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Bringing The Future Into the Present

For a decade now I've heard younger pastors and theologians using the phrase "bringing the future into the present," when discussing the Kingdom of Heaven and the future reign of Christ. Frankly, it just sounded to me like the latest cool, hip trend for them to use when speaking at pastors' conferences. But recently I heard my pastor, Jim Samra give the first explanation I actualy understood. So here's my best summary of how he put it.

"When thinking about how the future comes into the present, it's most easily understood by these real-life experiences. When a couple is dating they are simply enjoying each other, day in and day out. But when they get engaged everything changes. They begin imagining the future wedding and life after the wedding. They begin saving for a house, or furniture and start acting more responsibly. What changed? They aren't married yet. However it's already changing how they think and behave anticipating these future events. The future expectation in part is being experienced in the present. Or take a person who wins the lottery but won't get their first payment for a month. Even though they have no more money today, they quit their job, consider buying a new car, and making plans to take a month-long vacation. Their whole thought process begins to change because of the promise of a future event.

So when a Christian simply attends church and maybe a Bible study but without fully committing themselves to living for God, it's like they are "dating Jesus," they are enjoying church and their Christian friends but without much passion or commitment. They aren't even thinking about the future, so their present behavior is largely unchanged.

But when and if they fully commit themselves to following Jesus they begin to understand that the kingdom of God isn't simply a future reality. Jesus expects his true followers to begin living in his kingdom now in this life which is why he taught us to pray:

"May your kingdom come. May your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven." -Matthew 6:10 So, how does that work? When we obey God the goodness of the Kingdom becomes a reality today. When I'm kind to a stranger, protect the helpless, or encourage the lonely-the Kingdom comes! When I'm faithful to my wife, or guard my heart from envy, or help an overwhelmed single mother, or drive a drunk home safely- the kingdom comes! It's a glimps of the perfect good coming in the future. When you and I act vuirtuously we are representives of the Kingdom of Heaven to our little sub-kingdom

"Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.” -Luke 17:20-21.

This morning wake up and look expectantly for the "Kingdom assignments" the Holy Spirit will be sending to your way. "The Kingdom is in your midst."

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