Summary: Some brief reflections for an Easter communion.
THE RISEN HOPE (1 Peter 1:3)
Is there any hope ? Christian Aid poster - do you believe in life before death ? A constant refrain goes up throughout the ages is there hope ? On a human level, there seems to be little war, famine. Wrong seems to win the hearts and minds of people and man has tried to bypass God by leaving Him out of their lives. We reap the results - rising crime, selfishness and greed. Life for so many people has become a sham and lost it’s purpose. The words of King Solomon are once again proved true "hope deferred makes the heart sick" (Proverbs 13:12)
Two kinds of hope in the world vain hope and Bible hope.
1. Trust in man - "cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the Lord" (Jer 17:5). Strength fails and faculties dim. (Political power, technology, ,science, New Age.
2. Self righteousness & attitude of the Pharisee - "I do no harm to others and ’keep the commandments’"
3. Material wealth - parable of rich fool and example of young stockbroker. Not wrong in itself...but store up treasures in heaven.
God’s world is founded on hope - darkness to dawn, winter to spring, children as a sign that the world is to continue.
Three aspects of hope:
A. Hope brings life.
"the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God and they shall live" (Jn 5:25) "I come that they may have life in abundance" (Jn 1O). Life with a capital L, not learner. This is the real thing, folks.
Christ did not merely survive death, but conquered it with a power that this world cannot even begin to emulate.
Resurrection is our guarantee of hope if Jesus did not rise from the dead, then we are lost and the most miserable and deluded of sinners
We are never beyond hope. It is a sin to slam the door in God’s face and say that a person or a situation is hopeless. No affliction, temptation, guilt, or power of sin, wounded spirit or fear should lead us to despair of God, who in Jesus Christ is "able to save completely" (Heb 7:25). God’s power is able and available to forgive, cleanse and heal. Broken dreams are made whole and lives are restored. (story of alcohol to furniture) The Risen Christ can turn our lives around.
Life in Christ an eternal hope. Life without Him a hopeless end.
B. A joyful hope.
NT hope is not a mere idea clinging to a possibility, but rather the confident expectation of enjoying God. We “rejoice in the hope of His glory" (Rom 5:2) through "Christ in us" (Col 1:27). God tells us to be "joyful in hope" (Rom 12:12), because "though we have not seen Him we love Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy" (1 Pet 1:18).
"idols fade; but God abides and in man’s heart speaks with a clear unconquerable cry of life and hopes that can never die"
C. A faithful hope
- "we have this hope as an anchor for the soul" (Heb 6:19)
- "God is our refuge and strength" (Ps 46:1)
- "against all hope, Abraham believed in hope" (Rom 4:18)
- personal experience of God’s faithfulness call to ministry
"My covenant will never fail. I will not alter what my lips have uttered" (Ps 89). "The righteous will hold onto their ways" (Job 17:9) is not God righteous ?