• Matt Beaney

#630 (24/6/22) LIVE NOW IN LIGHT ON THEN


‘Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.’ (1 Corinthians 13:8-12)

These final verses of 1 Corinthians 13, teach us to live now in light of then - to live our lives in a way in which we experience something of that glorious future now. Here are a few ways that we can do this:


i. USE YOUR GIFTS

Using the gifts of the Spirit help you and others to experience God’s presence and His glory now. Through teaching, prophecy, healing, mercy, hospitality... the perfect experience of the Kingdom of God is tasted ‘in part’ now. The gifts are passing, but they are vital to our health now. If we are to live now in light of then, we need to be a church community that is rich in teaching, prophecy, hospitality, mercy…


ii. ACT LIKE A CHILD

In this era we are not mature - we are not what we will be at Jesus’ return. However, a child is beautiful; a child does reflect the adult. In this age, our lives are to be marked with holiness. Marked with Joy in God. Marked with a hunger and thirst for God. In essence, our lives, now, are to reflect who we will be when we are glorified.


iii. SEE IN THE MIRROR

In this era, before we go to heaven or Jesus comes again, we ‘see only a reflection as in a mirror’. Don’t miss the point that we can ‘see’ the glory of God now! It’s not what we will see and know, but we can find joy and satisfaction in God in this life. How do we do this? Again, the gifts of the Spirit help us. Added to this, ask the Spirit to fill you and ‘open the eyes of your heart’.


iv. KNOW IN PART

We know God ‘in part’ then I shall know fully’. In that glorious future, we will know God as fully as it is possible to know Him who is infinite! To live now in light of then is to seek to know God as much as it’s possible to know Him. How do we do this? Again, the gifts of the Spirit are going to help us; ensure that you get to church and listen to teaching and value the various gifts - I’m sure the Spirit will work more powerfully among us if we came to church with faith and expectation! We can read good books, and, most importantly, love God’s Word through which we know God.


RESPONSE

Let’s live now in light of then. All that we will have perfectly in the future Kingdom is to be experienced, in part, right now. This is what we mean when we pray “Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”.

 

COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY

1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.

 

2. Icebreaker

Do you have any encouragements to share from how God has been speaking to you from His word recently?

 

3. Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group


On Sunday, we continued with our series 'Becoming Love' from the book of 1 Corinthians, looking at 13:8-13. The title of this message was 'LIVE NOW IN LIGHT OF THEN'.


Please read 1 Corinthians 13:8-13.


Let’s remember what Paul is doing in this chapter: He’s correcting the church at Corinth. They are misusing the gifts of the Holy Spirit. He is reminding them that love is the be the motivation and goal of the gifts.


He begins by reminding them that ‘love never fails’ - Love is eternal; we will love one another and God eternally; however, the gifts are temporary and only for this passing age. Through these verses, we see this back and forth comparison between 'now' and 'then'; In this age - 'now' - we have gifts; these help us to 'know in part'. However, in the future age - 'then' - we won't need the gifts because we will see God and know God fully.

Paul uses the two illustrations of a child growing into maturity, and the incomplete nature of a reflected image in order to teach and contrast between now and then.


LIVE NOW IN LIGHT OF THEN

All of the glorious things that we will have at 'completeness' (when Christ comes) we can experience, in measure, now. We are to live now in light of then. For example:

i. 'Then', people will face judgement for sin; 'now', we are to receive Christ and be ambassadors for Christ.

ii. 'Then', we will be perfected in holiness; 'now' we are to seek and encourage sanctification.

iii. 'Then', we will be assured of our identity as loved and adopted; 'now' we are to seek to know our identity; we are to use our gifts to encourage others to know their identity.

iv. 'Then', all sickness and sorrow will pass; 'now' we can pray for the sick and bind up the brokenhearted.

v. 'Then', we will 'know fully'; 'now', we can know and enjoy God. We can use our gifts to help others to know and enjoy God.


Discussion questions

i) Did you feel that God spoke to you from any particular aspect of Sunday's message?

ii) Although the gifts are passing away, what does this text teach us about what the gifts are for?

iii) When will the gifts pass away?

iv) What does this text teach us about that future age?

v) What does it mean to 'live now in light of then'?

SIV - What effect will 'living now in light of then' have on our witness?

SIV - Do you have any encouraging stories of sharing your faith with your friends?

SIV - How do you plan to 'serve, invest and invite' into your friendships?

SIV - Let's pray for the Spirit to lead us in reaching our community.










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