Summary: Because of the resurrection, there is hope for the hopeless.
A. Today, I want to focus our complete attention on the resurrection of Jesus and the hope that it provides.
1. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the good news that although Jesus was crucified for our sins, and was buried in a tomb, on the third day He came back to life.
a. That’s the Gospel – the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.
2. An angel rolled the stone away from the tomb, and Jesus came out and appeared to over 500 of His disciples over the next 40 days.
3. The God who moved that stone, still moves stones today.
4. There is hope for the hopeless because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
B. There is a story told of a man who approached a little league baseball game one afternoon.
1. He asked a boy in the dugout what the score was.
2. The boy responded, “Eighteen to nothing--we’re behind.”
3. “My,” said the man, “I’ll bet you’re discouraged.”
4. The little boy replied, “Why should I be discouraged? We haven’t even gotten up to bat yet!”
C. Most of us struggle to be that hopeful, especially when life hits us so hard.
1. There’s not much hope in circulation these days.
2. The news we read about and hear is usually bad news.
3. There are economic uncertainties – the stock market is down, gas prices are up, the dollar is worth less and less.
4. The war in Iraq drags on at great cost both in human life and dollars.
5. It seems that faithfulness in marriage is at an all-time low.
6. So many people are facing family problems, employment problems and health problems.
7. And the result of all of this is that many people are discouraged, depressed, and hopeless.
D. Is there hope for the hopeless? Yes, indeed!
1. Where can a person turn to find hope?
2. I believe that the only hope that has substance is found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
3. The Gospel of Jesus does not promise a charmed life filled with constant material blessings, but it does give solid assurance that life is worth living and that problems are worth enduring.
4. The Gospel provides the hope that there is more to life than what we can see.
5. The invisible, spiritual world is even more real than the world we can see and touch.
E. The kind of hope that the Bible talks about is not just pure optimism.
1. If you know me, then you know that I tend to be optimistic.
2. Optimists tend to see the glass as half-full, rather than half empty.
3. I’ve heard about the optimist that looked at his flat tire and said, “Yeah, but it’s only flat on the bottom.”
4. Optimism is well and good, but Biblical hope is much more than optimism.
5. Biblical hope is not “hope so” hope, rather it is “know so” hope.
6. We might say, “I hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow.” That’s “hope so” hope.
7. With biblical hope we wait for the coming of the Lord and the salvation of our souls.
8. Those are not hopes in the sense that they may not happen, but only in that they have not yet happened. Biblical hope is about certainties that just haven’t yet happened.
9. That’s what Paul meant when he wrote these verses in Romans 8, “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” (Romans 8:22-25)
F. The resurrection of Jesus Christ made all the difference in the lives of Jesus’ earliest followers.
1. I can only imagine how filled with hope they were during the week before the crucifixion.
2. They triumphantly paraded with Jesus into Jerusalem, with crowds cheering for him.
3. They joined Jesus as He entered the temple and cleared out those people and things that didn’t belong there.
4. They enjoyed the Passover meal with Jesus as He washed their feet and taught them many things.
5. Next came the confusion.
6. Jesus predicted His betrayal and denial, His arrest and crucifixion.
7. They didn’t understand any of these things.
8. They went across the Kidron Valley to the Garden of Gethsemane, and Jesus prayed by Himself as the rest could not keep themselves awake.
9. In their grogginess, a mob came and with a kiss of betrayal, took Jesus away, and they all fled.