Sermons

Summary: Where there is no faith in the future, there is no power in the present.

THY WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN: A BIBLICAL EXPLANATION OF HOPE {PART 2}

REVELATION 14:13

Sermon Objective: "Where there is no faith in the future, there is no power in the present."

INTRO

Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.” (Rev. 14:13)

Good Morning. Christ is risen! {He is risen in deed}. And never forget … NEVER FORGET … the resurrection changes everything!

As Vice President of the U.S., George Bush represented the U.S. at the funeral of former Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. Bush was deeply moved by a silent protest carried out by Brezhnev's widow. She stood motionless by the coffin until seconds before it was closed. Then, just as the soldiers touched the lid, Brezhnev's wife performed an act of great courage and hope, a gesture that must surely rank as one of the most profound acts of civil disobedience ever committed: She reached down and made the sign of the cross on her husband's chest.

There in the citadel of secular, atheistic power, the wife of the man who had run it all hoped that her husband was wrong. She hoped that there was another life, and that that life was best represented by Jesus who died on the cross, and that the same Jesus might yet have mercy on her husband.

(Gary Thomas, in Christianity Today, October 3, 1994, p. 26.)

Hope.

Christian hope.

It stands in striking contrast to the despair of the world. It gives color to our world – even in the midst of grief. In 1 Thessalonians 4:13 Paul says, “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.”

In the past I have used the Book of the Revelation to explain and illustrate many key Biblical concepts to you. Those include great doctrines like, Sovereignty, The Fear of the Lord, The Holy Spirit, Christian Perseverance (faithful endurance), the Resurrection, Atonement, Repentance, and Prayer. In some cases, the words themselves are never used in the book but the doctrines are present and even a guiding force for the author. An example is the word “sovereignty.” It is never used but to deny that sovereignty is not illustrated and essential to the book would be ridiculous.

Christian hope falls into this category; hope. The word “Hope” is never used in the book; but to deny that the Christian’s Hope is not a guiding force for the book’s author would be … again … ridiculous.

Christian Hope is not only a significant reality to The Revelation’s author it is a bedrock principle of our faith. It is a permanent fixture. The New Testament (and the Old) cannot be understood without a proper understanding of hope. Hope is so wonderful that it deserves our attention this morning and, I assure you, will bring praise to your lips! Revelation is saturated with Christian hope. In the book we “see” hope realized. It is hope fulfilled.

Christian hope stands in stark contrast to the world’s mood and perspective. Have you noticed lately how much despair there is in the news? It seems every facet of life is discouraging for the secularists. The economy, the job market, international affairs, military affairs, (need I go on) all have indicators that are discouraging. Hope is at an all time low … if you are a secularist.

In Kurt Vonnegut’s novel, Cat's Cradle an important book comes to light. It is titled "What Can a Thoughtful Man Hope for Mankind on Earth, Given the Experience of the Past Million Years?" The chief character is anxious to read it. But when he does, he finds that it doesn't take long. The whole book consists of one word: "Nothing."

Hope was not a characteristic of the secular world in the first century either. The word was seldom used. Only occasionally do you find it in writings of that time period. When it was employed it was almost always used in a context that refers to something illusory or even wishful thinking. Secular burial inscriptions reveal no content suggesting hope of an afterlife. In fact, one secular burial epitaph from Paul’s day says:

I was not

I became

I am not

I care not.

{Warren Wiersbe, “Be Ready,” p. 83}

Paul was right in suggesting the world was “without hope and without God” (Eph. 2:12ff; 1 Thess. 4:13).

But hope holds a key place in the life of the saint. As I said, it is a permanent fixture. It is imparted by the Holy Spirit and is designed to encourage us and strengthen us during tribulation. It is evidenced in the life of every Christian who is experiencing hard times

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