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1 Cor. 15:58 WALKING IN ABSOLUTE HOPE

Intro: The church at Corinth was a church fraught with problems. There were divisions in church; sin was being tolerated; false doctrine abounded and strange, fleshly practices dominated their worship. Paul wrote this book to address their problems and to bring the Corinthian believers back into line with orthodox faith and practice. The chapter before us today is an example of what I am talking about. According to verse 12, there were some in Corinth that denied the reality of the resurrection. Paul spends the remainder of this great chapter declaring the awesome doctrine of the resurrection and laying a solid foundation for our hope as believers.

Nowhere else in the Bible can we such a clear and complete statement concerning the death and resurrection of the believer and our future hope in Christ Jesus. Paul concludes his thoughts with the verse we have taken for our text today. This verse touches on the hope we enjoy as children of God and on what that hope accomplishes in our lives. This verse can help us dedicate ourselves to walking before the Lord in absolute hope.

Today, as the Lord gives liberty, I want to preach on the thought Walking In Absolute Hope. Looking around at the world today, we might conclude that there is not much room for hope. Wars, crime, sin, depravity, and the rest of the horrors of this modern life can leave us feeling as if there is no hope for the future. This lack of hope can stifle our desire to serve the Lord. It can cause us to come to the place where we say “What’s the use? Well, from this verse, I want to show you that we do have a reason to walk in absolute hope. Let me share the truths contained in this precious verse.

 

I. THE PEOPLE OF HOPE

(Ill. Who are the people that possess this great hope? Paul calls them “my beloved brethren. He is referring to the children of God. Not just the believers in Corinth, but the saints of all the ages. He is talking to you and me! We, those who are born again, are the people of hope!)

A. They Are A People Delivered By Grace Verses 1 and 10 reveal the fact of their conversion experience. They were a people saved out of the deadness, depravity and death of their sins by the amazing grace of God, Eph. 2:1-10. They have been brought into a personal faith relationship with Jesus Christ. Have you been delivered? Than you have hope!

B. They Are A People Destined For Glory As you read this chapter, you come to understand that God has some big things waiting for His people. Whether we leave here by means of death or the rapture, we are a people possessing a powerful hope of a bright, better future, 1 Cor. 15:49-57! Do you have that hope today? (Ill. I know: 1 Cor. 2:9; John 14:1-3; Rev. 21:4, 27)

 

(Ill. I am glad that I have hope! Things may look bad down here, but our prospects are out of this world!)

 

II. THE POWER OF HOPE

(Ill. The word “therefore draws our minds back to all that Paul has said in these verses. He is telling us that the hope we possess is a motivator to spiritual action for God’s glory. Being saved, sure and secure does not mean that we can just sit back and rest in what we have to wait on the rapture or death. Being saved means we are to get to work for the glory of God! Knowing the truth about God and salvation is a powerful motivator for service. You see, belief always affects behavior! Believing the right things about Jesus and about the future will cause us to get busy for His glory.)

A. Hope Causes Us To Be Stable The word steadfast means to be seated; settled and firmly situated. It reminds us that we are to be rooted and grounded in what we believe and hold true. We are to be “seated firmly in our personal convictions. The bottom line is this: if we have no hope, we might waver in our faith and wander off after the things of the world. If this life doesn’t matter and there are no eternal ramifications for our actions, them it becomes easier to stray away. When our hope is real, it causes us to be stable in our faith and walk. (Ill. Why do you believe what you believe?)

B. Hope Counsels Us To Be Stubborn The word unmovable means not moved from a place; firmly persistent; motionless.” There are many times when stubbornness is not appropriate, but in the Lord’s work, a good does of bullheadedness is perfectly in order! We must allow nothing to move us from our determination to serve the Lord!

C. Hope Challenges Us To Be Strong Abounding has the idea of exceeding a fixed amount; overflowing; exceeding. When we consider what we have and who we are by grace; we will be motivated to go all out for the Lord. He “lavished His grace on us when He saved us, Eph. 1:7-8, the least we can do is to go “overboard in our service for Him! If we must err, let us err on the side of doing too much for Him; of going to far for the Lord; of being too on fire; of being overly fanatical for Him.

 

(Ill. It is impossible to go too far with Jesus, but the least we can do is give everything we have for His glory, Rom. 12:1-2! Il. Everything we have: time, money, energy, talents, gifts, bodies, minds, spirits, etc, should be invested in nothing but Jesus! Our prayers, our praise and our thanksgiving should be given hands and feet as we lay everything we have and are at the feet of our Redeemer.)

 

(Ill. Some Abounders: David Brainerd; John Wesley; Epaphroditus – Phil. 2:25-30. Ill. There are some abounders in this very room!)

 

(Ill. What is the “Work of the Lord? James 2:14-20; Eph. 2:10. Here are some examples of His work – Acts 1:8; Eph. 5:8; Matt. 22:37-39; Gal. 6:2. Ill. If we go in Him, we will not fail to accomplish all that He desires from us.)

 

(Ill. By the way, the phrase “be ye is in the imperative mood. It signals a command! We have no choice in these matters! If we want to be the people God redeemed us to be, then we must walk in hope, letting the light of Christ shine brightly for a lost world to see, Matt. 5:16. God saved us to get busy for Him!)

 

III. THE PROMISE OF HOPE

(Ill. If this life is all there is. If there is no hope for eternity, no rapture and no possibility of a resurrection; if all we have to look forward to is the grave; then we would have real reason to despair. This is exactly what Paul says in verses 13-19. But, Paul sounds out the blessed truth that there is a resurrection! Jesus Christ did rise from the grave! There is hope for those who have their faith in Christ! Notice what this hope promises to the people of the Lord.)

A. Our Hope Gives Us Confidence Paul tells us that we know that our work for Jesus matters. There is no sacrifice, no struggle, no self-denial, no valley, no work goes unnoticed and none will fail to pay eternal benefits. So, keep praying, keep serving, and keep living for Jesus. What you do for Him in His name is “not in vain. That is, it is not a “waste of time. It is not an “exercise in futility. He sees it all, Pro. 15:3. He knows it all. One day, He will reward it all, Rev. 22:12. He is watching, and if we are doing all we do for Him and His glory, we can be sure that He sees it all. That should give us the confidence to continue serving Him regardless of what life brings our way.

B. Our Hope Gives Us Consolation Sometimes the road we walk is hard. Sometimes the burdens we bear are heavy. Sometimes the work we are called to do seems endless and unrewarding. The word used to describe it here is the word “labour. This word means “intense labor united with trouble and toil. It has the idea of “work that results in pain and agony.

Sometimes our walk with the Lord is just like that! There are times when it seems that no one notices and no one cares. There are times when you may feel unappreciated and that you are carrying out a thankless task. In those times walk in confidence because the Lord is watching and when He comes, He will reward you. He will say “Thank you! If we walk with Him; work for Him and wait patiently for Him, the day will come when He will say, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. I don’t know about you, but that is what I want to hear!

 

Conc: We are blessed today. We do not have many of the problems that plagued Corinth. I am not aware of any open sin or of anyone teaching false doctrine here at Calvary. But, I am almost sure there are some who may be close to losing hope. I am also sure that there are others could exercise the power of their hope and do more for Jesus.

As we stand here today, we are on the cusp of a brand new year. Will it amount to more for the glory of God than 2005 has? The answer to that question is up to you! Are you a person of hope? Are you walking in the power of hope; doing all you can to serve the Lord Who saved you? Are you resting in the promise of your hope knowing that one day Jesus will bless you for the things you are doing for Him?

If He has spoken to you about something you are doing; something you are not doing; or something you need to be doing this altar is the place to be. I thank God for hope; but hope is not the end of the matter. Hope merely the catalyst that should cause us to get busy in the Lord’s work. Church, let’s make 2006 count for the glory of God!

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