Hope

Hope

Scripture: 1 Peter 3:15, Luke 21:25-28, 1 Corinthians 15:1-58
Date: 04/18/2009  Lesson: 3
It is sometimes hard to find hope in our sinful world, but the Christian has hope now and forever in the future.

Faith and Works by Ellen White

Faith and Works by Ellen White
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Good morning and a very Happy Sabbath from Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church. We are glad that you are tuning in and joining us this morning, whether you're listening on the radio, watching live on our website at saccentral.org, or watching on the various television networks, we welcome you. And we are going to sing a couple of your favorite songs this morning. The first one is "Jesus loves me," 190 in your hymnals. Those of you here, pull out your hymnals.

Those of you at home, sing along with us. This is a request from brandon, Michael, susanna, elisabeth, Esther and anna in australia, marielle in Canada, baby rachel in ireland, marion in new zealand, jane in england, molly in Iowa, barbara in California, Moses in zambia and tina in Montana. Tina says that this song is a request for her-- dedication for her daughter, catherine rose, who was born January 29, 2009. And she goes to sleep when she hears this song. So catherine, you're going to go to sleep now, okay.

We're going to sing 190, "Jesus loves me." And we're gonna do the first, second and third verse. Thank you. I'd like to introduce to you the Sacramento central church choir who are joining us this morning. It's always a treat to have a lot of voices, so they are singing along this morning. Our next song is 359, "hark! The voice of Jesus calling," .

This is a request from anne-marie in antigua and barbuda, claudius in barbados, lenor in england, sharon and louise in grenada, charlene in Idaho, teodor in Illinois, josfin in ireland, kemote in jamaica, elsie in the Philippines, caroline in saint lucia, David and lois in trinidad and tobago, . We'll do the first, second and fourth verse. [Music] Do you believe what that song says? You don't have to get on a plane or a boat or something and travel to the other side of the world. There is plenty for you to do right here. Of course if you want to go to the other side of the world, absolutely, go.

But there are things that you can definitely do right here. We have a special request from Pastor Doug this morning. And I know it's a favorite of many of you. It goes along with our lesson study this morning, "we have this hope," 214 in your hymnals, , "we have this hope." And I want you to sing this with a big smile on your face, because we have a hope in Jesus, . In your hymnals, you might have one verse or two verses.

Hopefully you have two. Amen. Father in Heaven, we thank you so much for the hope that you have given to us. This morning we thank you so much for your love, for dying on the cross for us and for bringing us here this morning to open up Your Word and study together. We thank you so much for this beautiful Sabbath day that you have blessed us with.

And I pray that you'll be with each one that is here, those who are part of our Sabbath school family each week. I pray that you will pour your spirit out on us as we open up Your Word and study together and that you'll be with our speaker in a very special way. In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time our lesson study will be brought to us by our senior pastor here at central church, Pastor Doug Batchelor. Morning.

Thank you very much, debbie and jessica and anthony and the choir and musicians. And that is encouraging to hear that chorus. And I asked if we could sing, "we have this hope," because you know we're going through "the Christian life" in our studies now. We talked the first time about love. And then we talked about faith.

And then now we talk about hope. And of course that all comes from 1 Corinthians 13. "Now abides faith, hope and love; the greatest of these is love." Well, we're dealing with the third, the trinity of those great Christian virtues today. For our friends who might be joining us for the first time, we're in our study guide dealing with "the Christian life." And we are in lesson number three today. And it is our custom to make a free offer in connection with each lesson.

The free offer today is number 727. You have to ask for the number when you call the number. And it's "assurance: justification made simple," "assurance: justification made simple." Call this number; we'll send it to you for free. And that number is 866-788-3966. We'll be happy to send that to you.

And also want to remind our friends that these lessons are archived at the Amazing Facts website. So if you want to see them later, or if you miss it during one of these network broadcasts, you can go to Amazing Facts, and where it says, "media," you'll see there's a whole section there just for Sabbath school. And want to welcome our class here, central church. Want to welcome our extended class and those who are part of the central family from around the world, that are studying with us today. It's always encouraging for me when I travel to run into all the people I meet that say, "we're part of the extended Sabbath school class.

" And it's humbling. I think I told some of you that I was recently introduced to Facebook. And it's sort of a double-edged sword, because it's neat 'cause I'm finding out about all these friends out there. But takes a lot of time to communicate with all the friends. And I didn't realize that they got a limit on Facebook of how many friends you can have.

That doesn't sound fair. But I reached my limit. I think the limit is 5,000 friends anyone's allowed to have and I'm like at 4,998. I was at 5,000, but some people don't want to be my friend anymore. And now I'm back down to like ,980.

So I've got room to add a few more. Anyway, why did I say all that? Oh, there's all these people that they're saying, "we're part of your Sabbath school class that, you know, thousands that we didn't know about." And so that's encouraging. And I just want to make something clear. You periodically hear us say here at central church, if you don't have a church you can worship with, you can be one of our online members. And we do have a number of people who are members of central church online.

That's something unique that Sacramento central offers for people who are isolated for a variety of reasons, folks who can participate through the internet. There's no local adventist church, or for some reason they can't attend. And this gives them a way to stay connected. We're not trying to encourage people who do have a local church not to go to their local church. It's really important that you get the real live fellowship.

And so, but if you are one of those people, you can go to saccentral.org. And we do have a pastor here who communicates. There's counseling and fellowship. We do as much as we can do through the internet. And as I've said before, there's a lot you can download, but you can't download a hug or a potluck.

And so that's available there too. Okay, now on to the lesson: "hope." "Hope." And we have a memory verse. It's 1 Peter 3:15. And I'd invite you to say that with me: 1 Peter 3:15. I'll be reading from the new king James version.

And it says, "but sanctify--" anyone saying it with me? Alright here we go, "but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear." We should be able to explain why we have hope. The world, in many ways, is in a hopeless condition. When the year 2000 began, you know, after the y2k scare, everybody thought, "what's gonna happen with the millennium?" People thought the stock Market was gonna crash. And actually, there was no y2k problem, and the stock Market just started to go into orbit. And it looked like we were entering the new millennium with a great optimism.

But then after 9-11 it seemed like a number of things changed. And people became frightened. And it seemed like the economy began to shake--and now it's really shaking--and the war on terror and a lot of uncertainty. There's a verse in the Bible that describes conditions in the last days. I'm gonna read Luke 21:25 and verse 26.

And speaking of the last days, "there will be signs in the sun, and the moon, and the stars; and earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring." Some people wondered after that tsunami, what was that December 31, 2004, --was it 2006? --It was the end of December. What was the year for the--2006? . Yeah, the tsunami. Yeah, it was the 26th of December. And 250,000--that's an estimate--people died from that.

And they still haven't cleaned up the devastation. And it helped people in the world realize that just if our planet sneezes a little bit, it can cause a global catastrophe. And some looked at this verse, "the sea and the waves roaring." The next verse, "men's hearts failing them for fear." So we're in a world where people, they're scared for their health. They're scared for their safety with terrorism. They're scared for the economy.

They're scared with the breakdown of families. And there's a lot of hopelessness in the world today. That's why we need that hope. Alright, now who has Luke 21:27. That you? Alright, go ahead and read that for us, please.

"And then shall they see The Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory." So what are the conditions of the world just before Jesus comes? "Men's hearts failing for fear." What is our response to be? Now David has that one. That's Luke 21:28. "Now when these things begin to happen, look up, lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near." Thank you very much, les, for reading that for us. "Lift up your heads, your redemption draws near." God's telling us we should have hope when that happens, right? That we should have encouragement. In the book, "child guidance," page 555, the author describes there are conditions in the world just before Jesus comes.

"Transgression has almost reached its limit. Confusion fills the world and a great terror is soon to come upon human beings. The end is very near. God's people should be preparing what is to break upon the world as an overwhelming surprise." Now should we be surprised? Is the day of the Lord gonna come as a thief? But does it come as a thief for us? No, it says, "we are not children of the night that that day should overtake us as a thief." We are children of the day. We should know.

In spite of world conditions and the anxiety, does Jesus tell us that we should be anxious? Does Paul say, "be anxious for nothing?" Christ says, "do not fear." In a storm, with a boat ready to go down, and the disciples were anxious and they woke him up. And Jesus said, "where is your faith?" So in all things, Christians should have hope." Because I mean, you think about it, the second coming for the Christian is called, "the blessed hope." Matter of fact, that's one of our verses. I shouldn't have given that away so soon. We need hope. I read one time where in may 23, , a u.

s. Submarine, "the squalus," then it was America's newest sub. It was running some tests off the coast of Massachusetts. And something went wrong, and it sank in 250 feet of water. Now 1939, they didn't have any technology for rescuing subs.

And it was understood among the submariners that if the sub sank, you were in a coffin, that it was a death sentence. There was just no way to survive. And quickly a number of ships converged, 'cause they were watching it do these tests; they knew when it went down. And some divers went down and 250 feet is pretty deep, and they had these diving suits they wore with the helmets that they would screw on, these navy divers they had back then. And one of 'em heard something coming from the sub, and he put his helmet up, something like a stethoscope.

And he could hear ricocheting through, or echoing through his helmet, someone was tapping from within the sub. And then, you know, back then they knew morse code. These days the only people that know morse code are some of the old ham-radio operators. Very few people know morse code any more. And he recognized.

And they were tapping out the signal over and over, "is there any hope?" "Is there any hope?" And I guess he tapped back that there was. Well, it turns out that they had an experimental bell that they had built, actually a seaman by the name of swede momsen. And they took this pear-shaped bell, and they put it down over "the squalus." And one-by-one they brought the 33 men up to the surface that were on board. And to date it's the greatest rescue of a submarine that they know about. Even in much more modern times, they've had subs go down; they have not been able to recover.

The men, even the russians, you remember that happened not too long ago. So, but there they were going, "is there any hope?" "Is there any hope?" They did an experiment at duke university. Now I know this is gonna sound really cruel. I'm just relating the facts. But they put these rats--they would drop these rats in this water that was too deep for them to stand.

And in a bucket, something like a bucket, and they would have them swim. And if the rat saw that there was no way for them to get out, when they saw that there was no hope of saving themselves. They soon basically gave up, they went under, and they drowned. But then in the same vessel, they would drop a rat in, but they would put hope of reaching an edge or a rope or something just out of reach. But the rat had hope it was close enough.

They swam for hours, because they had hope. You've heard the expression before--it's actually a verse in the Bible, Ecclesiastes 9:4, "for to him who is joined to all the living there is hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion." You've heard me quote that many times. I just think it's a very profound verse. "For him who is joined to the living, there's hope." You've heard the expression before, "where there is life, there is hope." You know, you can it the other way also. "Where there is hope, there is life.

" And as long as those rats had hope, they lived longer. During world war ii, victor frankl reported, when asked, you know, what were the criteria to surviving in those concentration camps. It was a very interesting study. Some people who had maybe just the same genes and the same opportunities and the same amount of food in the same circumstances, some survived some didn't. Exposed to the same diseases and problems, but a number of people seemed to survive even after years.

And they kind of boiled it down and said it seems that the ones who had something to live for survived. The ones who had hope, the ones who kept thinking about the time when they would be united with their families. There's something they still wanted to do with their lives. Or if they believed that rescue was eminent, they keep on hanging on. Now I know that wasn't universally true, but they saw that it was a pattern among the ones who seem to be tenacious survivors.

They had hope. Now I've got a theory too. I also notice that some people that just seem to hang on are ornery. You ever known those people? They're just like tough birds. And they're mean.

They just seem to hang on too, and I haven't got that theory figured out yet. But we've all known a few people like that. You ever heard someone say, "they're just too mean to die." And they just seem to hang on. So that's another Sabbath school study, but I just thought I'd throw that in. So it's very important to have hope.

Psalm 31:24, here the psalmist says, "be of good courage, and he will strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord." Hope gives strength as well. Now into the next section. It says, "hope here and now." And people need to be optimistic. There is a lot of connection between hope and positive thinking. I mean isn't that what hope is? In the business world, they've realized that there's a great advantage to being hopeful.

If you go in to make a sale, and you don't really believe you're gonna make a sale, you don't have any hope; there's a good chance you won't. But if you're hopeful, there's a better chance that you will. People will recognize that. When you invest hope in others, it bears fruit. There's a power to hope.

It's like I heard about this lady on an ocean cruise. And she was staring at this man. And he came over, and he talked to her. And she said, "I'm sorry if it appeared that I was staring at you." She said, "you look an awful lot like my second husband." And he said, "oh really?" He said, "how many times you been married?" She said, "once." Hope. I heard about--i heard about another man on a cruise who was terribly seasick.

And he was leaning against the rail. And the steward came over and patted him on the shoulder and said, "mr. Jones," he said, "don't be discouraged." He said, "there's hope. Nobody has ever died from seasickness." And he said, "don't--don't tell me that." He said, "that's the only hope I've got." He said, "I've been hoping I would die, I'm so sick." A radical change takes place in people's hearts when they have hope. Before a person knows about the Lord, they're discouraged.

The Gospel gives hope. John 5:24, Jesus said, "most assuredly I say to you, he who hears my word and believes in him who sent me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life." For people who are lost, what hope do they have? Not much. Alright, now read for me please, Ephesians 2:12. "That at the 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." What is the condition of the lost? Having no hope. Have you ever seen that--what a change the Gospel will make in a person's health before they even begin to employ the health message? Because before they know Christ, and they're just burdened with their sins, and there's no purpose--you know, I just know in my own life, one of the greatest things that the Gospel did for me is being an atheist, or an agnostic--i mean I changed from day to day depending on when you asked me--there's no purpose for life.

And where there's no purpose, is there hope? If everything is happenstance and there is, there's no plan, then life is pretty meaningless. It's very tragic and sad. And as soon as you have the Gospel, all of the sudden what the Gospel does for you, and this is the wonderful thing; it tells you where you've come from, it tells you what the purpose of life is, what you're doing here, and it tells you where you're going. And you have hope. That immediately can change your health, just by having that burden relieved of your sin and knowing that now there's a purpose for life.

There is plan. There is someone watching. You don't need to live in constant fear. You know there's some people that they don't have God. They hear about the tragedies.

They hear about the crime. They got alarms in their house and fences around their house and security cameras around their house and a panic button by their bed. And they just live in constant fear. And they jump and twitch with every creaking noise they hear in the house at night. And they just live in fear.

One of the wonderful things about Christianity is you know God is alive. And you said, "I can lay down and sleep in peace because I know that my God watches over me. And he'll wake me up in the morning." And not to have that, just to live in that fear. I was reading a quote by h.g. Wells I think, when he came to the end of his life.

Yeah. "H.g. Wells and george bernard shaw were brilliant men, yet they rejected the message of Scripture and they placed their trust in their own system of beliefs," basically atheists, "which were based on human reason. Yet they could find no lasting inner peace. They slowly lost confidence in what they believed," as atheists.

"Wells," h.g. Wells, "who," that famous writer, brilliant guy, "in his final literary work for example, it's been aptly called, 'the stream of despair.' And shortly before shaw died in , he wrote, 'the science to which I pinned my faith is bankrupt. Its counsels which should have established the millennium have led directly to the suicide of europe. I believed them once. In their name, I helped to destroy the faith of millions.

And now they look at me as a witness, the great tragedy of an atheist who lost his faith.'" Whoo! Can you imagine? That's pretty profound words, "an atheist that lost his faith," in atheism. I guess that's a good thing. Isn't it? They've got a--what is it? Cryogenics? Yeah, the cryogenics where you believe that a person if they're frozen they can be thawed out and brought back to life later. In California they got a cryogenic society. And a number of people pay a lot of money.

They have to basically put hundreds of thousands or maybe even millions of dollars. I don't know what the cost is. I've never checked into it, 'cause I don't want my old body thawed out; I want a new one. Don't you? But they put all this money in a trust fund. And basically this society will take their body and freeze it in the hope, they're hoping for a resurrection.

They're hoping that at some point in the future that science is gonna crack the mystery of after a cell is frozen, can it be thawed and brought back to life again? Now you realize, of course, that when human cells are completely frozen, that when the crystals reach into it, that it cuts the cell wall and it destroys it. It just turns to mush. You can't resurrect those cells. So I don't know. They got some special way of trying to preserve the body.

And it's just frozen at a certain point. And so they're paying all this money out. I supposed that their heirs get a little frustrated. Yeah, grandpa had a million dollars, but he's decided to be frozen. And so all the money's going to watch over his frozen remains.

How pathetic. But why did they do that? They don't hope in a new body, an everlasting life. They're kind of hoping that there is life beyond the grave, and they're trusting in the science of man. That's sort of tragic. Can you imagine how disappointed they'll be in the second resurrection? They come back with the old body and it's still sick and they don't even get everlasting life.

That's sort of pathetic. And that leads me to the next verse, "hope beyond the grave." You all know these verses. Thessalonians 4:13-14, "but I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those that have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others do who have no hope." You know when they discovered the catacombs in rome that the Christians built, a lot of the catacombs had graves in them. And I've been down there and I've seen them. Actually I've never been in the catacombs in rome.

I went to the catacombs in malta. They're very similar. They're Christian catacombs that were built under malta, which was an island out in the mediterranean. And you'd see the graves there. And the Christian catacombs had inscriptions over their graves that said, "good night until the morning.

" The roman graves had an inscription said, "goodbye forever." And it was so sad, and the contrast was so great. And in the mines, when Christians--the Romans would work the Christians to death in the mines, they'd often inscribe in the mines, "vida, vida, vida," meaning "life, life, life. We have life." And so they had this hope. As they get older, Christians get happier, 'cause they are nearing their reward. You can go to a nursing home.

I went to make a visit a few weeks ago, last week. I went to visit a nursing home. Actually saw several people there. One was a pastor. And even though he knew the end of his earthly race was nearing, very happy.

And then you walk around and you peak into some of the other rooms, and some people, they still have their mental faculties, but they look so sad and so dejected and so alone. Because for the Christian, you've got a bright future and you're never alone. And so if you can keep that before you, it brings a lot of hope. Okay, I said 1 Peter 3:1. Are we ready for that? "Blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

" You know, the evidence of new life is around us. And especially now at this recording, we're in springtime. And you gotta be careful what you say, because Christians are already at risk of--they overlap, you know, the passover overlaps with the pagan spring festivities. And that's how you end up with the preaching about the resurrection of Jesus and easter bunnies all at the same time. And I don't want to do that, but it is true that you're surrounded with evidence of kind of resurrection in nature this time of year.

And it's inspiring when you see things that were cold and lifeless and these bleak stems and all the sudden the buds and the blossoms and everything just kind of explodes with life and color. And it's a wonderful time of year. There's a lot of evidence of how something dead can come to life. Jesus used that when he talked about a seed in Corinthians 15. You take a dead seed, and you put it in the ground, and all the sudden there's life and abundance and fruit that comes from that.

But first it must die. If you plant a green soybean you get mush. It's gotta be dead and dry. And then the miracle of life happens. I remember hearing a story one time, it actually comes from the ancient rabbis, that back in the days when Joseph was the prime minister of Egypt during the famine, that he had filled these granaries, just massive storage of food.

I mean he's gonna feed the world for seven years of famine, incredible storage. And as he opened the granaries and they were threshing the wheat, it filled the Nile with chaff. I'll be talking about chaff in our sermon later this morning. And that chaff went down the Nile. And it went out into the mediterranean where the currents carried it and washed it up on the shores of many countries that were suffering from the famine.

And so these people would go down to the shore and they'd see all this chaff on the shore, and they'd say, "somewhere there's an abundance of wheat." And it gave them hope. And little by little, they all tracked it back following the currents to the land of Egypt. And the word had reached them of course, there was an abundance in Egypt. But the chaff washing up on the shore, chaff doesn't have anything. You can't eat chaff; it's lifeless.

But where there's chaff there's wheat. And so the very fact that we've got these lives and these bodies, everything in our minds tells us we were not created to die. Evolutionists cannot explain why we would evolve brains that in the course of a 90-year life only use 10% of our capacity. And think about all you're able to remember assuming your brain is functioning, all the little data in your life; it's phenomenal how much the mind stores. You know there's a company-- I know I'm wandering right now, but there's a point.

I was watching a program on nbc this last week about big brother watching. And they got these data companies that store information. You know now our purchases are electronic. And they got just zigabytes-- I don't know what the word is. It's not gigabytes or terabytes.

It's zigabytes. I made that up because it's bigger than anything I can think of--of information on every person and all of their transactions and their birth record and their--if there's any kind of criminal record and just everything they do. And they've got these warehouses that are like airport terminals that are filled with computers that are humming, storing all this information, and they sell it to different companies that use the information for different purposes. And you think about all that information that's stored. They still haven't made anything that can store information like a human brain.

You have no idea how much information and memories you've got locked away in your mind. And yet, in our life, we don't use 10%. There are people who because of certain brain conditions have--well, I forget what the medical term is it, but it's a something-ectomy. But they take a half a hemisphere of their brain. What do they call that? Hemispherectomy.

Hemispherectomy, that makes sense. They take half of their brain out. And when it's done properly, they're able to recover. And the brain compensates, and they live a totally normal life. It's just absolutely phenomenal.

So we're surrounded by hope. God just--everything in life is telling us that death is not the original plan. There is supposed to be something beyond this. And that gives us hope. And I think people are born with a certain amount of hope.

You ever heard that expression, "hope springs eternal?" It's just like we've been hardwired to have hope that things can get better. Where was i? I'm talking about "hope beyond the grave." Alright, now we're talking about the eternal hope. Corinthians 13:12, "for know we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know even as I am known." As you live a little longer and you get older and your body starts to fail, do you need to fear? Or do you hear the echoes of the footsteps of eternity approaching? I mean that's really how it is for the Christian. It shouldn't frighten us.

It shouldn't worry us. Titus 1--matter of fact, someone read this for me, Titus 1:1-2. This is the first few words in the book of Titus. "Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God's elect and the their knowledge of the truth which accords with Godliness, in hope of eternal life which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began." How much confidence can we have in eternal life? Paul introduces his letter. His whole message is contextualized by our hope.

If we did not have hope of eternal life, what hope do you have? Paul said if there's no resurrection, we are of all people most miserable, because if this life is it, even those who are eating, drinking and being merry, how merry are they? It's like the person who says, "you know, I'm disgusted with life. But I've got a million dollars. And so what I'm gonna do is-- I know eventually I'm gonna get old, and I'm gonna have all these aches and pains. And I might lose my mind and have all the problems with aging. So while I've still got any life and health left, I'm gonna take my million dollars and I'm gonna go to las vegas, sin city.

And I am just going to try to extract every ounce of fun and pleasure I can for my million dollars. And when I run out, I've got my pistol, I'll shoot myself." So you go to las vegas. And you've got your million dollars. And every dollar that you spend on whatever joy you might get from the--you know it's eventually gonna run out, even if you win for awhile. Right? Ultimately the house will win.

And every dollar you spend for that fleeting thrill of hearing the slot machine go "ding, ding, ding," and the buzzers go off that you won, or the pleasures of the drinking or the drugs or the immorality, you're ticking towards the day when you're money's spent and you gotta pull the trigger, how much are you going to enjoy it? Would you really enjoy any of it? So using that illustration, for the person who may even know there's a God and eternal life, but is choosing not to follow God, knowing that they're going to be going to the lake of fire, how much are you really going to enjoy your sinful life? Right? I mean, if you know--i think the reason, you know why sinners who run from the church enjoy a little bit of their sin, they're the most dangerous of all. They have a very self-hypnotizing hope that they will change course later. They've got a dangerous kind of hope. They say, "well, I'm gonna live for the devil as long as I can and then I am going to hope that I can come crawling back to Jesus in the 11th hour of my life and be forgiven and find eternal life." That's really dangerous to play like that. But for those who turn their backs on God, do they really enjoy their life of sin? How can they enjoy it? But for the Christian--let me put this a different way--for the sinner, their pleasures are cursed so they don't enjoy them.

For the Christian, their trials are blessed because they've got hope. Someone said, "you can endure almost anything if you know it's not gonna last. And that's why so many Christians, when they brought 'em to burn 'em at the stake, they were singing as they lit the flames, because they said, "hey, the next thing I know is gonna be the voice of Christ and the resurrection being caught up to meet the Lord. This is the blessed hope. They weren't afraid.

And this is the hope that Christians have. Alright, 1 John 3:2-3, "beloved, now we are the children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is." Notice this. "And everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, as he is pure." Hope in the coming of Christ has a purifying influence on us. If you're living for the day where you're going to see Christ, and you want to be like Christ, that hope has a transforming, sanctifying, purifying influence on you. You're purified by that hope.

Alright, read for me, please, Titus 2:13. Titus 2:13, "looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ." Second coming is called what kind of hope? The blessed hope. I mean, if this world was just gonna keep on going on the way it's going on right now, even Jesus tells us that if he doesn't come when he comes, no flesh would be saved. Sin causes self-destruction. Judas hung himself.

Saul fell on his own sword. The world, in its sinful state, it groans and travails. It's going to implode. And so Christ needs to come or there'll be nothing to come for. The only thing that gives us hope, the blessed hope is Jesus who's gonna come and save us and make a new heaven and a new earth.

Paul words it this way in Timothy 1:1, "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope." So what is the hope for the Christian? Christ himself. Why? Because--catch this please. Jesus is exhibit-a of what we can be. He's our hope. Jesus is exhibit-a that we can overcome? We can overcome like he overcame.

Jesus is exhibit-a of The Father's love. God so loved the world, he gave Jesus. Jesus embodies the hope for the Christian. His resurrection, that's our hope that we'll rise. The new glorified body he had, that's our hope that we get glorified bodies.

The way that Christ managed to forgive those that were mean to him, that gives me hope that I can forgive those that are mean to me. The way that Christ patiently bore his cross gives me hope that I can patiently bear my trials. Everything about the life of Christ embodies our hope. That's why in that section it says, "Christ is our hope." Without him, we're doomed. And his coming is our hope, even though it appears to be delayed.

Does the Bible tell us in the last days there's gonna be scoffers that will mock it? Peter 3:8-9, "but, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. the Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness, but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." Who was it? John bunyan that said, "hope has a thick skin and will endure many a blow. It will put on patience as a vestment. It will wade through a sea of blood. It will endure all things if it be of the right kind, for the joy that is set before it.

Hence, patience is called, 'patience of hope,' because it is hope that makes the soul exercise patience and longsuffering under the cross until the time comes to enjoy the crown." It is hope for the future that helps us to endure the trials of the day. You've heard the expression, or the story before, a magician fell out of favor with the King. And he was going to be executed. And on the day of his execution, the magician said, "your highness, you're making a terrible mistake, because I have the ability to teach your horse to fly. And if you'd let me live, in one year, I promise I will teach your horse to fly.

And you can conquer any kingdom if you had a flying horse." the King thought about that, and he thought, "well, what have I got to lose?" He says, "alright, you're gonna have to stay within the palace grounds. And you got one year to teach my horse to fly. After that, if he doesn't fly, you're dead. Someone came up to the magician later, and they said, "can you teach the King's horse to fly?" He said, "well, I don't know." He says, "but I got a year." He said, "in that year, the King might die." He said, "and of course I might die." And he said, "you never know, the horse might learn to fly!" And so it's like, you've heard that expression: "you never know, the horse might fly." And that means hope springs eternal. There's always hope.

You know, during the battle of valley forge, Washington was more concerned then than when they were engaged in conflict. When they were holed up during the winter, it was extremely cold. The british couldn't fight. The elements would not have allowed them to fight. Washington knew that.

His men could not fight. And as they were all huddled together, freezing, morale began to plummet. They were already just about starving. And there was sickness and scurvy and all kinds of problems. If you read your history books, it's amazing that we won that war.

Washington knew he needed to do something to inspire the men. And so he told them that there was the possibility that the british were going to attack as soon as the weather changed. They needed to build a fort. Well, he knew that that was not really a big risk. But the men needed something to do.

And so he engaged them in building this fort. And it was known as fort hope-- or no, they called it fort nonsense. They called it fort nonsense. But he had them build it because as they were building it, it gave them purpose and it gave them hope. When you go through trials, have you ever thought about your trials as reason to hope? When God chastens you, doesn't that mean he loves you? A nurse that worked in the children's ward of a hospital was sent to go over english with one of the patients.

And you know, some hospitals that have children that are there for a long time because of cancer or various things, they have a resident teacher who goes around, tries to help 'em keep up on the school work so when they get out they can be all caught up. And so her job was to--she knew all the different subjects. And she'd go from room to room; she'd teach 'em. She was told to go to meet with this young boy and to go over his nouns and adverbs. And she didn't realize until she got there it was in the burn ward.

She didn't realize when she walked into his room how bad he was. But he had been horribly burned and was in a lot of pain. And she walked in; she was shocked by what she saw. But he saw her come in. And she didn't want to retreat.

And so she came in. She sat down by the bed. And she says, "I've been sent to help you catch up on your schoolwork. And my task is to go over your verbs and your nouns and your adverbs. And so she went through the lesson with him as he was in there kind of moaning from the pain.

And then with tears in her eyes, she got up and excused herself. The next day one of the nurses at the station stopped her. And she said, "what did you say to that boy yesterday in the burn unit?" And she said, "oh, I'm so sorry." She said, "I didn't mean to cry." And she said, "I just wasn't expecting--" she said, "no, no, no! He's shown great improvement. He had just given up hope of living and was in terrible spirits. And ever since you came and saw him, everything's changed.

" She said, "well, I don't know. I just went over his nouns, his verbs and his adverbs with him. And the boy began to recover. And he later reported. He said, "I was sure I was dying and nobody would tell me I was dying.

But when they sent the teacher in to go over my nouns and my adverbs with me, I realized there must be hope, because they'd never make me go through this if I wasn't gonna get out of here." [Laughing] and you know, sometimes you can tell yourself that. You're going through different trials and you're thinking, "why is this happening? Well, maybe that's to give you hope. I mean God doesn't--he doesn't chastise his children that he doesn't love. Right? And so even in the trials that we experience, there's hope involved. Hope springs eternal.

Christ is our hope. And we don't have anything to be afraid of. Romans 15:13. Maybe I should close with this verse. Well, I got a couple more here.

Romans 15:13, "now may the God of hope--" he's called what kind of God? God defines himself as love. "God is love." And here it says, "the God of hope." If I said, "describe God in one word, you'd usually say, "love," right? But here it says, "hope." And we talked last week about faith. I think you can also describe God as a God of faith. He speaks and it happens. He's a God of faith.

Christ, the essence of Christ, is faith. And here the third one, it also tells us that is one of the facets of God's character; he is God of hope. And if we would be like Christ, we need to have that hope too. Peter 3:15, "but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts," this is our memory verse, "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." Christianity is a religion of hope. Amen? And so with that, friends, I think I'm gonna have to tell us we are out of time for today's lesson.

Want to remind you, we have a free offer. We're offering that book on "assurance." If you just call the number on your screen and request that, then we'll send that to you. God bless you until we study again next Sabbath. If you've been encouraged by today's message and would like to know more of what God's Word says to you today, Amazing Facts invites you to visit our educational website at www.Bibleuniverse.com. At Bibleuniverse, you'll discover exciting truths that will fill you with peace and purpose.

The mysteries of the Bible will unfold for you at your own pace. Visit www.Bibleuniverse.com today. Expand your universe. Thank you for joining us for this broadcast. If you've missed any of our Amazing Facts programs, visit our website at amazingfacts.org. There you'll find an archive of all our television and radio programs, including "Amazing Facts presents," "central study hour," "everlasting Gospel," "Bible answers live," and "wonders in the word." You'll also find a storehouse of biblical resources geared towards answering some of your most difficult questions. And our online Bible school is just a click away. One location, so many possibilities: amazingfacts.org.

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