A. Simple, Yet Not-so-simple Gospel
- Most would define the term “gospel” as “good news”. However, not everyone agrees on the details of what the “good news” actually is. Good news brings an obvious expectation that you put a lot of faith in. And life choices are made on that expectation. But what if the good news that is expected, doesn’t deliver? What does that do to the heart? And what do those heart realities do to your daily life? How can that currently affect the way you live?
- Clarity of the Biblical gospel defines the expectation and then steers your faith. And out of that you make decisions and live your life. With that clear, you actually become equipped to run the race successfully in this age of death. The default is to sojourn instead of put down roots in this age. The vision becomes clear and keeps you on the track, with your eyes set on the finish line.
B. Hope/Expectation of the Messiah (cf. Rom. 2:5; 8:18; 1 Cor. 1:7; 15:23; 2 Cor. 4:17; Eph. 1:18; Phil. 3:20; Col. 3:4; 1 Thess. 1:10; 3:13; 2 Thess. 1:7; 2:1; 1 Tim. 6:14; 2 Tim. 4:8; Tit. 2:13; Heb. 9:18; 1 Pe. 1:13; 1 Jn. 2:28)
11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, (Tt 2:11–13 NIV)
Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Peter 1:13 NIV)
C. The Fruit of Biblical Faith in the Biblical Hope – Patient Endurance (cf. Ps. 39:7; 71:14;119:114, 166; Prov. 10:28;)
And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you. (Ps. 13:12)
Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; I wait for You all day long.
My soul longs for your salvation; I hope in your word. (Ps. 119:81)
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; (Ps. 130:5)
- The gospel is trying to establish one singular hope in the heart of the believer. A hope that, if anchored deep enough, can bring joy in whatever situation you find yourself in. Even joy until death because the hope believer’s have is realized beyond this age of death. There is no situation too overwhelming if our faith is anchored to the Biblical hope.
D. The Expectation – Fullness of Salvation at the End of the Age (cf. Rom. 1:16; 1 Pet. 2:2)
so also the Messiah, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him. (Heb. 9:28 HCSB)
You are being protected by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Pet. 1:5 HCSB)
- Salvation is a weighty topic in many circles because it involves your eternal standing. Who doesn’t want to know they are good-to-go when it comes to their salvation? But salvation did not change from the Old Testament to the New Testament. The hope remains the same; the promise of One who would come and sit on the throne in Jerusalem and restore all Creation. That promise has not yet been realized, thus we continue to hope. And it is faith in that which should drive our lives. Hebrews 11 testifies to it.
These all died in faith without having received the promises, but they saw them from a distance, greeted them, and confessed that they were foreigners and temporary residents on the earth. (Heb. 11:13 HCSB)
“the fact that Jesus Christ died is more important that the fact that i shall die, and the fact that Jesus Christ rose from the dead is the sole ground of my hope that I, too, shall be raised on the last day.” ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer ~
3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus the Messiah, by whom we have been conceived anew—because of his great mercy—into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus the Messiah from the dead, 4for an inheritance undecaying and undefiled and unfading, stored safely in the heavens for you, 5who through faith are being protected by the very power of God for a salvation set to be revealed at the end of the age; 6on account of which you rejoice, even though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief and heartache amidst trials of various kinds, 7so that the authenticity of your faith—far more precious than perishable gold, though even with gold, it is through fire that its purity is determined—may be discovered, resulting in praise and glory and honor when Jesus the Messiah is revealed; 8the Messiah you love, even though you haven’t seen him, in whom you are placing your faith, even though you don’t see him now, and so rejoice with a joy inexpressible and full of glory,9receiving in return the goal of your faith—your salvation. (1 Peter 1:3-9 BHT)
- Our response to trials quickly reveal where our expectation is. Words are easily spoken but faith’s genuineness is revealed in the trials. Is our joy anchored in this present evil age and what it can give us? Especially us in the Western comforts. Or is it in what was promised long ago that has yet to realized? Are we patient as we eagerly awake the realization of a hope that will not disappoint? Or do we gaze at what gives me pleasure now and set our hope on that?
- Some may ask, “What is so bad about setting our hope and faith on safety, comfort and good things in the present?” Potentially everything!
- You don’t have to convince the depraved human heart to be self-preserving. It is searching for excuses to justify that type of behavior. But when the Spirit seeks to lead you in a way that does not lean toward self-preservation, will your heart be ready to listen and obey with simple devotion and faith? The good news of the Bible is not self-preservation in this present age! That expectation will leave many in terror at the Day of the Lord.