Sunday, October 2, 2016

not without hope

Believers are not without hope!

Even in the darkness of this world,
whether it be 
financial ruin,
hope shattered,
depression that will not relent,
or any other of the many tragedies that plauge humanity,
we have hope.

Our hope is not that these evils will end 
and all will be well with us,
no, our hope is in Jesus and Him alone.

Our pastor, Bill,
 preached on I Thessalonians 4:13-18 this morning.
I came to the service
 feeling somewhat hopeless,
and left filled to the brim with hope.
Bubba and I could not stop talking about this message from God Himself.

Basically, here is the truth.....
Non-believers consider us a bit "wacko" for believing this passage,
and rightfully so.
It does seem a bit strange.
This gathering of God's people in the sky with Him....
not something that happens everyday.
But it is in God's word and therefore we can be sure it is true.

So, here is what God's word has to say....
Paul was speaking to the persecuted church in Thessalonica.
He was giving them hope to keep living and serving in spite of the darkness of the times.
Many had lost loved ones and were worried that those who had died were lost forever.

Paul comforted them with these words...
"We do not want you to be uninformed about those who are asleep (dead),
that you may not grieve as those who have no hope."

How can this be?
How can we be sure that what you are saying is true???

Here it is....
"For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again (and we do)
even so God will bring with Him
those who have fallen asleep (died) in Jesus."

and there is more...
"For this we say to you by the word of the Lord,
that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord,
shall not precede those who have fallen asleep (already died)."

How do we know this is true?
By Jesus' resurrection from the dead
and by the Word of God.

How will this happen?
"For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven.....
He's coming back!!!
This time His feet will not touch the ground, though.

What will we hear?
......with a shout,
with the voice of the archangel,
and with the trumpet of God;

What happens next?
....and the dead in Christ shall rise first,
Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together
with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air
and thus we shall always be with the Lord."

Yay!!! so exciting!!! Can't wait!!!
But what do we do in the meantime while we are still being hurt and persecuted in this world?

""Therefore comfort one another with these words."

I have just described the rapture of God's people.
It is real.
People have been waiting for years for it to happen.
It can happen anytime, 
maybe today.

My hope is not that my life will be perfect with no more sadness nor sorrow nor pain.
My hope is not that this unrelenting depression will suddenly leave me.
My hope is not in anything of this earthly, temporary existence.
My Hope is in Jesus Christ,
His resurrection from the dead,
and the truth of God's word.

Pure & simple, there is no other hope.

* So much of this is from Bill's sermon.
I give him all the credit and God all the glory,

"Even so....come Lord Jesus."

No comments: