The Blessed Hope
2 Timothy 1:12: "For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed,
for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep
what I have committed to Him until that Day." (NKJV)
The subject for this sermon is the blessed hope.
We are told to be ready to give a reason for the hope we have within us, and what we need to do
is to discover our blessed hope.
I believe there are a great many people that are hoping and hoping, even when they have no reason for hope.
The best way for us to discover whether we have real reason for the hope we have within us
is to look in the Scripture, and learn what the Scripture has to say about it.
Faith is one thing, and hope is another.
When hope takes the place of faith, it is a snare.
Faith is to work and trust.
Someone has said that life is to enjoy and obey and be like God;
but hope is to wait and trust; to wait and expect.
In other words, hope is the daughter of faith.
It has also been said that joy was like the larks, that sang in the morning when it was light,
but hope was like the nightingale, that sang in the dark; so that hope was really better than joy.
Many can sing in the morning when everything is bright, and everything is going good;
but hope sings in the dark, in the mist and the fog,
and hope looks through all the mist and darkness into the clear day.
Faith lays hold of what is in the Scripture, faith is laying hold of that which is within the veil,
and what is in heaven for us.
We cannot live any better without hope than we can without faith.
The farmer who sows his seed, sows it in the hope of a harvest.
The merchant buys his goods in the hope of finding customers.
And the student studies in the hope that he will reap because of it.
Probably there are three classes of people gathered here today.
They are those that have no hope, those that have a false hope, and those that have a good hope.
I don't know if there is any one here today that would come under the first class of people.
It is difficult to find anyone in this world that does not have some hope.
Every now and then you may find a person who has no hope in this life or the life to come.
It is there that suicides happen.
When men or women get to that point that they have no hope in this life, they become utterly discouraged,
cast down, and have no hope in the life to come, and those who believe when they die -- that is all -- that's it.
That is the view of an atheists.
They believe that there is no hereafter, and death ends their existence.
First, let us look at those who have no earthly hope.
For instance a child is sick; he is taken to a doctor, and the doctor examines at the child,
and says that he regrets to to tell his parents that there is no hope.
In that moment the parents lose hope of the child living in this world, another hope becomes theirs.
They hope to see their child again in another world.
Hope encourages those parents.
Many years ago when Mr. Curtin was governor of Pennsylvania, a young man in that state
was convicted of murder and was sentenced to be hung.
His friends tried every thing they could to get him released.
The young man was hanging on to a hope that he would be released.
No one could not make him believe that he had to die.
Finally, the governor sent for George H. Stuart, and said to him,
''I wish you would go down to that jail and tell that young man there is no hope;
tell him that there is not one ray of hope; that on the day appointed he must die;
that I am not going to pardon him.''
Mr. Stuart said when he went into the jail the young man's countenance lit up,
and he says, ''Ah, I am sure you brought me good news.
What is it?''
Mr. Stuart said he would never be the bearer of such a message again.
He said that he sat down beside him on the iron bed, and said,
''My friend, I am sorry to tell you there is not any hope.
The governor says you must die at the appointed time. He will not pardon you.
He sent me down here to take away this false hope you have got, and to tell you you have to die.''
He said the young man fainted, and it was some time before they could bring him to.
The poor man's heart was broken.
He had been holding on to a false hope.
In that case, that young man was not without hope, because he could repent,
for God does forgive murderers, and he could become a child of God and be saved.
Hope comes right in there.
Even those who think that they have no hope -- there is hope for them,
if they will only turn to the God of hope, and to the God of the Bible.
That is only one class.
Job speaks about days passing without hope; but then he does not mean that there was not any hope
beyond this life, because Job says in another place, ''I know my Redeemer liveth, and that I shall see Him.''
He was like Paul.
He knew in whom he believed.
He had a hope in the darkness and fog; even when those waves of persecution came dashing up against him,
and in the midst of the storm and conflict, you could hear Job cry out, ''I know my Redeemer liveth.''
He had a hope.
So it is hard to find any one that comes under the first head.
Most people have some sort of hope.
Now we will address the second type of people who have a false hope.
I believe that a man or woman that is resting in false hope is really worse off
than one who has no hope in this world; because if a person wakes up to the fact that he has no hope,
there is still a chance of getting him to seek a hope that is worth having.
The moment you begin to talk with those who have a false hope,
they run into their fortress and say, ''I am all right; I have a hope.''
You can hardly find a man or woman that does not have a hope.
But many are resting in a false hope which is a miserable -- a treacherous hope that is good for nothing!
You can't find a drunkard that does not have a hope.
He hangs on to his whiskey bottle with one hand and to hope with the other.
But his hope is a miserable lie -- it is a refuge of lies that he has hid behind.
You can't find a prostitute that walks the streets of any city that doesn't have some hope.
You can hardly find a thief that doesn't have some hope.
So we must examine ourselves, and determine whether we have a hope
that will stand the test of the judgment.
We want to know whether we have a true hope or a false hope.
If it is a false hope, the quicker we find it out the better.
We don't want to be trusting in a false hope.
False hopes have caused so much of the mischief we have had in this country during the past few years.
All these defaulters have come from that class.
They were trusting in a false hope.
They said, ''I will steal a little from the bank or from my employer.
I will just overdraw my account a few thousand dollars, but I will replace it.''
But time passed, and this false hope kept saying, ''I can make it all right for a few days.''
They were led on and on by false hope until at last they got beyond hope, and could not pay it back.
They were ruined.
They were not only ruined it would be a good thing if they stopped there.
But think about their wives and their children and their relatives, their parents,
and other loved ones that they have ruined.
They didn't intend to become thieves and robbers.
They didn't intend to bring shame upon their families and upon their future.
A false hope led them on step by step.
Now, let us be honest with ourselves today, and ask ourselves honestly before God and man,
''What is my hope?''
Well, there is a lady here who would say, ''I joined the church ten years ago.''
That is well and good, but what is your hope today?
''Well, my hope is all right; I joined the church.''
But that is not going to stand the judgment of eternity.
It doesn't say that you have to join some church.
A man or woman may belong to a church and still not have the spirit of Jesus Christ.
Then, person says, ''I have a better hope than that; I belong to the Baptist church,
and I attend all the meetings.''
A person may go to all the meetings and still not have a true hope.
Do you not realize that?
If you allow the meetings to take the place of Jesus Christ,
and let the church and the denomination that you belong to take the place of Jesus Christ,
you are resting on a false foundation, and you are building your house on a sandy foundation,
and when the storms come, that house will fall.
Only a hope in Jesus Christ is sufficient.
Al these false hopes will be swept away by and by.
God's storms will sweep away the refuges of lies.
It says in the eleventh chapter of Proverbs the seventh verse,
''The hope of the unrighteous man perisheth.''
Now, if I belong to the church and I am unrighteous, I may have a hope,
but that false hope is going to perish, and it could be that I will not find it out until it is too late
to get the real hope.
It would be better to find out here today, when I have a chance to repent of my sin,
and can turn to God and get the true hope, than it is to go with my eyes closed in the delusion
that I am going to be all right.
There is another passage in Job 27:8 that says, ''For what is the hope of the hypocrite,
though he hath gained, when God taketh away his soul?"
For what is his hope good?
The hope of the hypocrite is not good for anything.
A man may gain by his hypocrisy; a man may put on the clothes of religion, and profess to be what he is not,
and may gain by it; there is no doubt of that; some do that, and they might gain a little.
But what shall it profit a man if he does gain by hypocrisy, and God takes away his soul?
His hope is gone.
It was a treacherous hope.
It was good for nothing.
But then some may say, ''I am not an unrighteous man; I don't come under that head at all,
and I am not a hypocrite.''
Well, I am afraid many may think that they are not hypocrites, yet are more or less hypocrites after all.
The trouble is, they are trying to pass themselves off for more than they are worth.
They are trying to make people believe they are better than they really are.
God expects honesty.
He wants us to be truthful and upright in all our transactions.
If we are not, our profession don't help us.
A person may belong to this church or to that church.
A person may say their prayers, and they may go have a form of religion, but that will not help them.
Where is the hope of the hypocrite when God shall take away his soul?
Suppose he has gained by his hypocrisy, there is not a thing, I believe, that God detests more
than He does hypocrisy.
He detests that sin more than He does all others.
Jesus took away the false hope of some of His disciples when He told them,
''Except your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees,
ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of God.''
I am afraid that there are many who will wake up one day and find their hope has been a false one.
Then there is another hope that is false.
Some may say, ''I think God is very merciful, and that it will come out all right in the end.''
God has declared with an oath that He will not clear the guilty.
What folly it is for a man to stand up and say,
''I know I swear now and then; but then God don't mean anything when He says I shouldn't swear.
God is only winking at sin.
It will come out all right.
The blasphemer, the drunkard, the murderer, and the man who is vile and polluted in heart
will be just the same at the end of the road.
That is their hope.''
Well, it is a false hope.
If there is a drunkard here today, let me tell you that your hope is absolutely worthless,
because God says that no drunkard shall inherit the kingdom of heaven.
That we find not only in the Old Testament, but also in the New Testament.
And if there is some here who sells liquor, that is a party to the hellish act of putting the bottle
in his neighbor's hand, there is not any hope for him.
I don't care how much money you give to help build your churches.
I don't care if you have the best pew in one of your large churches,
and walk down the aisle every Sunday with your wife and children, and take your seat there.
''Woe be to the man that putteth the bottle to his neighbor's lips.''
God has pronounced a curse against that man.
Things will look altogether different when we stand before the judge of all the earth.
Then there is another person that says, ''I can go on as I am, and by and by when I am sick,
I can repent on my death-bed.''
That is a false hope.
And let me say, I think there is some lying that is said in the sick-room,
when a good many false hopes are held out to the sick.
Here is a person dying, and the doctor comes in, and he knows very well that the disease is fatal,
and knows that person can't live ten days, and he says,
''I think you will be well, and out in a few days and at home soon.''
He knows that person is dying.
They say to those who are dying when they see that awful look in the face;
when they see his body is wasting away, they say, ''Well, I think you will be out and about soon,"
when they know it is a downright lie.
Many false hopes are given to the sick and the dying!
Then at the funeral people will stand up and pronounce a eulogy over a man that died in his sins
when there is not a chance for his soul.
God says, ''The soul that sinneth it shall die."
He has not been seeking the eternal life that only God can give.
He has rejected the gift of God, and has ignored the Bible.
Look at the lying at funerals -- false hopes that are held out.
What God wants is to have us real, as He is real, and if our hope is not a hope
that will stand the test of eternity, then the quicker we find it out, the better.
Then there is another false hope, which I think is worse,
and that is that a person can repent beyond the grave -- after death.
There are those who are saying that they can go on in their sins, and live as they are I am living,
and then, they can repent after they die.
No one can find one place in God's Word that a person can repent after death.
The Bible teaches that if a person dies in his sin, he is banished from God in an eternal hell.
Jesus Christ said, ''If ye die in your sins, where I am, ye cannot come,''
He meant what He said.
So, if your hope is false, please find it out today.
Let us be honest with ourselves, and ask God to show it to us.
If our hope is not in the solid rock, if we are building our house on the sand, let us find it out.
You may say, ''My hope is as good as yours. My house is as good-looking a house as yours.''
That may be.
It might be a better looking house than mine.
But the important thing is the foundation.
We need to be sure that we have a good foundation.
A man may build up a very good character, but he may not have it on a good foundation.
If he is building a house on the sand, when storms and trials come, down will come all his hopes.
A false hope is worse than no hope.
If you have a false hope today, make up your mind that you will not rest
until you have the only hope that is worth having -- and that hope is in Christ!.
Here is a test that we can put to ourselves.
If we have the spirit of Jesus Christ, our life will be like His.
That means we will be humble and loving.
We will not be jealous.
We will not be ambitious, self-seeking, covetous, or revengeful,
but we will be meek, tender-hearted, affectionate, loving, kind and Christ-like.
And we will be always growing in those graces.
Now, we can tell whether we have that spirit or not.
''If any one have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of His.''
Now if we do not have the spirit of Christ our hope is worthless.
There is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must saved.
''There is no other foundation that man can lay than that is laid,''
and all who build on that foundation shall be saved.
Let the storms come then and try that foundation.
It has been tried.
If you build on any other foundation that has never been tested then your hope has not been tried.
Our hope has been tried because our hope is in Jesus Christ, and it was put to the test,
and we have got a hope that is sure and firm, if we are in Christ.
Now, a false hope is one that only flatters people.
It makes people think they are all right when they are all wrong.
Someone has said that false hopes are like spider webs.
We can take a broom and sweep them down.
When a storm comes, the foundation of our false hopes is all gone.
Suppose death should come to you today, and say, ''This is your last day,''
and death begins to lay its cold, icy hand upon you,
and you begin to see if you had got a foundation and a good hope.
Would you be ready to meet God?
That is the question.
Now, that may happen any day, and we must be ready.
You know very well that any one of us may be summoned this very day into the presence of God.
Do you have you a hope that will stand in the dying hour?
Do you have you got a hope that will stand the test?
If you do not, you can give up your false hope today and get the one that will.
You can have a hope that is worth having -- one that has been tried and tested.
D. L. Moody told about were two millers that used to take care of a mill.
Every night at midnight one of the millers would get into his boat from his house,
and go down the stream to the mill.
He would usually get out about two or three hundred yards above the dam, and go to the mill.
His brother miller would take the boat and row back to the house.
One night this miller went down as usual at midnight and fell asleep,
and when he woke up found he was almost going over the dam, the water going over the dam
He realized in a moment his condition, that if he went over that dam -- it would be certain death.
So he grabbed the oars and tried to row back, but the current was too strong.
He could not pull against it, but he managed in the darkness to get his boat near the shore.
There he caught hold of a little twig.
He went to pull himself out of the boat, and the twig began to give way at the roots.
He looked all around, and could find nothing else to get hold of;
but if he could just hold on to the twig he could keep his boat from going over the dam.
If he pulled a little harder and tried to pull himself up, the little twig could give way;
and so he cried out for help.
His hope was not a good one.
He would die if he let go, and he could die if he held on.
So, he cried out at the top of his voice for help, and help came.
They came and threw a rope over the cleft of the rock,
and he let go of the twig and got hold of the rope, and he was saved.
I have come here today to throw a rope those who are perishing without Jesus.
God s ready to give you a good hope.
This is the hope that you desperately need!
Right now let go of that false hope, and take hold of that sure hope that God will give you today.
Throughout my life I have asked many if they were a Christian.
And I have had many reply, "I hope so."
You cannot find any Christian in the Bible who say that they hope they are Christians.
It is something that has already taken place, and they know it.
We don't hope that we are Christians.
If someone would ask me if I am married.
I would not say that I hope I am.
I know that I am.
If a man asks me if I am an American, I would not say I hope I am.
I was born in this country.
I know that I am an American.
Now, if I have been born of God, born of the spirit, and I contend it is our privilege to know, I don't say,
''I hope I am a Christian.''
I know in Whom I have believed.
"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.
On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
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.
When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne."
-- Th Solid Rock by Edward Mote, 1834
Sermon adapted from several sources by Dr. Harold L. White