Sermons

Summary: Christians hope is not bound TO this world but makes all the difference for life IN this world.

THY WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN: A BIBLICAL EXPLANATION OF HOPE {PART 1}

REVELATION 14:13

Sermon Objective: Christians hope is not bound TO this world but makes all the difference for life IN this world.

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)

Dr. W. A Criswell, Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas Texas, said on one occasion on an airplane flight he found himself seated beside a well-known theologian. He desperately wanted to start a conversation and they did get to talk. The man told Dr. Criswell about how he had recently lost his little boy through death. Dr. Criswell listened as he told his story:

He said he had come home from school with a fever and we thought it was just one of those childhood things, but it was a very virulent form of meningitis. The doctor said we cannot save your little boy. He'll die.

And so this seminary professor, loving his son as he did, sat by the bedside to watch this death vigil. It was the middle of the day, and the little boy whose strength was going from him and whose vision and brain was getting clouded said, "Daddy, it's getting dark isn't it?" The professor said to his son, "Yes son it is getting dark, very dark." Of course it was very dark for him. He said, "Daddy, I guess it's time for me to go to sleep isn't it?"

He said, "Yes, son, it's time for you to go to sleep."

The professor said the little fellow had a way of fixing his pillow just so, and putting his head on his hands when he slept and he fixed his pillow like that and laid his head on his hands and said, "Good night Daddy. I will see you in the morning." He then closed his eyes in death and stepped over into heaven.

Dr. Criswell said the professor didn't say anymore after that. He just looked out the window of that airplane for a long time. Then he turned back and he looked at Dr. Criswell with the scalding tears coming down his cheeks and he said, "Dr. Criswell, I can hardly wait till the morning."

(“Can't Wait Until Morning” as told by Rev. Steve Gallimore)

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 key Biblical concepts to you. Those include great doctrines like, Sovereignty, The Fear of the Lord, The Holy Spirit, Christian Perseverance (faithfulness), 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.

There is another such concept (or doctrine) that falls within 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 the Christian faith as a whole. It is a permanent fixture of our faith. 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 the 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. Just this week I heard a journalist say “it seems the entire globe is going through a nightmare.” Hope is at an all time low … if you are a secularist.

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

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