“We’ve been expecting you!” This familiar phrase is a term of endearment towards someone in celebration of their arrival. It is often used in first meetings between people that have been expecting to meet for some time but who have not until the present moment. There is great anticipation behind the expectation.
For example, a family who waits eagerly with excitement for a child to be born. Nine months of anticipation go by until one day the child is born into the world. When this happens the newborn’s family and parents joyfully exclaim “we’ve been expecting you!”.
In the workplace this happens with a new employee. Throughout the hiring process staff wait anxiously for the candidate to accept the job offer and join the company. At the new employee’s arrival the team then exclaims “we’ve been expecting you!”.
The same can be said of a missionary arriving on the field for the first time. The phrase is always a powerful expression of gratitude for a fulfilled expectation.
However, no one expects someone in this regard unless they also have expectations for them. Remember behind this phrase there is the build up of anticipation. We’ve expected someone because we have anticipated something from them.
Parents expect great things from their newly born child as he or she grows up. The management team expects good work from their new hire and the community to whom the missionary begins his or her work expects to learn about God and gain insights into His word. In each instance the “expecting” represents a conditional premise. We expect because we anticipate something.
This very same concept applies to God and His interactions towards man.
One of the most beautiful things about the Christian life is the manifestation of God’s love for us through His expectations about us.
God is a God of expectations for His people. There are specific things that God expects for us. In this lesson we will learn what God expects for us and from us.
God expects salvation
God expects us to repent and be saved.
9) The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.II Peter 3:9 (KJV)
God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. God gives us time and opportunities to be saved, that is to confess to Him our sins, ask for repentance and believe on Him as the savior of our lives.
Think about it, why would God send His only begotten son Jesus Christ to earth to suffer as man yet not sin and to die for our sins if He did not expect results from it?
God intentionally sent Jesus for us because He expects us to respond to Him. God expects people to respond to His overtures, to the Holy Spirit’s call through people, preaching and His word to save and redeem us.“God is a God of expectations for His people and there are specific things that He expects for us and from us.”
God expects and anticipates our salvation, this is why He is longsuffering and patient. It is His desire that all would come to Him for forgiveness of sins and for eternal life.
God expects service
He does not however only expect us to be saved, He also, and this is the second point, expects to use us in mighty ways in service to His glory and kingdom.
11) For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.Jeremiah 29:11 (KJV)
God expects to give us an end or purpose to our life that gives Him glory through service to Him and He continues to have His plan unfold in this manner each and every day in the lives of His children.
Think about how many ways God has used His people to carry out His will. He used His servants to prophesize for Him, to interpret dreams, to write His word, and to spread the gospel across the world. At this very moment people are still being saved and lives are still being changed for all eternity because God is still using Christians to re-establish His kingdom.
God expects to re-establish His kingdom
The re-establishment of God’s kingdom is the third thing that He expects for us. God expects to re-establish His kingdom for His glory and for His saints.
10) Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.Matthew 6:10 (KJV)
God is re-building His creation right this very moment by calling a peculiar chosen people to Him. He does this all through His grace alone yet He uses His church and servants to share His message of love and salvation to the world.
17) For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.Isaiah 65:17 (KJV)
The end result is that a new heaven and a new earth will be created yet God is already in the process of creating the new heavens and new earth by saving the lost, by redeeming a people to Him (His bride the church) and by carrying out His will. This is why Jesus tells us that He has overcome the world. The battles are not over, but the war is. God is carrying out His will to re-establish His kingdom no matter how dire and grim things in this life may seem.
4) For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.I John 5:4 (KJV)
By Jesus’ death on the cross as the sacrifice for our sins and by our coming to Him alone for salvation we also through being born again overcome the world. We share, as Christians, in Jesus’ overcoming of the world. Our Faith represents victory over sin, death and the world.
So then God expects for us to be saved. He expects for us to serve and glorify Him, and He expects to re-establish His kingdom for His glory and for us.
It is important to distinguish the difference between man’s expectations and God’s. There is a fundamental difference between the two.“…God is already in the process of creating the new heavens and new earth by saving the lost, by redeeming a people to Him (His bride the church) and by carrying out His will.”
Because God is sovereign His expectations are actually guarantees. Therefore, God will save the lost. He will give His saints the power to serve and glorify Him and He will re-establish His kingdom. There are no maybe statements pertaining to God.
Also, because God is sovereign there are no surprises for Him. Remember, He has overcome the world, sin and death.
Now then, all of the things that have been covered in this lesson so far are things that God expects for us yet as we learned at the start of this lesson, expectations are conditional in that we expect things out of someone else. We anticipate something to come from them.
What God expects from us
God then, by expecting things for us, also expects things from us. In fact, there is an exhaustive list of things God expects from us: faith, fruits of the spirit, prayer, supplication, thankfulness, spreading the gospel and many more.
These are all things God expects from us so that He can fulfill his expectations for us.
Thus, we must trust and obey His word and commands. We must also pray to God to help us fulfill what He expects from us, for without Him we can do nothing…
5b) for without me ye can do nothing.John 15:5b (KJV)
We accomplish what He expects from us by continually relying on and trusting Him.
3) Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.Jeremiah 33:3 (KJV)
When we pray to God to show us His glory through His working in us He will answer and show us great and mighty things that we cannot even fathom. It is important to note that the things God expects from us are not necessarily things that we can even expect for His ways are above our ways.
A home in heaven, seeing lives changed and saved, all of these are not things we can expect for ourselves because it is not in our power to make them happen but it is in God’s power.“…the Christian life is an endless series of “ah hah” moments.”
You see the Christian life is an endless series of “ah hah” moments. By staying connected to God the true vine we bear fruit for Him that astounds our imagination and makes us sit back in awe at who God is. It is all of grace and all that He does through us to fulfill what He expects from us that should be the catalyst for our worship of Him.
Our true purpose
Now, certainly Christians stumble, backslide and fail all the time, we still live in the flesh, yet even amidst all of our failures the ultimate conclusion of the matter is that God and all Christians will overcome the world for our true purpose is an eternal one.
28) Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:Hebrews 12:28 (KJV)
The fact that life, that is life of the soul, has continuity is one of the greatest truths of God’s creation. We are receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved.
Our lives have eternal continuity. What we as Christians do today has a direct impact on our futures in heaven and in God’s eternal kingdom.
Reader, you cannot forget the eternal perspective of the Christian life. Jesus’ death on the cross overcame death. He made a way for us to live with Him forever through that greatest act of all time: His death for you.
You cannot forget that what you are doing for God this very day and in this life through His power is for all of eternity.
3) And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.Daniel 12:3 (KJV)
Service to God and bringing others to Him allows us to shine forever as stars for all eternity. This is what life really is all about.
To live in Godly wisdom and bring others to God is our calling. When we do this we provide God with what he expects from us so that He can carry out what He expects for us.
We see here the inseparability of God and His saints. This is why the lost, those that are not saved, are lost in every sense of the word. They are without – without God’s active, daily and continual involvement in their lives.
While Christians can never lose their salvation there are times when we forsake our obligations and obedience to God and this can make us feel far from God because we do not provide God with what He expects from us.“Our lives have eternal continuity. What we as Christians do today has a direct impact on our futures in heaven and in God’s eternal kingdom.”
It is easy to get caught up in the temporary diversions that our fallen world has to offer and for sin and the devil to derail us from what God wants us to do.
This is why repentance and obedience are so vital. There is also something else that is vital, again it is an eternal perspective, that is constantly acknowledging why we do what we do as Christians.
Something to consider that might help us to keep heaven front and center in our lives is to return to that phase that we opened this lesson with: “we’ve been expecting you!”.
We have seen that God expects things for us and from us, but He is also expecting for us to see Him when we pass from this life to the next. He is expecting to see us.
What is more not just God but the same can be said for all those whom have gone before us, that is our Christian loved ones and friends.
Reader have you ever thought about that? Did you know that at the end of the day Jesus, our departed Christian loved ones and the angels are all expecting us in heaven?
23) But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.II Samuel 12:23 (KJV)
Just as King David in his anguish at the loss of his son knew he would go to him one day we too can know that we will go to be with those whom have already gone before us.
11) And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.Matthew 8:11 (KJV)
Additionally, in heaven, we will get to be with the saints of all ages and have an entire eternity to be with them.
Heaven is real, it is tangible and we will be reunited with Christians that have gone before us and our Christian friends and family. We cannot forget this. What we are doing for God in this life is helping others join in the glorious eternal reality of God’s kingdom. What we do now is impacting heaven in ways we cannot even realize in this life.
Therefore, for those who obey what God expects from them they will be welcomed into heaven with two phrases…
23) His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.Matthew 25:23 (KJV)
“Well done, good and faithful servant”. That is Jesus’ expression of joy for our carrying out what he expected from us.
34) Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:Matthew 25:34 (KJV)
“Come…inherit the kingdom prepared for you…” This is His welcome to those who have done what He has expected from them.
While these two phrases are magnificent and awesome in the truest sense, there is perhaps one last thing we may hear from Jesus and also from those whom we are reunited with in heaven upon our arrival…
“We’ve been expecting you!”
Reader, I cannot guarantee this will be spoken to us, but I think there is a very strong reason to anticipate hearing this upon our arrival in our eternal home.
God has been preparing a place for you. Your loved ones have lived in paradise and have been waiting for you to join them. What is more is that in service to God and through His power and grace we touch lives for Him and His eternal kingdom.
I do not think it any stretch of the imagination to anticipate that those whom we have touched for God’s glory are waiting to see us someday in heaven to thank us for things we might not even know we had done for them through God’s power. What a glorious reunion that will be!
May we then use the expectations of all of these in heaven as motivation to serve God and His kingdom this very day and for the rest of our lives on earth. Amen!Subscribe (RSS)