Titus 2:11-13; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Hope: is “to desire (want) something to happen or be true.
Somebody is hoping for that promotion; a mother is hoping for the best; I hope so.
Well hope the Bible says, without Faith, is merely “hope against hope.” To desire something to happen w/o any basis for fulfillment.
Hebrews 1:11 says: “Now faith is the substance (ingredient, assurance, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed).
Rom. 8:24-25; “For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen Is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?” (25) “But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”
“LOOKING FOR THAT BLESSED HOPE”
Paul reminds the Saints in 1 Cor. 15:19; “If in THIS LIFE ONLY we have hope in Christ, (in other words, (IF CHRIST BE NOT RISEN) we are of ALL MEN most MISERABLE.”
As we observe this HOPELESS world today, locally, nationally, domestic & foreign, we must conclude that we’re living in the last days of Grace. Apostle Paul prepares us a list of God-less behavior in these “Last Days,” for in 2 Tim. 3: 1-7 (READ) “This know also, that in the last days perilous (dangerous, grave, deadly) times shall come.”(Apostacy/falling away/faith). WHY? Because Sin is still Sin! *Rom.1:28 “And even as they (men) did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate (morally corrupt/depraved) mind, to do those things which are not convenient (improper/repulsive)
1. Today, in this age of grace, the heavens are silent, and the angelic host is silent as well. According to the Word of God rightly divided, the next intervention of God and the Angels from heaven, is going to be the rapture of the CBOC. (1 Thess. 4:13-18).
***In the springtime of our lives, as we breathe, plant, grow & live, we often fail to spend enough time meditating upon the wonderful truth of the rapture of the church.
BUT, as the winds of change reshape the seasons of lives, we quickly become more mindful of this promise. Amen. This is especially true when we begin to lose love ones and Christian friends, as one by one they leave this old world behind. This reminds me of that old negro spiritual: “We’re crossing over one by one; We’re fast approaching like the
setting sun. Don’t let him catch you with your work undone. We’re crossing over one by one. But I stopped by the Assembly today, to encourage you & I, as we eagerly await Christ’s return for His CBOC..”That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot , or wrinkle, or any such thing ;: but that it should be holy and without blemish. EPH. 5:27.
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in .us.” Rom. 8:18. Thus, we not only will be delivered from this present world of sin, but we are “Looking for that blessed hope, and glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ”…which is ”far better.”
READ: Titus 2:11-13. ARE YOU LOOKING FOR THAT BLESSED HOPE?”
2. As was Paul’s custom after leading his hearers to a saving knowledge of Christ, “according to the Revelation of the Mystery,” without delay he delivered unto them the “Blessed Hope.” The apostle knew that after his departure the Saints would be called upon to suffer for the cause of Christ! Paul knew as long as these new converts had “HOPE,” they could endure all things. *Yes, We can endure trials & trib..Suffering of this Present Time, cancer, death ..while Looking For That Blessed Hope. “My Grace is Sufficient
*You see, some of their loved ones were unexpectedly visited by death, which naturally raised the question, what hope, if any, will they have? Paul had “Words of Comfort”
“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that you sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.” 1Thess. 4:13.
3. Paul comforts them that they should sorrow not even as others which have no hope. It is natural to mourn the passing of a loved one, but we do not sorrow as the unbeliever to the point of despair. Remember: “If in this life only we have hope in Christ (if Christ be Not Risen) we are of all men most miserable.” Paul goes on:
“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep In Jesus will God bring with him.” (vs 14). (GOD LOVES YOU & CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS!)
4. Paul is teaching us that there is indeed life beyond the grave! When death claims a child of God, his/her soul and spirit survive the demise of the body. Thus, Paul is right when he writes 1 Cor.5:8 “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”
5. Paul goes on to say in the 15th verse; “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we (MCBOC) which are alive and remain (who hath not tasted death at that time of) unto the coming of the Lord (shall not prevent or have an advantage over, or go ahead of) them which are asleep (died in the Lord/). Look at the God of Divine Order!!
6. Vs 16. “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an Archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first.
*SIDEBAR, there are some well-meaning dispensationalists who confuse the Pre tribulational Rapture with the Second Coming of Christ to the earth. Let us be clear, the Rapture & the Second Coming of Christ are NOT one and the same.
The upward calling or the Rapture of the CBOC, & the Second Coming are separated by a period of 7 years called “the Tribulation or Daniels 70 th Week, ” The BOC won’t go through the “Tribulation!” We won’t be here! We will be snatched away!
7. Some have called the “Rapture,” the “Secret Coming of Christ”. Why? Because it is a secret or unprophesied event in the sense that the world will not behold the invisible return of the Savior. This 4000 year old secret, was hidden, kept secret in the mind of God until made known through the ministry of Paul. This makes the Rapture part of the “unsearchable riches of Christ. It is part of the Mysteries of God. 1 Cor. 4:1. Therefore, we are “Mid-Acts,” “Pretribulational Saints!
8. (vs.16)“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout with the voice of an Archangel, And with the trump of God: (the Trumpet sounding is symbolic of the Old Testement gathering of the congregation of Israel to the door of the tabernacle to meet with the Lord. When the Trumpet of God is sounded at the rapture it will result in the church body of Christ exclusively gathering together unto the Lord as we step into the very presence of the Lord who loved us and gave himself for us.
9. So then, all of the members of Christ body, the dead in Christ, from Paul to the present, will be raised 1st and given their glorified bodies Amen. (VS17) Then we who are alive & remain should be caught up together with them in the clouds to MEET THE LORD IN THE AIR (this means that there is going to be one generation (perhaps ours) which shall escape the clutches of death and be changed in a moment in the twinkling of an eye.
1 Cor. 15:51-52; “Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, BUT we shall all be changed, (LOOKING FOR THAT BLESSED HOPE!)
52. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, At the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible; and we shall be changed.
53. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54. So when this corruptible should have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
55. O death, where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory?
56. The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
57. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
TITUS 2:13; “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our savior Jesus Christ.” “Wherefore comfort one another with these WORDS.”
1 Cor. 4:7 “But We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the Excellency of the power may be of God, and not a us.
8. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9. we are persecuted, but not forsaken: cast down, but not destroyed;
10. Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, That the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
16. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by. 17. For our light affliction, which is for but a moment, worketh for us (is it working for you?) a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.
5:1 “FOR WE KNOW THAT IF OUR EARTHLY HOUSE OF THIS TABERNACLE WERE DISSOLVED, WE HAVE A BUILDING OF GOD, AN HOUSE NOT MADE WITH HANDS, ETERNAL IN THE HEAVENS.” HEBREWS 12: 2 “looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; Who for the joy that was set down before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God,
1 THESS. 5:9-11 “For God who had not appointed us to wrath but to obtain Salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ who died for us that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also you do. “COMFORT ONE ANOTHER WITH THESE WORDS.”