The Blessed Hope
Text: Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
Tomorrow there will be people who will be going to jobs of every sort, some will be going to school, others will be just at home working. These people will be fulfilling their duties and responsibility of daily life. They will be faced with problems to solve, questions to answers and things that may challenge them. Some people will be faced with burdens that will stagger them threaten to crush them to the ground.
What do you think will cause these people to go about their daily struggle of life, and some even wear a smile? What is it that makes them keep on keeping on? The answer is HOPE. Hope that tomorrow will be a better day.
Take away hope and even the strongest and toughest of people will become discourage and fall into despair. We are living in a time where the world is in chaos. The uncertainty of what the next day will bring bears up on all of us. There are wars being fought in our streets, terrorist threats, gang violence, the uncertainty of the economy, political unrest, families falling apart, our children are faced with all types of social problems—life is uncertain.
Some people cannot face the problems of life. They are utterly crushed, filled with darkness and fear. That person has no hope. BUT let someone bend down and whisper in their ear the glad word of HOPE and watch the change! Their eyes will begin to shine once again, their face will light up, they will leap to their feet and take hold of life. Without hope it is impossible to face the daily struggles of life.
We have been studying the Book of Revelation and see the condition of the world as we are rapidly approaching the day when the LORD will come again. We are witnessing the judgments of God upon the wicked nations, but we are also seeing the persecution and tribulation that many Christians are going through around the world as Satan pours out his wrath of the children of God. As Christians we cannot be without hope. This blessed hope is what will sustain us when the whole world is falling around us. This hope will sustain us when we are faced with persecution and even death. We are engaged in a spiritual war and need the assurance of hope.
This is an invisible spiritual war a battle which involves all men and women. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph 6:12) It is not a visible war because spirits are involved, and we learn in Luke 24:39, that a spirit does not have flesh and bones.
Every person alive is engaged in this battle, whether they realize it or not. There is no neutral ground. Unbelievers are in bondage to evil and have been taken captive by enemy forces. Though believers have been freed from the enemy through Jesus Christ, they are still engaged in the war for two reasons. All believers wrestle against evil spiritual forces because of his relentless counterattacks as well as to free others from the bondage. "Wrestling" involves close personal contact. No one is exempt from this battle. No one can view it from a distance. The Christian warfare never ceases.
· Spiritual warfare is "multidimensional,” which means it is fought in different dimensions.
· It is a social battle between the believer and the world (John 15:18-27).
· A personal battle between the flesh and the spirit (Gal 5:16-26).
· A supernatural battle between believers and evil spiritual powers (Eph 6:10-27).
It is vital that the believer recognize that they are in a battle. Not knowing the spiritual conflict that is raging around the believer is one reason there are so many defeated Christians. This is the basic fact that allows one to prepare for battle and face an enemy that can only be seen with spiritual eyes. Ignorance is a Christian’s greatest weakness. Keep Christians ignorant and they will be no threat to Satan. One of the other most important things to know is that there are two kingdoms that are in conflict. This is the source of all spiritual battles that we face. There is the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of light. These are the kingdoms of Satan and the LORD respectively. Paul in his letter to the church at Rome admonishes the saints to put on the armor of light. Christians are in a war against the kingdom of darkness and our weapons are spiritual.
This invisible war is being waged on earth. Satan fights to maintain control of the kingdoms of the world. He does not want them to come under God's authority. Satan blinds the spiritual eyes of the unbelievers and attacks believers in the areas of worship, the Word, their daily walk, and their work for God.
There will come a time when the battle will be so difficult that the only thing that will sustain us is that the LORD is coming back.
The Thessalonians watched and waited for Jesus Christ to return. Some among them died and the living were troubled lest the dead in Christ should miss the great coming. Paul wrote and told them that they were not to sorrow as others whose died did not die in Christ Jesus. Paul told them that the Lord is coming down into the air and the dead in Christ will not miss that great event for they will be the FIRST to realize it. The Lord will raise them first, then those Christians living will be changed and caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air. This is the hope that we have. This is the hope Paul wrote of. This is the hope John wrote of. This is the "BLESSED HOPE."
You have noticed cemeteries and the memorials of the dead. Lonely churchyards with family burial plots, the larger the town, the larger the "city of the dead." Think of that day coming when those people who died in the LORD shall hear a voice and rise. The day when death shall be defeated and a grave never more be dug nor filled with God's Children. That hour of resurrection triumph will be at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is by the coming of the LORD, that the dead in Christ will be raise. This is the hope that we have that one day when the LORD of lords and KING of kings shall return we will be gathered together with HIM. There is not the slightest warrant in the Word of God to hope for the resurrection of the Christian dead apart from the second personal coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Take away the blessed hope of the coming of the LORD and the grave cover the hopelessly dead.
Take away the Second Coming of the LORD and there is not one word of hope one can hold out that the Christian dead will be anything more than disembodied souls.
Because Christ is surely coming a second time, that coming means the redemption of the body. It means the Christians complete redemption from the power of death. Not only are those who died in Christ will be raised, but Christians living in that moment are to be changed, transfigured, made deathless, incorruptible and immortal. In a moment, at the coming of the Lord, the wrinkles will disappear from the brow of age, the sick will be cured, health will leap through every vein and youth immortal shall clothe each changed, transfigured and translated saint.
This is the hope of every Christian. This is the hope we have and believe. But this hope is not experienced by everyone. There are going to be those who the Day of the LORD will not be a time of hope and deliverance, but a time of fear.
The Apostle John saw into the future what the Day of the LORD return would bring to those who do not have the blessed hope.
And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? Rev. 6:15-17
While the great men, rich men and all who serve Satan are fearful there will be those who have fought the fight of faith and with joy welcome the coming of the LORD. They have had their hope in the ONE who brings them their final salvation. They have longed for the day when the battle would be over.
The hope is one day the clang of the swords will one day die away, the shouting of the slaughter will be hushed; silence will lay on the red-stained ground. Swords and Shields will cover the field, broken blades lay where the dead were placed in heaps. The nerveless hand still gripped the broken hilt: helmeted heads, look upward, when facing the benediction of life. The battlefield of fear, doubt, depression, physical problems, condemnation, obsessions, worry, despair or hopelessness is faced by every Warrior, but we have this Blessed Hope. The Captain of our Salvation will be returning soon.
All through the history of mankind there has been a group of individuals, in a scared and unbroken succession, who have confessed that they were pilgrims and strangers upon this earth. They can be found wandering the deserts and, in the mountains, dwelling in the dens and caves of the earth, to which they have been driven by those who would wage war against them. They can be found in the marketplace and homes of men, distinguished only by their simpler dress, their girded loins; their restrained appetites of worldly pleasures; their loose hold on gold; their independence of the opinions and applause of the world around them. There is in their eyes the far-away look which now and then glows from a certain affection centered not on the transitory things of time and earth, but on those eternal realities which, lying beneath the veil of the visible, and are only revealed in faith. These are the Warriors of the Cross who have the Blessed Hope of knowing that they will soon be done with all the troubles and trials of this life
It will be a blessing when we meet the LORD at his return. What overshadows our joy right now is knowing that we have family and friends who will not be part of this blessed hope. Our hearts are filled with sorrow to think they will not hear the words enter in but the words of depart from me. It should break our hearts to think that someone we love would be left behind when the LORD returns.
No one needs to be without this blessed hope. Salvation is free to all who will accept the gift of God’s sacrifice of HIS SON Jesus Christ. You too, can be filled with the great hope of HIS second coming and hurry to tell your family and friends about this great hope.