Jesus knows the future (foreknowledge), tells the future (prophecy), and orchestrates history to guarantee the future (sovereignty). He tells us there are three epochs in human history: 1) Judaism; 2) the times of the Gentiles; and 3) his return. Jesus promised the temple would be destroyed, it happened. Jesus promised people from all nations would be saved, it’s happening. Jesus promised he would return, it will happen.
Foreknowledge is the fact that God foreknows the future. He knows what is going to happen before it happens. This is a mind-blowing concept for us because we don’t know the future. In fact, so much of life on the earth is spent trying to predict and anticipate the future. When will the economy turn around? When will the real estate market hit the bottom and start to bounce back? When could the next terrorist strike happen and how will we prevent it? What’s the next big idea that we could invest in and see our portfolio increase? What’s the next big marketing strategy that would help us get the word out? Where are the opportunities? Where is culture going? Who has the wisdom for the future? And quite frankly, no one knows the future. Some people will have confidence, some have the occasional right guess, but none of us has full foreknowledge of the future. None of us knows in detail what’s going to happen. But God does. God has foreknowledge. God foreknows what will happen. God is without beginning or end. God is over time, he works in time, but because he is apart from time, he sees time—inasmuch as we’re able to consider it—as a completed whole.
It’s the times of the Gentiles. That’s why we started Mars Hill Church, because it’s the times of the Gentiles. … We want every nation to know about Jesus. We want every language, every people, every tongue, every tribe to know about Jesus. That’s exactly what Jesus told us to do: be his witnesses to the ends of the earth. This is why money is spent on missions. This is why organizations are started: to take the news of Jesus around the world. You see, as soon as you become a Christian, you are part of a global movement, led by the Holy Spirit, to bring the news of Jesus to everyone and anyone, everywhere and anywhere. That’s the heart of God. And so salvation is for us, and it is a message through us, so that others would be worshipers of him. And it all culminates in Revelation, where it talks about at the end of the age around Jesus and the kingdom of God will be every language and tribe and tongue and nation of people. That’s amazing. See, there’s something in us that wants global harmony and unity and racial reconciliation and cultural reconciliation and gender reconciliation and economic reconciliation. His name is Jesus. And the only reconciliation that is really possible is when we live for something bigger than our nation, bigger than our race, bigger than our gender. We live for the glory of God. We live as the people of God. We live as the church of God. And as Jesus is central among us, and exalted by us, then we become a people that don’t have anything in common other than the God we worship and the one who brings us together.
Here’s the truth, friends: We don’t know when Jesus is coming, but we want to live faithfully, humbly, by the power of God, until we see him face-to-face. Here’s what the Bible says, a few things. That the world as we know it will end. That Jesus will return. That the dead will rise, just as Jesus rose from death. That there will be a final judgment, that no one is getting away with anything. That heaven and hell will be occupied by people forever. And that the kingdom of God, ruled over by Jesus Christ, the King of kings, will cover all of the earth, all people, for all eternity. That’s what the Bible says. So as Christians, we now understand where we come from: God. Why we’re here: God. Where we’re going: God. We understand why the world is not as we would want it to be, because of human sin and folly and rebellion. We know that, though we want to labor for justice and for love and mercy and grace on the earth, that ultimately those longings will not be completely fulfilled until the Prince of Peace returns, and he brings peace on the earth and prosperity and provision and protection as God is present with us in the living Jesus forever. I really want you to live your life in light of eternity. I want you to know that this is the times of the Gentiles. And until Jesus returns, we have kingdom work to be about, by the grace of God. For those of you who are not Christians, I want you to know that your life will end, that you will stand before Jesus and that there is an eternal destiny of heaven or hell, of blessing or punishment. And everything hinges on whether or not you believe in Jesus or don’t. And so it’s not too late for you. The window of opportunity’s still open. The times of the Gentiles is still around us, and it is available to us.Next up, Pastor Tim Smith of Mars Hill Portland preaches Luke part 88, "The Parable of the Fig Tree."