Over the last few days we have considered new hope in Jesus Christ. The words "new" and "hope" evoke anticipation, confidence and resolve. The Christian life ought be characterized as one full of hope. Romans 5:1-5 and other passages spell out this crucial theme. We have noted that in reinforcing this new hope, we need the following:
Hunger to lovingly know God and people
Ongoing discipleship / evangelism
Proclamation of the Word
Such elements represent an ongoing process and find their culmination in today's final point on this theme: "Exaltation of Jesus".
The above opening text is perhaps my favor set of verses in the Bible. Romans 11:33-36 brings to a conclusion the substantial doctrinal treatment Paul gives to unfolding the power of the Gospel. In these few verses we are shown the depths of God, the heights of God and the breadth of His glory. Verse 36 could be summarized as a mini-outline of the Bible:
"from Him" = creation
"through Him" = redemption
"to Him" = 2nd coming
We know that Jesus Christ is the decisive revelation of God in human flesh. It is the Son who reveals the Father, with the Holy Spirit shedding light on the Father and the Son. The exaltation of Jesus demands our humility. All the efforts we undertake to reinforce our newness of hope in Him must culminate in exaltation.
Think about why we go on long vacations to places we have never been. We want to be blown away. Author John Piper has often remarked how people want to go to the Grand Canyon to be swallowed up by its grandness. To lose themselves in the grandeur of it all. Whenever I saw the Milky Way years ago during a major power outage, I was blown away. All I could do was praise God in view of His handi-work. Piper also notes too that missions exist because worship doesn't. Missions is driven by the impulse to bring honor and glory to God.
Exaltation ought to thread its way through our hungering, ongoing discipleship and proclamation. All three of these efforts aim for this final point. But it doesn't end there. Exaltation has this quality of feeding itself back into and through those first three points. Think of what happens when a sound system has feed-back. A microphone gets to close to a speaker and the signal from the speaker gets fed back through the mic, through the sound-system and into the mic, reverberating and amplifying the sound until the mic is cut off. Whenever I think of H.O.P.E, exaltation of Jesus is the supernatural feed back that amplifies the new hope in Him.
In a local church, the music, preaching, teaching, small groups, fellow-ship meals, outreach efforts, membership classes, hospital visits and other ministries ought to be feeding back in and through exaltation. The Bible itself operates in this fashion. Think about it - the last two chapters of Revelation drive the entire drama of the prior 1187 chapters. Exaltation of Jesus shapes and molds all history and eternity. It is He who reveals the Father. It is He in whom all the fullness of Deity dwells. God is one God, existing in three persons, with each Person being truly and fully God: Father, Son and Spirit. The Son represents that executive branch of the God-head.
Our hope, after-all, is built on nothing less, than Jesus blood and righteousness. We dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus name.