True Hope in Hopeless Times (Part 2)

TEXT: Philippians 3:20-21

On last week, we began talking about hope — particularly the hope that believers have in these hopeless times. First, we looked at some misnomers about hope. Some Christians would tell you that their hope is in salvation, in death, or in Heaven itself. However, we saw from Scripture that none of those, though they may sound good, are the true hope of the church. Second, we saw from Scripture that our hope is a Person — Jesus Christ. And, third, we saw that our hope also involves an event surrounding that Person. That event is the Rapture when Jesus Christ snatches Christians out of this earth and takes them to be with Himself. That is a wonderful thing to look forward to.

Certainly you have watched a well-made action movie or read a well-written thriller. One of the things the movie director or writer tried to accomplish was to keep you in suspense at all times — to keep you on the edge of your seat or with your finger on the corner of the page ready to find out what happens next. Well, that is what the true hope of the church ought to do for us. We ought to be on our toes, eager with anticipation about what happens next. John Calvin said, ‘Be prepared to expect Him every day, or rather every moment. In his writings about the Rapture, Paul means to hold all believers in suspense.’

Today, I want us to look at three more aspects of the hope that we have — three things that we have to look forward to in the Rapture.

1. We look forward to the Rapture because it means being like Jesus. Philippians 3 tells us that “we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body.” When the Rapture takes place, it involves a change that will cause us to receive glorified bodies like Jesus’ glorified body. John says, “We know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is.”

2. We look forward to the Rapture because it means being with Jesus. To show you this, we must turn to John 14. In this chapter, Jesus tells his disciples, In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” Listen to those words — “Where I am, there ye may be also.” When the Rapture takes place, it involves the church being taken out of this world in an instant and being taken to where Jesus is.

3. We look forward to the Rapture because of the certainty of the promise. Look again at Jesus’ words in John 14. He says, “I will come again.” He doesn’t say, “I’ll think about coming again” or “I might come again.” He doesn’t even say, “I will send my angels to get you.” No, He says, “I will come again.”

The reason why the church has true hope in hopeless times is because we are looking for the return of Christ and the Rapture of the church. We look forward to that great event because we know that at that point we will be like Him and we will be with Him forever. It’s a guarantee — it’s a promise — that no one can take away. Billy Graham summarized this hope well when he said, “Our world is filled with fear, hate, lust, greed, war, and utter despair. Surely the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is the only hope of replacing these depressing features with trust, love, peace, and prosperity.”

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