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Four Reasons to Have Hope in the Resurrection

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Four Reasons to Have Hope in the Resurrection

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Four Reasons to Have Hope in the Resurrection

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Let's look at four aspects of Jesus Christ's sacrifice and resurrection and the hope it gives each of us.

Transcript

[Peter Eddington] What gives you hope? What gets you up out of bed each morning? What do you look forward to? To quote popular author Dale Carnegie, “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying even when there seemed to be no hope at all.” It reminds me of this passage from the book of Proverbs, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.” [ Proverbs 13:12 Proverbs 13:12Hope deferred makes the heart sick: but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.
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]

Hope is very necessary for us to set goals and make it through life. Admittedly a lot of people are looking in all the wrong places for hope. We see them, for example, lined up at the lottery counter at the gas station, hoping to win big and solve all of their financial and other problems. There is certainly an element of hopelessness in the world around us. In some countries there is utter hopelessness. Assisted suicide doctor Jack Kevorkian, you may remember him, offered little hope for his patients. As he gave them the needle he said, “Let’s hope you feel better now.”

People are always hoping that their ship will come in, that they’ll strike it rich one day, but just because people are looking in all the wrong places for hope, and just because a lot of people’s hopes get dashed, does not mean that there is not hope available to every person who looks in the right direction. And that direction is Jesus Christ and His resurrection.

What is life? What is our existence without hope? It’s hopeless. Would anybody really want to live without hope? Well, last week as we observed the Days of Unleavened Bread, we were reminded of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for our sins, our need to put sin out of our lives, and the hope of the resurrection that began with His resurrection. And we do have a most sure hope to rely on. And I’ve titled today’s sermon: “Four Reasons to Have Hope in the Resurrection.”

Let’s look at four aspects of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection and the hope that it gives us in our lives. Belief in Jesus resurrection is not universal, actually even amongst Christians. Note this piece from the religious tolerance website religioustolerance.org. Here’s what they say regarding Christ’s resurrection, “Many liberal and some mainline Christian leaders believe that Jesus died during the crucifixion, did not resurrect himself, and was not bodily resurrected by God. At his death, his mind ceased to function and his body started the decomposition process. Returning to life a day and a half later would have been quite impossible. The story of having been wrapped in linen and anointed with myrrh seems to have been copied from the story of the death of Osiris, the Egyptian god of the earth, vegetation, and grain. The legend that he visited the underworld between his death and resurrection was simply copied from common pagan themes of surrounding cultures.” So, liberal Christians, and even some mainline Christians believe that He died, but He was not resurrected.

Turn to 1 Peter 1 with me. I’m going to read verses 3-5. 1 Peter 1. It was here, in contrast to liberal Christianity. Listen to the encouraging words of the apostle Peter. This comes from a man who once denied Christ. Who once lost all hope, and fled from those who would even ask him of his faith, but he made a complete turnaround from his earlier doubting. Look at 1 Peter 1:3 1 Peter 1:3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy has begotten us again to a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
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. There is actually a lot in these three verses.

1 Peter 1:3 1 Peter 1:3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy has begotten us again to a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
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Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

1 Peter 1:4 1 Peter 1:4To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in heaven for you,
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to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,

1 Peter 1:5 1 Peter 1:5Who are kept by the power of God through faith to salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
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who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

We’re actually going to look at these three verses with a little more depth now because these verses talk about the hope we can have in Christ’s resurrection. But first we want to go back to Leviticus chapter 23 and just read a couple of verses there.

Leviticus 23 verses 10 and 11. I want to make note of a ceremony that pictured the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This ceremony was always held on the Sunday during the Days of Unleavened Bread. You’re familiar with it. It’s in Leviticus 23:10 Leviticus 23:10Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, When you be come into the land which I give to you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then you shall bring a sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest:
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. We have a note to make here.

Leviticus 23:10 Leviticus 23:10Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, When you be come into the land which I give to you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then you shall bring a sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest:
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“Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you come into the land which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest.

Leviticus 23:11 Leviticus 23:11And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.
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He shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted on your behalf; on the day after the Sabbath –that’s the day after the Sabbath during the Days of Unleavened Bread- the priest shall wave it.

The verses up above show we’re in the middle of the Days of Unleavened Bread when this is being talked about. Then notice verse 14:

Leviticus 23:14 Leviticus 23:14And you shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that you have brought an offering to your God: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
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You shall eat neither bread nor parched grain nor fresh grain until the same day that you have brought an offering to your God; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generation in all your dwellings.

The agricultural cycle of ancient Israel revolved around two harvests: the spring and the fall harvests. Before any grain could be harvested in the spring, a special ceremony took place during the Days of Unleavened Bread to inaugurate the spring harvest season. This ceremony that we just read about was the waving of the first sheaf of grain to be accepted by God. No one was to eat any of the grain of the harvest until the first sheaf was brought to the priest who then waved it before God. And the first sheaf of grain was called the firstfruits. It was the firstfruits of the grain harvest.

Thousands of years later we find the same term used again in the Bible describing Jesus Christ. He was the first of the first fruits, and the wave sheaf here is symbolic of Jesus Christ –Jesus Christ’s acceptance by God the Father. It portrays a resurrected Jesus now serving as our high priest.
Let me read to you John 20:17 John 20:17Jesus said to her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brothers, and say to them, I ascend to my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
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. Remember, Jesus said to Mary when He first appeared to her when her after He was resurrected:

John 20:17 John 20:17Jesus said to her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brothers, and say to them, I ascend to my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
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Jesus said to her, “Don’t touch me, I haven’t yet ascended to the Father; [but go to My brethren and say to them], ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God’”

So Jesus had to tell His followers, “Don’t touch me until I’ve gone to the Father.” And only after Jesus had risen to the Father and then returned again to the earth for a short time, were they allowed to touch Him. This was all pictured by the wave sheaf offering.

So now, with this background, let’s look at four reasons to have hope in the resurrection. Number 1 is: Jesus’ resurrection gives us life.

Let’s go back to 1 Peter chapter 1 again and let’s look at verse 3. Look at the a little more closely, 1 Peter 1:3 1 Peter 1:3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy has begotten us again to a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
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, we read:

1 Peter 1:3 1 Peter 1:3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy has begotten us again to a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
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- …a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

We have a living hope. We have life as a result. Notice verse 23, later in the chapter.

1 Peter 1:23 1 Peter 1:23Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which lives and stays for ever.
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We have now been born again, -a new life- not of corruptible seed but incorruptible –not something that perishes but something that’s more eternal-, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,

We’re talking about life here, not just any kind of life. We’re talking about eternal life, as a result of Jesus Christ’s resurrection. We are born into a new life upon our repentance, baptism, and conversion. We’re given a new life in Jesus Christ. The old man is buried in a watery grave. We come out of the water, forgiven of our sins and ready to be a new person, ready to live a new life in Christ. This is only made possible by Jesus’ own resurrection, by His life.

Notice Romans 5:10 Romans 5:10For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
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Romans 5:10 Romans 5:10For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
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For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

So our sins are forgiven by His shed blood, and then we’re saved by His life. If He had remained in the grave, what hope would we have? It reminds me of 1 Corinthians 15:19-20 1 Corinthians 15:19-20 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. 20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept.
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, where Paul told the Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 15:19 1 Corinthians 15:19If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
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If in this life only we have hope in Christ –if this is all there is, right now- , we are of all men the most pitiable.

1 Corinthians 15:20 1 Corinthians 15:20But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept.
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But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

The firstfruits. What did that wave sheaf picture? The first of the firstfruits: Jesus Christ. By our new birth after baptism, we become the sons and daughters, now, of righteousness, preparing to abide forever at the resurrection upon Jesus’ return when we will become spirit beings. This is an amazing hope that the people of God can rely on and believe in. Jesus’ resurrection gives us true life, not just physical life, but a future eternal life.
Listen to this example of living life to the full, of having hope in the future: It’s from The Fellowship of the Ring, by J. R. R. Tolkien. Think of it as the day to day hope we have because of the awesome future God has promised to us. Here’s what Tolkien says:

For a while, the hobbits continued to talk and think of the past journey and of the perils which lay ahead, but such was the virtue of the land of Rivendell, that soon all fear and anxiety was lifted from their minds. The future, good or ill, was not forgotten, but ceased to have any power over the present. Health and hope grew strong in them, and they were content with each good day as it came, taking pleasure in every meal and in every word and song.

So it was like this magical place they had entered, where even the bad things in life took a back seat.

Jesus Christ, despite what some people will try and tell you, did not remain dead after the Passover, for three days and three nights in the tomb, He was brought back to life. He died for our sins, and then rose from the dead. His resurrection proved that the Father is also able to give us new life. That we, too, will be raised from the death of sin into the glory of new life at the time of the resurrection. This then is a sure and certain hope. Here is a hope that cannot fail. Here is a hope that is now actually firmly anchored at the throne of God, in the being of Jesus Christ. This is our true hope in life.

We don’t know if we’ll live a long life, if our health will hold, or if our money will be sufficient for retirement, but we know what really matters. There is one sure thing we can know. We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we have hope in the resurrection, and that Christ will never leave nor forsake us, either in this life or in the life to come. There is hope beyond this life. There is hope beyond even our current trials. In contrast to Tolkien, the present does not have any power over our future. Our future is certain.
Turn with me to Jeremiah chapter 29, and I want to read verse 11.

Jeremiah 29:11 Jeremiah 29:11For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, said the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
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Jeremiah was one of the profits who had to preach a tough message. The nation was in sin and would not listen to God. Jeremiah felt like his preaching was in vain, but every day he had to get up and do it again despite that fact that the people were not listening, and yet, he still had hope through all that. Look at Jeremiah 29:11 Jeremiah 29:11For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, said the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
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, I’ll read it from the ESV for you:

Jeremiah 29:11 Jeremiah 29:11For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, said the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
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For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

And that’s what kept Jeremiah going. He knew the Lord was going to give him a future and a hope.

Life is a very powerful gift that God gives His people. Life without hope is a meaningless life. Our hope is in the resurrection, and we will follow our elder brother and high priest Jesus Christ into an eternal life without any physical boundaries. So remember, Jesus’ resurrection gives us the hope of life. It’s actually the hope of eternal life.

Secondly, Jesus’ resurrection is our hope of inheritance.

Ernest Hemingway said in For Whom the Bell Tolls , “I had an inheritance from my father. It was the moon and the sun, and though I roam all over the world, the spending of it is never done.” Very interesting passage from For Whom the Bell Tolls . The sun rises and sets each day. The moon is there each month. The spending of it is never done.

Let’s go back to 1 Peter 1 again and look at verse 4 now a little more closely. 1 Peter 1:4 1 Peter 1:4To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in heaven for you,
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, because verse 3 is talking about the resurrection, and now verse 4 says:

1 Peter 1:4 1 Peter 1:4To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in heaven for you,
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to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you

An inheritance is something that we haven’t earned. It’s given by the grace of God. An inheritance is something we’ve received through the death of a loved one or a friend. Normally, receiving an inheritance means someone has to die. In our case, that was Jesus Christ, and he’s left us an inheritance. You’ve seen the bumper sticker on the back of the motor home that says, “We’re spending our children’s inheritance.”? Off goes grandma and grandpa into the sunset with their RV.

Well, we see here in 1 Peter 1:4 1 Peter 1:4To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in heaven for you,
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, here’s an inheritance that can’t be spent. It’s guaranteed. It does not fade away. The NIV says:

1 Peter 1:4 1 Peter 1:4To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in heaven for you,
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an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade… kept in heaven for you.

Jesus’ resurrection is our hope of this inheritance. It’s an inheritance that is secure. This inheritance cannot decay. It’s incorruptible. It’s imperishable. This inheritance cannot be diluted or spoiled, or go off. It’s undefiled, it says, cannot fade away, and at this moment it is on reserve, kept in heaven for you. It’s an inheritance that is guaranteed.

Notice how verses 4 and 5 here interrelate. Verse 4 says

1 Peter 1:4 1 Peter 1:4To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in heaven for you,
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to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,

But look at verse 5.

1 Peter 1:5 1 Peter 1:5Who are kept by the power of God through faith to salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
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who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

So in verse 4, our inheritance is being kept for us. It’s reserved. It’s there. In verse 5 we read we’re being kept for our inheritance. It’s guaranteed if we don’t make a withdrawal from the system. If we keep our baptismal commitment, which we just renewed at the Passover service, and honor the word of God. We are being kept for our inheritance. So God is going to finish the work He began in us. He’s keeping us for that inheritance.
He wants all to be saved. He wants all to receive that. And He’s doing what He can in our lives to bring us along in faith toward Him and obedience so that He can then say of each of us, ‘Now I know. I can give them the inheritance.’

What God lays before us is a wonderful gift, and this world does not offer any hope, anything like this. The greatest human minds cannot begin to offer what God offers, because our life ends in death without Him. I find it interesting that the greatest minds of the last 6000 years fall into the abyss of depression and hopelessness trying to figure out life without God in the picture.

Listen to this quote from Bertrand Russell, a British philosopher, writer, social critic and political activist who died in 1970. Although Bertrand Russell was an agnostic, he also really liked the idea of the concept of atheism. He thought that might have some merit, but he said, “I’m an agnostic.” In 1903, Russell wrote about entropy and the universe. The concept that, without God, at some point our sun will eventually burn itself out and all life will cease. So when you discuss entropy, it’s the idea that eventually the whole universe will wind down, the sun will burn out, and it’s just, everything just kind of is gone. The clock winds down. Without belief in an afterlife, without belief in God, that’s what you have to come to, physically.

So here’s what Russell wrote:

“That man is the product of causes that had no prevision of the end they were achieving, that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs are but the outcome of accidental colocations of atoms, that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling can preserve individual life beyond the grave, that all the labors of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noon-day brightness of human genius are destined to extinction, the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of man’s vast achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins. All these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only with a scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.”

That’s what he said about entropy. And I believe this quote by Russell is indicative of the agnostic and atheist belief of hopeless in humanity’s future. But by contrast, what Jesus Christ is offering each of us through the power of the resurrection is an inheritance that is secure, guaranteed, and which will be revealed in the last time, at the end time, which is upon our resurrection when Jesus Christ returns. We are being kept by God, through faith, as we read there in verse 5. He’s keeping us for that inheritance, and our destiny will be revealed at last in the end time upon our resurrection.

Look at Romans 5:1 Romans 5:1Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
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. Actually, read the first five verses of Romans 5. Here are these scriptures that give us peace and comfort and consolation in this life.

Romans 5:1 Romans 5:1Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
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Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

That’s where our hope and trust and faith and peace comes from: Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:2 Romans 5:2By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
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through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

When Jesus Christ returns, He says when we’re resurrected we’ll be like Him. We’ll have glory like He has glory. We have hope in the glory of God.

Romans 5:3 Romans 5:3And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation works patience;
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And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;

Romans 5:4 Romans 5:4And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
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and perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Romans 5:5 Romans 5:5And hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given to us.
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Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

So why do we glory in tribulations? Because we know it’s going to produce character in us and perseverance and hope. We rejoice in that hope of the glory of God that will be given to us as well. Elsewhere in the book of Peter, he says, “ We’ll take on the divine nature.” [ 2 Peter 1:4 2 Peter 1:4Whereby are given to us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
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]What does that mean to take on the divine nature? It means to join in the God family, that’s what it means, never to die again.

And so, point 2, Jesus’ resurrection is our inheritance. We were told we will inherit all things.

Number 3, our hope of the resurrection keeps us going. There are trials in the way. Things don’t always work out. We have issues, problems, and because we are persevering and developing character, as was mentioned in the book of Romans, this life was not designed to always be easy, always free from difficulty or sorrow or suffering.

I remember Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser saying to the country in the late 1970s as some difficulties were being faced in our nation, the Prime Minister said, “Life wasn’t meant to be easy.” As we’re going through an economic crisis in the 70s, and long lines at the gas pumps and all that, you may remember, he said, “Life wasn’t meant to be easy.” I think he was right.

Listen to this quote from the Moody Bible Institute. This was taken from Today in the Word from May 1990, page 34, from the Moody Bible Institute.

A number of years ago, the Moody Bible Institute reported on a case where researchers performed an experiment to see the effect hope has on those undergoing hardship. Two sets of lab rats were placed in separate tubs of water. The researchers left one set in the water and found out that within an hour, that all had drowned. The other rats were periodically lifted out of the water and then returned. When that happened, the second set of rats swam for over 24 hours. Why? Not because they were given a rest, but because they suddenly had hope. They weren’t taken out long enough to save them from drowning, just for a short time and put back in again. So they say those animals somehow hoped that if they could stay afloat long enough just a little longer, someone would reach down and rescue them.

If hope holds such power for unthinking rodents, how much greater should its effect be on our lives as we deal with trials?

Too many people base their whole lives on a false philosophy that says life should be easy. When we get those little elements of hope, we keep going. Even Christians get seduced by a false philosophy at times and wonder why we have to go through any trials. We too have struggles. We too have financial collapses. We too have people break their promises to us, or act terribly toward us. We too face health problems. We too face death. There are no exemptions just because we are in God’s church. Life is not always easy. But, this hope of the resurrection will keep you going.

Do you know what it’s like when you visit someone in the hospital who is facing their last days? Often they give you more encouragement than you would expect from someone who is about to die. And they say, “I’ll see you in the next life. See you in the resurrection. Make sure you’re there! Don’t give up.” This kind of hope in the resurrection gives us hope, even when facing death.

Go back to 1 Peter chapter 1 again. I want to read verse 6 now. 1 Peter 1:6 1 Peter 1:6Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, you are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
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. So because of this hope in the resurrection, Peter says:

1 Peter 1:6 1 Peter 1:6Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, you are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
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In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials,

So even though you may be grieved by various trials, you rejoice, because the resurrection gives you the hope and keeps you going. Those trials which seem so hard to bear are allowed by God as part of His refining process to get us ready for His kingdom. Like I said, so that now He can say, “Now I know. I can give this person eternal life and they’ll be with me for the long haul.”

Continuing in 1 Peter 1:7 1 Peter 1:7That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found to praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
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1 Peter 1:7 1 Peter 1:7That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found to praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
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that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ
So the most valuable thing we can think of on this earth is gold and silver, but even that eventually could be destroyed in the hottest fire. It’s what Peter says, but, he says, our faith is stronger than that, and we will receive glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, the return of Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 1:8 1 Peter 1:8Whom having not seen, you love; in whom, though now you see him not, yet believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
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whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,

1 Peter 1:9 1 Peter 1:9Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
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receiving the end of your faith – so what is the goal here, what is the end- the salvation of your souls.

So not only was Jesus Christ resurrected, we too will receive salvation and be resurrected. In the midst of our daily lives, which often have discomfort, challenges, and trials, we can take comfort in these words by the apostle Peter. If you dwell on them, if you think about them, it will make the trial easier to bear. When you look at the long picture, look at the big picture, the ultimate hope is the very salvation of our whole being, and this thought can keep us going. Hope of the resurrection is a powerful gift that keeps us going through trials.

Think about the many prophesies of hope in the scriptures. The prophets of old like Jeremiah that I mentioned a moment ago, even when condemning personal sin and condemning national sin, still gave hope of God’s kingdom in the resurrection from the dead in their message. It’s what got them through. It’s what gets us through, keeps us going.

Turn to Lamentations chapter 3, you’ll see a really good example of this, because the prophet Jeremiah had many low points in his life. He saw a nation that would not repent of its sins, and yet, he still hoped in God. He wrote a long lamentation of his despair. What’s a lament? You know what a lament is [expression of grief or sorrow]. And this is a book of lamentations. And in Lamentations 3: 21-26 , after all this despair he says,

Lamentations 3:21 Lamentations 3:21This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.
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This I recall to my mind OK, here’s what I’m thinking about now, God- and therefore I have hope.

Lamentations 3:22 Lamentations 3:22It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.
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Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.

Lamentations 3:23 Lamentations 3:23They are new every morning: great is your faithfulness.
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They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:24 Lamentations 3:24The LORD is my portion, said my soul; therefore will I hope in him.
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“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!”

Lamentations 3:25 Lamentations 3:25The LORD is good to them that wait for him, to the soul that seeks him.
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The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him.

Lamentations 3:26 Lamentations 3:26It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.
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It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

So even in the midst of despair, he said we should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

So to summarize point 3: our hope in God and of the resurrection keeps us going.

And the 4th point I’ve titled, “There is no hidden catch.”

About thirty years ago, when Terri and I were newly married, we received our monthly telephone bill and found out that we had switched international telephone carriers, but it wasn’t anything we had approved or requested. So, I called Pacific Bell and I said, “Why have we been switched to AT&T, what happened?” Well, here’s what it went back to. Months earlier, we had been at the Pasadena Mall, and saw a new car on display. There was a lottery to win this new car if you just give them your name and address. Well, we didn’t read the fine print. It was probably a 3 or 4 point font at the bottom of the card. If you signed up for a chance to win this new car, you agreed to have your long distance phone carrier changed. There was a catch, and we didn’t read the fine print.

Well, look at 1 Peter 1:7-8 1 Peter 1:7-8 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found to praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 8 Whom having not seen, you love; in whom, though now you see him not, yet believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
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. 1 Peter 1:7 1 Peter 1:7That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found to praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
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at the end it says:

1 Peter 1:7 1 Peter 1:7That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found to praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
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…at the revelation of Jesus Christ

1 Peter 1:8 1 Peter 1:8Whom having not seen, you love; in whom, though now you see him not, yet believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
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whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,

We have not seen Jesus Christ with our physical eyes, but only with our eye of faith, right. We shall see him, but that day is not yet. But having not seen him, we still believe. We love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and obey Him and keep His commandments, and it’s to love Him in spite of the fact that we have not seen Him, and this is where our hope is centered: in Christ our Savior, who died for our sins that we might live. There is no hidden catch. Our resurrection and eternal life is a promise.
In today’s society, we have become very wary of scams. So much so that we live our lives thinking that even for legitimate offers there must be a catch somewhere, sounds too good to be true.

Here are the top 10 scams of 2015. I got it from scamguard.com

  1. Tech support scams. And as scammers usually ask for a payment by credit card to fix your computer, many victims report having their identity stolen afterwards. Your computer locks up and a message come on and says, “You’ve got a virus. Call us and we’ll fix it.” So many people believe it. And then they take over your computer, get all your information, and your identity gets stolen.
  2. Counterfeit merchandise scams. You’re told about this merchandise you’ll receive with a credit card payment, and then what happens? You don’t ever receive the merchandise, and your identity gets stolen.
  3. Pets for sale scams. I didn’t realize that was number 3 on the list.
  4. Grant scams. Supposed representatives of the government call citizens with offers to sell them grant money.
  5. Collection agency scams.
  6. Vacation property rental scams. I get those.
  7. Payday loan scams. Advertising agencies use cleverly designed websites to entice customers who have bad debt to apply for an advance on their payday check and loan them money, but once the information is gathered, a scamming company posing as a legitimate company gains access to it.
  8. Timeshare resale scams.
  9. Dating and relationship scams.
  10. Work from home inspecting and shipping merchandise scams.

By contrast, the promises of God have no hidden catch. It’s completely out in the open. Here’s what you do: repent, be baptized, receive the Holy Spirit, become converted, and then strive to live a sinless life. There is no catch. It’s very plain to see. And it’s actually quite a simple plan. We could go through the scriptures each day and find more and more stuff in there and learn more and more, but the basis of the plan is really simple, and there is no catch. It’s plain to see. God holds to His promises, and He never lies.
Hope in the resurrection is a powerful tool. When hope is taken away, people stop rising to achievement. They start letting things slide when they have no hope.

There’s a story told by Helford Lockhart in the publication Unfinished Business . He says,

In Maine, there was a little town named Flagstaff. The town was to be flooded as part of a large lake for which a dam was being built. In the month before it was to be flooded, all improvements and repairs in the whole town were stopped. What was the use painting a house if it was to be covered in water in six months? Why repair anything when the whole village was to be wiped out. So week by week, the whole town became more and more bedraggled, more gone to seed, more woebegone.

I don’t know if you’ve seen any of the pictures from California where they’re having this intense drought right now, but some of the lakes are down so low that old houses are now showing up through the water, houses that were buried a hundred years ago. But why replace the roof when it’s just going to be flooded, right?

Terri and I are seeing an interesting thing happen in our neighborhood right now. Many of the homes around us are being bought up by Union Township and then bulldozed down. Just a few weeks ago, the house next to us was bought by the township and bulldozed down, and we thought, “What on earth is going on?” It makes us wonder what the city has planned for our area. Should we sell? Should we try and move? Should we avoid any further costly repairs to our house? Should we fix our leaking roof or should we stick it out? When there’s uncertainty like that, you start to lose hope in the future of your home.

In our Christian lives, we deeply need the faith and hope that comes from Jesus Christ so that when we continue to build up our Christian lives, so that we continue to build up godly character, so that we do not let our spiritual houses fall into ruin like a town with no hope. There’s no catch here. The hope of the kingdom of God, the hope of the resurrection, the hope of salvation, sometimes even seems too awesome to be true, too great to imagine, but it’s not.

Turn back to 1 John chapter 2 . Let’s read a passage here in 1 John 2:24-26 1 John 2:24-26 24 Let that therefore abide in you, which you have heard from the beginning. If that which you have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, you also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he has promised us, even eternal life. 26 These things have I written to you concerning them that seduce you.
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. Here’s what is promised:

1 John 2:24 1 John 2:24Let that therefore abide in you, which you have heard from the beginning. If that which you have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, you also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.
American King James Version×
Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in your, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.

So go back to when you first learned the truth.

1 John 2:25 1 John 2:25And this is the promise that he has promised us, even eternal life.
American King James Version×
And this is the promise that He has promised us [the promise is] -eternal life.

1 John 2:26 1 John 2:26These things have I written to you concerning them that seduce you.
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These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you.

Don’t be deceived. Many people have a hard time even imagining such a future state because our troubled and difficult experience in this present life makes it difficult for us to think of such a kingdom without a catch in it somewhere. But John writes, “No, don’t let anyone deceive you. Go back to what you heard from the beginning and you will receive the promise.

To most of us, the kingdom of God is a dream of a new country, a place of safety, it’s a place of a family reunited in God’s kingdom. No more pain, no more injuries, no more aging, and yes, being a spirit being. Our world today is full of pollution, war, crime, and greed, but inside all of us here is the hope of what the world could be like, the hope of what the world will be like. And these are not illusions or mere dreams, but advanced pictures of what will come true.

When we’re resurrected in God’s kingdom, we will possess at last what we’re longing for. From all the bad news, incredibly good news emerges, a good without a catch in it somewhere. Heaven and earth will again work the way God intended, and that’s a very happy ending. That’s why we preach the gospel of the kingdom. That’s why here at the office we come in to work every day, getting that message of good news out: the message of a better life to come. Yes, it’s a message of repentance. Yes, it’s a message of faith. But it’s a message of a better life to come.

God’s kingdom promises a time far longer and more substantial than the physical time we spend here on earth. In fact, it’s eternal. The bible never denies human disappointment, but it does add one key word: temporary. Any disappointments we have here today, temporary. We are promised a home that we have never visited, but a home we have never stopped longing for and thinking about and picturing in our minds. Our eternal hope is a gift from God, there is no hidden catch.

So let’s conclude this topic today, go back to 1 Peter chapter 1 and notice verses 13-16. Here is kind of now where we fit in. Here is now where we’re told what to do. The first part of the chapter is, Jesus Christ didn’t remain in the grave, He was resurrected. It says, “You can have hope in the resurrection.” But then, verse 13:

1 Peter 1:13 1 Peter 1:13Why gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
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Therefore –ok not I have to do something- gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

1 Peter 1:14 1 Peter 1:14As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:
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as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance;

1 Peter 1:15 1 Peter 1:15But as he which has called you is holy, so be you holy in all manner of conversation;
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but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,

1 Peter 1:16 1 Peter 1:16Because it is written, Be you holy; for I am holy.
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because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

So it’s quite a high calling, isn’t it? The hope we have of the resurrection does require that we become holy in all of our conduct. So this past week, were you holy in all of your conduct? I know I wasn’t. Too easy to lose your temper, isn’t it? Too easy to get upset. Be holy, for I am holy . Because then we receive the promise, at the revelation of Jesus Christ, at the return of Jesus Christ.

It’s a strange mystery that God has revealed to us, this Christian life and the truth of the gospel. It is the hope of our salvation and eternal life that came about through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice, the forgiveness of our sins, and our work to put sin out of our lives. It’s a life of hope to live in holiness with our Father in heaven. So we really should be the most hopeful people on earth, even when things aren’t going so well. This hope should show through our eyes, through our face, through our expression, through our body language, through everything about it so when someone at work sees us they say, “There’s something different about that person. They have a hopeful life. I wonder why that is.”

So let’s remember the incredible hope God’s plan of salvation gives us, because Jesus’ resurrection gives us life. Jesus’ resurrection is our hope of inheritance, and our hope of the resurrection keeps us going and there is no hidden catch. So remember, the four reasons to have hope in the resurrection.