Sermon delivered February 8, 2003 by Elder Bill Tucker

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Biblical quotations are from the New International Version NIV unless otherwise noted. Divine pronouns and titles are capitalized.

The Living Hope

Bill Tucker is the speaker for the Quiet Hour Program

1 Peter 1

You and I are living in exciting and yet uncertain times, times in which demand our attention, times that affect all of us sooner or later. Uncertain because there is so much at stake. The military might of nations is being seen. We know what is transpiring apparently in Iraq as these inspectors have been trying to find weapons of mass destruction. But it's not just on the Iraqi fronts, as the United States and its military might is poised and ready there's also other countries like North Korea and Kim Jom. And the talk that you hear, the rhetoric that you hear, is not talk of peace. And yet, that's what we desire. Everyone desires hope. Everyone desires peace.

In fact, the ministry and mission of the Quiet Hour is to reach out to the masses of people. In India, thousands of people that have been reached over the last few years. One of the fastest growing countries right now in the world for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in terms of its growth. In these meetings alone, over six thousand people were baptized.

Churches can't be built fast enough, and even though we've gone into fifty other villages to bring hope to the hearts of Hindus who have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ, there are still many who do not have chapels. Two hundred and fifty we have built, over four hundred that Maranatha has built, but there are still thousands of villages to be opened.

And so, whether you're in India or most recently in Lagos, Nigeria, one of the most populated places on planet Earth, thirteen million population in this city alone, a hundred twenty- six million people crammed into that country. It was a city of chaos. It was a place where it was very difficult to get around. And yet, the people were reaching out, every day, reaching out for hope.

I'll never forget that we were waiting to move forward, and I looked to my left and I saw the most hideous looking face that I had ever seen. And yet, through that contorted face came a smile. And that face said, "Praise God for you. Praise God for you." Well, that was one of many who was baptized. But this man, if you had time would hear his testimony. He was recently baptized from being Muslim. Eight Muslims were baptized in these meetings. It's very difficult for a Muslim to be baptized. In fact, he is running from his family even as I speak. He went to one country and they caught him. They'd like to cut his head off. That's what they do to those who become Christians who they feel are traitors. This man, before he became a Christian was to have been an Islamic cleric, a scholar, but he was responsible for killing at least one pastor. But the Lord Jesus took control of his life, gave him the hope that he needed. He has new hope in Jesus Christ.

God is working in miraculous ways, folks, His wonders to perform. Even in Russia, in the very heart of Russia, there are thousands upon thousands of orphans. You can go from one orphanage to another. Young people, kids that have been abandoned by their families. They cannot provide for them. Many times they will abandon them to the state. But in economic times that we live in, there are many orphans in orphanages that are really hurt. And we happened to come across some of them. One particular orphanage, all they had on the table were bowls of water. That was all they had for the orphans that day when we arrived. And they couldn't believe that Americans would come all that way from America to the heart of Russia. But my friends, when we told them that God brought us there that time, to help them out, they could not believe it.

Is it any wonder that in that city a new congregation was established. We had orphans in orphanages, the people that were there leading out in the work. They were coming to meetings. As we began to minister to their needs, they came out. They wanted to hear about the God Who loved them so much, and the love was being just spreading out among the staff of our team that were there. It made such an impact.

Or, in the Dominican Republic, as people are reaching out for a better life, better hope. City of Santiago. I had the privilege of speaking to three hundred and fifty young people between the ages of thirteen and nineteen every day. But what really broke my heart was when I saw, actually, what I heard from these young people. There were at least a hundred of them that came to me and... It was a common story. They came from broken homes. And in the brokenness their lives were fractured. Selena was one of them. When she came in she was weeping openly. She said, "Pastor, I don't want to live. My environment is terrible. My parents don't love me." And for the next several minutes, I presented a picture of Jesus Who love her. She was the only person on planet Earth. What a thrill it was to see Selena along with seventy of her classmates go down into the watery grave of baptism. As she accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord, she received a better way of life, because she accepted Jesus. New hope in her life.

And, just like the people, the young people there in the Dominican Republic in Santiago, were looking for new hope. Yes, people are looking for hope everywhere.

Just this past week, you know that shuttle, the Columbia that went up, who would have ever thought? Seven lives, but more than seven lives, representing families that were decimated. Many hopes and dreams were dashed on that day. Those families, they're looking for hope. And there may be someone here today that needs hope, that needs new life. Why, this whole world is in desperate need of the hope that only Jesus can bring. That's why His word declares here in 1 Peter 1:3,4. Praise be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, The living hope because we serve the living Christ. and into an inheritance that is unperishable, undefiled, unfading, kept in heaven for you. Isn't that good news?

Think of it. God has there a special place for a special people. He's got it right there for you. That's so important. So, today, and every day, this side of heaven we have every reason to look up, do we not? We have every reason to look up. Jesus indeed is our only hope. He is, what I call, the huggable Jesus.

He is there to give you that hug that you need.

Yes, we have this hope, that burns within our hearts. This is a song that my uncle, Wayne Hooper, that's my mother's brother, back in 1962. It has become the classic hymn in Adventism in all of the General Conference Sessions. It seems like that's the favorite song to sing. I'd like for us to sing it right now. It's right here in the Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal on page 214.

We have this hope that burns within our hearts,
Hope in the coming of the Lord.
We have this faith that Christ alone imparts,
Faith in the promise of His word.

We believe the time is here, When the nations far and near,
Shall awake, and shout and sing - Hallelujah! Christ is King!

We have this hope that burns within our hearts,
Hope in the coming of the Lord.

And I hope that that hope will burn brighter within our hearts because of Jesus. The living hope that Peter presents to us here in these verses. He presents to us four R's. And we're going to go rapidly through these now. Redemption, Revelation, Rejoicing, Requirement.

That first R describes the Redemption of Jesus. The shedding of His own blood. Think of it, it's not just any blood, but it's the shedding of Jesus' blood, His pure blood, the life-giving blood that He had. And He does it for you. He does it for me. Sometimes I don't think we really appreciate the blood of Jesus as we should. When we think of that kind of sacrifice. You know, when it comes to our own blood, there's something wrong with our blood. There's something tainted about our blood. When you look under a microscope you can see disease that is in blood, why people are dying. But my friends, the Bible says that Jesus' blood in verses 18 and 19 of 1 Peter 1 in the King James Version says, Foreasmuch as ye know that ye not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;

But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. Without blemish, without spot. Let me demonstrate that for a moment with a modern parable.

Suppose we were sitting here and all of a sudden somebody comes in and says, "Have you heard on the radio? There is a terrible plague that has just come across North America. It seems to be spreading from both sides and moving in. Worse than AIDS." And indeed, people are dying everywhere. And then it is that the medical community begins to scramble to find an antidote. And finally they find what it's going to take. But it's going to take un-diseased blood. But to do that, they've got to come now to the heart of America where, hopefully that disease has not affected, because all up and down the eastern and western seaboards people are dying. It's spreading like wildfire. And then it is that in the communities in the Midwest, they're told to come to give their blood quickly to find out if they match the type of blood it's going to take. And so, hundreds and thousands of people, going to the hospital, having samples their blood taken. "No, you don't have the right blood." "No, It's not right." This one family, they go. The family has a young son. And as they are getting their blood type taken and they're told to wait for the results. The young doctor come in and reads off a name. The little boy looks up at his daddy and says, "Daddy, that's my name. What does he want?" Pretty an older doctor comes in and says, "This boy's got the right blood. We've got to do more tests. We want to make sure." Sure enough, it's the right blood, the right blood.

Then the old doctor says, "We didn't realize that it would be a young boy." Because he's asking the parents to sign a release statement, and as the parents are looking, they see a blank where it says the number of pints of blood needed. The old doctor says, "We didn't realize it's going to be a young boy. We need all of it." "But sir, can't you do something? Can't you give some king of blood transfusion, something? Not my boy." "Sir, the entire world is going to die soon. This plague is terrible. Will you sign quickly?"

If you were parents of a boy would you be willing to sign knowing it would take the life of your son? Can you imagine that young boy being on the table, looking back at mom and dad. "What are they doing with me? Why are you leaving me?"

And then when it's all over, and they bring everybody together in a day of honoring this young man who was willing to give his life. And on that day the bands are playing, speeches are made. And the people are smiling, but some people didn't come. Why, they went back to their old habits. They went back to living the way they were. Some even went out to the lake because everything now was back to normal. If you were the parents, wouldn't you cry out and say, "Doesn't it mean anything to you? My son died for you." Well, can you imagine how the Father looks down at planet Earth as His Son was hanging between heaven and earth and He cries out, "Does it mean anything to you that My Son shed his life blood for you?" Redemption's story took the life-blood of the Savior for you. But it's because of that life-blood that He was willing to give to you that you indeed can have hope.

I'm so thankful that it was not just a cross, there was not just death, because that brings us to that second R. If it had not been for the revelation by means of the Resurrection there would be not reason for you and me to even be here today. Because, without Resurrection your faith and my faith would be in vain. It took not just the blood of Jesus on Calvary's cross, but my friends, it took again because Divinity cannot die. He came forth from the grave. And I thank God because of the resurrection. Because Jesus lives, you and I can live. That's what it says there.

Because KJV His abundant mercy has gotten us again unto a living the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Over in Hannover, Germany there's a place that they call, "The Open Grave." There was a man there that was an agnostic (a person who thinks it is impossible to know whether there is a God or a future life, or anything beyond the grave.), and he did not believe in God or he didn't believe that there was anything that was going to take place after death and so to really underscore his thinking, he said, "When I die, I want boulders put on my grave, and then I want steel bands to secure those boulders. Then on top of those boulders I want a huge chunk of marble over those bands and stones." When he died, and his body was placed in the grave, they did just exactly what he asked them to do. But, what he did not realize that when the workmen that were putting the boulders on his grave did not realize was that at that very moment there was a little birch seed that also fell down in between those big boulders. When everything was done, and the iron was clasping the boulders and the chunk of marble on top, inscribed, "This grave was purchased for eternity and must never be opened." But if you go there today, it is called, "The Open Grave" for all to see. Why? Because over the years, a little seedling and root structure came down and pretty soon, one day, those steel bands burst wide open and up through that grave came a mighty birch tree. My friends, God is going to have the last word, the last say.

I say, 'If death is only death, if there is not resurrection, then it's all vain. But Jesus Christ came forth from the grave you and I will come forth. Praise God!

This also points out the Revelation as you read on. The revelation of our inheritance. The Bible says it's not going to perish. In other words, it's not going to just be for a while and then pass away. Nothing is going to ruin it or change it. It's never going to fade, it's never going to wear out. And, you know, that's pretty good, because we do wear out, don't we. Everything that we touch seems to wear out. Our homes wear out. Our cars wear out. They rust out. They don't last. Everything here on planet Earth sooner or later wears out, rusts out, gives out. Isn't that right? In the first service my computer crashed. It gave out. So, this side of heaven, when you think of something that never wears out, never is going to pass away, that is always going to remain new, isn't that good news? Think of it. My God has a reserve place just for you. I don't know if you have ever been to a ball game where you are way up in the "nosebleed" section. Or at some concert, and you wish you could be on their front row. But just imagine there is no nosebleed section. Everybody is going to have, like it were, front-row seats reserved for you. It's got your name on it. That's the quality of your inheritance. But, most importantly, it's because of Jesus. How did Jesus establish the fact that inheritance can be secure? Paul goes on to say here in Ephesians 1:13, 14 KJV. In Whom also ye trusted after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in Whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest (guarantee) of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of glory. My friends, His Spirit is the guarantee, the Holy Spirit is the guarantee that you indeed can be secure with your inheritance.

Have you thought about what that's going to be like? Can you imagine being in an environment where you see trees like you've never seen before? Where you see scenery like you've never seen before? Imagine two trees in one, arching over the river of life, the tree of life with an abundance of fruit on either side. As it arcs it's way facing toward the throne of God, the Holy City. Fantastic! Just let your imagination run wild on what that's going to be like. Heaven is really going to be heaven because Jesus is going to be there, your Savior and mine. T be able to walk with Him, to be able to talk with Him, to be able to share with Him, anything that you need. And just think, you can do that throughout eternity. Wow! What joy that's going to be! And, that really brings us to the third R that's talked about in First Peter.

1 Peter 1:6 KJV. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ. Yes, there's going to be times of trial this side of heaven. There's going to be suffering, but folks, we don't know how to suffer. We say we suffer, but I want to tell you something, I was in Rwanda not too long ago and I talked with many, many people, most of whom had lost a loved one, but in a very terrible way. Pastor Amoan, he lost his wife. He lost three children. He lost nine grand-children to the machete when one million Rwandans were killed. Terrible! Terrible slaughter! Genocide indeed. But my friends, in spite of all of that, Pastor Amoan was able to rejoice in the Lord and know that he was going to see them again soon.

Do you know what his favorite text is? Romans 8:28. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Can you imagine that?

Peter says we can rejoice, rejoice when you suffer. Why? Because Jesus suffered for you like you'll never have to suffer. He suffered the entire sins of the world that was upon Him, His body. He suffered. Indeed He did.

The fourth R is Requirement. 1 Peter 1:13 KJV. Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you ar the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: but as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation. So, you see, when you have redemption, when He has redeemed you by His blood, and when you have the hope burning within you because you serve the living Christ, and you love Him for what He has done, and you are rejoicing daily, it just stands to reason that because of the kind of relationship that you develop with Him that you will give Him loving obedience. Isn't that right?

You know, the Bible says "Gird up the loins of your mind." The only way I know to do that is to stay focused upon Him. The best way to do that is in the Word, the Bible, where you truly get to know Him. I've shared this before, but it is not an optional thing with a Christian when it comes to a devotional experience. It's something that we need desperately if we're going to have that kind of connection with the Lord. Folks, when you love somebody enough, you're going to serve them, right? That's right. When I got to know this gal over here, I loved her. And finally one day I told her I wanted to serve her and asked her to marry me. You know, the connection that you have with the Lord, Jesus Christ, should be so close and intimate that you want to serve Him the rest of your life.

So, how is the requirement going to take place? Obedience can only take place when we have a relationship with Jesus that allows His life to be lived out in us. The Bible says, in Colossians 1:27 KJV, Christ in you, the Hope of glory. And remember it is God Who worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure Philippians 2:13. Across planet Earth today, the Lord Jesus is stretching forth His arms of love everywhere. On Planet Earth, He is giving the living hope to people. And that hope is now burning brightly in the lives of so many thousands and millions of people. Is it burning brightly in your life today? Is it?

Hymn of Praise: #229, All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name
Scripture: 1 Peter 1:3-5
Hymn of Response: #573, I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go

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