Summary: Thank God for the Protecting, Positive, and Purifying hope of the Lord’s return.
THE GLORIOUS HOPE OF THE CHRISTIAN
The ‘Glorious Hope Of The Christian’ is the near return of our Lord Jesus Christ, coming to receive those who are His own that they may be with Him in Glory.
We look for this great event because of the promises of God’s Word, and also because of the amazing events taking place around us in the political world, and religious world.
As the Wise Men of old saw the Star and read its meaning, so we can read the signs around us, and see in them the foretelling of the nearness of our Lord’s return. This is a ‘Blessed Hope’ for all who are willing to see it, and who are watching for it.
I want to centre our attention on
‘The Blessed Hope Of Our Lord’s Return’.
I. IT IS A PROTECTING HOPE
I Thessalonians 5:8 [NIV] But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.
In the context of this chapter, this hope refers to the realisation of a complete salvation at the rapture of the church when the Lord comes again. Paul speaks of the hope as being a ‘Protecting Hope’, in the same way as a helmet protects a warrior in the battle. Just so this hope is able to protect us as we look on with earnest expectation to the fullness of our salvation, which is only complete when we are taken away from the presence of sin and temptation, into the presence of the Lord.
Titus 3:7[NIV] so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
[BBE] So that, having been given righteousness through grace, we might have a part in the heritage, the hope of eternal life.
II. IT IS A POSITIVE HOPE
Hebrews 6:19 & 20a 19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf.
The symbol is of the ‘Anchorius’, a small boat propelled by oars. When a sailing boat seeking to enter harbour met a very strong offshore wind, so making it impossible to enter the shelter of the harbour, the ‘anchorius’ would row out and take the ship’s anchor on board, and returning to the harbour would cast the anchor inside the harbour, so securing the ship.
We have this hope, we are not anchored in the world, our anchor is in heaven, where Jesus has gone before. We may be in the stress of the storm, but our anchor is secure in heaven! One day, very soon, Jesus is coming again to take us to be with Him. Until then we have this wonderful positive hope. No need to get disturbed by the storms of life. No need to get ruffled by the winds of adversity. Our anchor is within the veil!
III. IT IS A PURIFYING HOPE
Titus 2:12 - 14 12 It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
These words were written to Titus who was at Crete, a very immoral island, and full of great wickedness. Some of the people had become Christians, and since their conversion they now had a purifying hope!
The hope of the Lord’s near return should have a practical application to our lives. If we are indeed expecting the Lord’s return, let us live and work as if He were coming the next moment; always in a state of readiness, eagerly anticipating the catching away of those who are the Lord’s. We may know these great truths, and even be able to quote the relevant scriptural references, but if we are not in a state of constant readiness, of eager expectation, of practical application, then we are hearers only, and not doers of the Word!
I really believe that the Lord Jesus Christ could come NOW! This very moment! If that hope is truly in each of our hearts, it will help us to keep clean in our daily living, and pure before the Lord. The fact that Jesus could come now, is a ‘purifying hope’. I want to found ready when He comes. I want to be found faithful when He comes. If He comes when the mid-week meeting is on, I want to be in that meeting. If He comes on Sunday Evening, I want to be taken up with my fellow saints, or on Sunday Morning I want to be around the Lord’s Table.
Thank God for the Protecting, Positive, and Purifying hope of the Lord’s return.