Thornleigh Seventh-day Adventist Church (Sydney, Australia)

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Pastor's Piece - Hope for Tomorrow

by Dr Barry Wright

Hope for Tomorrow - The source of true hope

We have been told from many different sources that one of mankind's greatest psychological needs in this modern age today is hope. If we are to accept this statement as true then we need to know what that word means.

The word 'Hope' is defined in our dictionaries as: 'A desire, accompanied by an expectation of fulfilment'.

It is believed that 'hope' in this context constitutes one of the great unquenchable characteristics of the human spirit. It was hope that kept England alive during the Battle of Britain. It was hope that sustained prisoners of war during some of the most discouraging and inhumane conditions ever inflicted on mankind. It was hope that has enabled people to surmount massive physical disabilities and to overcome circumstances that would normally crush the very life out of the soul. There is a power to be found in this 'expectation of fulfilment' and we will never fully understand it. However, we need to accept that this power has the ability to maintain life in every sense of the word.

Someone once said that 'You can live a few weeks without food, a few days without water, but only a few moments without hope.'

Hope has the power to lift our spirits. Hope can encourage our hearts. Hope can also inspire us to hang on in life's toughest times. Sometimes all we need for self-preservation is a glimmer of hope that someday things will be better than they are today.

Consequently, in situations of almost unyielding despair there comes a need for sinful man to cry out for a 'saviour' - for someone or some thing that will bring that final release from those torments that are seemingly beyond our control.

Back in old Palestine, Jesus gave His disciples every reason to hope. Just before He was crucified on Calvary's hill He encouraged them with the following words that are found in John 14: 1-3.

He said, 'Let not your hearts be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.'

Jesus was telling them not to be filled with anxiety and to let worry overwhelm them or fear control them, because He was going to come back. He was promising to take them to a better place that He would prepare for them and, in all this, we need to remember that Jesus is the one who holds the future and He will have the last word.

The second coming of Jesus is the one event that is big enough and glorious enough to overshadow all our fears. It is bright enough to overwhelm all of our anxieties and to overcome all our worries about the future.

We also need to recognise that the Christian's hope is different from all others in that:

The Christian hope not only looks back to the cross and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but also points forward to the greatest event in human history - the second coming of our Saviour in power and great glory.

Paul's statement in 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17 describes this event where he says:

'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 with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.'

Scripture is full of references to the promise of Jesus' return. For every Old Testament passage outlining the first coming of Jesus as a little babe in Bethlehem, there are eight on His Second Coming. This end time event is mentioned more than 1500 times in the Bible and is found once in every twenty-five verses in the New Testament.

Scripture assures us over and over again that history will not end in the mushroom cloud of nuclear warfare but in the cloud of Christ's glory.

The apostle Paul's reference to the blessed hope of the Second Coming in Titus 2: 13 enables us to look up when tragedy strikes. It can keep us looking up when we are faced with disease and devastation, discouragement and depression.

This allows us to be taken from what is around us to what will be in the future. It helps us to focus on the glories of heaven rather than on the difficulties found in the earth below. It plants the seed of hope in our hearts and through the sacrifice of Jesus the future is placed firmly in our hands.

God has gone to great lengths to make all this possible, so we need to open our hearts and seize the blessed hope that has been shared with us through His Word. As such, we need to make the necessary choice to place our lives into the hands of our Saviour today.

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