The Golden Tomorrow
January 14th, 1990 @ 8:15 AM
THE GLORIOUS TOMORROW
Dr. W. A. Criswell
Philippians 3:12-14, 20-21
1-14-90 8:15 a.m.
We are always indebted to the dedicated young people who play in our orchestra and who sing in our wonderful choir. And we are no less grateful to God for the multitudes of you who share this hour on radio. You are now a part of our wonderful First Baptist Church in Dallas, and this is the pastor bringing the message entitled The Glorious Tomorrow.
The month of January, this month, I have prepared each message from the Book of Philippians; and this morning, from the third chapter of Philippians, verses 12-14, and verses 20 and 21:
Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may kata lambano, get hold of that, seize that for which also I am kata lambano, for which I was got hold of by Jesus Christ.
Brethren, I count not myself to have kata lambano, to have seized it, to have apprehended it: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, reaching forth unto those things which are before,
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Verse 20: "For our politeuma" – the word for "citizen" is polites; politeuma, translated here "our conversation," our "citizenship." We are a "colony of heaven," as Moffet translates it – "our citizenship is in heaven; from whence we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able to subdue all things unto Himself." The title of the message: The Glorious Tomorrow.
In the world there is a pervading universal illusion of progress and advancement. You see that persuasion implemented in the universal acceptance of the theory of evolution. In our own country, by law you cannot teach God and creationism. By law in America you have to teach your children evolution. It is incontrovertible that there is progress and advancement seen in so many areas of human life; in discovery, in invention, in science, in medicine, in transportation. Think of the way they used to travel; and now with jets through the air. And even in politics and in government all of us are astonished at the dismemberment and disintegration of communism seen in Eastern Europe and in Russia itself. Incontrovertible, I have said, to the world is the illusion of progress and advancement.
But there is also progress and advancement in evil. Think of the instruments of violence on the part of terrorists, these automatic weapons. On the part of nations: used to fight with a club, with a bow and arrow, with a spear; now it’s with the horror of atomic bombs and Phantom fighter planes. There’s also an advancement and progress in evil.
I never was more overwhelmed in my life than reading of the tremendous convention of sodomites in San Francisco. Thousands of them there, parading before the whole world, sodomites. And the judgment of God upon this present generation: these venereal diseases that include herpes and AIDS – I never heard of AIDS until recently. Progress in evil, also. Pornography, the printing press, television, the movie house; progress and advancement in evil. The curse of drugs: some of them you drink, alcohol; some of them you smoke, marijuana; some of them you swallow, amphetamine tablets; some of them you inhale, cocaine; some of them you take by needle injection, heroine. We live in a drug culture, and we’re helpless before it. Progress, advancement, yes, in evil.
And, the disillusion and disintegration of family life.
Kids don’t make the movies, they don’t write the books,
They don’t parade the pictures of gangsters and crooks,
They don’t make the liquor; they don’t run the bars,
They don’t pass the laws, and they don’t make the cars,
They don’t peddle the drugs that muddle the brain,
That’s all done by older folks, sold out for gain.
Delinquent youngsters, Oh how we condemn
The sins of the nation and blame it on them.
All of this is progress and advancement in the disintegration of the home and the family.
Progress, disintegration, the spread of humanism, universal, reading God out of the system. When I came to the city of Dallas, year after year I conducted chapel services in the public school systems of our great city. Now, by law I couldn’t stand in any school house in Dallas and name the name of Jesus – humanism.
And, disillusionment and disappointment and discouragement in my own denomination. When I was a lad growing up, our Baptist denomination was monolithic: everybody believed the Bible, everybody; taught the Bible, believed as this treasurer of Gideons in the inerrancy and the infallibility and inspiration of the Word of God. Now, way down deep underneath, a vast host of them repudiate the infallibility and inerrancy of this Word.
I listened this last week to the head of a great agency in our convention, and he was describing to me the disintegration of the leadership of the great schools and some of the agencies of our own denomination. O God, how I wish we could go back to the days of my boyhood. I think of that little poem of Thomas Hood, marvelous English poet who lived in the last century: "I remember," he says:
I remember the fir trees tall and high
I used to think their pointed spires
Were pressed against the sky
‘Twas but a childish fantasy,
But now ’tis little joy
To know I’m further away from heaven
Than when I was a boy.
["I Remember, I Remember"]
Progress, advancement in evil and disillusionment, but the title of this message is The Glorious Tomorrow – there is progress and advancement in Jesus Christ: in the hope and the optimism we have in Him. For example, when I was a boy growing up, the idea of a church was a square meeting house and a pulpit and a preacher, and once in a while dinner on the ground. And that was the summation and the description and the parameters of the whole church.
As you well know, when I came to be pastor of this congregation in Dallas, my idea of a church moved in a direction altogether different. The church is the incarnation of the body of Christ: it is Christ Himself ministering. And it includes every facet of human life and every facet of the human family. My idea of a church is it is an enclave in a world of despair and death; it’s a Christian community, and it consumes the entire life of those who are dedicated to it, who have found hope and refuge in Christ Jesus. Not only on Sunday, but every day of the week. It includes every energy and every facet and every interest of human life. It starts in our baby dedication, and it ends in the funeral service in the sanctuary; and it includes all of life in between.
My idea of a church is it is a part and includes every area of human life: recreation, pleasure, outings, camping, teaching, training, falling in love, marrying, building the home, raising the children, the whole gamut. For such a thing as that, of course, you need facilities, programs; and we’ve given ourselves in this church just to that. It’s glorious.
Advancement, progress in the kingdom of God and in the ministries of the church; a ministry of caring, caring for our old people; how easy it is to forget them. They’re senile, some; they’re invalid, others; they’re incapacitated, they are out. How easy it is to forget them. The ministry of a dear church, caring for our old people – I love our agape feasts; bringing them here to the church, we sharing the love of Jesus with them.
A ministry of caring for the troubled and the hurt and the heart-sick. O Lord, how I wish I knew how to implement a ministry of encouragement that would stand by the side and bless every soul in our congregation who was having trouble, who fell into sorrow and disappointment and discouragement. A ministry to little ones, little people: Jesus said, "Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these, you have done it unto Me" [Matthew 25:40].
Let me have my church on a downtown street,
Where the race of men go by –
The men who are good and the men who are bad,
As good and as bad as I.
I would not sit in the scorner’s seat,
Or hurl the cynic’s ban;
Let me have my church on a downtown street
And be a friend to man.
[adapted from "The House By the Side of the Road"; Sam Walter Foss]
A ministry of caring.
A ministry of witnessing, of soul-winning: that’s one reason I rejoice beyond any way you could describe it for our thirty-one chapels, our thirty-one missions in this city. A part of everything we dedicate to God of our tithes and offerings goes to that marvelous ministry, preaching the gospel, visiting in the home, ministering and helping, and winning to Christ, every area of this vast metropolis. I praise God for it, a ministry of witnessing and soulwinning, and of course, in our own congregation, in our own service, making an appeal to the lost. And of course, in our love and prayers to the ends of the earth, distributing Bibles, sending out missionaries, building hospitals and compounds and churches. It’s a great commitment, the ministering of our church in witnessing and soulwinning.
The ministry of our church in teaching and education and training. Twice, as you know, I have been on a preaching mission inside Russia, back in the days – ooh! – how the system sought to warp the minds of all of those children growing up in Russia. As I’d walk through the cities or anywhere, I’d see little "Octoberists" they called them, little bitty children, Octoberists; they wore a red star. Then as they grew older they were "Young Pioneers"; they wore a red handkerchief. Then as they became teenagers, they were called Komsomols; they wore a uniform decorated with red. And finally, as adults they were card-carrying communists; the whole system given over to the training and teaching of the minds of those children and people. And when I came back home to America and to our city and to our queenly church, "O God," I thought, "what a marvelous, incomparable open door God has set before us. We can take our children and educate them and train them in every facet and every area of their intellectual and human life."
We’ve got a school over there. It’s Christian. It’s our Academy. And instead of having the child a few minutes on Sunday, we can take that child every day of the week and teach that child the Word of God, right there in that academy. O Lord, how I wish to God that our people had the heart and the spirit to so support the effort that our people could bring their children here without cost.
I told you about being seated by a man in Rochester, Minnesota; and he was a devout Catholic, and his bishop has just made an announcement in Minnesota that people were encouraged to tithe. They don’t tithe, think of it in the Catholic Church as we do; but he was encouraging all of his people in Minnesota to tithe, and to make possible that the children could go to their parochial schools for nothing, without tuition. O God, how I wish that’s a thing could be true of us! Teaching these youngsters the Word of God; we have the opportunity, free here in America, to follow the rule and faith of the Lord Jesus, beside our wonderful college. O Lord, what an open door You have set before us.
And a ministry of prayer. As Jody made an announcement, on the last Wednesday of this month we’ll have a prayer meeting starting at seven o’clock, going through to midnight. As he said, the search committee has earnestly asked that we pray for them. I have been importuned that we add to that our tremendous Stewardship Enrichment campaign, which means so vitally much to the ongoing and the expansion of our church ministries. And what a privilege to add to it the ministries of our own church, a great prayer meeting, a session looking up to God.
And I have to close. Finally, a ministry of encouragement, and of optimism, and of triumph, and of victory; the golden tomorrow. Do you notice how this chapter ends? "For our citizenship is in heaven, from whence we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ" [Philippians 3:20]. What a hope! What a persuasion! The end of life for us is not the worm, and the dust, and the grave, and the darkness of death: the end of life for us is our glorious coming of the marvelous Savior, and the kingdom of God and heaven, and all the Lord hath purposed and has in store for those who love Him.
That’s not an unusual thing. Do you remember how 1 Corinthians ends? "Maranatha, Maranatha, the Lord is coming! [1 Corinthians 16:22]. The Lord is coming!" Do you remember how the Lord’s Supper ends? "Do this, break bread, achri hou elthe, until He come, till He come" [1 Corinthians 11:26]. Do you remember how the Bible ends, how the Revelation ends out of which you read a moment ago? "He which testifieth these things saith, Surely, surely, I come quickly. Amen. Even so come, Lord Jesus" [Revelation 22:20]. It’s a victorious and glorious tomorrow.
As you know, I have just recently come back from Israel. No place in the earth like Israel. If you haven’t been, you ought to go. Starve yourself to save your pennies, and go to Israel. Did you read the paper yesterday and the day before? Because of this new freedom in Russia, Israel is preparing for seven hundred thousand immigrants – astonishing! Well anyway, when you go to Israel, in Jerusalem, Mt. Zion, Mt. Moriah over there where David built the temple, Mt. Zion over here where David was buried, up there on Mt. Zion as you know is the upper room where the Lord instigated, instituted the sacred Supper, the Lord’s Supper. And up there Pentecost, when the Holy Ghost came down and in lambent liquid flames of fire burst and flamed above the head of each one of the apostles; that’s the place [Acts 2:1-3]. In that place the Jewish people have presented a display of the tragic Holocaust. And there will be room after room after room depicting the violence and the murder of that awful era in the life of God’s people. Be here a place where the rabbi was ministering the Word, the Holy Scriptures; and there are his garments that have been stained in blood; and there is the Torah that has been violently separated and torn. Just room after room.
Well anyway, in the last room and the last display is a table, a table. And on that table are these things: there’s a lamp here, and the shade is made out of a tattooed skin of a Jew; that’s the lamp. In the middle of the table is a pile of soap, a pile of soap. That’s soap made from the bodies of slain Jews, pile of soap. There’ll be an instrument there of terrible flagellation, torture and torment. But the last one, but the last one on the table, on this side, on the right, there is a large plaque, large plaque, like you’ll have a beautiful picture of mother or dad and it’s set there on the table. The thing ends, that horrible display ends with that plaque. And on that plaque is the song that they sang facing death. Now when I copy it, translate it into English, it is not rhythmic. In Hebrew it is very beautiful and flows preciously. Now this is that plaque: "Of all truth," the first line. The second line: "this is the truth that we believe: the Messiah is coming soon." Next verse: "Despite the fact that He is not come today, despite any other fact of life, this is the truth that we believe: Messiah is coming soon." That’s exactly my faith! Despite any fact in this earth, despite any program or any discouragement, any affliction, any sorrow, any death, despite any fact in this earth, this is the fact, the truth that we believe: Messiah is coming soon! Jesus is coming soon!
You’ve heard me a thousand times say it like this: Peter says that in the coming of the Lord a thousand years is as a day [2 Peter 3:8]. Why, my brother, He has been gone just two days; and He may come back the third. In our lifetime, my eyes shall look upon the glory of His coming. O God, what a wonderful tomorrow! What an incomparable persuasion! What a precious hope that is ours in the Lord Jesus!
We’re going to sing us a song of appeal. And while we sing the song, a somebody you to give his heart in faith to Christ Jesus, you come and stand with us. A family you coming into the fellowship of our dear church, a couple you, a one somebody you, as the Spirit of the Lord shall press the appeal to your heart, make it now, come now, angels attend you in the way, while we stand and while we sing.
I. In the world is an illusion of
progress and advancement
teaching of evolution
In America, by law you cannot teach creationism
It is incontrovertible that there is progress and advancement in almost every
area of human life, such as discovery, invention, science, medicine
progress and advancement in evil, wickedness and violence
of the home
Poem, "Kids don’t make the moviesâ€¦"
Humanism – reading God out of the system
discouragement in the denomination
As a youth, seemed monolithic
I wish it were as when I was a boy
Poem, "I Remember, I Remember"
II. Real advancement and progress is found
in the Lord Jesus
change in the idea of a church
years past, some kind of a meeting house with a pulpit, a preacher to preach,
and once in a while, dinner on the ground
gave me a different view and vision – the church ought to be the center of the
life of the people of God
and advancement in the household of the Lord’s people
A ministry of caring(Matthew 25:40)
Poem, "The House By the Side of the Road"
ministry of witnessing and soul-winning
ministry of teaching and training ministries
a. Russia – teaching
starting with little children through adulthood
A ministry of assurance, hope, triumph(Philippians
3:21-22, 1 Corinthians 11:26, Revelation 22:20)
a. Song Jewish holocaust
victims sang as they faced death