April 4, 2021
Jesus Our Living Hope
Sunday, April 4th, 2021
Welcome! Happy, Glorious Easter Sunday! What a blessed day in every aspect! Thank YOU God for this beautiful day as we rejoice in You and Your Risen Son, Jesus!
We spoke on Good Friday that while we remember and stand in awe of the love of God (that while we as humanity were still sinners, He sent His Son to be our sacrifice and pay the debt for our sin by giving His very life on the cross), we also stand in confident hope. Jesus was not defeated that day on the cross-quite the opposite. In His death, Jesus ransomed a fallen, sinful people and nailed the sins of the world to the cross. In His blood shed He made an atonement once and for all for sinful people to be redeemed before our holy God. The enemy thought he won that day as Jesus gave us his last breath and they buried Him in the tomb.
What he didn’t know though, was death was just a necessary step in God’s divine plan for eternal victory-because 3 days later, just as Jesus professed to His disciples before He was arrested and slain, He rose again! VICTORY! Death could not hold Him! The grave could not keep Him! The enemy was forever defeated as Jesus was resurrected and THIS right here is what separates all other gods.
Jesus Christ is alive and well and sitting at the right hand of the Father for eternity! Remember who God said He was and will forever be: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace and most personally, Immanuel- God With Us.
THIS also is what separates from all other religions and why we celebrate and rejoice on this Easter Sunday-our Savior and God, is resurrected and LIVES! Not only is He alive and supreme in power over all things, He is alive and supreme in power IN all things! He lives in the heart of every person who believes in His name! No other god is like this. No other god claims this.
Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, our resurrected Savior, is truly our Living Hope!
As we sang about this morning, Forever He is glorified!
We can look for hope in many places or people, but there is only one hope and His name is Jesus.
For many of us when we say, “I hope this works out” or “I hope for better days ahead” what we are really saying is I don’t know what tomorrow brings, it is all uncertain. I want it to be better but I don’t know. This is just an expression with no weight behind it at all. It really doesn’t leave us any assurance. We’re trying to be positive but with nothing to truly stand on. So the worry, the fear, the anxiety and negative thoughts continue to press on in our minds. We don’t really have any certainty to reject them. Have you been there? Are you there all too often yet today?
This is why we need Jesus. When we call Him our Living Hope, it’s because He truly is Hope eternal.
The apostle Peter was teaching about Jesus as our Living Hope to early Christians who were struggling in Asia minor-in a culture that was anti-Christian then. They were living in difficult situations with overbearing bosses, threatened by unbelieving spouses, ridiculed by skeptical neighbors and the possibility of violent persecution. It was stressful to say the least and the culture was not extending open arms to receiving the Gospel message. These Christians were struggling to stay true to what they believed and keep walking by faith.
Sound familiar? Maybe you have been enduring great difficulties in your work, your marriage, raising your children, your own health or that of a loved one, pushback from friends as you strive to follow Christ more and let Him transform you and you wonder how do you rise up in hope and joy in the midst of very trying times like these?
The only way any of us truly can-by focusing on the Living Hope that comes through Jesus Christ.
Peter was reminding those early Christians to remain in hope, remain in joy, remain in peace for Christ is with you through it all! He was reminding them Christ died and rose again and promised to come and make His home in the heart of everyone who believes in Him. To remain in hope-truly means remain in HIM.
1 Peter 1:13 teaches us, 13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Peter is clarifying and instructing all of us, it’s not a matter of desiring this hope and being uncertain of it. No. The coming of Christ is a matter of complete confidence for every writer in the New Testament. Absolute certainty. So when Peter says hope completely he is saying intensely desire-fixate on-be consumed in confidence that Jesus is coming again with grace for His people; that Jesus is truly with you now as a believer in Him.
Hope in the Bible is defined as full assurance or a strong confidence and certainty God will bring good to all who believe in Him and follow His ways.
Jesus is truth and affirms this by saying in John 14:6 “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Everything in the Old Testament spoke to the coming of a Savior and exactly how He would come. Everything points to Jesus and each prophecy was fulfilled exactly as it was spoken hundreds and thousands of years before the arrival, death and resurrection of Christ. What this means is since every promise to God’s people was fulfilled with the initial coming, sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus, we in this day, can stand in faith that every remaining promise will also be fulfilled. We can walk in faith Jesus will guide us through every storm, lead us to green pastures, be our friend and counselor, our peace in the chaos, our light in the darkness, and truly make us a new creation with His Spirit at work in us.
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
Let’s continue on and dive into greater understanding of this Living Hope we have in Christ Jesus!
1 Peter 1: 3-9 NIV
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
- HOPE is Alive!
Our Savior is alive! Let’s look to our Easter story that is not just a good story or fable, this is our truth. This is the basis for our faith-the very fact that Jesus is not still in the grave, but He is very much alive and reigning supreme!
The disciples of Jesus were completely lost after Jesus’ death. The ladies who were close with Him were coming to the tomb to anoint His body with spices as was their custom. They had to wait and not come on the Sabbath. So when they arrived they found their Messiah was not there!
Matthew 28: 5-7 5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
In the Gospel of John, we read of a very special moment granted to Mary Magdeline as Jesus personally reveals Himself to her. She was very distraught because the body of her beloved Jesus was missing and not being honored. It was very important to her to anoint His body properly and she didn’t know what happened to Him.
John 20:11-16 11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. 13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”
14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. 15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher”).
The women ran back into Jerusalem to tell the other disciples-the Lord is risen! Understandably, the men were in disbelief. There is no way this could happen. They watched Jesus die. Just then as they were still talking about the impossibility of it, Jesus appeared to them as He told the women He would.
Luke 24: 36-39 36 While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38 He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” Jesus was alive and in their presence!
These are accountings that reveal the witnessing of our Risen Savior! Everything He told them was true! What they couldn’t understand before now became clear! He wasn’t defeated at all; they were witnessing the greatest victory ever known!
Jesus defeated death and truly is our eternal King of kings!
What we know about Jesus comes purely from the grace of our Father granting us revelation into the great mystery of the ages, which is Christ in YOU! We receive this revelation of truth by faith and BELIEVE Jesus is who He says He is and did what we hear He did. Why?
Because He did it for you and me! It has always been about you and me and all of humanity. Jesus was in glory before He came to earth. He didn’t need to leave His place of glory and set aside His deity for Himself. He did it because of His great love for His creation, for humanity, who had no way to save themselves and make themselves righteous before God. We can’t save ourselves apart from Christ.
- HOPE Saves
We have confidence even today, that Jesus, our Living Hope saves. When we hear this Gospel message, the story of Easter and we receive it as truth by faith, we are saved.
The Apostle Paul taught this truth to the early church in Corinth. 1 Corinthians 15: 2-4 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
Believing in these facts, believing in Jesus as our Risen Savior is what saves us through the grace of God as He made a way for our salvation. It has nothing to do with how good of a person we are or how much we volunteer or give away. It has everything to do with Jesus and what He did on the cross. He is our salvation alone so God receives the glory, not any person. So we can only boast in His greatness, not ours.
It’s so important we understand this. Christ is the righteousness, we are not. He imparts His righteousness to us so when God looks upon us, He sees His Son covering us.
1 Peter 3:18 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.
1 Corinthians 15: 20-22 20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.
With Adam and Eve, sin entered into humanity and all humanity faced certain death. Christ is known as the last Adam for He came in human form as a man and died, but He rose again in new life. As we believe in Christ and He lives in us, all humanity rises in new life with Him!
What we must remember and know with absolute assurance is that Christ-our Hope doesn’t just save us from death; he saves us in every trial we face in this life here and now! He is power flowing through us.
He is supernatural strength when we don’t think we can go on anymore. He is divine wisdom when we are completely at a loss of what to do. He is a calming peace when we feel like we might come completely undone. He is truth when we are bombarded with lies and confusion. He is our healer when we are sick and broken. He is our salvation in this life too-in every way,
1 Corinthians 1:18 18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
Do you hear this? The message of the cross IS the power of God. Present tense. Moving and active in the life and heart of every believer even now as we call upon the name of Jesus. As we remember what He did on the cross and draw from the power flowing from the cross that He imparts to our lives.
- HOPE Empowers
This power flowing in us, the very life of Christ Himself through His Spirit, empowers us to do things we would never do or could do on our own.
He empowers us to do mighty things to advance His kingdom here on earth. He empowers us to love others with a divine love that is not of us, but of Him. He empowers us to live peacefully with others. He empowers us to live in the victory His death and resurrection brought about. He empowers us to live in joy even in our darkest days for we have assurance of what is yet to come and that our Savior is walking with us every step of the way!
Colossians 1:27 27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
This is it right here-God’s divine purpose and good pleasure for He is a loving and gracious God. This is the mystery revealed in the heart of every believer-
Christ in you, the HOPE of glory!
You will only come to understand this by faith, by choosing to believe in God and His Son. That He is truly God of the universe and His ways are so much higher than our ways, His thoughts so much higher than ours. By humbling ourselves and acknowledging He is God and we are not. He is the Potter; we are the clay. He is Creator and we are His creation.
Be renewed in your faith today! Don’t be lukewarm about what you believe. Hold on to the hope-that is Christ in You!
1 Peter 3:15 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
Conclusion: Our Savior is very much alive and will reign for eternity! His death and resurrection have brought salvation and new life to those who believe. Christ lives in us! Let us believe and walk in the power of Christ that flows within. Let us encounter our Living God in our hearts and rejoice in the transformation He brings to our lives!
Let Pray: Dear Lord, may I realize afresh today what Your death and resurrection mean for me. Forgiveness, freedom, and the ability to walk with You through this fallen world into eternity, to be part of bringing forth Your kingdom here on earth, to be a vessel for Your light, love and truth to flow through. May I always find my satisfaction in You and Your willingness to offer Yourself to me. You are my Living Hope. In Your Name I pray, Amen.
Receive Christ in your heart as your Savior: Father I admit I am a Savior in need of forgiving and that I cannot save myself or make myself right before you on my own. I believe in You Jesus. I believe you died on the cross for my sins and you paid my debt in full for the penalty of my sins. I believe you rose again on the third day and are seated now and forever at the right hand of God in glory. I believe You are my Savior and I ask You to be my Lord and guide my life. Come into my heart and live in me. Forgive my sins and make me new. Teach me Your ways and help me to understand Your Word. Give me a hunger in my heart to read Your Word. Grant me a willing spirit to follow You and walk with You. Thank You for saving me. Thank You for giving me new life in You. Amen.
If you prayed this prayer with a genuine desire to invite Jesus into your heart. It is done! He is with you and your sins have been forgiven! To learn more about what to do from here please visit our page on our website called New Believers. We are here to walk with you in the journey to follow Christ.
This is why we still partake in communion, not to crucify Jesus again and again, but to remember in our hearts what His death meant and what it offers us every day- new life with Christ in us. This is the mystery of the Gospel revealed- Jesus Christ in you-the hope of glory! It’s amazing and wonderful!
So let us remember today and do so focusing on the hope we have that cannot be taken from us. For the hope is not dependent on man but is fulfilled in what Jesus has already done.
Jesus teaches us to join together and share in eating of the bread and as we do, to do so in remembrance of Him, and His body given for us on the cross. Jesus took what we deserved (death for our sins) and paid our debt in full.
We remember Jesus Your great sacrifice and we praise You as our wonderful Savior and Redeemer.
He also taught us to drink the juice in remembrance of Him and His blood that poured out as the atonement for our sin. He blood washed away our sin and in return He imparted His righteousness to us so we might stand justified before God. Once and for all. Our debt is paid. We have been redeemed. Light shines in the darkness. No one is condemned who is in Christ Jesus. Our slate has been wiped clean. We thank You Jesus. O What a Savior!
Lord Jesus Christ, we rejoice and rejoice continually in Your glorious and triumphant victory over death. For Your victory is our victory. Help us to live by it, in it, and for it. We are grateful forever. Amen.
Final Blessing Ephesians 3: 16-19 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you and your families today and may gatherings be focused on the Living Hope you all share in Christ.