Episode 2-6: Life, Death, Hope, and the Stakes We Face: Thoughts Following the Passing of My Father

Episode 6 May 23, 2021 00:16:37
Episode 2-6: Life, Death, Hope, and the Stakes We Face: Thoughts Following the Passing of My Father
Thinking Christian
Episode 2-6: Life, Death, Hope, and the Stakes We Face: Thoughts Following the Passing of My Father

May 23 2021 | 00:16:37

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Show Notes

He was the greatest dad ever, and now, as I’m reflecting on my father’s passing from life into greater life, I can only think of the great hope we have and the high spiritual stakes we face, we who remain following Christ and making his name known on earth.

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:08 Welcome to the thinking Christian podcast, your weekly guy to solid Christian thinking on culture, science, faith, and Christian confidence hosted by Tom Gilson. Hello, this is Tom Gilson with season two, episode six of the thinking Christian podcast, the podcast that was supposed to be weekly. Speaker 1 00:00:31 It's been an extraordinarily difficult time. Especially lately nine days ago, my dad passed away. He was 97 years old. He was following a what seemed like a lengthy final illness, shorter than many people experience. I know, but it was tough. He had peripheral artery disease and that's a painful way to go. It was hard to see it happen. I've been on five trips in the last nine weeks for that plus two other family crises. The world of podcasting intersects with the rest of the world we live in and that's, as it should be. Death is a feature of life. In dad's case, he was ready for it. He was eager for it, but there's so many things I could say in tribute to him, but this isn't the place that's for family, not for a podcast. I will, I will say this though. Last Monday night, I was teaching a men's group at my church. Speaker 1 00:01:34 This was just three days after dad passed. And I told him, I said, my dad was the greatest dad ever. And if there's anybody here that wants to disagree with me on that I'll arm wrestle you for it. Well, there was a guy there that I didn't recognize a young man, I guess in his twenties, I didn't know who he was, but I found out when he turned to his dad sitting next to him and said, no contest from me, I'll let them have it. His dad laughed. Anyway. I was certainly blessed as my four siblings would also agree. We had an incredible, incredibly great upbringing. And dad is where he's wanted to be for a very long time. Now with the Lord and with my mom, his wife who preceded him by two, many years is what he would say. But this is a matter of life. Speaker 1 00:02:28 And I don't have a lot to say today. This, this has been the kind of a hard week in which it's hard to study up for yet another topic in the heat to light series, but it does bring to light. It, it, it brings to the surface, the stakes of what we're dealing with here. This is social and cultural conflict are engaged in matters for the lives of people on earth here. But it's so much more than that. This is an eternal matter. My dad went to be the Lord in peace because he knew where he was headed and he knew it was a better place. In fact, he has been saying for a while, that he's grateful, he's not going to be around to see the outcome of some of the changes that have concerned him so much in society. These past several years, it kind of covers both sides of it. Speaker 1 00:03:21 Doesn't it? Society America itself is, is changing in ways that are concerning. And yet there's hope for the future. There's hope for eternity. For those of us who have a relationship with Jesus through faith. Yes, that's familiar to the point of being perhaps even too obvious to many of you who are listening here. But again, it's not just a matter of then. It's not just a matter of now. It's a matter of the whole of reality is wrapped in among itself. And we are engaged in a battle for eternity, but the battle ground, it really is where we live today. This morning, I was thinking through topics that I could cover over the next year, perhaps in this heat to light series. Let me remind you, by the way that this series is about transforming the heat of cultural conflict into the light of spiritual transformation or spiritual growth I'm taking seriously, the conflicts, the struggles, the disputes, in many cases, the anti-Christian hostility in our culture and I'm trying to help us get a grip on it and wrap our minds around it in our lives, in our way of being around it in a way that we in our churches and in our families can say, this is tough, but there are so much good to come out of this. Speaker 1 00:04:47 If we just understand who Christ is, understand his truth, understand his goodness in our lives and seek to follow him through faith. There is good to come out of this. God knows what he's doing from the very beginning. He knew that there were two kingdoms and he set it up that way. Apparently I won't go into the mysteries of that, but there are two kingdoms and we who follow Jesus represent one kingdom, the kingdom into which he has invited us into, which he has adopted us through his love and through his grace and that we want to invite others into and then kingdom of glory and goodness, and truth and holiness, but it stands opposed by another kingdom. And as I was going through topics that might fit under this category of heat delight, this is not a table of contents or anything like that. Speaker 1 00:05:42 Although I'm, I'm planning to turn it into something like that. So that in weeks to come you'll know what this whole series, maybe a whole year long is going to be covering. But I was looking at it at the different topics and my goodness. There's a lot of them, this isn't in order of importance. It's in the order that they occurred to me. The one I'd been studying up on most currently is critical race theory. Then there's transgender, homosexuality, the state of the church. The question of Christian exclusivism, are we arrogant for claiming that we have the one truth there's, anti-Christian hostility in general. There's a question of how to teach our children in particular that the Bible has standards. And that they're good. So then when we say, for example, the Bible teaches against homosexuality. They won't respond by saying, well, then I don't like the Bible. Speaker 1 00:06:42 See, I'm concerned about that. They're so well trained. You might say through social media, through other media, even through school and whatever to think that homosexuality is really, really good that when we say the Bible says, homosexuality, isn't so good. They're going to say, well, I don't like the Bible, unless we can explain a whole lot of other things to them to go with it. Like the goodness of God, the truth of God, the fear of God, the goodness of his commands in our lives, the God who created us in his image, who knew what he was doing when he created us and who sets up his instructions for our good that's about the fear of God, by the way, in contrast of picking and choosing what you like. You know, you may not like the Bible, but what you like and what you don't like, do not determine what is eternally true. Speaker 1 00:07:39 The list goes on there's Christianity and political conservatism. Are we bad people, as many would say for our political involvement, there are questions of the goodness of God and Christian history. There's learning from suffering Christians in the world and in throughout history. There's the question of the Bible and slavery, the Bible and genocide there's campus, speech restrictions and how they affect Christians on campus, or how, how do you stay Christian in college? I'm still going on this list. This is a lot, isn't it? There's science and faith evolution, intelligent design science, denialism, denialism in quotes. There's how does stay strong by staying in community, staying in truth and in prayer and an outreach standing and hope there's questions of other religions, new age Islam, the religion that my colleagues are calling woke ism, progressive Christianity. Another one that Carl Truman wrote about in a marvelous book called the rise and triumph of the modern self that's radical personal autonomy. Speaker 1 00:08:46 I would call that a form of religion, the kind of a new polytheism of the God-like self, the godlike self with God in lowercase G there obviously abortion gun rights, freedom of speech, the rest of the world and how they're doing the good and the bad. There's a lot of stake here. And I just go through that list and partly give you an idea of what I'm thinking of as being the topics going forward. Now that I hope may God allow it to be now that I'm through these, this long series of family crises and travel, may it be so Lord, this is what I'm hoping to cover. We don't all want or need to be experts in all these topics. We do need to have a certain amount of sense of if this comes up, how will I answer it? Who will I go to for resources? Speaker 1 00:09:40 Where can I turn? How can I just get started in answering it? How can I think about this in a Christian way? How can I coach others to think about it in a Christian way? If you're a pastor or a teacher in church that's how can I teach on this in a way that's at least in a general sense well-informed and especially informed by a solid biblical worldview. How can I help myself? My family, my friends, my church stay in the light, in the midst of all the heat that's coming at us in this culture. Because as my dad's passing reminds me and the realities of life ought to remind us all. This is a battle for very high stakes. A lot of us are concerned about the future of America. Fine. And I am definitely, but we are battling for higher stakes than net we're battling for individuals. Speaker 1 00:10:41 It Turnitin. He's battling, not just for individuals, but how do I put this? The Bible doesn't just view salvation as an individual thing. Yes. It's an individual experience in individual's choice. I believe that each of us need to make individual confession of faith in Christ. We need to put individual faith in him. We experience his grace individually, but not just individually, no, the grace that we experienced and the love that we can show that's community too. That's community to it's community. Within our church, our family, our nation it's community, across national borders, it's community, across racial and ethnic and other boundaries that I wish weren't boundaries, but they seem to be, they ought to be not boundaries, but opportunities to express the goodness and the love and the truth and the holiness and the creativity of God. These are the stakes for which we are fighting the light of the knowledge of God in Jesus Christ, the light of the world. Speaker 1 00:11:53 That's not meant to be in a city on a hill whose lights are extinguished, not a lamp that's hidden under a bushel basket. We are the light of the world meant to show the goodness of God to the world so that others can partake in that goodness now. And for eternity, he's called us his great commission. At the end of the book of Matthew, he says, first of all, all authority has been given to him in heaven and on earth, we do this under his authority. We do this because he is our God, but he says, all authority has been given to him in heaven and on earth. Then he says, therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations nation. Sarah's ethni. The word that we get ethnic from. It's all people, groups, tribes, nations, tongues, religions, whatever, all peoples. He wants us to reach all peoples, teaching them to observe all that he has commanded us and baptizing them in the name of the father and the son and the holy spirit that teaching includes walking in the light. Speaker 1 00:13:05 And it's amazing how much variety with which the Bible teaches and uses this term light. In the first chapter of John, it says that John came as a witness of the light, that all through him might believe that John, the Baptist wasn't the light. He was bearing witness to the true light, which gives light to every man coming into the world. That true light was Jesus himself does light shone into darkness and the darkness did not overcome it. That's Jesus himself elsewhere. In Psalm one 19, we read that God's word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. In first John one, we read that if we walk in the light, as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus, his son cleanses us from all sin fellowship with each other there, by the way, I think refers to the fact that we can live without barriers between us. Speaker 1 00:14:04 We're not hiding sin. We're not hiding weaknesses. We're not having to hide from each other. In other words, it's a life that's open. People have referred to it as roof off walls down, nothing between us and God, nothing between us and others. There's so much in the world that would divide us from others. This is a very divided world. This is the most poorly derived that any of us has seen America in particular. There's so much division. The glory of God in his gospel is to equip us to love in the manner with which he has loved us. At least to reflect it to some degree, we can't do it perfectly until we go to heaven. That day will come. It's come from my father. I looked forward to being there with him. I look forward to being there with you. I look forward to being there with so many others of every tribe, nation people, and tongue and United in Christ, where we've seen light produced out of the heat. Speaker 1 00:15:09 I don't have a lot more to add. That's just the way today needs to be. Just the way my last several weeks have left me. It leaves me with hope that's that's where I will leave you. It leaves me with hope. It's been hard. It has been incredibly hard. And yet I go through it. I walked through it with hope for a very, very good future. And no matter how hard things get for us each individually, how hard it gets for us as a church, how hard it gets for us as a nation or a culture as a world, there is hope for this. We can be grateful. And this is that for which I strive. This is what I hope to help encourage us all with in bringing light out of heat, recognizing the conflict, but recognizing that God's got so much more good for us. This is what I hope to share. Now look forward to more next week and weeks to come for the thinking Christian podcast. This has been done. Speaker 0 00:16:15 Thank you for listening. The thinking Christian podcast is copyright by Thomas Gilson for more information, visit the thinking Christian [email protected].

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