“WHATEVER HAPPENED TO HOPE?” Part 2.

In the New Testament there are three adjectives descriptive of hope: Good, Blessed and Living.

Hebrews 7:19, “For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.”

Listen:  There is hope in victory over sin, self and Satan.

Some believe that the rapture will be the end of all hope, and that we do not need it.  Well, I do not believe that statement has any scriptural authority.  I believe we will have hope of learning and seeing more in Heaven, and we will not know everything all at once.

Zechariah 9:12, “Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even to day do I declare that I will render double unto thee.”

Jeremiah said   “Be not a terror unto me: thou art my hope (refuge).

David said in his troubled hour in Psalm 71:4-5, “Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man. For thou art my hope, O Lord GOD: thou art my trust from my youth.”

1 Peter 1:13, “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

  1. Hope is eternal.

Hope is the last thing that dies, when everything else is gone.  But never violates the scripture.  Never hope against scriptural principles.

In 1 Corinthians 13:13 Hope is not mentioned as the most important, but is in top three:  faith, hope & charity.

Hope believes that one day the cancer will be gone.

Hope is for the deaf to believe one day hear again.

Hope is for the blind to see again.

Hope is for the cripple to walk again.

TO BE CONCLUDED TOMORROW!

“WHATEVER HAPPENED TO HOPE!”

1 Corinthians 13:13, Jeremiah 17:5-18, verse 17 is the text.

In verse 13 the Greek word for hope is Elpis: to anticipate with expectation. Three words in the Old Testament for hope:

In Jeremiah 17:7, Mibtach: refuge, security.

In verse 13, Mikveh: something waited for with confidence.

In verse 17, Maksohm: shelter, or a place of hope.

As a young boy in Germany I was hoping to come to America.

I like what the Crudence Concordance says: “Christian hope is a firm expectation of all promised good things, so far as they may be for God’s glory and our good, but especially of eternal salvation and happiness in heaven, where we will be conformed to the Son of God.”

So, HOPE is: To desire with expectation, being confident.

“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweet refrain, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.”

All our hope is built on:

Colossians 1:27. “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:”

Romans 15:4, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”  

Hope has to do with the unseen and the future: 

Romans 8:24-25, “For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”

  1. Hope is the happy anticipation of good:

Titus 1:2, “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.”

1 Peter 1:21, “Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.”

CONTINUED TOMORROW!

“FIVE THINGS I WANT!” Conclusion!

THE CROWN OF LIFE

James 1:12, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.”

We all have eternal life, but will not all receive the crown of life. This is given unto those who are faithful unto death:

Revelation 2:10, “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”

Mark 8:35 “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.”

This is one who must love the Lord more than his own life, and is a crown for those who live for Christ, endure temptations and love God in spite of it all.

Now, why do I want these FIVE CROWNS?

Revelation 4:10-11, “The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”

The incorruptible crown.

The crown of rejoicing.

The crown of righteousness.

The crown of glory.

The crown of life.

All these I want, why? To lay at Jesus’ feet!

Will you have ONE OR FIVE CROWNS?

“FIVE THINGS I WANT!” Part 2.

THE CROWN OF REJOICING

I Thessalonians 2:19, “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?”

This is a crown of the soul-winner. The degree of rejoicing in heaven will be determined by souls we had a part in winning.

Daniel 12:3, “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.”

Proverbs 11:30, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.’”

This crown goes to those who have and live a testimony for Christ.

Not only the incorruptible and crown of rejoicing, but I want:

THE CROWN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

2 Timothy 4:6-8, “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”

The crown of righteousness is a reward to be earned by the saved. Here Paul is saying, I have fought a good fight, finished my course, kept the faith, and he loves his appearing.

The crown of righteousness is for those who love His second coming. Are you looking for His coming? Do you love to talk and think about Him?

THE CROWN OF GLORY

1 Peter 5:2-4, “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”

This is a special crown for the faithful and obedient God-called man. Every believer can share in this crown, Matthew 10:41,“He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward.”

God will bless you for supporting His chosen servant by allowing you to share in His reward. The preacher can earn this reward by feeding, overseeing and setting the example for the flock.

CONTINUED TOMORROW!

“FIVE THINGS I WANT!”

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

 Yesterday we learned how to turn our thorn into a crown and today we are going to be speaking on a related subject of “Five Crowns.” The Greek competed for a wreath of Pine in their games. They gave it all they had in agony to claim the prize. How much more should we as Christians go for the FIVE CROWNS?

THE INCORRUPTIBLE CROWN Verse 25

That is, the undecaying or non-corruptible crown.

This crown was reserved for those who stayed in the race, and those who would not quit.

Paul uses the Greek games to illustrate the spiritual race of the Christian. They ran to win a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible. The contender had to be a Greek citizen, born of Greek parents. The contender for the spiritual race must be a citizen of heaven to participate for rewards. The Greeks had rules for the participants, and the Christian too must abide by the rules.

We have four basic New Testament rules for the believer:

  1. He must deny himself of anything that will hold him back Hebrews 12:1,

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.”

  1. He must keep his eyes on Jesus Hebrews 12:2, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
  2. He must give it his all, Hebrews 12:4, ‘Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.’
  3. He must make progress by faith.

CONTINUED TOMORROW!

“MAKE A CROWN OUT OF YOUR THORN!” Conclusion!

“A thorn in the flesh.” The Greek word used skoloq occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It means anything pointed or sharp, such as a stake or the point of a hook. So far as the word used is concerned, it means a sharp thorn or bristle, and the idea is that the trial to which he refers was as troublesome and painful as such a thorn would be in the flesh. But whether he refers to some infirmity or pain in the flesh or the body is another question, and there have always been greatly divided opinions about it.

Anyone who is familiar with commentaries knows that almost every expositor has had his own opinion about what this thorn was, and no one has been able to give any good reason for his own opinion. All we know is that it was some infirmity of the flesh, some bodily affliction that was like the continual piercing of the flesh with a thorn.

Galatians 4:13,“Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first.” It was designed to prevent spiritual pride, and this thorn could probably be seen by others to keep him humble before them. So, God did not give him this thorn to complain but to train. Because as Paul complained he seemed to hear the Lord saying, “Paul, I had a thorn in my flesh for you.”

Think of the thorn in your flesh and how you have complained to God, and yet He is the One who gave it to you. We all have a thorn in the flesh to help to keep us humble. I know from experience that God uses these to allow us to have a closer walk with Him. I remember the days when it would not take much to get me all upset, and yet God used it to teach me patience. I also remember having some very difficult times financially and yet the Lord used it to teach us to manage our money a little more wisely. We do not know exactly what Paul’s thorn was, whether it was something physical or spiritual. It really does not matter because it helped him to be a humble servant for Christ.

Now, here is the blessing: you may have more thorns than I or Paul; however, Jesus has more than any of us and He is saying, “Why don’t you do what I did?”

“I made a crown out of my thorns.” Why not make a crown of greater humility, love, understanding, compassion, patience, etc.

Take your adversities and weave them together and wear them as a crown. Let me illustrate:

  • Take the thorn of discouragement and make it a crown of encouragement.
  • Take the thorn of depression and make it a crown of overcoming.
  • Take the thorn of difficulty with finances, sickness, etc. and make it a crown of budgeting, thankfulness for health, etc.

Jesus’ crown was made out of Royal plant: ivy was used along with gold and precious stones to make a garland (crown) for kings. That means we can become spiritual royalty by wearing our crown of thorns gladly. As a matter of fact, all spiritual royalty wears a crown woven with thorns:

John Bunyan was put in jail for not taking a license to preach, that even his children would come to him and say, “Daddy why won’t they let you preach?” He took some milk stoppers and for 12 years wove a crown called “Pilgrims Progress.” The most famous book ever written next to the Bible.

C.H. Spurgeon had the gout and spent months in Mentone, France, he wove a crown; and wore it with dignity for years.

A little lady by the name of Fanny Crosby wove a thorn of blindness into a beautiful crown of songs like, “Rescue the perishing, etc.

We have some people who wove or are weaving a thorn into a beautiful crown of faithful service to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

“KEEPING THANKFULNESS IN THANKSGIVING!”

I just heard a Thanksgiving message by President-Elect, Donald Trump and I had this feeling of Thankfulness in my heart. I remember the days when a Thanksgiving message by our President was very common. Among many other blessing I am thankful for our country and each person in it.

Psalm 147:7-11, “Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God: Who covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains. He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry. He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man. The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.”

1 Thessalonians 1:2, “We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers.”  5:18,  In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

We all understand that Thanksgiving is a special time set aside for us to be thankful to God for all His provisions. Not only His provisions, but also for His constant presence and His power in our everyday lives. Christians with an unthankful heart cannot truly know the presence or the power of God.

Someone said that if you are going to get an answer from God, you must give thanks for what He has done for you in the past. This is certainly true, since He commands us in Philippians 4:6, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” In other words, thankfulness is something that is constantly in our hearts and will always manifest itself in our daily lives.

When we pray and plead with God for future things, we must always be careful to praise and thank Him for past answered prayer, as well as the present. We must be thankful, not only at thanksgiving, but also year-round. God is so good, not only to hear our prayers, but also to answer them; however, it is required of us to be thankful. The Bible says, “In every thing give thanks.”

Thessalonica was a seaport of Macedonia, which made it a good location for shipping and receiving. As many smaller nations, Macedonia was an independent country until it became a Roman Province in 148 B C. It was divided into four districts, and the city of Thessalonica was made the capital of the second district.

Most of Paul’s letters begin with thanksgiving and this reminds us of the fact that in some form the word “thanks” is used over one-hundred-fifty times in the Bible. We are commanded to give thanks, and it is our duty to speak of His grace with thanksgiving, because all we have is of and from Him and not ourselves.

The special graces Paul saw in the Thessalonians were their faith, their love,

and their hope; because their faith was a working faith, their love was a labor of love, and their hope in the Lord Jesus was the reason for their thankfulness.

“We give thanks unto God always for you all.” In other words, he was thankful to see the grace and working of God in them, and this was the reason for his making mention of them in his prayers.

On the other hand, there was still much grace and thankfulness needed in the Thessalonians’ church. We too are in need of greater thankfulness, because we should be thankful for what God has provided so that we will be more mindful of it the next time we ask for something.

It is not that we fail to express our thanks, but that our thankfulness must be seen as a part of our praise and worship expressed in our daily walk with God.  In other words, are we thankful enough to live our thanksgiving throughout the year?  Oh, we might say the words and sing the praise at Thanksgiving, but is it a part of our entire life as it was with Paul the apostle.

If in fact we are truly thankful we will see that true thankfulness is never self-serving, but will always reach out to God and others. Again, thankfulness is not something we do, but what we are in the heart, as it becomes a part of our attitude toward who God is and what He has done for us.

Our fore-fathers celebrated the first Thanksgiving and a Proclamation of Thanksgiving was made by the President of the   United States of America. Think of it, it was our President and government that gave us Thanksgiving.

Just as our forefathers and the host of heaven; we too will sing our thanksgivings with a joyful and thankful heart when we realize that it all comes from Him. How can we show our thankfulness this Thanksgiving?

Everyday should be Thanksgiving for the Christian because Paul gives us a real testimony of thankfulness in the heart in 2 Corinthians 7:4, “Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.”

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL AMERICANS!