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Summary: A sermon about the hope which the Resurrection brngs about.

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John 16:22

The Wilderness State

By: Rev. Kenneth Emerson Sauer, Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport News, VA

In our Gospel Lesson for this morning Jesus Christ is telling His

disciples, before His crucifixion, "now is your time of grief, but I will

see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy."

Jesus was not about to leave those who believe in Him, those who love

Him alone in say a wilderness state

no

The resurrection would change things permanently, bringing a joy that

cannot be removed by the assaults of the world.

Jesus said that there would be grief at first.

He would be going away and leaving the disciples by sacrificing Himself

for the world.

They would "weep" and "mourn" and experience deep grief.

Their hopes would seem to be dashed upon the rocks of humankinds

ultimate enemy: death.

But after this grief there was to be irrepressible joy.

Jesus said that He would arise, and His resurrection would cause His

followers to burst forth with joy.

And the same can be said of us today.

Before we came into a personal relationship with the risen Christ, we

werein effectin a state of deep mourning and grief.

We were traveling along in this world of darkness and shadowsas fallen

peopleas people who are living without God

without the knowledge of the love of God, without faith in Christ,

without hope that comes through faith, and joy that comes through faith,

and the "peace"the peace which transcends all understandingwhich only

comes from a daily walk with the risen Lord.

We were in a wilderness state.

We were in bondageor slaves to sin, fear and the devil.

Old age was faced with fear, and sin and suffering were all that we had

in our repertoire.

During a time that I was living in the wilderness state I had a dream

that I died and went to hell.

In my dream, hell was not so different from the world in which I was

living.

In my dream, in hell, I was walking alongwhen I spotted some high school

friends of mine partying on the beachgranted I was in high school when

this dream occurred, and partying at the beach was our favorite thing in

the whole wide world to do.

We all seemed to be having a good time until one of my friends turned to

me with a bright smile and said, "Ken. Isnt this great? We can party

here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for ever and ever and ever."

I remember having sort of an epiphany at this momentwhen I came to a

dreadful realization of the reality we were facing

I said, "Yeah, but there is no time here. Whats the point? What is

there to party about? There is no hope, there is no loveno real love

there is no relationship with God.

Were all just a bunch of losers partying with nothing to party

aboutforever."

In my dream, from that point on, all I wanted to do was to get out of

hell!

Its funny, but I knew what I had to do to get out. I had to say, "Jesus

Christ died for my sins."but somehowdown in hellthose were the only

words I could not get to come out of my mouth.

I remember, in my dream, coming along a family that I had known in my

previous life on earth.


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