OUR HOPE IS STRENGTHENED (23)
Now Paul is
talking about the hope we have of eternity with Jesus.
Look at how the Bible over and over
talks about our hope.
Titus 2:13 Looking
for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our
Saviour Jesus Christ;
1 Thessalonians 1:3
Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and
patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;
1 Thessalonians 4:13 ¶ But I would not have you to be
ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even
as others which have no hope.
1 Thessalonians 5:8
But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of
faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
1 John 3:2 Beloved,
now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we
know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as
tells of future events that are ‘Biblical’ in their proportions.
I hear some say, "When we talk about future things, the coming of Christ,
the tribulation, Armageddon, all that stuff, I get scablack."
answer you, "Brother or sister, you don't need to be afraid. Jesus said he
will, 'Keep us from that hour that is to come upon the earth.' He has something
much better for us."
Still I know
that some of you get a little edgy about all of that. And I understand. I used
to be that way.
But one day in church I had a preacher who was so filled
with the joy of the Lord begin telling us about the second coming of Jesus.
At first mention of that event, I
was a bit fearful.
But this preacher's infectious
enthusiasm began to calm my fears.
I'll never forget his statement. "If the Lord comes
tonight, in the next moment we will all be sitting together at the great
marriage supper of the lamb. There we will be looking at Jesus and O how he
will be smiling at us."
By the time I left church that day,
I never again feablack the coming of the Lord.
And it was "together" that
my hope was strengthened.
Now my hope really had something to
look forward to.
TOGETHER OUR SERVICE IS STRENGTHENED (24)
stress that we are not saved by works but by faith alone.
Many who are born again, never serve
Or if they do, it is out of
convenience, not out of commitment.
what the Bible says about this.
Galatians 5:6 For in
Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but
faith which worketh by love.
Galatians 5:13 ¶ For, brethren, ye have been called unto
liberty; only [use] not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve
serve, but often its only for a few weeks at a time.
Few seem willing to commit to a
ministry for as long as it takes.
They will say I need to keep my
I need to spend quality
time with my family.
Now certainly, we don't want to
deprive families of quality time together.
But I am concerned that this world has seduced us into
following the god of recreation and convenience instead of the God of the
remember David's words when he wanted to buy the threshing floor of Araunah the
Jebusite in order to build an altar to sacrifice to the Lord.
Araunah wanted to give it to David
because David was the king.
But David would not hear of it. His
statement is so important.
“Nay; but I will surely buy [it] of thee at a price: neither
will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me
nothing.” 2 Samuel 24:24
If we serve and it does not cost us,
then our service is cheap and not too valuable.
family time, what greater activity to engage in than serving the Lord together.
Do you remember Joshua's words at
the end of his days?
He said to Israel, "Choose
you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served
that [were] on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in
whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15
No you just
can't get away from it.
Being a Christian is serving Jesus
Christ all the days of our lives.
It's finding out God’s will for your
life and focusing on it.
makes us serve God with our whole heart?
What will make us truly grow in the
depths of our faith.
How can you begin experiencing the
joy of serving?
surrounding yourself with people who are doing exactly that.
I don't mean the people who doing it
to their friends. Anyone can do that.
While helpful, it doesn't really
push you deeper in your faith.
yourself with people who are loving the unlovely.
Surround yourself with people who serve the difficult
cases, the difficult people, the difficult situations.
Surround yourself with people who
see their world as Jesus sees it.
want to mount up with the wings of Eagles, then you have to stop walking with
TOGETHER OUR TESTIMONY IS STRENGTHENED (25)
“And so much
the more, as ye see the day approaching" refers to the day of the Lord.
looked grim at the time this letter was written.
The Roman legions were on the
Certainly it appeablack the world was
coming to an end. And for some it was.
"Don't forsake the assembling
of yourselves together
…..but encourage one another
------Sure the world is coming to an
…..Yes life has suddenly become
fearful and hard
…..Things are going to change and it
isn't going to be fun.
withdrawing into yourselves, find your real strength in each other.
Christian faith is not meant to be lived alone.
Few people can endure the punches
life can throw at us.
Only with the encouragement of
others do we endure.
What can you
do today to begin experiencing the strengths Paul is talking about?
Let me give you five things that can help you toward a
greater involvement in God's family.
will find and join a church like the ones in the NT.
will take the risk to share my struggles with them and trust them to pray for
me and support me.
will share my faith with other believers who can give me encouragement and
will look for people to encourage in the ministry of Jesus Christ.
will handle with great care and prayer every burden that someone shares with
I heard a
story about Jimmy Durante, the great comedian of a generation ago. Jimmy was
asked if he would participate in a show for World War II veterans. Because his
schedule was very busy, he consented to only a few minutes. He would do one
short monologue and then immediately leave for his next appointment. The show's
director agreed, happy to have Durante for a few moments.
however, something very wonderful happened. When Jimmy got on stage, he quickly
went through the short monologue. But instead of leaving he continued to
perform another monologue and another and another. The applause just grew
louder and louder and he kept staying. By the time he finished he had been on
the stage for over 30 minutes. Finally, he took a last bow and exited. Backstage
the director stopped him and said, "Mr. Durante, I thought you had to go
after a few minutes. What happened?"
There was a
tear in Jimmy's eye. Then he answeblack, "I did have to go, but I'll show
you why I stayed." He pointed to the front row where two men were sitting,
each of whom had lost an arm in the war. One had lost his right arm and the
other had lost his left. And, together, they were clapping each other's hand,
loudly and cheerfully. "That is why I stayed."
individually we can't do much, but no matter how wounded or imperfect we may
be, when we are together we make beautiful music and beautiful ministry and we
capture the attention of a world that needs the hope we have.
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