[Presented in Church Saturday October 27th 2018]
Every week as I set out from home in my truck, I hope I make it home safely. I hope that Judy and our family will remain healthy. I hope that our church members will get to and from church safely. I hope that people don’t get sick. I hope that someday we’ll all be together with family and friends in Heaven. I hope that I get to meet Jesus.
Hope is defined as “a feeling of expectation and desire for something to happen” and that defines all of the above.”
In 1st Corinthians 13:13 Paul tells us: “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” Now we know that the Bible is all about love, and especially this chapter. And faith is throughout the Bible as we have faith in everything that God promises to us. But what about hope?
Hope is the confident expectation of what God has promised and its strength is in His faithfulness to us. But hope is hard to define or accept in the truest of its definition. We can hope for all sorts of things, both materialistic and spirittual, but without faith, failure is inevitable. God wants us to succeed, but God doesn’t hope that we’ll succeed. Its not within God’s character to hope for anything. God’s hope is that He expects things to occur, whereas when we think of hope, it is just our desire for it to occur.
So instead of blindly hoping for something to happen, we need to hope in God instead. I put my faith in God for many things, and pray to Him for things to happen, and then leave it in His hands. I hope that my desires will be answered in a positive manner, but it is God’s will, not mine. We all need to have hopes, but we need to put it into God’s hands if we expect our hopes to come true.
From Ellen G White, The Great Hope Chapter Two*
“I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:15. This enmity is not natural. When man transgressed the divine law, his nature became evil, in harmony with Satan. Fallen angels and wicked men united in desperate companionship. Had not God interposed, Satan and man would have entered into an alliance against Heaven, and the whole human family would have been united in opposition to God. GrH_c 5.1
When Satan heard that enmity should exist between himself and the woman, and between his seed and her seed, he knew that by some means man was to be enabled to resist his power. GrH_c 5.2
Christ implants in man enmity against Satan. Without this converting grace and renewing power, man would continue a servant ever ready to do Satan’s bidding. But the new principle in the soul creates conflict; the power which Christ imparts enables man to resist the tyrant. To abhor sin instead of loving it displays a principle wholly from above. GrH_c 5.3
The antagonism between Christ and Satan was strikingly displayed in the world’s reception of Jesus. The purity and holiness of Christ called forth against Him the hatred of the ungodly. His self – denial was a perpetual reproof to a proud, sensual people. Satan and evil angels joined with evil men against the Champion of truth. The same enmity is manifested toward Christ’s followers. Whoever resists temptation will arouse the wrath of Satan. Christ and Satan cannot harmonize. “All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” 2 Timothy 3:12. GrH_c 5.4
Satan’s agents seek to deceive Christ’s followers and allure them from their allegiance. They pervert Scripture to accomplish their object. The spirit which put Christ to death moves the wicked to destroy His followers. All this is foreshadowed in that first prophecy: “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed.” GrH_c 5.5
Why is it that Satan meets no greater resistance? Because the soldiers of Christ have so little real connection with Christ. Sin is not to them repulsive as it was to their Master. They do not meet it with determined resistance. They are blinded to the character of the prince of darkness. Multitudes do not know that their enemy is a mighty general warring against Christ. Even ministers of the gospel overlook the evidences of his activity. They seem to ignore his very existence. GrH_c 5.6
We must be careful of False Hope as Sister White writes about in Chapter five:
The doctrine of natural immortality, first borrowed from pagan philosophy and in the darkness of the great apostasy incorporated into the Christian faith, has supplanted the truth that “the dead know not anything.” Ecclesiastes 9:5. Multitudes believe that the spirits of the dead are the “ministering spirits sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation.” Hebrews 1:14. GrH_c 20.1
The belief that spirits of the dead return to minister to the living has prepared the way for modern spiritualism. If the dead are privileged with knowledge far exceeding what they before possessed, why not return to earth and instruct the living? If spirits of the dead hover about their friends on earth, why not communicate with them? How can those who believe in man’s consciousness in death reject “divine light” communicated by glorified spirits? Here is a channel regarded as sacred through which Satan works. Fallen angels appear as messengers from the spirit world. GrH_c 20.2
The prince of evil has power to bring before men the appearance of departed friends. The counterfeit is perfect, reproduced with marvelous distinctness. Many are comforted with the assurance that their loved ones are enjoying heaven. Without suspicion of danger, they give ear “to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” 1 Timothy 4:1. GrH_c 20.3
Those who went into the grave unprepared claim to be happy and to occupy exalted positions in heaven. Pretended visitants from the world of spirits sometimes utter warnings which prove to be correct. Then, as confidence is gained, they present doctrines that undermine the Scriptures. The fact that they state some truths and at times foretell future events gives an appearance of reliability, and their false teachings are accepted. The law of God is set aside, the Spirit of grace despised. The spirits deny the deity of Christ and place the Creator on a level with themselves. GrH_c 20.4
While it is true that the results of trickery have often been palmed off as genuine manifestations, there have been, also, marked exhibitions of supernatural power, the direct work of evil angels. Many believe that spiritualism is merely human imposture. When brought face to face with manifestations which they cannot but regard as supernatural, they will be deceived and accept them as the great power of God. GrH_c 20.5
And Finally in Chapter Eleven:
In all ages the Saviour’s chosen have walked in narrow paths. They were purified in the furnace of affliction. For Jesus’ sake they endured hatred, calumny, self – denial, and bitter disappointments. They learned the evil of sin, its power, its guilt, its woe; they look on it with abhorrence. A sense of the infinite sacrifice made for its cure humbles them and fills their hearts with gratitude. They love much because they have been forgiven much. See Luke 7:47. Partakers of Christ’s sufferings, they are fitted to be partakers of His glory. GrH_c 48.4
The heirs of God come from garrets, hovels, dungeons, scaffolds, mountains, deserts, caves. They were “destitute, afflicted, tormented.” Millions went to the grave loaded with infamy because they refused to yield to Satan. But now they are no longer afflicted, scattered, and oppressed. Henceforth they stand clad in richer robes than the most honored of the earth have worn, crowned with diadems more glorious than were ever placed on the brow of earthly monarchs. The King of glory has wiped the tears from all faces. They pour forth a song of praise, clear, sweet, and harmonious. The anthem swells through the vaults of heaven: “Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.” And all respond, “Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever.” Revelation 7:10, 12. GrH_c 48.5
In this life we can only begin to understand the wonderful theme of redemption. With our finite comprehension we may consider most earnestly the shame and the glory, the life and the death, the justice and the mercy, that meet in the cross; yet with the utmost stretch of our mental powers we fail to grasp its full significance. The length and the breadth, the depth and the height, of redeeming love are but dimly comprehended. The plan of redemption will not be fully understood, even when the ransomed see as they are seen and know as they are known; but through the eternal ages new truth will continually unfold to the wondering and delighted mind. Though the griefs and pains and temptations of earth are ended and the cause removed, the people of God will ever have a distinct, intelligent knowledge of what their salvation has cost. GrH_c 49.1
The cross will be the song of the redeemed through all eternity. In Christ glorified they behold Christ crucified. Never will it be forgotten that the Majesty of heaven humbled Himself to uplift fallen man, that He bore the guilt and shame of sin and the hiding of His Father’s face till the woes of a lost world broke His heart and crushed out His life. The Maker of all worlds laid aside His glory from love to man – this will ever excite the wonder of the universe. As the nations of the saved look upon their Redeemer and know that His kingdom is to have no end, they break forth in song: “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, and hath redeemed us to God by his own most precious blood!” GrH_c 49.2
The mystery of the cross explains all mysteries. It will be seen that He who is infinite in wisdom could devise no plan for our salvation except the sacrifice of His Son. The compensation for this sacrifice is the joy of peopling the earth with ransomed beings, holy, happy, and immortal. Such is the value of the soul that the Father is satisfied with the price paid. And Christ Himself, beholding the fruits of His great sacrifice, is satisfied. GrH_c 49.3
We have hope, we just need to trust in the only One that can guarantee it to us. Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
*Copyright: Review and Herald Publishing, Hagerstown, MD