The Glorious Prize that Awaits Us!
What can lift our eyes above the chaos around us? Is it not a matter of keeping our eyes on the prize before us, which consists of meeting our Savior in the air and the joyous adventure ahead for us in eternity? We will someday reign with Jesus in His earthly kingdom and then throughout eternity.
I believe the “upward call of God” of Philippians 3:14 refers to the Rapture. At this point in Paul’s life, God had already called him to salvation and as an apostle to the Gentiles, yet he looked forward to a still future call. The word for “upward” in the Greek is translated “above” in John 8:23 where Jesus said that He was “from above.” The word refers to heaven where Jesus now dwells in Colossians 3:1-2 and to the sky in Acts 2:19.
In his early letters, Paul expressed the anticipation that he might be alive at Jesus’ appearing (see 1 Thessalonians 4:17 and 1 Corinthians 15:52). It makes sense that the Rapture is the “prize,” which motivated Paul while in prison. This anticipation also enables us to endure the tumultuous times in our lives.
As vile wickedness intensifies each day in our world and as we see dark threatening clouds on the horizon, we can lift our eyes above, to the prize that’s greater than any earthly reward. If one wins the lottery, he or she has a limited time to enjoy it before death intervenes, but not so with the prize that could be ours to enjoy any day now! It’s eternal!
Despite living in perilous times on steroids, we possess the most glorious, over-the-top wonderful, joyous beyond our imagination, and spectacular expectation with which to encourage one another (1 Thessalonians 4:18) as well as to share with unbelievers. It’s the future tense of the Gospel and it’s most glorious.
As the storm clouds of the rapidly approaching Tribulation grow darker by the day and catastrophic food shortages loom in the future for most, if not all of us, we possess a hope that enables us to persevere until we meet Jesus in the air. Paul’s admonition to “stand firm thus in the Lord” in Philippians 4:1 is based on our heavenly citizenship, an eager anticipation of Jesus’ appearing, and the sure expectation of a glorious new body that will be like that of our risen Savior.
This is the hope that we as believers need to keep before us each day amid the lawlessness, wickedness, and deception that fill our news feeds.
My latest post, The Sound of Approaching Hoofbeats, demonstrates that we are most certainly in the season of our “upward call.” Since we already witness an abundance of evidence telling us that the conditions described by John in Revelation 6:1-8 are almost upon us, how close must the Rapture be since it happens before the fulfillment of this text?
Our “blessed hope” is also the good news that our world needs to hear.
The apostles turned the world upside down with a message that emphasized an eager anticipation of Jesus’ imminent appearing. After Paul’s short stay in Thessalonica, the brand new believers in that city knew all about the coming Day of the Lord, Jesus’ imminent appearing, the future “man of lawlessness,” and the antichrist’s desecration of the temple in Jerusalem during the tribulation period. If Paul included these things in his proclamation of the Gospel while in Thessalonica, why do pastors refuse to talk about them with mature saints?
Why do our pulpits remain strangely quiet regarding our spectacular, wonderful, and glorious hope? Why so pastors keep quiet about our amazing expectation of receiving an immortal and imperishable bodies? How can they keep such wonderful and comforting news to themselves? I discuss this matter in Is It Unbelief?
My heart’s desire is to show how our hope in Jesus’ appearing enhances our proclamation of the Gospel, as it surely does, and to draw many to the Savior through the ministry that the Lord has so graciously given to me.
My book, The Bad Guys of the Bible, is an excellent evangelism tool as well as a guide to walking with the Lord. It not only shows believers how to live out the Gospel on a daily basis, but it also proclaims the Gospel in both the introduction and in the chapter on Cain. Each chapter ends with a study guide that makes it perfect for Bible studies as well as a gift to those familiar with God’s Word, yet still outside of Christ.
I wrote The Triumph of the Redeemed – An Eternal Perspective that Calms our Fears in Perilous Times, for just such a time as this. My purpose for writing was to connect our hope in Jesus’ appearing with what we experience each day after our feet hit the floor in the morning. In response to the silence in many churches regarding our spectacular hope and the rampant false teachings on the end times, I provide a solid biblical foundation for our hope in Jesus’ soon appearing that’s essential for those hoping to remained focused on the glorious prize that awaits them.