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Description: Everything we encounter, inconveniences etc. are tailored and planned by God to prepare us for heaven.
Preparing You For Eternity
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
Let’s look at Job 38:20-21. These are baffling verses. Let’s start reading at Job 38:19 — “Where is
the way to the dwelling of light, and where is the place of darkness, that you may take it to its
territory and that you may discern the paths to its home? (God is saying all this to Job– and then
he says in verse 21) “You know, for you were born then, and the number of your days is great!” And
you think is God bonkers?! Why does he say that?
Why does the poet Blake say, “And did those feet in ancient times walk upon England’s mountain green
—And was a holy Lamb of God on England’s pleasant pastures seen.” Is he bonkers too? He’s
implying that Jesus walked on the meadows in England.
Here is God implying that Job was born — when? —and it all comes very clear if you look at
Ephesians 1:4. “……even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world.” God seems to
be saying that he chose us in him, in Christ, before the foundation of the world.
You can see how all those are saying the same thing. Jesus of course lived before the foundation of
the world but it’s more than that. We were chosen in him before the foundation of the world. And so
Blake is justified in saying, “And did those feet in ancient times…. Jesus existed before the
earth was made and here it is saying that we were made in Jesus before the foundation of the world.
It does require you to stretch your mind a bit into Einstein’s thinking about infinity. But it is
repeated in all kinds of ways in the Bible. When Adam came to earth, he came to earth in Christ
because he was made in Jesus. When the human race came to the earth it was THE human race — the ONE
who is the human race which is Jesus.
That’s the miracle of the trinity — Jesus is God’s only Son and continues as his divine son with
infinite ability, omniscience and omnipotence. He shed a lot of that for scripture says, “he emptied
himself”, when he came to earth as humanity. Of course Adam was part of Christ at that time and it
explains so many things. Where did the son of man come from in the fiery furnace? You remember there
was another person who walked with Daniel who was “like unto the son of man”. And who is Melchizedek
whose name means “righteous king”? Who was this strange Melchizedik to whom Abraham presented gifts?
Again and again you have those moments where suddenly someone is spoken of as being the “son of God”
even in Old Testament times. Where did the appearance come from, these epiphany’s? Some of them were
angels. But at times some of them are referred to as God’s son.
So you have to begin to think in broader terms to see that in a real sense we human beings received
our strength and our life from the one in whom we were created — from Christ himself. And what you
find is that God put us on the earth so that we would bring the earth into subjection to his will.
He did that so that we would see what things were like when they were under his will, as in the Ten
Commandments, time of Moses and the times where Jesus expressed themselves through other holy men of
On the other hand, we would also see what the earth was like apart from God. That was all part of
God’s plan for setting up the two trees in the Garden of Eden, the tree of the knowledge of good and
evil and the tree of life. It was so that we would see clearly what the two were. We would begin to
see, “this is what it is like with God and this is what it is like without God.” We would see
clearly what the two experiences were and we would be able to choose.
That’s part of what the whole pattern of history in Israel is about — choosing God at times —
choosing ‘not God’ at other times. The difference was very obvious and plain to everybody who spent
years and years fighting Amalekites and Philistines. It was very clear to them what life without God
was like and it was laid out in those thousands of years of history that Israel had. And at that
time there would be the expressions of Christ when an Isaiah would come and speak of Christ’s own
suffering and call him the suffering servant. It was Christ that would speak through an Isaiah, a
Job, a Samuel or through a David.
Again and again you have these two trees, with Christ expressing himself through certain men. There
was the life without Christ and God, expressing itself through the dreadful things that the kings
(who disobeyed God) carried out. All of that was going on through the Old Testament times.
Jesus was endeavoring to make Himself manifest through the people that were originally made in Him
so that we would all see what the choice was. So that carried on – i.e. Christ’s suffering and
witnessing to the truth. But more of us men and women started walking apart from the truth – no
longer subduing the world but being subdued by the world. We were beginning to look to the world
through the idols and the idol worship. We were beginning to look to the world for the things we
were meant to get from God and from Christ within us. That was going on all the time.
We were beginning to depend more and more on the world and to be oppressed and destroyed by the
world. Christ was faced continually with that. And that’s when he manifested himself as a human
being in roughly 6 B.C. Jesus manifested himself as a live human being so he could be seen pure as
Then he began to point to the difference between the world dominating and ruling us and us ruling
the world. Every time he stilled the storm he was showing the power that we men and women had been
given by God over the world which we weren’t using. Every time he healed a sickness he was declaring
you have power over this world. You can control it. But all the time the final proof of his power
was waiting. That’s because Jesus knew he would eventually allow the world to destroy him so that we
would see that nothing can destroy our God. Nothing can destroy him.
That led to the death of Jesus and it was the moment when it seemed the world utterly controlled and
overwhelmed man. But Jesus rose from the dead and he made it plain that, “the world cannot control
my Father or me. It has controlled you men and women in most ways but it does not need to. I finally
have overcome the world. We put you here to control it and bring it into fullness and subjection to
And if you wonder where this is going, it helps us make sense of this verse that we are at in
Ephesians 5:27. You have to read the verse completely and probably go back to verse 25 to get the
whole sentence. Eph 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up
for her.” That’s why Christ died, so that we would see that we can overcome the world. It’s so that
the church would see, so that those who are in Jesus would see, that God was the final victor.
Eph 5:25-28 – “and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the
washing of water with the word.” And here is the purpose that we are at today in verse 27— “that
he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that
she might be holy and without blemish.” That’s why we are here. That’s why the church is here.
That’s why we are “in Christ”. It’s that we might become without spot or wrinkle. It’s that we
might be holy and without blemish. And that’s what Christ through his spirit is endeavoring to do
What came home to me was this…..I wrote it down because it seemed to be from God. “Everything that
you and I meet is tailored to fit you for Heaven. That means the flat on the freeway in the rain.
Whatever other particular difficulty or problem you have that nobody else has, that is tailored by
God, by Christ, to fit you for Heaven. All the inconveniences that seem to threaten your security
and enjoyment of your private preferences, all those are planned carefully by God to bring you into
all of Jesus and to bring all of Jesus into you. And that is what is happening in this world. It’s
so that you will be able to overcome the world, to influence it and bring it into order.”
I was sitting in my bedroom, looking at the drapes and thought that they looked so ordered. And then
I thought, “Yes, we’re here to subdue the world. We were originally brought here in Jesus to subdue
the world and bring it into God’s order. And whenever we do that, God himself is glorified and his
will is fulfilled.
When you go out to sell and do a good job and you bring beautiful things to other people or you
bring a sense of order. That’s what you are doing. But, at the same time, God is allowing the
disorder of the world to come to you and he is tailoring it exactly right to bring you deeper into
Christ. So often we look at the things that are happening to us and we think that’s happening
because of my particular weakness. I think sometimes that if I were more easy going I wouldn’t
worry about some things.
I saw that God uses your particular weakness to bring you into the strength of Jesus in that regard.
It’s not right to feel, “what a nuisance! I wish that hadn’t happened.” It’s not right to resent it,
even if it’s lack of money. No, that is planned by God from before the foundation of the world so
you would meet it and it would make you stretch out to Christ, see your own hopelessness, lift you
into his heart and rejoice because he is rejoicing. You would thus grow up into the fullness of
Jesus in that particular regard.
Therefore, all the things that happen to you are working together to conform you to the image of the
Creator’s son. All your experiences are working together to make you like Jesus of Nazareth. Don’t
say, “Here’s a bit of the world that’s overcoming me or preventing me from doing God’s work.” No
that’s unbelief. We are to greet it as pure joy and say, “Thank you Father. Yes, the only answer to
this (your problem) is this!”
You might say, “Well, that’s something Jesus can do but I can’t do it.” No say instead, “I can do
It’s a ladder you are climbing into a higher place day by day in Christ. Every difficulty, every
evil thing, every inconvenient thing, every nuisance thing are all planned by God to lift you out of
yourself into a whole new world. So it is a wonderful plan.
God has sent us here in his son to overcome the world. But meanwhile when the world tends to be
pressing us, he uses the world to lift us into a new place, a broader place in Christ in our own
attitudes. The plan is glorious but it’s both and… both are working all the time. On one hand you
are overcoming the world every time you bring more order into it. Every time the thing goes as
planned that’s the glory of God being set forth in overcoming the world.
Every time the world tends to be pressing you, that also is planned by our father so that you will
rise up into a new place in Christ – it’s so that you won’t be bothered with that thing ever again.
You won’t ever be caught again doing what I am certainly expert at doing – working out how I will
meet this or do that or solve that problem. Yes, I’ll relax when I’ve solved it but it’s not faith.
It’s the power of the right arm. Rather I should be able to say, Lord I cast my care upon you
because you care for me and that’s good enough for me. We’ll tackle it when you tell us how to.”
Let us pray.