SEEK CHRIST HOPEFULLY – 1

Let’s continue to SEEK CHRIST WITH HOPEFUL EXPECTANCY and GREAT ANTICIPATION! How can we do that?

A real, true HOPE needs to be based on TRUTH. (Hope that is based on unreal, false promises brings disappointment, frustration, and lack of fulfillment.)

THE TRUTH

THE GOSPEL IS TRUTH ABOUT JESUS THAT BRINGS A LIVING HOPE

JESUS CAME TO BE THE SAVIOR OF THIS WORLD, and to BRING A LIVING HOPE TO A DYING WORLD! He was born, lived, died, was buried, resurrected from the grave, and is coming again! This GOSPEL Jesus came to bring is what our HOPE IS BASED ON. He is a God of HOPE… OUR BLESSED HOPE!

The GOSPEL is A MESSAGE OF HOPE – There is no joy like sharing the gospel to people who need to hear…  How can people believe without a preacher…

Romans 10:14-16How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?  …“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!” 17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

    What if Christ had not been born? (1)

    A minister fell asleep in his study one Christmas morning, and dreamed a dreadful dream… What if Christ had NOT BEEN BORN? There would be no nativity scenes, no joyful Christmas carols, no Christmas celebration of our Savior, no New Testament, no gospel, no hope, no comfort for those grieving over the loss of loved ones, no promises of eternal life… Despondency, hopelessness, and despair would be everywhere!

    He JOYFULLY AWOKE, thankful to find out that it was just a bad dream! CHRIST HAD COME! HALLELUJAH! What a message of JOY, COMFORT, AND HOPE THAT IS TO THE WORLD!

    A WORLD WITHOUT HOPE? (A)

    It’s hard to even imagine going through these difficult times without Jesus Christ! However, most people do. They face frightening fears and sleepless nights WITHOUT CHRIST!

    JESUS CAME… However, many didn’t receive Him, scoffed, ridiculed and rejected Him. Many were blinded to the truth that Jesus truly came to be the SAVIOR OF THE WORLD, and missed their wonderful, priceless opportunity to receive Him and become part of His wonderful family!

    A MISSED OPPORTUNITY (2)

    I heard a story about a well known, highly acclaimed violist who entered a public transportation station with his violin, and began to play. As he beautifully played through one classical masterpiece after another, the crowds rushed by, with hardly anyone giving him any attention at all. Finally, a woman threw a dollar into his violin case (equivalent of approximately p50) as she hurried by, without even taking time to stop and listen. One man actually slowed his pace, and stopped to listen for a few seconds, but then remembering his busy schedule, he hurried on. Several children wanted to stop and listen, but each of their parents quickly forced them to move on. The professional violinist played song after song with such excellence, but hardly anyone stopping to listen. Only a few (around 6 people) stopped their busy, hectic pace to give him their focused attention. When he finished his final song, there was no applause, and no recognition…

    What the people at that station didn’t know is that the violin player who had just played for them happened to be one of the greatest violinists in the world. In fact, 2 days earlier, he had held a sold-out concert where tickets averaged 200 dollars (equivalent of around p10,000+) per seat. However, on this day at that transit station, over 1000 people walked past him, completely unaware of the greatness of who it was that was in their midst. Imagine, a famous violinist playing some of the most beautiful music ever written right there for everyone to enjoy––free, and no one hardly even noticed him.

    Why… we might ask? Maybe he wasn’t dressed like what they expected a famous professional musician to look like? Or… possibly they didn’t expect someone like that to be playing at a public transportation station? Or… was it simply the busy-ness of life that kept people from being able to perceive the beauty that was freely made available before them to enjoy?

    Whatever the reason, the story presents a question for us all… Is it possible that we ourselves could be in the midst of something of incredible worth and beauty, and miss out on it because we don’t recognize it’s worth?

    • A master violinist was there to bless them, and neither did they recognize him as such, nor give him attention – they were too busy
    • Had they known who He was, many would no doubt have had different priorities, and made time in their schedules to be blessed…
    • We need to help people recognize who Jesus really is, so they not only appreciate and value Him, but can enjoy the blessings of His presence, and love that is freely given and available to the world..

    WHO IS JESUS?

    He is the ALMIGHTY GOD – OUR CREATOR! He is the SAVIOR OF THE WORLD! He is the LIGHT OF THE WORLD! He is the HOPE OF THE WORLD!

    A WORLD WITHOUT HOPE? (B)

    Why are so many in the world in darkness, and in hopeless despair? Many have not recognized Him, or their need for Him. They have not received Him. They are walking in darkness, with no light!

    John 8:12 – Then JESUS spoke to them again, saying, “I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the LIGHT OF LIFE.”

    HOPELESS AND IN DARKNESS WITHOUT THE LIGHT OF CHRIST

    John 3:17-21 – For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved… 19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that does evil hates the light, neither comes to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that does truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

    HOPELESSNESS OF THE WICKED

    HOPELESSNESS – leads to depression; fear;  torment;  inactivity; and lack of accomplishment!

    Ephesians 2:12 …that at that time you were WITHOUT CHRIST, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having NO HOPE AND WITHOUT GOD in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

    • Note: There is NO HOPE available for the wicked – it causes destructive actions, and dreadful consequences!

    Proverbs 11:7 – When a wicked man dies, his expectation will perish, and the hope of the unjust perishes.

    Job 8:13 – So are the paths of all who forget God; And the hope of the hypocrite shall perish…

    Job 27:8 –For what is the hope of the hypocrite, Though he may gain much, If God takes away his life?

    Proverbs 10:28 – The HOPE of the righteous will be gladness, But the expectation of the wicked will perish

    • HOPELESSNESS brings: weariness of life; lack of comfort; leads people even to desire death, sometimes drives people to suicide; depression; feelings of rejection and being forsaken; desperation and lack of satisfaction; sense of being without God; and feelings of being cursed and not blessed; feelings of of sorrow and remorse and painful agony instead of joy…).

    CAUSES OF HOPELESSNESS

    People who are not Christians have no real hope. They are HOPELESS. Jesus is our source of hope. When we receive Jesus as our Savior, He gives us true hope!

    Sometimes people feel HOPELESS because of sin and wrong doing. Sometimes they feels like there are no solutions. They have no assurance of salvation and eternal life,  which is often accompanied by unhappiness, discontent, fear and anxiety.

    Sometimes hopelessness is experienced due to apprehension AND FEAR of the unknown, and what might or might not happen. 

    It is experienced sometimes when faith is tried and tested, and very weak or non-existent…

    HOPE VS. HOPELESSNESS

    HOPE – Rises to fresh new challenges with strength, joyful anticipation and expectation to be an overcomer, and be      victorious in the midst of the difficulties!

    • HOPE brings; Strength; is invigorating; comfort; love for life; and an excitement to be alive; joyful anticipation of the future; feelings of acceptance and God being with us and for us; rest; fulfillment and satisfaction; sense of pleasing God and being in His will and purposes for our life; expectance of rewards and blessings; etc… 

    CHRIST THE HOPE OF THE WORLD – OUR LIVING HOPE!

    I Peter 1:3 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a LIVING HOPE through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…

    JESUS CHRIST my LIVING HOPE (3)

    There is a great song available on youtube by Phil Wickham (see footnote link). It is a very impactive song, the truth of which is being appreciated by millions, world-wide. The whole song is powerful, and exalting of JESUS, OUR LIVING HOPE! I would highly recommend listening to it and singing along…

    CHORUS

    Hallelujah – Praise the one who set me free!

    Hallelujah – Death has lost its grip on me!

    You have broken every chain, there’s salvation in your name!

    JESUS CHRIST, MY LIVING HOPE!… OH GOD, YOU ARE MY LIVING HOPE!

    How great the chasm that lay between us, how high the mountain I could not climb; In desperation I turned to heaven, and spoke your name into the night. Then through the darkness, your loving kindness, tore through the shadows of my soul. The work is finished, the end is written – JESUS CHRIST MY LIVING HOPE!

    Who could imagine, so great a mercy, what heart could fathom such boundless grace? The God of Ages, stepped down from glory, to wear my sin, and bear my shame. The cross has spoken, I am forgiven, the King of Kings calls me His own. Beautiful Savior, I’m yours forever, JESUS CHRIST, MY LIVING HOPE.

    Then came the morning, that sealed the promise, Your buried body, began to breath; Out of the silence, the roaring lion, declared the grave has no claim on me! … JESUS, YOURS IS THE VICTORY!

    GOD OF HOPE

    Romans 15:13 – Now may the GOD OF HOPE fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may ABOUND IN HOPE by the power of the Holy Spirit.

    • God has GIVEN US HOPE and a purpose for our existence. We have reason to go on, even though that existence includes tough times. Living through suffering, we become set apart for His glory. Through Christ we can find purpose in the difficulties of life.

    Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says        the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a HOPE.

    Jeremiah 31:17 –THERE IS HOPE in your future, says the Lord… 

    • Special note: Many of us are familiar with Jeremiah 29:11, but not as familiar with Jeremiah 31:17. Notice that the Lord God Almighty is saying to us that we have a HOPEFUL FUTURE

    CHRIST IN YOU THE HOPE OF GLORY

    Colossians 1:27 – … CHRIST IN YOU THE HOPE OF GLORY!

    HOPE IN GOD

    Psalm 42:11 – Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? HOPE IN GOD; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God…

    Isaiah 40:31 – … those who HOPE IN THE LORD will renew their strength…

    Psalm 27:13 – – I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living.

    Psalm 31:24 – Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who HOPE IN THE LORD.

    Psalm 38:15 – …in YOU, O LORD, DO I HOPE…

    Psalm 71:5 – … For YOU ARE MY HOPE, O Lord…

    Psalm 39:4-7 – Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is.
    You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Everyone is but a breath,
    even those who seem secure. “Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom, in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth
    without knowing whose it will finally be.
    “But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.

    • Special note: Life here on earth is so short! There are many things in life that we can put great value on, and prioritize in our schedules that are absolutely worthless in eternity! Our HOPE is something eternal! Let’s maintain our HOPE AT ALL COSTS, and keep it centered in the Lord and HIS WORD!

    Psalm 78:7 – That they may set their HOPE IN GOD, And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments

    • Special note: We must not be forgetful to SET OUR HOPE on God! It is an intentional setting of our HOPE. Kind of like setting our watch, or setting our navigation course. If a pilot didn’t carefully set their course, they would have difficulty making it to the destination…

    HOPE CONTINUALLY

    Psalm 71:14But I will hope continually, And will praise You yet more and more.

    Psalm 131:3 – O Israel, HOPE IN THE LORD from this time forth and forever.

    WHAT IT MEANS TO HOPE IN GOD

    Some meanings of HOPE: Anticipation, expectation, trust, confidence…

    Psalm 62:5 – My expectation is from God…

    JESUS IS OUR HOPE

    I Timothy 1:1 … by the commandment of God our Savior, and Lord Jesus Christ, WHO IS OUR HOPE

    • As already mentioned above… Christ in us – HOPE of glory (Colossians 1:27) 
    • HOPE of future (Jeremiah 29:11)
    • HOPE of eternal life (Titus 1:2)
    • HOPE of blessing (Jeremiah 17:7; Hosea 2:15);
    • Hope of happiness (Ps 146:5; Rom 12:12)
    • We have a LIVING HOPE! (Life beyond the cross, and death… resurrection HOPE).
    • As mentioned above, we have this LIVING HOPE as a result of being born again (I Peter 1:3)Thank you Jesus!

    A LIFE-TIME JOURNEY FILLED WITH HOPE

    What can help us smile through our tears, and keep rejoicing in our suffering is to remind ourselves that, as a Christian, whatever we are going through isn’t the end of the story! It’s simply a difficult journey and a cross we have the privilege to bear as Christ’s followers that leads us to the right destination!

    HOPE LIKE AN ANCHOR

    Our HOPE IN CHRIST stabilizes us in the storms of life.

    Hebrews 6:18-19; 3:6; 6:11 …by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of THE HOPE set before us. 19 This HOPE we have AS AN ANCHOR of the soul, both sure and steadfast… 6 if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of THE HOPE firm to the end… And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of HOPE until the end…

    • Special note: Jesus said, He that endures to the END will be saved (Matthew 24:11). We need to hold on to the anchor of HOPE! HOPE HELPS US MAKE IT TO THE FINISH LINE!

    I Peter 1:5 – …who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

    God is not a small God! He is the Maker of Heaven and Earth.

    Psalm 146:5,6 – Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, Whose hope is in the Lord his God, Who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; Who keeps truth forever,

    GOD’S WORD BRINGS HOPE

    Romans 10:17 – FAITH comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.

    Romans 15:4 – For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the SCRIPTURES might HAVE HOPE…

    Psalm 130:5,7- I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, And in His word I do hope… O Israel, hope in the Lord; For with the Lord there is mercy, And with Him is abundant redemption.

    • Here is a great slogan: FAITH believes it – HOPE anticipates it – PATIENCE waits for it…

    ABRAHAM believed in HOPE when things looked hopeless!

    Romans 4:18 – … who (Abraham), contrary to hopein hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken

    HOPE IS A SOURCE OF FAITH

    Faith is the substance of things HOPED FOR, the evidence of things not seen… (Hebrews 11:1)

    HELMET OF HOPE

    PROTECTION FROM THE ENEMY

    I Thessalonians 5:8  … be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a HELMET the HOPE OF SALVATION.

    • Special note: HOPE protects our minds from the discouraging darts and doubts and attacks of the enemy!

    DON’T BE DISCOURAGED

    There are times when we do daily battle with discouragement! Why should be discouraged? Let’s hope in God! He is our strength… I don’t want to be moved by discouraging circumstances… ( I shall not be moved!) “None of these things move me… (Paul said – Acts 20:24)

    Ps. 28:7 – My heart trusts in Him and I am helped!

    Ps 31:19 – …how great is His goodness for those that trust Him!

    Jeremiah 17:7,13,17 – “BLESSED is the man who trusts in the Lord, And whose HOPE IS THE LORD… O Lord, the HOPE OF ISRAEL, all who forsake You shall be ashamed. “Those who depart from Me Shall be written in the earth, Because they have forsaken the Lord, The fountain of living waters.”.. YOU ARE MY HOPE in the day of doom.

    I PETER 1:13,21 – 13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ… 21who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your FAITH AND HOPE ARE IN GOD.

    He’s our glory and lifter of our heads – Psalm 3:3.

    HOPE OF ETERNAL LIFE / HOPE IS ETERNAL

    Titus 1:2 – …IN HOPE of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began..

    Titus 3:7 – …that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the HOPE OF ETERNAL LIFE.

    • Special note: WE HAVE HOPE – We do not need to sorrow, or mourn and grieve  like those that have no hope (I Thessalonians 4:13). There is resurrection life – eternal life that awaits us beyond the grave! HALLELUJAH!

    OUR BLESSED HOPE

    OUR HOPE – THE 2nd COMING OF CHRIS

    I Peter 1:13 – Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and HOPE to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST;

    When we say our final farewell to someone we love, HOPE in the life beyond the grave helps us get through our grief, as we hopefully anticipate being reunited with loved ones.

    BLESSED HOPE

    Titus 2:12-14 – …denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the BLESSED HOPE and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

    CONCLUSION: MISSIONS CHALLENGE

    I Peter 3:15 – But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the HOPE that is in you, with meekness and fear…

    2 Corinthians 3:12 – Therefore, since we have such HOPE, we use great boldness of speech…

    • Special note: HOPE helps us to be bold in our witness for Christ!

    MISSIONS CHALLENGE

    • We live in a World that is without hope, without Christ!
    • Let’s share this hope we have… (Jesus came to preach the gospel to the poor).
    • When Jesus – OUR BLESSED HOPE  returns – it will be a time of great joy!
      • IT WILL BE WORTH IT ALL WHEN WE SEE JESUS – OUR LIVING HOPE!
      • Let’s CONTINUE TO SEEK CHRIST HOPEFULLY, AND SHARE OUR BLESSED, LIVING HOPE WITH THE WORLD!

    ___

    1. This story is taken from an impactive Christmas card written around a century ago. Thanks and acknowledgement for different renditions of it that can be found on several youtube sites. Here is one of them: https://viannespen.wordpress.com/if-christ-had-not-come/
    2. Thankful acknowledgement and appreciation for the adapted story of: Violin player at the Train Station (From story told on youtube at “Christmas at Brooklyn Tabernacle” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-Vy1mX0Ztc&t=456s&ab_channel=TheBrooklynTabernacle
    3. Special acknowledgement and appreciation to Phil Wickham for the song available on youtube: CHRIST OUR LIVING HOPE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-1fwZtKJSM&ab_channel=PhilWickhamVEVO

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