What is Your Christian Hope?
In 1 Corinthians 13:13 the apostle Paul wrote that there are three cardinal Christian virtues "faith, hope and love." As I was thinking about this statement one day, it suddenly occurred to me that I had heard hundreds of sermons on faith and love, but hardly any on hope.
What about you? Can you remember hearing a single sermon about hope? How would you articulate your hope? How would you define it? How would you put it into words?
Are you aware of the fact that both the quality and strength of your hope are directly related to what you know about Bible prophecy? And that, of course, is the reason most Christians have so little hope. Their preachers have ignored God's Prophetic Word.
Lack of Hope
I was born into a Christian family, and I was raised in church. I'm thankful to say that my family was present every time the church's doors were open Sunday morning and evening, Wednesday evening, Vacation Bible School, and Gospel meetings. Yet, after 30 years of faithful church attendance, I had little hope.
The preachers in the church I grew up in rarely ever spoke about Bible prophecy. During all those years of church attendance, I never once heard the word, "rapture." Even worse, when prophecy was preached, we were taught Greek mythology rather than Hebrew theology.
The result was that after all those years of Bible teaching, if you had asked me to define my hope, I would have given you a pathetic answer like the following: "My hope is that if I die before the Lord returns, my soul will sleep, waiting for the resurrection. When Jesus returns, a big bang' will occur, resulting in the annihilation of the created universe. At that point my sleeping soul will be awakened, and I will be resurrected to live eternally with the Lord as a disembodied spirit in an ethereal world called heaven. I will spend my time floating around on a cloud playing a harp."
Needless to say, the only thing in that scenario that appealed to me was the promise of a resurrection. I couldn't get excited about lying comatose in a grave for eons of time. The "big bang" concept scared me to death. I was appalled by the idea of continuing my existence as a disembodied spirit an ethereal blob with no individuality.
And I was both bored and amused by the thought of playing a harp eternally. The reason it amused me is because my boyhood church did not believe in instrumental music. Praising God with an instrument was considered a sin. Yet, I was going to spend eternity playing a harp! It made no sense to me, so I wrote it all off as bunch of nonsense. I tossed the whole scenario out the window, and with it went my hope.
In the next part of this series on your Christian hope, I'll tell you how I finally discovered my hope.