Sermon:  Conquering through Conflict

Summary:  To help us to remain committed, faithful, and passionate in our faith, 
we need to remember that this world will end and there will be a new world, and 
that even though it may seem we have been forgotten by God in our difficulty, Jesus' 
way of suffering will always come to victory because all things will ultimately 
surrender to Him.

Know:  The difficulty of conflict as a result of our faith is normative as 
exemplified by Christ, not strange and is God's way of displaying his victorious 
power which will overcome in the end

Feel:  Hopeful in the midst of conflict and difficulty

Do:  Compare the difference between the victory Jesus has won in the present time 
and the victory to come in Christ.  Discuss the model Jesus left for overcoming 
conflict and reflect on how this should shape our perspective on conflict in this 
life.  Compare this perspective to your own perspective and reflect on ways your 
perspective might be improved.

Text:  Heb 2:5-9

Scripture Reading:  Rom 8:35-37

1.  Have you ever been in a situation, and wonder why God not do something?
	a. Earlier this year, number of Christians murdered in Nigeria near Jos
	b. Came and systematically killed whole families
	c. Ran after the children, in some cases a half a mile, and killed them
	d. Can you imagine?  Where is God?  Why doesn't he do something? 
2.  Sometimes we mistakenly think we have been forgotten by God
	a.  Problems may not be as extreme as what happened in Nigeria
		- But sometimes our struggle is still difficult
		- May think have been forgotten by God
		- May think God not really understand or think it important
	b.  This kind of thinking can come from neglect of our salvation
		- Talked about it in Heb 2:1-4
		- Pay closer attention lest we drift from it
	c.  When neglect it, may forget some important things about salvation
	d.  This text deals with and explains some important things about it
3.  Context 1:1 - 2:9
	a.  Chapter one, Jesus is better and superior
		- God's final word
		- He is God
		- He is unchangeable and dependable
	b.  2:1-4 - Therefore pay closer attention
		- Otherwise you may drift away from it
		- Only Jesus can help you escape the coming destruction
		- Jesus the victor is dependable, unlike everything else
	c.  Questions
		- If the Lord is powerful, why are Christians persecuted?
		- If the Lord defeated the enemy, why enemy still oppress?
4.  This passage gives us some perspective on the larger picture

I.  This is not all there is (v.5a)
	A.  There is another world coming after this one
		1.  Contrary to popular belief, the end of life is not the end
			a.  The end of life is a transition
			b.  It is the beginning of eternity
		2.  This world and everything in it will be destroyed
	B.  Bible refers to the world to come in a number of different ways
		1.  My Father's House - From John 14
			a.  In my Father's house are many dwelling places
			b.  He has gone to prepare a place and will return
			c.  His Father's house is the best place to live
		2.  Abraham's Bosom - From parable of Rich man Lazarus, Lk 16
			a.  Image of a feast, reclined on left arm, ate with right hand
			b.  Guest of honor to right, literally at bosom of host
			c.  Image is of us being the guest of honor
		3.  New Jerusalem - From Rev 21-22
			a.  Paints a picture of the final state of God's people
			b.  A new home coming down out of Heaven 
				- Home that God is preparing
				- That is why it is coming down out of the sky
			c.  No mourning, sickness, pain, or dying
				- Satan has been cast into the lake of fire
				- Everything there is just right
				- No night, no evil, no danger, etc.
			d.  Death a memory, all is life
				- River of life from the throne
				- Tree of life, fruit always in season
				- Image is of a lush place full of life
		4.  Paradise - Persian loan word that means "walled garden"
			a.  Take off the image of the original garden
			b.  Paul refers to the third Heaven as "Paradise" 
			c.  Rev 2:7 - He who overcomes eat from tree of life in the 
			     paradise of God
	C.  These pictures remind us that this home is temporary
		1.  Bible refers to our current home as a "tent" (2 Cor 4:13-5:4)
		2.  Ever been in a tent?
			a.  Was in a tent in the black hills, strong winds
			b.  Blew away our neighbor
			c.  Settled in for a few days, all we needed
			d.  Later packed up, couldn't tell we been there
		3.  A tent is not meant to be permanent, it is temporary
		4.  Our body, this world it is a tent, it is temporary
	D.  Keep in mind, where we are now is not permanent
		1.  What you see is not all there is
		2.  This is a world to come, and it will be better
		3.  This world with all its troubles will end
		4.  **Reason is because Jesus overcame sin, death, and all 
		      associated with it..
			a.  If this is true, why is there still sin and death
			b.  Why do we still see the handiwork of sin around us?

II.  Everything is not yet subject to him (v.8b)
	A. The key is "not yet," it will be subject, but not yet
	B.  We see this in the teaching about the Kingdom of God
		1.  Mk 1:15 - Jesus began with, "repent, Kingdom is at hand"
		2.  (Lk 11:20) - If I cast out demons by God - Kingdom upon you
			a.  Jesus is a conquering king
			b.  He began his assault on sin and all its results
			c.  Cast out demons, healed sick, raised the dead
		3.  (Mk 9:1) - Some not taste death till kingdom come with power
			a.  What demonstration of power over dominion of Satan?
			b.  It was the resurrection of Christ!
			c.  Jesus destroyed the power of sin and death
			d.  Is that all she wrote?  No, of course not
				- Still see sin and death all around us
				- So did kingdom of God come, or is it still to come?
		4.  Eph 5:5; 2 Tim 4:18; (2 Pet 1:10-11) - Kingdom yet to come
			a.  Jesus inaugurated his reign/kingdom at resurrection
			b.  Resurrection was the first and decisive blow
				- Outcome of the war already determined by it
				- The rest is a mop up operation
			c.  (Rev 11:15) - Final blow when 7th trumpet sounds
				- Kingdom of world become Kingdom of God
				- Shall reign for ever and ever
	C.  ILL:  Hebrews expounds on Psalm 110 quite a bit
		1.  Ps 110:1 - Sit at my right "until" enemies footstool for your feet
			a.  Right hand, he is ruling at the current time
			b.  But not all enemies have been subject yet
			c.  But they will be
		2.  Imagery is of the aftermath of a conflict - wrestling
			a.  Sometimes blood in a match, they struggle
			b.  Goal is to try and "pin" the opponent if you can
			c.  If pinned it is all over
		3.  Here, Jesus fights opponent, his foot on throat, sword on him
		4.  Defeated the opponent - Sin, death, Satan in lake of fire
			a.  Everyone that promotes reign of Satan in lake of fire
			b.  In the end nothing left of reign of Satan
	D.  It is coming, but it is not here yet - Need to be reminded of this
		1.  We are in the in between time, new world is not here "yet"
		2.  Suffering, conflict, still happening - To be expected
			a.  Battle is still being fought
			b.  But victory already assured

III.  Jesus will be the only true ruler
	A.  In the world to come, Jesus will reign, enemies destroyed
	B.  This will be a new world, and a new age
		1.  Passage quotes from Psalm 8
			a.  Made for a little while lower than the angels
			b.  Crowned with glory and honor
		2.  World to come will be subject not to angels, but to Christ
		3.  (1 Cor 15:24-26) - Will abolish all rule, authority and power
			a.  Only power and only rule will be Christ
			b.  Last enemy to be destroyed is death
		4.  (Phil 2:5-11) - All things will ultimately be subject to Christ
			a.  Every knee will bow, whether willingly or unwillingly
			b.  Everything will be subject to Christ as Lord
	C.  Need to understand conflicts, challenges, and difficulties in light of this
		1.  May think that conflict and suffering abnormal in this life
			a.  If Jesus is reigning, not supposed to be oppressed
			b.  But this is not the pattern Jesus left us
		2.  Consider the model Jesus left for us 
			a.  (2 Pet 2:21-23) - Follow Christ's example in suffering
			b.  (2 Pet 4:12-14) - It is normative, not strange to suffer
				- In this world, we have conflict and struggles
				- But Jesus is coming, and will make it right
		3.  Quotation from George Guthrie in reflecting on conflict:
			"In Western Christianity especially, "we have become committed to relieving 
			the pain behind our problems rather than using our pain to wrestle more 
			passionately with the character and purposes of God.  Feeling better has become 
			more important than finding God.  And worse, we assume that people who find God 
			always feel better."
		4.  If focus too much on pain and not on God's purposes, miss what 
		    it means to follow Christ
			a.  God does not grant victory in spite of suffering
			b.  God grants victory THROUGH suffering
				- It was through the humiliation of Christ
				- It was through his suffering
			c.  Phil 3:10 - Paul wants to know Christ
				- Power of his resurrection, 
				- The fellowship of his suffering
				- God displays his power through weakness
			d.  The way of Christ is the way of conflict and suffering
  				- Darkest hour is always just before the dawn
	D.  Be assured, dawn is coming
		1.  Jesus overcame the enemy, crowned with glory and honor
		2.  All things will submit to his rule
		3.  All enemies will be nullified and destroyed

1.  (Phil 3:10-14) - Press on to what lies ahead  
	a.  Jesus has already determined what lies ahead (inv)
	b.  Old things will be forgotten, this world will end, Jesus will reign
2.  In the meantime, there is a battle to be fought, results are guaranteed
3.  Conflict now, suffering now, but in them, God overcomes - Take courage


Sermon:  Conquering through Conflict

Summary:  To help us to remain committed, faithful, and passionate in our faith, we need to 
remember that this world will end and there will be a new world, and that even though it may 
seem we have been forgotten by God in our difficulty, Jesus' way of suffering will always come 
to victory because all things will ultimately surrender to Him.

Open  (choose one)
-  What kind of conflict do you find easiest to deal with?  Most difficult?
-  If you could choose a character from a movie or book to describe how you deal with conflict, 
who would it be?

Explore:  (Heb 2:5-9; Phil 2:5-11)

1.  What does it mean to say that Jesus was crowned with glory and honor?

2.  What is the nature of the world and the life that we now live?  What lies in the future and 
how is it different?

3.  Describe what has not yet been accomplished according to God's plan  (See also 2 Pet 1:10-11; 
Rev 11:15)

4.  What is the place of weakness and suffering in God's plan?  How do we see it exemplified If 

5.  What should be the Christian attitude about conflict and suffering at the present time? (See 
also - 2 Pet 2:21-23; 4:12-14)


6.  Describe what your attitude typically is when it comes to conflict, struggle, and difficulty 
that comes as the result of your faith?  Why?

7.  How has this discussion informed you on what should be considered normative and strange in the 
Christian life?

8.  What do you find difficult in Christ's example?  What do you find challenging, motivating, or