How To Have A Confident Hope

The power to live in the present is found in the confident hope of the future, but how we have be confident about the future? Join us as we finish our series called This Is Home! #1John #DareToVenture

How To Have A Confident Hope

Intro:

Hope generally comes in two forms. There is the “lottery” hope of something you hope happens but there is no logical reason on why you should actually anticipate it happening. People who live their lives with “lottery” hope end up ruining their life with bad decisions or are emotional roller coasters. I mean think about this. If you go buy a new boat, new beach house, new truck and new sports car because you HOPE to win the lottery then you just made a bunch of decisions based on something that has 1 in 292,201,338 chances of happening!!!! That’s 292,201,337 reasons it will not happen! People who live this way are emotional roller coasters for a reason. They keep placing their hope in things that have no chance of ever happening!

The other kind of hope is in that which you know is going to happen! Something you know is coming and you so look forward to it so much that you can’t sleep!!! Your anxiety levels go way up… you're pumped!!! For instance:

  • Night before your first hunt of the season… or big fishing trip.
  • Night before you get married
  • Night before you go back home from a long trip.

All of these are things you have every reason to believe are going to happen. They're things you can’t wait to happen, you are pumped about happening and so your hope is a positive anxiety that makes you lose sleep, that makes it hard to think about other things, that you find yourself being drawn to in your thoughts and with the things you are doing.

This is the kind of HOPE that Christ provides us! Christ gives us the opportunity to have a confident anticipation of the eternal life to come... a confident anticipation of His RETURN. He gives us that opportunity, but far too many churchgoers don’t describe their relationship with Christ as confident anticipation. For many, it’s a “I hope its all going to work out” kind of thing. And for others it's even worse. It’s the foolish anticipation of something that they really have no reason to be looking forward to!

So with that, let me read you today’s passage and then we will get into how we can have a confident anticipation of eternal life and Christ’s return!

24 Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he made to us--eternal life.

26 I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. 27 But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie--just as it has taught you, abide in him.

28 And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. 29 If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him. (2:24-29)

Proposition:

1 John 2:24-29 gives us 3 ways our hope of eternal life can be a confident anticipation instead of a foolish speculation.

The 1st way our hope of eternal life can be a confident anticipation instead of a foolish speculation is to …

Let your life be shaped by the actual Gospel of Christ. (2:24-25)

24 Let what you heard from the beginning (As we discussed in the first sermon in the series, “what you heard from the beginning” refers to the actual Gospel… the one Jesus taught to the actual Apostles that was affirmed as such by a ton of others that also heard Jesus preach and teach! He says to let this GOSPEL… the actual one) abide in you. (remain, stay, be present, be active and alive.)

If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he made to us -- eternal life.

Abiding in the Gospel doesn’t mean that you are fully and always in agreement with it… that you are always fully present with it, always being shaped and led by it. Everybody will have doubts, but to those who doubt and yet REMAIN in the Gospel, you may question it. You may waiver in your allegiance to it. You may lose sight of it or even forget about it for a while in your life, but if it remains with you, if it’s what you find yourself going back to, if it’s the constant that you are always called back to, if it’s what will not go away, if it’s in the end what your comparing everything else to, if it’s what your searching for and pondering to try and understand deeper than it is what is shaping you!

Even when you doubt and stray, those who are in Christ cannot lose it!

So, for instance, when I find myself off the path I can be encouraged that it’s the path I’m actually longing for because I know where the path is.

You're not lost, you know where the path is. You just got your eyes off it. You started listening to outside voices. Listening to lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life and you strayed off the path to chase those things.

But, if you know where the path is... if you long to be back on it, then you can have the confidence to know you were given the path. You're not lost. You know right where you left it. You just need to repent and go back to what God has given you. He has given you the path. He is the PATH and the Gospel brought you to it. And it will keep brining you to it if you are truly in Him!

So don’t overthink your faith. It's normal to struggle. You struggle with what you have, not with what you don’t have. And if you have it, if you believe in it, if you trust the Gospel, then you have reason to be confident that enteral life is yours even when you wonder if its true!

The 2nd way our hope of eternal life can be a confident anticipation instead of a foolish speculation is to:

Listen to and obey the leadership of the Holy Spirit. (2:26-27)

26 I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. 27 But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie--just as it has taught you, abide in him.

Some use this as a platform to claim the Holy Spirit teaches them everything about everything. This is not at all the context of what John is saying. Others use this to claim “new teachings” from Jesus that weren’t given to the Disciples -- which goes against the very context of the verse! It’s that very concept that John is confronting in this letter, so that conclusion is intellectually absurd!

So what is he talking about?

“About everything.”

The everything is clearly the everything that is the context of what he is saying. Everything about THE GOSPEL!!! Does this mean we don’t need the Bible (aka: the Word of GOD), that the HOLY SPIRIT will just tell us the Gospel without the Bible? The answer to that is fundamentally NO! To prove it, let’s go back and look at what Jesus said about the Holy Spirit. Jesus said,

26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. (John 14:26)

He tells them: I’m going to be leaving you, but don’t worry the Holy Spirit is going to remind you and even deepen your understanding and most importantly inspire your FAITH in what I’ve already taught you! The Holy Spirit was NOT going to bring a new truth, but rather illuminate and drive into their hearts THE TRUTH of who Jesus is and the words He had spoken to them!

So what about us? We were not there to hear Jesus. But, you are. You have the words of Jesus in your hand. And it's not just the red letters. It's Genesis to Revelation.

Jesus is the Word of God and the Bible is The printed WORD of GOD. Meaning the entire Bible is ultimately about JESUS! All the stories in the Bible are creating at minimum the environment for us to understand him or at most a direct principle by which He should be understood. If you have access to a Bible then you have access to God’s WORD. As you read and study it, the Holy Spirit will do within your heart and mind what He did with the Apostles! It's the same Holy Spirit. He will not only bring it to mind, but more importantly as the New Covenant promised, He will write it on your heart.

So, one of the practical applications is that those who have the Holy Spirit will know the difference between the lies of the enemy and the truth of the Gospel! As we talked about the other week, the words of Satan lead to guilt, shame, division, confusion. They lead us to live a life of utter foolishness! A life that would foolishly look forward to the coming of Christ and His judgement. Foolishly, because if it’s a life lived on the lies of Satan then the coming of Christ and His judgement will be a terrible and awful day!

It would be like the fool who bought a yacht and a mansion because he was hoping to win the lottery! It’s the religious person who has banked on their religious deeds to justify them before God. It’s the rebellious sinner who has banked on God never holding them accountable. Both have lived their lives with foolish speculation. And had the Holy Spirit been in them they would have known it because that’s what He does. He convicts us and brings us to repentance by taking the Words of God that we read and then illuminating them in our hearts so that we not only begin to mentally understand the actual Gospel, but we long to believe it and submit to it by dividing bone from marrow and letting us grab ahold and cling to the grace of God not just in our minds but in our hearts!

Therefore if you are a child of God longing to live your life with the confident anticipation of eternal life -- of the coming of Christ -- then you need to learn to listen to and OBEY the Leadership of the Holy Spirit in your life. It's is a life-giving gift He brings.

Now this leads us right to the 3rd way our hope of eternal life can be a confident anticipation instead of a foolish speculation.

Live in a way that gives you a reason to look forward to His return! (2:28-29)

28 And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.

If you want to experience a confident anticipation of the coming of Christ then ABIDE in HIM. Be present with Him. Trust HIM. And thus live in submission to HIM as GOD.

If you are living this way, then you should be standing on your toes looking for Him to return, not looking for a place to hide (shrink from). It only makes sense. John then adds a little more clarity to this in verse 29.

29 If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him. (2:28-29)

To be righteous means to be worthy. Jesus is worthy of being worshiped because HE is GOD. As GOD he humbled Himself and Became a man. Living perfectly and undeserving of the Father’s wrath He gave Himself as the sacrifice for our sins for our unworthiness. As such, if we by faith and surrender our life to Him he gives us His righteousness. He makes us righteous. He makes us worthy of eternal life -- of dwelling with God forever.

But you say, "Wait a minute. John doesn’t use the word FAITH at all. He uses the word, Practices. In the previous verse he uses the word ABIDE." These are all action words. These are terms that imply OUR EFFORT. So, which is it: FAITH or EFFORT? Well, that’s where people get all mixed up.

You see, FAITH WORKS! If you truly believe something you will ACT out that belief, not as a performance but rather out of sincerity. So, when John says “practices righteousness,” he is saying a person who is actually saved will PRACTICE or make every EFFORT to ABIDE in HIM. To live trusting HIM, obeying HIM, LOVING HIM!

Practice by no means implies perfection. But, it does imply the intent and effort of a person. It's not simply a thought or idea, It's truly something they believe in and thus try to do.

It is those who are living this way that are truly living by FAITH. Those who are not don’t have FAITH and they don’t know GOD at all. And they shouldn’t be excited about His return!

Calvin sums up the message of this passage this way …

“For they who indulge securely in their vices, turn their backs as it were on God; nor can they otherwise obtain peace than by forgetting him. This is the security of the flesh, which stupefies men; so that turning away from God, they neither dread sin nor fear death; and in the meantime they shun the tribunal of Christ. But a godly confidence delights to look on God. Hence it is, that the godly calmly wait for Christ, nor do they dread his coming.” (Calvin)

When I was writing this sermon I couldn’t help but recall the day we brought Ada home. We had been in Ethiopia for 2 weeks finalizing our adoption of Ada. Then we flew back to the United States, had a straight flight to DC from Addis with a brief stop in Rome. Got to DC and got held up in customs and had to sprint through Dulles jumping over stuff like the old OJ Simpson commercial to get to our connecting flight to Charlotte.

I’ll never forget coming down the hall on the first floor of the terminal at CLT. We knew there would be people waiting for us, including our parents. But the one I wanted to see me than anybody was my own son.

As a parent you can’t wait to see your kids. And your kids can’t WAIT TO SEE YOU!

One of the joys of my life (and sometimes most exhausting things as well) is when I get home to have my kids running over to greet me and tell me all about their day! When you abide with somebody you can’t wait to see them and be with them!

So…

Challenge:

Is your life filled with the joy of a confident hope in eternal life and the return of Christ? The power to live in the present is fueled by the confident hope of the future.

Check this out. I read this on Bible.org. it’s a quote from “Unfinished Business” by Halford E. Luccock.

One night at dinner a man, who had spent many summers in Maine, fascinated his companions by telling of his experiences in a little town named Flagstaff. The town was to be flooded, as part of a large lake for which a dam was being built. In the months before it was to be flooded, all improvements and repairs in the whole town were stopped. What was the use of painting a house if it were to be covered with water in six months? Why repair anything when the whole village was to be wiped out? So, week by week, the whole town became more and more bedraggled, more gone to seed, more woebegone. Then he added by way of explanation: “Where there is no faith in the future, there is no power in the present.”

There is nothing more inspirational and energizing than hope. And the hope we have in Christ is the most important hope we could ever have: the hope of eternal life! The hope that goes beyond the grave. The hope that my life actually matters!

Jesus Christ gives us that hope. He gives us that hope to confidently know and experience. His resurrection has proven life is eternal and His death has made the way for us to have it.

But Jesus was clear that we must surrender our lives to HIM to have that hope. But if we do... if we abide in Him, He will abide in us. In so doing we will be fueled by the confident hope of knowing that He who began this good and perfect work of knowing Him will complete it.

My future is brighter than my present because my future is the Light of the World. My present reality is experiencing the first rays of the sun shining over the horizon, but my future will fully behold it!

I know the sun is rising because I can already see the sun rays bursting forth over the horizon. But that hope is ONLY experienced by those who are:

  • Being shaped by the actual Gospel -- the actual Good news of JESUS,
  • Being led by the Holy Spirit of God and as such,
  • Living their life in full glad submission to HIM... truly abiding in HIM.

Are you experiencing the confident hope we have in Jesus or are you living your life with the foolish speculation that hopes everything will work out?

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