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Our Hope Is Beyond This World

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Our Hope Is Beyond This World

 

Romans 5: 3-4 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

It is said of Alexander the Great that when he saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer. Tutored by Aristotle and King by the age of 19, Alexander would dominate the world during his life. That life was required of him at the age of just 32. For his moment however, Alexander ruled most of the known world. History is littered with great and powerful figures that dominated their moment in time. The Bible tells of many such as Nebuchadnezzar, Darius, and Cyrus. The Pharaoh of Egypt in the days of Joseph possessed widespread power yet only 400 years later the new Pharaoh had no idea who Joseph was and how he had saved the Egyptian culture. Time is the great equalizer because the great and powerful men of time are mere footnotes in history to display the awesomeness and timeless power that rests in God alone. Yet still man hopes.

Hope is defined in the dictionary as: "a person or thing in which expectations are centered." When we hope in the Alexander's of the world, they will pass away at age 32. After his passing, the great empire he built in just 13 years was fractured and portioned off. The empires of Nebuchadnezzar, Darius and Cyrus would all fall, as would the Roman Empire. That is because these are all kingdoms of this world. What does the Bible say about this world?

...For this world in its present form is passing away. 1Corinthians 7: 31

Even the Jews in the days of Jesus were hoping in the wrong thing. Their expectations were centered on being delivered from the oppression of Rome. They thought their Messiah would be that deliverance. Their focus was on their sufferings on earth instead of their promise for what lies beyond this earth. Jesus explained:

Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place." John 18: 36

And so it still goes today. We live in a world that is devoid of true hope. The world sells us on the notion that he who dies with the most toys wins. The sad reality is that philosophy is so misguided because you cannot take it with you and he who dies is still dead:

Do not be overawed when a man grows rich, when the splendor of his house increases; for he will take nothing with him when he dies, his splendor will not descend with him. Psalm 49: 16-17

Yet the world still follows vain philosophies which provide no hope. Friedrich Nietzsche, who proffered the notion of the death of God and is still the driving force behind most post-modernism and existential philosophies of today once said, "In reality, hope is the worst of all evils, because it prolongs man's torments." There is a cheery mantra to rally around! But after careful consideration, Nietzsche was right depending of course on what it is you have centered your expectations on! When you believe that God is dead, then there is nothing to center your expectations on. Hope does become a torment because there is nothing to hope for. Is it any wonder that Nietzsche eventually would go insane, living the last 11 years of his life under the care of his mother and sister.

Even modern Christianity can confuse the notion of hope. Prosperity doctrine muddies the picture to convince believers that their blessings are found somewhere on this earth; instead of in Christ alone. We read much lately about "Seeker Friendly" churches who become more concerned about attendance then preaching the entire Gospel. This term seems confusing. Since when was salvation not enough? Why is the forgiveness of sins, being written in the Lambs Book of Life, and spending eternity with God not a strong enough selling point? Shouldn't overcoming this world, being seated in heavenly places and being co-heirs with Christ draw enough seekers? The Gospel of Jesus Christ is enough, on its own. Being granted eternal life now is enough, on its own. Why? Because of hope. If you center your expectations on the things of this world, your hope will be fleeting and disappointing. If you center your expectations beyond this world however, your hope will be eternal:

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, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade--kept in heaven for you, 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. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1Peter 1: 3-7

Our hope is alive. It is found in Him who conquered the grave and defeated the death of this world. Unlike mortal inheritance, His will not perish or spoil. There will however be sufferings because we live in this world. Even still we can rejoice in the midst of our sufferings as our key verse states. Why? Because Jesus Christ has overcome the world and the tribulations it brings with it:

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33

How does Jesus overcoming the world provide us with the peace we need to overcome as well? Because we have been given His Spirit; the Holy Spirit. When discussing the coming of the Holy Spirit Jesus assured us:

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Credentialed Minister of the Gospel for the Assemblies of God. Owner and founder of 828 ministries. Vice President for Goodwill Industries. Always remember that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to (more...)
 
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