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LOOKING FORWARD

January 29, 2016

Text: “For  here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.” Hebrews 13:14

The Epistle to the Hebrews exhorts saints (particularly the ones who had come out of the Jewish religion) to sever for once and all their attachments to their former religions.  Christians of this time were suffering great persecution from the Roman empire. To escape these oppressions the Jewish saints could revert to Judaism since it was not proscribed by the Roman government. Do not think that these exhortations were given solely to saints of yore and have no value to our circumstances. No! They have many great applications in our circumstances also. There is an eternal life promised us by God, and it is foolish to abandon it because of shortsightedness!

Several days ago I received a Facebook post about which I grew curious. So I started the video and began listening to a televangelist whose name was Francis Chan. He walked across the stage dragging a long white rope. He showed one end to his audience. He had bound one end with what looked to be red tape which covered only about one inch of the entire rope. Then he began comparing the little red end to the vastly longer length, stressing the difference between our short time on earth to the endless ages of eternity. His point was that most people are so concerned with this short life that they fail to appreciate the length and blessedness of eternal life. Point well taken! “But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” II Peter 3:13

While other people around us are unaware of their own shortsightedness; Christians should recognize the need for their own foresightedness.  It is easy for mankind to think that this life is a chance to live it up in sin now and disregard consequences as insignificant for the eternal hereafter. There they go thinking again! It has been  well said that this life is a testing ground for eternity  afterwards.  In reality no one can get to the realm of eternal life without keeping his eyes on the prize. Focus your eyes on Jesus and continue toward what he has promised. There you cannot go without Jesus. “Therefore, since we are surrounded very by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of  our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame,  and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2 

Always trust that God will keep his promises. It is always discouraging when another human being reneges on a promise and pulls the rug from under you. God and his Son will never go back on their pledges. Think of Abram (Abraham) in Genesis 15:1-6. The patriarch Abraham and his wife Sarai had no children. So he asked God who would be heir to all his worldly goods. God answered, “…your very own son shall be your heir.” Genesis 15:4 Years later, when Abraham was 100 years old, Sarai (then 90) gave birth to their son Isaac. Paul gave testimony of Abraham’s faith in God’s pledge. “No distrust made him waver concerning the promises of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God,  fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.” Romans 4:20-21 Imitate Abraham’s faith and you will receive God’s promises. 

Hope is that crucial ingredient that cements our obtaining that to which we look forward. Hopelessness is loss of direction.  We all have heard of people who “gave up hope.” Giving up hope results in a person losing his grip on his aspirations. From there it is a downhill slide into despair and finally into the hopelessness of the grave. Hope gives us endurance, reason to be positive, and strength to obtain our aspirations. Christians must have hope!  Hope’s helper is patience!  The apostle Paul wrote: “For in this hope we were  saved. Now hope that is seen  is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” Romans 8:24-25 So, keep your hope intact and undergird it with patience. You will receive the heavenly home to which long and aspire! 

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ name.

His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.

Edward Mote (words of old hymn, first and third stanzas)

 

REM

 

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One Comment
  1. Larry permalink

    Wow! That was a good one. I have a funeral this week. I’ll use some of those thoughts. I especially liked the sentence, “Hope’s helper is patience.” That’s a powerful reminder. Well put!
    LS

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