1 COR 15:13-20
OPEN: Hope is an interesting word. It admits to various possibilities. I have a strong suspicion that this word is used most often as almost a synonym for a wish. We use it with very little great confidence. I was not a very good student of biology. I recall having said to myself often, I hope I pass this course. But there was very little undergirding of that hope. You see, I really did not invest much of myself in study and preparation ... I was just wishing! (By the way, I did pass the course - I still do not know how.) But hope as it is used in the scriptures is a word literally filled with confidence. The Christians hope is a steadying factor in his life. It is, as the writer of Hebrews says, the anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast (Heb 6:19). Still, if I am to possess this hope, there must be some undergirding of it.
I. A GRAND PASSAGE FROM LAMENTATIONS 3:22-24
A. Profound words: Therefore will I hope in him
1. I know that Jeremiah did not have all of the information available to us
2. I know that he lived and died as a subject of the Mosaic covenant
3. but hope is not reserved only for you and me
4. with Jeremiahs world coming apart around him, he still had a great hope
B. What was the basis of his confident hope?
1. he knew of the great mercy of God - he knew of Gods unfailing love
2. he knew of Gods faithfulness (His dependability)
3. he had made God the focus of his own life and devotion
4. therefore, he had a confident hope
C. Now, there is a lesson in all of that for us
1. I am reminded just here of Heb 11:13
2. hope became the governing influence in their lives - dominated their actions
3. but, sweet friends, there are things we must embrace if hope is to be ours
4. without embracing them (as Jeremiah did) we will drift and be lost
II. NOW, I WANT US TO THINK OF SOME SPECIFICS
A. First, what is the hope that is in me?
1. Col 1:27 - ...Christ in you, the hope of glory
2. Col 1:5 - ...the hope which is laid up for you in heaven...
3. the hope in me is the hope of my heavenly home and inheritance!
4. but this is not a wish - this is a confident expectation! ... because there is a solid undergirding to the hope in me
B. The underpinning of Gods promises
1. Heb 10:23 - in my Bible for he is faithful... is in parentheses
2. but what an exciting parenthetical statement - it is the reason for unwavering devotion and faith
3. God keeps His promises! He has promised a heavenly inheritance to the faithful ... and He will keep that promise
C. The underpinning of the cross and Jesus blood
1. 1 Tim 2:5,6 - who gave himself a ransom for all...
2. it is because of what was accomplished at the cross that we can have hope!
3. 1 Pet 3:18 - ...the just for the unjust... - He paid a debt He did not owe ... so I could have a confident expectation of a heavenly home
D. The underpinning of Jesus resurrection
1. 1 Cor 15:17-19 - the apostle stakes everything on the resurrection fact
2. so, 1 Cor 15:20 - notice that word firstfruits - that is a word filled with hope
3. its the word which puts my own future into dynamic connection with this event which took place so many years ago
E.. The underpinning of my own burial and resurrection
1. Rom 6:4,5 - ...planted together...
2. dead in sins, I was baptized into Christ, into His death ... and I was raised from baptism a new creature (2 Cor 5:17)
3. so many people talk about second chances ... well, because I have been united into the death of Christ, I have that second chance ... a new life with a victory celebration at its end
F. The underpinning of my life lived in Christ
1. 1 Pet 4:1,2 - ...live ... to the will of God
2. its very simply, really - God has revealed the way of the new life in Christ ... and I live it! - Rom 8:16
3. living as His child, I have the promise of Rom 8:17 ... I am a legal heir!
III. ROMANS 8:24 SAYS THAT WE ARE SAVED BY HOPE
A. So, what is the role of this hope?
1. just as was the case with Jeremiah, with the heroes of faith - it is a controlling, dominating reality
2. more than a wish, it is my involvement in the solid underpinnings which makes this my confident expectation - not an empty I hope so
B. This hope finds its way into every part of my life
1. it touches, it influences, it restrains, it releases
2. it is the working out of my salvation with fear and trembling - Phil 2:12
C. This hope is the basis for great, needed patience
1. 1 Thes 1:3 with Rom 8:25
2. if hope is little more than a wish, it will not promote our patience in waiting - if hope is a confident expectation (an I know so sort of confidence), then it will promote patience in joy and sorrow; in good times and bad; etc.
CLOSE: Let me read one additional passage: 1 Pet 1:3-5. I look forward to this great and incomparable inheritance. It is the hope of glory that pervades and prevails in my life.
Cecil A. Hutson
02 March 2003
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)