And then Act 2, you have the patriarchs listed. Abraham with his wife Sarah and Isaac, Jacob, Joseph. All of these were commended for their faith, yet none of them received what was promised. And then Act 3, Exodus, the time of the Exodus and beyond Moses and Rahab, and the judges, and David and the Prophets, all of those mentioned in quick fashion. All of them also commended for their faith. Yet, none of them also received what was promised.

Now true commendation comes from God himself. 1 Corinthians 4:5 says, "At that time, each will receive his praise from God," praise from God. Jesus criticized his enemies because they sought the praise of men, and not the praise that comes from the only God. There's nothing wrong with yearning for praise for yourself, I mean. As long as you're yearning for it from God Almighty, from God himself, that God would be pleased with you, that God would commend you, that God would say well done to you. There's nothing wrong, and everything right with living for that. Verse 6 of this Chapter says that we must believe that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. And so, part of that reward is his expression of pleasure, and there might even be tokens of that, symbols of His pleasure on how you lived. And so these were all commended for their faith.

Commendation of simply being allowed into heaven, Amen. Just to have the Master say, "Enter," just to have the Master say, "Enter into the joy of heaven." What commendation is that? You have gained what there was to gain in this world. You have gained your souls and you have gained heaven. And so, to be commended by a rich welcome as it says, 2 Peter 1:11, a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom." So just to be warmly richly welcomed by God, how sweet is that?

So all of these were separated from their bodies, they were absent from the body and present with the Lord commended for faith and yet it says, none of them received what had been promised. Now, some lesser promises had been received, there were some lesser issues that had been promised and those things had in fact been given.

Remember how Abraham and Sarah were waiting for a son, an heir. God made them a promise that from their own bodies, from Abraham's own body and from Sarah's own body, they would have an heir, not Eliezer of Damascus, this man wouldn't be your heir, but a son coming from your own body. And he clarified even after the whole Ishmael, the birth of Ishmael, he clarified. No, no, from Sarah, your wife, from her body will come your heir. So it says in Hebrews 6:15. And so, after waiting patiently Abraham received what was promised. Now friends, don't bring that back and tell me there's a contradiction in the Bible. Clearly, there are lesser promises that we can receive and do receive in this life and greater promises, maybe the great promise that we don't receive in this life.

And the lesser promises give us faith to trust for the final great promise, and the final great promise is salvation in every respect, from everything that sin has done to us. Complete total perfection, salvation, that's the promise. And they didn't receive that. None of them. So, when Abraham died, he was looking ahead to an unfulfilled promise, a city with foundations it says, whose architect and builder is God, hadn't received it yet, died in faith believing. These were all longing, it says in Verse 16, for a better country, a heavenly one. Longing for it, dying in that longing, dying by faith, still looking ahead, even at their death looking ahead and doesn't that just scream resurrection to you? When you are dying and you're still looking ahead, I'm looking forward, that just screams out resurrection. It screams out faith.

Frankly, that's exactly why the author wrote this Chapter. So that we who came along and would read it, that we would die in faith believing too, and know that our best things were yet to come. They're all still in the future, and we will die in hope. Because death has been conquered. Christ died and him who held the power of death has been crushed by Jesus' death. And so, we don't need to be afraid of death, we're looking forward to it, we're looking beyond it to things yet to be given to us, that have been promised to us. And so, these Old Testament saints were faith-filled and faithful, they were justified by their faith, I believe fully. Talk more about that in a moment. But they had received full forgiveness of their sins, they had received this justifying righteousness, but they had not received the whole promise and they died in faith.

II. God’s Eternal Plan: Something Better for Us

So it says in Verse 40, "God had planned [or provided would be a better translation] something better for us, so that only together with us would they be made perfect." And so, we come to the plan of God, the provision of God. God is looking ahead, that's what the Greek word means here, it's God seeing ahead of time. And so, I think at this point, almost like an artistic or creative vision, God had a vision ahead of time of something better. But God's visions, they are realized, you understand that? That God has a plan and He is going to realize it. And so, there is this overarching eternal unchangeable plan and everything's going according to schedule, everything is right on schedule. Everything that God had planned is happening, it's all being unfolded. Isaiah 14:26-27 says, "This is the plan determined for the whole world. This is the hand stretched out over all nations for the Lord Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart Him? His hand is stretched out and who is able to turn it back?" There is a plan.

And the Scripture tells us, that that plan was crafted before the foundation of the world, before time began, 2 Timothy 1, before time began. Ephesians 1 says we were also chosen, " having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything after the counsel of His will." So there is this incredible plan, and so, God has planned something. And it says in Verse 40, He planned something better. God planned something better for us, He is able to weigh things out and say, I have looked at all the possibilities, of all the potential universes there could be, and all the potential outcomes there could be, and I have planned something better than you can possibly ask or imagine.

And so we, throughout this book have been bumping into this idea of something better, something superior, something better is coming along. We, in the New Covenant, we have been given a better hope, Hebrews 7:19, a better covenant, Hebrew 7:22, founded on better promises, Hebrews 8:6, Christ himself a better sacrifice than those Old Testament sacrifices. We've been bumping into this again and again, something better.

Now, here's where it gets tricky. It really has to do with the word "us." Trying to figure out the word "us." Now you may think, you just think too much Pastor, just read the verse and be happy. Talks about good things, better things, just read the Verse and be happy. Hey look, I've got to think these thoughts, got to try to work it out. Let me just lay it on the table, what the two exegetical options are here, okay?

The something better is the New Covenant for us New Testament believers. Or the something better is for us who have not yet died, and it ultimately refers to all of us together. He's planned a better plan for the whole family of God, then... Okay, so in each case you have a different then. If it's God planned something better, the something better is the New Covenant and it's better than the Old Covenant. Friends, we already knew that, and that is true. But there's a problem with it, because in effect it says, the reason that they didn't receive what was promised is that God had planned something better and so, they died not having received it, and they died imperfect in that sense. If you understand it that way, waiting for us to come into the New Covenant.

Now in one sense, I totally agree that the New Covenant's better. I hope you do too. And we've had something like 7,500 sermons in the Book of Hebrews, and most of them have even been about this theme, Christ is better. Christ is better than the Old Covenant, he's better in every way, superior to the Old Testament prophets, superior to the angels, superior to Joshua and to Moses, and Melchizedek, superior in every way. And I would readily assent to the fact that we New Covenant believers have a superior experience with Christ than the Old Testament believers did. They saw and welcomed it at a distance without the clarity that we have, because we Christians are historical people. It matters whether something's happened in space and time. We study history, a lot of the Bible is about history. And so, it matters to me that Jesus actually was born of a virgin now.

He lived the life that's traced out for us in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, we can read about it in four different Gospels, he actually has been nailed to the cross. It's done, it's finished once for all, and on the third day, He has been raised from the dead, the tomb was in fact empty. It's a matter of history and more than that, the day of Pentecost has come and gone, the Holy Spirit has been poured out on the church and He will never leave us or forsake us, and we have a superior experience based on better promises, more clear teaching, with the Book of Romans and the other Epistles that explain the significance of Christ. It's better, it's just better. It's a better experience of God through Christ, now that we're in the New Covenant era. I agree. But that's not what the author is talking about here, in Verse 39-40.

No, because it says that only together with us would they be made perfect, and this... The something better being the New Covenant thing doesn't work. The more you try it, it doesn't fit here. It's that all together, we will be made perfect, that's the idea. All together, we are going to be made perfect. So, it's a perfection yet to come. And the more you just step back from Hebrews 11 and just look at the big picture, you start to realize how obvious this is. The penalty for sin in the Garden of Eden was what friends? It was death. Abel died at the hands of his brother. Death is the enemy here. Death has not yet been defeated, finally. And so, the something better is when death is clearly trounced forever, and that must be the resurrection. Do you see that? And so, these all died not having been made perfect yet. God had planned something better for all of us, so that only together with us, us being the elect in the second half of the sentence at least, only together, that all of the elect together will get it at the same time. We all get perfected at the same time.

III. The Perfection That We All Wait For

Now, what is the perfection that we're all waiting for? I've told you seven times already. I was trying to keep it a secret, but I just kept... It keeps bleeding out. It's the resurrection of the body, that's the perfection we're all waiting for, and I would add the resurrection of the universe too. Because the world especially was cursed and we're waiting for a new heavens and a new earth, the home of righteousness. And so, when we are raised and it is raised in that sense, then we have reached at last, the finish line of the Gospel. Everything Jesus came to do will have been achieved, it will have been perfected. Now, what do we mean by perfect? Now, this is where we have to really try to understand the word. It says earlier in the same book, somewhat mysteriously, if you don't understand the word perfect or perfected here properly, you'll misstep. But it says that Jesus was made perfect by what He suffered. See?

And so, I think the best way to understand it here is the plan of God sets out parameters for what he is doing, and when all of those parameters have been fulfilled, the thing is made perfect, it's complete, it's finished, it's done, everything's done. Do you see? And so, if Jesus hadn't suffered, he would not have perfected the plan of God. He had to shed his blood, does that make sense? And so, by shedding His blood, He didn't go from moral imperfection, like moral defilement to being cleaned up, and now he's been made perfect. He certainly didn't improve or get better, it wasn't that thing, it's that there was a plan of God with certain boxes that had to be checked and certain things that had to be done and until all of them were checked and done, it was not perfect yet. Does that make sense? And so in that way and not in the other way, are the Old Testament saying, still not yet perfect, because there's still a big box that hasn't been checked yet.

They are disembodied spirits, they are absent from the body, and they are present with the Lord, and that's not perfect yet, in the sense of this Verse. We are to be made perfect, that means conformed to Christ, conformed to the image of his Son, so that we might be made like Him in every way. Romans 8:29, "Those whom God foreknew He predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the first born among many brothers." And so, perfect means completely conformed to Christ like him in every way. Friends, that has to include the resurrection of the body. Do you not see it? He is in a resurrected body now, and so for us to be perfected, we have to be in resurrection bodies too. Now, the Old Testament saints and our own condition, once we have come to faith in Christ, we have been justified. We are at that moment positionally perfect, complete, no boxes left to check, friends.

We are seen to be flawless, blameless in God's sight, perfectly obedient to His law. By the imputation of Christ's righteousness we have been made perfect, by faith, not by works. That's justification. And yet, you know you're not perfect, in the normal way that we use that expression, right? No one's perfect, I'm not perfect. Do you expect perfection? That kind of thing. Well, yes. God has spoken to us in Matthew 5:48, "you must be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect." And He wants you perfect and yet, for all of that, Romans 7:18-21 speaks for you every day. Paul wrote there, deeply from the heart he said, "I know that nothing good lives in me that is in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do. Nor, the evil I do not want to do, this I keep on doing. Now, if I do what I do not want to do, it's no longer I who'd do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work. When I want to do good, evil is right there with me." And so, at the end of that Chapter in Verse 24, he says, "What a wretched man I am. Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Okay, so justification perfects you in your position before God, nothing more to be done. Perfectly righteous in God's sight by the imputation of Christ's righteousness, He declares you not guilty, he imputes Christ's righteousness, cannot be improved upon, but you're still not perfect. Meanwhile, you have this ongoing battle with the flesh every day. You're in this body of sin or this body of death and so, you're not perfect. Now, the Old Testament saints, they're not having that problem anymore, they died. They were separated, they were delivered from this body of death, they were delivered. Romans 6:7, "because anyone who has died has been freed from sin." Hallelujah!

Glorification stage number one, separated from the body, not yet resurrected. They are righteous already by faith in Christ, but now made perfect by death. Does that make sense? Their spirits, so look over in Hebrews 12. Just go over maybe on that same page, with Hebrews 12:22-23 says, "you have not come to a mountain that can be touched…" Mount Sinai and all that. No, you've come to a spiritual mountain, you've come to a spiritual thing now, something you can't see. We walk by faith, not by sight. I know you're looking for this, I'm just saying other Verses as you're looking for the place. But it's Hebrews 12:22-23, "You have come to Mount Zion to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God." You've come there by faith. "You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all men. To the spirits of righteous men made perfect.

There's that word perfect again. But what's perfect? What's made perfect? Their spirits. See that? Their spirits. So that's glorification number one, stage one, their spirits are made perfect. Is that big? Oh, that's big. Oh, that's huge. Romans 7, isn't true of them anymore, they don't wrestle, they don't struggle, they don't have sin living in them anymore, they're not divided in their minds. The flesh isn't battling against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh, they are free from all that, free forever, and so are all our brothers and sisters who have gone before us, who've died. They're free. The instant they died, they're done with that struggle. And they're just made perfect spiritually, you see, glorified. Partially glorified. They perfectly love God, they perfectly desire his glory, they perfectly worship God, they perfectly hate sin and all evil. They perfectly obey God, whatever He would ask of them.

They perfectly love one another with perfect humility and other centeredness. They have perfect fellowship with each other and with God. They're perfect, but they're just spirits. You see that? They're waiting for the glorification, which Romans 8 says is the redemption of the body. That hasn't happened yet. To prove the resurrection of the body, Jesus... And this is a hard argument to follow, and I don't pretend to fully understand it. But remember the Sadducees, who denied the resurrection, came and they said there's no resurrection. There's no resurrection of the body. You're separated from the body, that's it, you're done. He said, but about the resurrection of the body, haven't you read in the passage about the burning bush what God says to you? I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, you are greatly mistaken.

Alright, how does that prove resurrection? That's a real tough question. But here's how it goes. God loves Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and has a relationship with them. Not had a relationship, he has a relationship with them. And he gave them a body to begin with and he's not finished yet, he's going to give them another one. And so, the relationship and the love that he has for them points to the certainty of a future of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They haven't been annihilated when they die, they're just waiting for the body. Now, you keep working on how that burning bush passage proves resurrection. But that's the best I can do with it.

But it's all about love relationship and commitment and the fact that God had an original intention, an original intention. And that intention was that we be in bodies, that we be physical. That we have hands and feet and eyes, that we be in bodies. Created us originally that way, he created his only begotten Son as a human that way. He resurrected his son in a body, and so, we will be in bodies. Now, it says none of them received what had been promised.

When Did God Promise His People a Resurrection Body?

So if what I'm arguing here is that we're talking about the Resurrection, was the resurrection promised? I would say yes, increasingly so. Again, you have to go back to Genesis 2 to find that the curse was all about death anyway. Death is the separation of the body, for the soul from the body. If in Chapter 3, it's the serpent that brings about that, for him to be crushed means that it must be reversed. It's by implication.

So also Enoch being taken up implies it. But then as time goes on, he starts to say it plainly, no doubt about it, such as Isaiah 26:19, "But your dead will live their bodies will rise."  How is that? Is that good enough? That sounds pretty plain to me. "You who dwell in the dust, wake up and shout for joy. Your dew is like the dew of the morning, the earth will give birth to her dead." That's pretty strong, isn't it? Isaiah 26:19. Job 19:26 says, after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God. Ezekiel 37 gives a very plain example of it, that's the valley of dry bones, very dry. And he's asked, can these bones live? And he says, "You know." That's a good answer by the way, when you don't know, say you must know, since you're the one asking the question. Yes, they can live. And what's so beautiful is that that's a picture of the implication of the Verse we're studying now, Verse 40. They all lived together instantaneously at the same time, they received their resurrection, so that non-preceded the other. This body is an astonishing gift of God, fearfully and wonderfully made, astonishing things about what you can do.

I have all these facts, I'm not going to share them. If you want to know them, come afterwards (see the notes). All kinds of incredible facts about the human body. Let me just set all this biology aside, wonderful and amazing though it is, and just let's go with the Scripture that says, "I praise you, Lord, because I'm fearfully and wonderfully made." God intended to give you a resurrection body, and that it do wonders and amazing things. Sin leading to death is eating at it every moment of your lives. It's chewing at it, it's chewing at it down to the genetic level, so that you don't replicate your cells exactly like they were. And so, you age and you lose capabilities and it's just not the same. God would not have it so.

He intended that you humans live in bodies forever. And so, absent from the body is imperfect in the sense I mean here. We're just not done yet. We're not done. God intends to make us done. And so, He raised Jesus from the dead, the first fruits of those who sleep. What does first fruit imply? Doesn't it imply we will all be raised, likewise, conformed to Him, in His glorious resurrection body, this incredible thing? And why did he not let the Old Testament saints go on ahead into their resurrection bodies? It's all about unity. We are one, we are one family, we are one church, like the Father and the Son are one, and it's just bad manners to run on ahead and eat when no one else has been served yet. I mean, you teach your kids this, and next week, we're going to have a special service on the Lord's Supper, we're going to focus on the Lord's Supper and I'll preach on the Lord's Supper, and get away from Hebrews.

And one of the interesting things that was going on in the church of Corinth, we'll mention it more next week, is that they were just going on ahead and eating the Lord's Supper, before everyone had arrived. First Corinthians you know, it says, wait for each other. You know, when you come, wait for each other. Don't go on ahead. He said, "Don't you have homes to eat in? That's not what it's for. We're supposed to be doing this together." So, for the sake of unity, He has not let us go on ahead, because he wants the universe to be united under one head, God, and so, he would not let Abraham get His resurrection body yet until you do. Does that not elevate us all on an equal plane? We all get it at the same time. Some have done great things for God, far greater than any of us will do, but they get their resurrection body when you do and not before. It's for the sake of unity. That's why he did it.

Final Perfection

And the final perfection, all of the elect together, not one of them missing. John 6:39-40, "this is the will of Him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that He has given me, but I will raise them up on the last day. For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him will have eternal life and I will raise him up at the last day." So that's the time of when this happens, at the last day. All of the elect will be raised, not one will be missing. Everyone there. And all of the elect will be in resurrection bodies. That's what raised means, they will come into their resurrection bodies, and they will celebrate in those resurrection bodies. And it's described in 1 Corinthians 15, the body that is sown is perishable, be raised imperishable. It is sown in dishonor, it's raised in glory, it's sown in weakness, it's raised in power, it's sown a natural body, it's raised a spiritual body.

So you take all the positive aspects. The resurrection body then is a powerful, incorruptible, eternal glorious thing that you're going to get, and we all get it at the same time. Isn't that awesome? So that only together with us would they be made perfect.

V. Application

Well, what applications can we take from this? Well, you can't get any of this apart from faith in Christ. I don't know your spiritual state, I don't know all of you. Some of you may be here for the first time. A friend may have invited you. You can't have this resurrection of the body, this glorious resurrection without faith in Christ. You must trust in him. Your sins will sink you to eternity apart from God. It's a horrifying thing to contemplate hell and Jesus came to deliver you from it by suffering it on the cross. He stood in your place, just trust in him, turn away from your works, there's nothing, you just look to Him and you will be made perfect immediately, positionally.

And then you'll be working out your salvation the rest of your life, and so the rest of your life, dear friends, you'll need the faith that Hebrews 11 talks about. We're leaving the Chapter now, but you'll need this faith the rest of your life and that's why the author wrote. It's like, you'll need this, you'll need this right to the end of your race, keep running, keep believing right to your deathbed, you'll need it, because the best stuff is still in the future. So come to Christ and embrace your faith and feed it, feed it by faith, feed it by the word of God. Prepare your hearts also brothers and sisters for the Lord's Supper, prepare your hearts. I just think we tend not so much FBC Durham, but the church tends to underestimate the impact of the Lord's Supper. I suggest to you that if you set yourselves apart to the Lord's Supper by faith this week, you'll be powerfully blessed next Sunday.

Set yourself apart for it. Be holy, because He is holy, set yourself apart, and God will bless in a very powerful way. And because unity is so obviously important that he won't let any of the... Even the great figures of the Old Testament get the resurrection bodies apart from us, do you realize how important our unity is, that we should make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace? And we should readily forgive one another, and bear whatever grievances. We should love one another, whether in your family or in the church. Embrace it. Isn't God good? Isn't this awesome? Aren't God's plans wonderful? Isn't it good that no one has a resurrection body now, except Jesus and he has that because he might be preeminent in everything and have it alone for thousands of years, but then in the end we made like Him. Let's praise God.

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