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Summary: When Jesus returns, my guess is that we’ll be amazed at the work that God has done to bring people into His Kingdom- work we didn’t know was occurring.

We’ll be Amazed when our Saviour Returns

September 7, 2002

What is the one element that most clearly defines the lives of Christians, who are people firmly rooted in Jesus Christ, in days such as these we live in right now? What is the one element that defines our lives as we relive the horror of last September 11, and the many other horrors that beset our world- far away and near at home?

The one defining element of the Christian life is ‘hope’. Hope makes us much different than others. There is a lot of hopelessness in this world, but that is not where we are. On one occasion, Paul spoke to the church in Thessalonica and he said to them that he didn’t want them to ‘grieve as those who have no hope’. He proceeded to outline why Christians weren’t just like everyone else, as he outlined the tremendous hope they had. He indicated, here, that there are people who don’t have hope and they respond to life’s situations, including death, in a different way from those who have hope. There are two kinds of people- those with hope and those without- and those with hope are not to respond just like those without.

Hope is not simply some ‘pie-in-the-sky, airy-fairy-wishfulness’. Hope is a firm expectation of all promised good things. We live in hope. We carry on our lives with hope. No matter what happens around us, hope buoys us up, when events might plunge others into depths of despair, depression, and discouragement. There is a spring in our steps, a glint in our eyes, and a positive outlook even while others are seeing only negativity, and we will be looking at the exact same events. It’s important for us not to let go of our hope and what we are pointed toward.

Please turn with me to:

Heb. 6. 12- 20- esp. v. 18, 19- our hope anchors our souls- our lives. Our hope, given us by the express promise and oath of God, is rooted in the activity of our Saviour, Christ. We see that He has gone somewhere that we get to go, also. He’s simply the forerunner, but that carries with is the express promise that we get to go there, too. Where Christ is, we get to be, now, future, and forever.

Our hope lies in the important relationship we have with Christ:

Col. 1. 25- 29- esp. v. 27- this is much more than wishful thinking. Christ IS in you. Have you accepted Jesus as your personal Saviour? Have you invited Him right into your heart and life today? (Our baptismal ceremony, crafted by Mr. Herbert Armstrong many years ago, is a ceremony filled with holy genius. Many simply baptize into Jesus, and this does not convey to many all that Jesus is, and, therefore, leaves some Christians short. However, in our ceremony, we remind the candidate that Jesus is their Saviour, their LORD and MASTER, their High Priest, and their SOON-COMING KING. Then we baptize into the name of the Holy Father, holy Son, and Holy Spirit.) And at that time, someone officially begins their walk with God, in Christ, out in the open- and accepts their responsibilities to the Christian church, as the church accepts toward that person. Your promise of glory is that Jesus is in you. Since He has gone behind the veil, right into the presence of God and into the realm of God, that’s where you and I are going, too, forever.

We’ve become used to referring to that realm as the ‘kingdom of God’. Others call it ‘heaven’. It’s the same thing. It’s where God is. That’s ALL heaven is- it’s the realm of God and of intimate contact with God. (Heaven is NOT a place. Do you think that God lives in a place? No, He isn’t bounded by time and space and a place demands both. God lives in a different dimension- one passage says that He ‘inhabits eternity’. Heaven is part of eternity. Jesus was clear that heaven/kingdom of God is NOT for flesh and blood that is subject to time and space- John 3. 3, 6). You and I, as Christians, in one way, live in heaven already- heaven is in your heart, as one song says. You are united with God- you live in the realm of God and on God’s stage. You are in the present of the kingdom of God and will be in the fullness of the kingdom in the future- that is your hope- but that hope is lived out NOW as well as in the future.

1 Cor. 15.12- 19- esp. v. 19- this is the essence of our hope. We look for something better- something greater. Again, v. 20 shows that AS Christ, SO for you and me. He’s ‘simply’ the first of many. You are part of the many! You have a tremendous future. Are you ‘in Christ’? Then you have a tremendous present, as well as future! It’s guaranteed. It’s sure. We’ll see, shortly, some of what we look forward to.

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