bits from bob....
"Is there any hope?" I've heard the question posed to physicians on many occasions. There is a sustaining power in hope. Where there is hope, there is rejoicing (Rom. 5:2; 12:12). Without hope, countenances are fallen, faces are downcast. Recall the witness of the two on the Emmaus road: "We had hoped that he was going to redeem Israel" (Luke 24:21). Without hope, grieving is prolonged (2 Thess. 4:13). Our world is desperately looking for hope. But the search for hope transcends that which is merely physical. "If for this life only we have hope...we are to be pitied" (1 Cor. 15:19). Real hope is "laid up for you in heaven," genuine hope is in the gospel (Col. 1:5,23). Our world does not know hope. Our world wants to know: where is hope? Is it "down at the church house?" When people "look us over," they want to know three things. Is there hope here? Is there help here? Is there home here?
Lesson #1--HOPE! Anticipation! Expectancy! Few words in the English language are more pregnant, more poignant. Hope sustains. Hope deals with our weariness. When we ache, hope is a "must." A church without hope is without Christ. A church without hope has missed a fundamental truth of the gospel. Only "Christ in us" provides hope (Col. 1:27). Consider these truths from Hebrews 9.
PAST--Christ appeared to deal with sin by sacrificing himself (v. 26).
He does not continually appear to offer and reoffer himself as did the high priest of old. Christ's suffering is no such annual event. It is a "once for all" event. The appearance of Christ deals with sin and gives hope. He was sacrificed to take away sin. We have no greater hope!
PRESENT--Christ now appears for us in the very presence of God (v. 24).
He has entered heaven itself. He intercedes. He helps, he understands, he sustains (Heb. 2:14-18). He sympathizes, so that we might stand firm in the faith with confidence and boldness (Heb. 4:14-15). Sin is removed; strength is provided.
FUTURE--Christ will appear again to bring salvation to those who HOPE (v. 28).
He will not appear again to bear sin. The cross will not be repeated. There is no more sacrifice for sin. But there is hope in Christ. The word used is infrequent in the New Testament. It means eager expectation, anticipation, patient waiting.
Hope! Is it in our Bible classes? Eager expectation! Is it in our assemblies for worship? Celebration? Is it in your life? The world wants to know! In your life, is there anything to this thing called Christianity? If not, your friends and neighbors and relatives will just "pass by on the other side" when they are looking for a church.
Let's cultivate Hope! The church is a place of Hope!
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