M+ week 1.001

There are many problems in the world today.  Diseases without cures, hungry children without food, villages without clean drinking water, humans being trafficked, marriages ending in divorce, wars between nations, broken systems attempting to administrate help, and many others.  These problems are not new . . . they are old.  After all the first family (Adam and Eve) saw one son murder another . . . and things have gone downhill from there.  There are many problems in this world.

Alongside all these problems, though, there is also great promise.  Immediately after mankind sinned, God promised to crush the “head of the snake” who tempted mankind (Genesis 3:15).  God initiated a plan to rescue mankind and restore peace and prosperity to the earth.  Promises of a kingdom that knew no end were made, atonement for sins was accomplished, and all eyes looked forward to the day when the lion would lay down with the lamb.  After His death and resurrection, Jesus Christ ascended into heaven while His disciples looked on.  No doubt some of them had to think that their hopes of Jesus fulfilling all God’s promises was leaving as well . . . but angels told them otherwise in Acts 1:9-11:

And when He had said these things, as they were looking on, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him out of their sight.  And while they were gazing into heaven as He went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven?  This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Him go into heaven.”

In other words — He’s coming back.

The full realization of the promises of God will come in the future, in events that will commence when Jesus returns to this earth.  In fact, after His return, Revelation 20-21 tell us that He will reign on the earth for 1,000 years BEFORE ushering in a new heaven and a new earth.  Where will you be during these 1,000 years and beyond?  What significance does all this have for us today?  We will be examining these questions in a short two week sermon series out of Revelation 20-21 beginning this Sunday at Wildwood.  The series is entitled “M+.”  Hope to see you there in either our 9:30 or 10:50 worship services.

3 thoughts on “M+ (sermon preview – part 1)

  1. Good morning Mark. We have been attending Wildwood for about three months now along with our daughter and son as well as her husband on a couple occasions. Overall, Wildwood has been a refreshing spiritual experience. However, I found your first sermon, “M+”, quite troubling. In my previous experience in ministry the Lord led me in a protracted and lengthy path away from dispensational premillennialism. I realized prior to visiting Wildwood that premil-dispensationalism would be the predominant view. You have every right (and an obligation as well) to preach the scriptures as the Spirit has led you. What concerns me is that you made the statement that this is what Wildwood believes. This stands in opposition to Wildwood’s “beliefs” as elaborated on your web-site. There it simply states that “Jesus Christ will return personally (physically and visably) to the earth in power and great glory to judge mankind and reign in righteousness”. A couple of friends who knew that I was very happy attending Wildwood asked what Wildwood believed. I told them that their statement of faith has all of the core fundamental Christian doctrines but is broad enough to allow for various interpretations in non-essential areas. (such as allowing for various views of eschatology)

    Though I disagree with your arguments that the 1000 years are a literal 1000 years, that does not really concern me. However, the universal projection that this is the view of the church does. A week ago I attended Steve Hodgson’s class and we were discussing the criteria for the selection of the 12 and “pliability” was one criteria. Wildwood’s statement of faith allows for this.

    We are praying about where God wishes to lead us and I do not see this as a deal-breaker for me, but do find it a bit disconcerting. It is truly exciting to see a dynamic church with the outreach that Wildwood has. In fact, it is amazing. May God continue to bless your work and the outreach of Wildood.

    In Christ’s Love,

    Richard Gray

  2. Richard,

    Thank you so much for your comment. I am glad that you and your family have found WIldwood and that you and your family have been encouraged in your time here. I have been a part of the Wildwood Church family for nearly 20 years now, 12 of them on staff, and like you, have found it to be a very encouraging place.

    With regards to Wildwood’s premillenial/pretribulational eschatology, I can totally understand the confusion that my comments yesterday brought about. On the back of the bulletin each week (and on our web site) we have our “Essentials” statement. In our membership class, we ask that each prospective member embrace these essentials personally. As you have noted, these “Essentials” are a core of Christian belief affirmed in history and embraced by a diverse set of believers. As a non-denominational church that values greatly the concept of grace on the non-essential areas of the faith, we wanted to have a statement of faith for membership that was broad.

    However, as a church, we felt like it was important for our leadership core to have a more defined statement of faith. Therefore, we have a longer statement of faith that we require all staff and Elders to affirm. This statement of faith instructs our teaching position of the church, which indeed is premillenial/pretribulational. I have attached the text to our Statement of Faith concerning eschatology to the bottom of this post.

    When I stated in the service yesterday that a pre-mil view was not just my position, but the church’s position, I was referencing the fact that our teaching position is from a pre-mil view, not that every member held that view. So sorry for the confusion. I will try to be more exact in my communication of this in the future.

    While I do understand the Scripture in a pre-mil/pre-trib view, many at Wildwood do not . . . and that is OK! We do not make a federal case out of this, and it is not a requirement of membership. Certainly we do not preach weekly on pre-mil/pre-trib issues, but when these passages come up in our normal preaching calendar, you will hear from our pulpit a dispensational perspective. As we do so, however, we want to communicate this with grace and love. If I failed to do that yesterday, I sincerely apologize. I have many friends who come from an amillenial perspective, and our different views do not impede our ability to worship together. I hope our different eschatological viewpoints do not divide us here either.

    Wildwood is a big tent, and we would love to have your family worship with us! If there is anything I can to help clarify further, I would love the chance to talk more. Maybe we could grab a cup of coffee sometime — just let me know.

    Thanks Richard. May God bless you and your family in deep and rich ways!

    In Christ,


    Wildwood’s Long form Doctrinal Statement on Eschatology
    (This statement is affirmed by our staff and Elders)

    Things to Come

    We believe and teach that at His appointed time, God will bring this world to an appropriate end. God has declared there is a time of Great Tribulation coming to earth, which is an expression of the righteous judgment of God upon mankind.
    Prior to this period the church will called up to meet the Lord in the air, an event aptly described in Scripture as “the blessed hope.”
    Upon completion of this tribulation period, according to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally (physically and visibly) to the earth in power and great glory both to judge mankind and to reign in righteousness. At that time He will set up His Millennial Kingdom on the earth to reign with His saints.
    The Judgment Seat of Christ is the judgment of believers in reference to rewards, or lack thereof (1 Corinthians 3:10-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10). The Great White Throne Judgment is the judgment of those who do not know God and who will be eternally separated from God in torment (Revelation 20:11-15).
    (Daniel 9:24-27; Matthew 24, John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52; Philippians 3:20-21; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Titus 2:13-14; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; Revelation 6—22)

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