Hope

1 April 2018 AM – 1 Corinthians 15:19 – Resurrection – Scott Childs

Introduction: The word “hope” in the Bible does not refer to a wish. It refers instead to a certain confidence in God’s promises. The blessed hope of Christians is the certain confidence that Jesus will come in the air to get living Christians and will raise the dead Christians to life that all true Christians will live eternally with God in heaven.

Transition: This morning I want to answer three important questions about hope in order to give us a clear understanding of what the Bible teaches about hope.

1.        Why do most people have no hope after death?
a.         Many believe that death is the end.
1)         Many people have told me, “When I die I am dead! That is the end!’
2)         Because they believe they evolved from slime on a pond, life has no meaning and no eternal hope after death.
b.         The prophets of non-Christian religions are dead
1)         Being men, they died like all men
2)         A dead prophet cannot give eternal life
c.          Cults have a false Christ
1)         Their “Christ” is not God Almighty
2)         If Christ is not God Almighty He cannot give eternal life
d.         Most religious people leave the future to God.
1)         Through various good works, they try to please God and earn their way into heaven. They hope they have done enough.
2)         The Bible says eternal salvation is not by works of righteousness which we have done (Tit 3:5; Eph 2:8-9).
O  Yes, most people today have no certain confidence that they will be resurrected and live eternally in heaven

2.        What if hope in Christ was in this life only? (v.19)
a.         If there is no resurrection, Christians have no eternal hope either. If Christ is dead that means…
1)         Bible prophecies concerning Christ’s death and resurrection are false (v.3-4). (Isaiah 53:5) “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”
2)         The Bible is full of testimonies of liars who claimed to see the risen Christ (v.5-8, 15).
3)         Christ did not rise again as the Bible claims (v.16). He is still dead. He cannot justify a repentant sinner as claimed. (Romans 4:25) “Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.”
4)         Faith in Christ is vain (v.17). Trusting a dead person to give you eternal life is foolish.
5)         Sin cannot be forgiven (v.17). Forgiveness of sin is at the heart of the Christian faith. We are all sinners. With no forgiveness, there can be no hope! We are all doomed!
6)         If Christ is dead, then we have no Saviour and we will all perish in hell (v.18). There is no hope of resurrection and eternal life in heaven if Christ is still dead.
a)         The Bible clearly states that all people have eternal souls. Their souls will live somewhere forever. The Bible identifies only two eternal destinations for the souls of humans – heaven or hell.
b)         We have all sinned and our sin separates us from God’s holiness in heaven leaving us but one eternal destination, to perish in hell. (Romans 3:23) “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”
c)         Christ became the God-man and died for our sins. He became our substitute. But He also rose again to be able to give us eternal life.
d)         If this is not true and Christ is still dead, we must pay for our sins ourselves in hell. If that were true, no one would have an eternal hope!
b.         If there is no resurrection, the Christian’s only hope is in this life.
1)         It is true that trusting Christ as your Saviour will give you many earthly blessings.
a)         Your sins will be forgiven.
b)         You will gain peace with God.
c)         You may have a happier home (if your family members also trust Christ).
2)         However, for Christians in the first century and in persecuted countries today, if their hope in Christ was in this life ONLY they would be miserable.
a)         Christians are hated by God-haters
b)         They are often rejected by unsaved family
c)         They are often dismissed by their employers
d)         They are often hungry, homeless, hunted paupers.
e)         They are persecuted, tortured or put to death
3)         Does that sound like the blessed hope proclaimed in the Bible? NO! That is why the Scriptures say, “if in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (v.19).
a)         The word “miserable” means to be pitied.
b)         How many people would want to believe on Christ if you said, “Hey, you need to trust Christ so that your family will reject you, your boss will dismiss you, you will lose your possessions and become hungry, homeless, hunted and poor, plus you will likely be tortured or put to death.”? There is no hope in that!
3.        What is the hope God promises to Christians?
History records that thousands have trusted Christ as they watched Christians endure terrible persecution. They did not trust Christ because they wanted that kind of life. Instead, they trusted Christ because they wanted that kind of relationship with God worth dying for. They wanted the Christian’s blessed hope – the hope of resurrection and eternal life in heaven.

a.         Here are some of God’s promises in which Christians hope:
1)         (Colossians 1:5) “…the hope which is laid up for you in heaven…”
2)         (Titus 1:2) “In hope of eternal life…”
3)         (1 Peter 1:3) “… a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” Because Christ lives, He is able to give Christians resurrected life.
4)         (Titus 2:13) “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;” In other words, our hope is that certain confidence of being resurrected from the dead and joining our Great God and Saviour Jesus Christ in heaven for all eternity.
b.         How can a person get that eternal hope?
1)         First, you must see your need. You must admit that you are a sinner who deserves to go to hell. The apostle Paul understood this when he said, (1 Timothy 1:15) “…Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.”
2)         Believe that Jesus died in your place to offer you hope. (Romans 5:8) “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
3)         Jesus alone offers us hope. (John 11:25) “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:” (John 6:40) “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
4)         Hope is received by believing faith in Christ. (John 3:36) “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”
5)         Repent of your sinful life and be converted by asking Jesus to save you. (Acts 3:19) “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out…” (Romans 10:13) “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Conclusion: Do you have the certain confident hope of resurrection and eternal life in heaven? If not, you can. God offers it to all who will repent of their sins and trust Christ alone to save them from hell. I would be happy to explain that to you if you will let me.

Christian friend, God has promised you the blessed hope of resurrection and eternal life. Are you living like that is a reality? Are you willing to suffer for it?

Song: Why? 122, Only Trust Him – 252