• Josh Reading

Hope that lasts


I sit here in the Virgin Terminal at Sydney. My flight has been cancelled as I try to fly home to be with our CITYPM Church community who lost one of our own to this life, having suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. We all 'know' death is part of life but it rarely feels right, because at the end of the day, it is not part of God's perfect plan for our world.

I write this a little frustrated, struck by grief and just a little angry (my flight having been cancelled). I so desperately wanted to be there tonight. It seems circumstance has conspired yet I know God's grace is always to be found irrelevant of circumstance.

JESUS CENTRED HOPE IS NEVER CRUSHED NOR DISTRACTED BY CIRCUMSTANCE

1 Cor 15:50 onward says...

“I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: we will not all sleep,

BUT we will all be changed –

Catch that – the way it is now will not be the way it will always be. Our imperfections, sin, fears, frustrations, questions will one day be eliminated in view of the ultimate transformation.

52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.

For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.

What is so 'normal' will no longer be, what is so called 'natural' will be transformed in the supernatural. The perishable will be clothed in the imperishable. Death which seems so evident will be swallowed up in life. I get the pain in the present, I feel it. I get the frustration, I have it but our hope is not in now or in human endeavour but in the ultimate 'blessed hope' when Jesus returns restoring all things.

54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality,

THEN...

the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’

55 ‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

NOTE THAT? When the perishable has been clothed in the imperishable “...THEN the saying that is written will (future tense) come true: 'Death has been swallowed up in victory.' 'Where, O death, is your victory, Where O death is your sting' Crucial issue: sometimes we feel condemned because we falsely think death should not sting but that is not what scripture teaches us or acknowledges. Right now we live before 'THEN'.

AS BELIEVERS WE LIVE IN THE FAITH FILLED HOPE FOCUSED EXPECTATION BASED ON THE DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF JESUS THAT THOUGH WE MAY FALL WE WILL GET UP, THOUGH WE WILL EVEN DIE WE WILL RISE.

HOPE IS OUR BANNER

Hope is not the denial of circumstance It is not the suppression of grief

It is not building an illusion and living within it

Hope does not deny pain, separation or even moments of confusion

HOPE SIMPLY DENIES those things the last word

HOPE KNOWS that this is not it!!! We will all be changed

HOPE KNOWS what is sown is not he same as that raised.

Though we may at times sow in tears, we will reap joy

Though we may sow in toil, we reap in rest

Though we may sow in frustration we will reap content

Human hope is marked by the uncertainty and instability ,Godly hope marked by the certainty of his character and word

Verse 58 CONTINUES...

58 Therefore, (BECAUSE OF HOPE BUILT UPON JESUS) my dear brothers and sisters,

stand firm. Let nothing move you.

Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord,

because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Cor 15:50 - 58

Because of this hope..

  • Never let circumstance destabilise you = Stand firm

Because of this hope...

  • Don't hold back but rather 'give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord'

May I give a confronting thought, if you stop the 'work of the Lord' because of circumstance, because of the imperfection of people, because of perceived failure where has your hope been centred?

Because of this hope...

  • Know whatever you sow in Jesus name WILL have a good return.

Even if it is not in this world there will be a return. My role is not to make things grow, it is to sow, it is to water, it is to love.

Remember...

1. The place of your hope will determine the course of your life

2. The place of your hope will determine the state of your heart (especially in hard times)

Prov 13:12 says

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”

Hope deferred, hope deflated soon becomes hope displaced.

When you lose your hope in the future you question your present

All the great men and women of scripture and history had to fight the reality of distraction and deflation. Moses was constantly rejected, John Mark was rejected by a 'father' in the faith. Joseph grew in a dysfunctional, rejection filled family and be the vessel through which God bless them. Elijah faces down 400 prophets of Baal and is then knocked off his faith filled perch by a single hate filled lady.

JESUS must be the source in which we fix our gaze and expectation.

“See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” 1 John 3:1-3

2 Cor 4:16 – 18 says

“Therefore (because our message and hope is anchored in Christ) we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Cor 4:1 – 18

1 Peter 1:13 says Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

BECAUSE OF HOPE BIRTHED ONLY THROUGH CHRIST

“...I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me-the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.” Acts 20:24


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© 2015 by Josh Reading