* October 19 - 25
The Jesus Hope: Part 2
READ FOR THIS WEEK'S STUDY: John 14:1-3.
MEMORY TEXT: "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13).
KEY THOUGHTS: As a church, we put the word Adventist in our name to help identify ourselves. The word helps describe our goal and our motivationindeed, even our reason for existencebecause, more than anything else, the name proclaims our belief in the soon coming of Jesus Christ.
LAST WEEK, WE LOOKED AT HOW Jesus formed the foundation of hope by what He did at the First Coming. And what He did then is what paved the way for what He will do at the Second Coming. That is our great hope.
However central this great truth is, that of the hope found in the promise of the Second Coming, keeping such a hope alive in the church and in our individual lives takes effort and demands attention. Otherwise, the cares and needs of this life will, naturally, like weeds, choke it out.
This week we will look at a number of verses that, in various ways, in various contexts, express the hope that we have through Jesus, that help explain why we have it and show why we need to cling to itno matter the stresses, strains, and pressure to the contrary. Because, in the end, without this specific hope, there's no hope at all.
*Please study this weeks lesson to prepare for Sabbath, Oct. 26.
Sunday October 20
"We have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men" (1 Tim. 4:10, NIV).
A young man, down and out in Paris, considered his options: among them, jumping off the Eiffel Tower. Things had gotten that bad. It could be over so soon. All his problems would be solvedon impact! Yet he hesitated and hesitated, not so much out of fear of dying or the pain of death; no, he hesitated because amid all his suffering, amid all his problems, there was still a glimmer of hope, the hope that there might be a God who not only exists but who loves and cares about him. And it was that glimmer of hope that kept him from jumping.
Today, that young agnostic is a Seventh-day Adventist minister, sharing that hope with the world.
Why do we all need some sort of "hope" to keep us going? How could one live in this present world without hope at all? Or, maybe, even why should anyone live in this present world without hope?
Our hope is based on God and on God alone. Our hope has no confidence in anything or anyone else, only because anything that anyone else can offer us is only temporal, transient, and, ultimately, fleeting; only God can offer us an eternal hope, one that does not fade with time but, in fact, gets better and better over time. What other hope offers so much? This is the hope that is offered in both the Old and the New Testament. This is the whole essence of our faith in God. To have faith in God, the God of the Bible, is to have hope. What purpose is there to faith if it doesn't lead to hope? There is none. Faith and hope, though not the same, are closely parallel. One leads to the other; it is hard to imagine faith without hope or hope without faith.
How do you understand Paul's words that Jesus is the Savior of all men? What does that mean? What does that not mean?
|Read carefully 1 Timothy 4:10. Why did Paul write these words? What sense does it make to put our hope in anything else Other than "the living God"? What do you understand as a "dead god"? Are you, perhaps, following some "dead gods"?|
Read John 14:1-3. Name at least three specific things that Jesus, within these verses, promises us.
Summarize in just a few lines, in your own words, what those three promises ultimately mean. What is the hope contained in them, and why is that unlike any other hope we could possibly have?
The second coming of Christ is an absolutely indispensable doctrine in the Biblical teaching of redemption. Apart from His glorious return, God's work will forever be incomplete. At the center of redemption past is Christ on the cross; at the center of redemption future is Christ returning in glory."George Eldon Ladd, The Blessed Hope (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1956), p. 6.
There can be no question: The great hope of Christians is found in the promise of the Second Coming. The Second Coming, and all that it contains, is in many ways not a hopebut the hope, the final purpose of all that we believe. Only at the Second Coming (and all that it entails) will our faith be utterly and ultimately vindicated. Only then will all that we have gone through, suffered, and believed come to fruition. Only then are all our hopes finally and forever realized. Until then, it remains just a hope. And hope is fine, but sooner or later it needs to be realized, or else it becomes nothing but a false hope, and what is a false hope other than a lie? And who wants to believe a lie?
|Take a few minutes to think about your faith in Christ and all that you believe. Why, in the end, is it all useless without the promise and hope of the Second Coming? Or is it useless? In what ways could you possibly justify your faith without the promise and hope of the Second Coming?|
Read Romans 8:24, NIV.
Paul says that we are saved in hope. What hope? The answer is found in the verses before, starting in verse 18. What is Paul ultimately talking about in verses 18-24? What does he mean when he says "the glory that will be revealed in us" (vs. 18, NIV) or the "redemption of our bodies" (vs. 23, NIV) or when "the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay" (vs. 21, NIV)? What one specific event is he referring to, and why does that provide us with so much hope?
In the same way that our faith is "the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" (Heb. 11:1, NASB), our hope exists not in anything we can do for ourselves. This is a crucial point: Despite all of these self-help fads and trends and books and tapes about self-improvement, the bottom line is that our ultimate hope rests in something completely outside of us, something that we have not seen. And that is in the eternal God, not only our Creator but our Redeemer, Jesus. It is in His act of redemption for us that we have this hope, an act that will be consummated at the Second Coming, when all those things that Paul talked about in Romans 8:18-23 will be fulfilled.
What does Paul mean when he says that a "hope that is seen is no hope at all" or that a person cannot hope in what "he already has"?
If you have a dictionary, look up the meaning of hope. Many definitions of hope contain the word expectation, the implication being toward the future. The very concept of hope implies something we do not yet have but expect (or want) to have. That is Paul's point: We do not have what we ultimately are looking for (if we already had it, we would not need to hope for it), but we can hope for it nowand this hope is what keeps us going. In the Hebrew Bible, the words for hope also contain this same idea: that of a future expectation and anticipation.
|Our great hope exists in something we have not yet seen, something we do not already have, and that is the Second Coming. Yet, we have many reasons to possess this hope in what we have not yet seen. It is not a blind or foolish hope.|
"And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled, in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblamable and unreprovable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel" (Col. 1:21-23).
I n just a few verses, Paul captures another facet of "the Jesus hope," a hope grounded not in ourselves but only in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Look at the sequence of events here:
(1) We are enemies of God in our mind by wicked works; (2) thanks to Jesus, through His death, wesinful, unholy beingshave been reconciled to a holy God; (3) we are now presented before God as being "unbelievable and unreprovable" in His sight; (4) this hope remains ours just as long as we continue in the faith, a hope that will end in glory at the Second Coming.
What does it mean that we are "unblamable and unreprovable" in His sight?
What is the only way that sinful beings, even those living a life of faith,
can be presented "unblamable and
Here, clearly, is a manifestation of the hope we have in Jesus. No matter our obedience, no matter how faithful we live, no matter how much fruit we bear to the glory of God, none of us can ever stand before God, ourselves, unblamable and unreprovable in His sight. That is why we have Jesus, who, through His life and death, presents us in the spotless robe of His righteousness, the only righteousness that is indeed "unblameable and unreprovable." This righteousness is oursby faith alone. Talk about a reason to hope!
|"But Christ has made a way of escape for us. He lived on earth amid trials and temptations such as we have to meet. He lived a sinless life. He died for us, and now He offers to take our sins and give us His righteousness. If you give yourself to Him, and accept Him as your Saviour, then, sinful as your life may have been, for His sake you are accounted righteous. Christ's character stands in place of your character, and you are accepted before God just as if you had not sinned."Ellen G. White, Steps to Christ, p. 62. Do you really believe these words? If so, how can this hope not change your life? If it has not, seriously ask yourself: Do I really believe it?|
"And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever" (Dan. 2:44).
W e are Seventh-day Adventists. The Adventist in the name testifies that we believe in the return of Christ. Only when one understands just what the return of Christ is all about can one realize just how crucial this teaching is, not just to Christians but to every human being, both the living and the dead. Where would we be without it? What hope would we ultimately have? It is hard to imagine any.
The following texts all refer to the second coming of Jesus in one way or another. Write down a few points about what happens at this event:
Dan. 2:44 ____________________________________________________________
Dan. 7:27 ____________________________________________________________
Matt. 24:27 __________________________________________________________
1 Thess. 4:16, 17 ______________________________________________________
Rev. 14:14-16 ________________________________________________________
On the lines below, summarize what these texts say about the Second Coming:
The crucial point is this: The Second Coming ends the world as we know it. It will lead to the deaths of many and to eternal life for many others. Dwell on this biblical promise; grasp its overwhelming importance. With such an incredible event looming on the horizon, we have to ask, How should we live in anticipation of it? What is our only hope in it (see Wednesday's lesson)?
FURTHER STUDY: Read the following dramatic statement of the importance of the Advent hope for Adventists. Ask yourself, Is this still true? Do I believe this for myself?
"The importance of the Second Advent doctrine to Seventh-day Adventists cannot be overemphasized. It is in very truth a life-or-death matter to our movement.
"Seventh-day Adventists are irrevocably committed to belief in, and proclamation of, the imminent second coming of Christ. Should we for any reason whatever repudiate this truth, or cease to proclaim it with sincerity, we would destroy ourselves. Openly or secretly to deny the nearness of our Lord's return would be to invite the disintegration of our cause.
"The great second Advent movement was founded upon the conviction, resolutely and uncompromisingly held by our pioneers, that the long-anticipated return of Christ was near at hand. Without this conviction there would have been no Seventh-day Adventists or any Seventh-day Adventist movement.
"Belief in the imminent second coming of Christ is the reason for, and basis of, our existence. . . . If we do not believe that Christ's second coming is nigh at hand, we do not belong to the Advent movement. Furthermore, if we no longer hold this belief we have no business here today."Arthur S. Maxwell, "The Imminence of Christ's Second Coming," in Our Firm Foundation (a record of a Bible Conference) (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald, 1953), pp. 186, 187.
SUMMARY: The Jesus hope is the hope of eternal life that we have been given through Jesus. By His death and resurrection after the First Coming, we have been promised eternal life and glory at the Second Coming.
J. H. Zachary
When Pastor Claudio Familia arrived in his district in the Dominican Republic in March 2001, he had six churches and 170 members. He had been studying the dynamics of small groups and decided to put his new knowledge to use. He helped the members form themselves into 36 small groups and challenged them to work and pray for 130 new members before the end of the year.
Pastor Familia began training the members for leadership. The members decided to set another goal of planting small groups of new believers in six unentered communities nearby.
The team members began visiting homes, making friends, and starting scores of Bible studies. Pastor Familia planned to have a baptism every Sabbath, and just one month after the small-group system was put into place, God gave the members 18 new believers.
In May, 88 persons asked for baptism, and church leaders decided to have daily baptisms to keep up with the demand and to encourage others to take a stand for Jesus.
Every Sabbath afternoon Pastor Familia conducted training classes for the small-group team leaders and suggested ways to strengthen new small groups that were forming. Enthusiastic members reported on the thrilling things that they saw God doing through their efforts.
In June, 151 were baptized, and by August, the district had grown from a membership of 130 to 541 and from 6 congregations to 11!
Claudio Familia testifies, "Both old and new members have a passion for souls. We know that Jesus is coming soon, and we will continue soul winning until He returns. We still have several unentered communities to reach."
The members are eager to continue sharing their faith and bring more new members into God's kingdom.
Left: Pastor Claudio Familia. J. H. Zachary is coordinator of international evangelism for The Quiet Hour.
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