Faithlife Sermons

"The Reason for Our Hope"

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One of the mysteries of life is what happens after the death of the body. As a rule, Gentiles in Paul’s day did not believe in a resurrection and even some Jews didn’t. No wonder there was confusion about this teaching among these new believers. Was it physical or only spiritual? Had it already happened or was it still in the future?
What about believers who died before Christ’s return? Will they miss out on the blessings? This last one is one of the questions the believers at Thessalonica were asking, and Paul writes to address this.
1 Thessalonians 4:13–18 NIV84
Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.
Paul does not want them, or us, to be ignorant about the situation of believers who have died. They needed reassurance that death would not prevent Christians from sharing in whatever God had in store for them.

What is hope?

Looking forward to something in confident expectation, based on God’s faithful promises

What is our hope?

The dead in Christ will rise
1 Corinthians 15:51–52 NIV84
Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 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.
In the meantime, other Scripture tells us that the souls of those who die in the Lord go to be with the Lord to await their resurrection at His Second Coming.
2 Corinthians 5:8 NIV84
We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
We will be caught up together with them – refers to the rapture. Reunion with those believers who have died.
Meet the Lord in the air - This was a word which described the visit made to a particular city by an important dignitary, perhaps even the reigning monarch. While the eminent personage was still on his way to the favoured city, the citizens would go out to ‘meet’ him and then accompany him on the remainder of his journey.
Be with Him forever
Paul describes unbelievers as those who have no hope.

What is the reason for it?

Jesus died and rose again – this is something we can be certain of
The Lord’s own word about our resurrection
John 6:40 NIV84
For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
The promise of His return
Acts 1:11 NIV84
“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

What difference does it make?

Do not grieve as those with no hope
Encourage one another - The living and the dead will be reunited and will be together with the Lord forever.
A child of God who was seriously ill and lacked assurance of salvation said to his physician, "Doctor, although I'm a Christian, I'm afraid to die. Exactly what happens to us in the hour of death?" The surgeon, who was also a believer, thought for a moment and then replied, "I'm afraid I can't give you an exact answer to that question!" As he walked across the room to leave, he desperately wished he could say something comforting. Pausing briefly before opening the door, he heard the sound of scratching and whining on the other side. Suddenly he realized that he had left his car window open and his little dog had jumped out. With the patient's permission he let in his pet poodle who leaped on him with an eager show of gladness. In a flash the doctor's mind was awakened to a scriptural truth he had never before put into words. Turning to the sick man, he said, "Did you see how my dog acted? He's never been in this room before. He had no idea what was inside; yet when I opened the door, he sprang in without fear, for he knew his master was here! As Christians we have not been told about the glories that await us on the other side of death. But one thing we do know; our Master is there, and that is enough!
6,000 Plus Illustrations for Communicating Biblical Truths.
Hebrews 10:23 NIV84
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
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