by Cooper Abrams
‘For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?’ (Romans 8:24)
Introduction: Let us look at some basic questions. Do you believe in life after death? Do you know that most people around the world do? There has never been discovered a civilization or people who did not have a religion. We are told there are 19 major world religions which are subdivided into a total of 270 large religious groups, and many smaller ones. It is reported there are 34,000 separate Christian groups have been identified in the world. 33% of the world’s population identifies itself as Christian, 19.6 is Muslin, 13.4 are Hindus. Only 12.7 % say they have no religion. (Religious Tolerance.org)
There are a number of reasons man believes in religion. Mainly it is for achieving enlightenment, progressing to heaven or paradise after death. I think we understand as biblical Christians that religion is man made and not God’s plan.
God’s plan is the truth found only in God’s word, God is our creator and Savior, His plan offers man heaven after this life. The reality is that Romans 1:18f tells us all men are aware of God our Creator because God reals Himself to us all. “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
Verses 21-23, explains where false religion came from, “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.” (Romans 1:21-23)
What man is seeking is simply hope. He knows he will die. Thus he seeks to find live after death. He knows God exists and has a plan, but he rejects Jesus Christ the Savior and seeks to save himself with God. He ignores God because God through salvation and redemption turns a man to righteousness. That mens being moral and living a life that rejects sin. So man makes his own God after himself and false religion is born.
However, if man does not believe in God why invent himself a religion? The answer is man knows that there is a hell and he HOPES to avoid HELL. Man has an old carnal nature and he seeks to live in the pleasures of sin his old nature presents
But understand, the most important thing about a man is that all men have hope....hope in something.
For the man who believes God’s word and responses to the undeniable knowledge of God, this man accept God’s plan. He accepts God and recognizes himself a sinner in rebellion and guilt before God.
I. “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.” Titus 2:2
A. The passages says that because of God’s grace....salvation has "hath appeared": (epiphainow), which means “to show forth; to display; to shine upon.” In other words God has and is actively seeking to reveal Himself to a lost world that needs a Savior.
B. Romans 1:18-23 proclaims the same truth. The passage states that all men are without excuse because God has shown Himself to them. That means “all” men ever born no matter where they are.
Being here this morning and hearing God’s word the truth of salvation and heaven, you are under conviction. God is working through the Holy Spirit and you know what I am preaching is the truth, the only truth.
C. It the proof of God’s love for the world. A world whose people are mostly rejecting Him or changing the very knowledge of Him into a perversion....a god that is the invention of man....who cannot saved. Yet, God is still proving His love.....
1. When man sinned after he was created God promised a Savior as Genesis 3:15 records. “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:15)
2. Genesis 6 records the whole world turned from Him and went into the grossest of sins and evil....God’s grace saved Noah and his family. Is not the world close to being sinful and evil to the point of being like the world was in Genesis 6.
“And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5)
3. When Israel, His chosen people turned from Him over and over again and worshiped idols and denied His existence ....He still loved mankind and sought to save them.
4. He showed Himself to Ninevites through Jonah and saved them when they repented of their sins. He showed Himself to Nebuchadnezzar the Babylonian king and he too was saved.
5. John 3:16 records that God “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
6. For centuries since Jesus’ returned to heaven....God has given us His written word. Untold numbers of men/women/boys and girls have seen God when they read the book, or through the witness of others, by preaching and teaching of believers.
I am one of them and most of you here are also a part of that group. However, you may not be. Some people join churches and do religious acts hoping to earn heaven. However, sadly they hope in man earning his salvation through a church, baptism, rituals, and works is a hope in vain that will not save.
7. All this is the proof position of the love of God...of his grace as this verse states....which has been extended to all men who would believe and simply....accept the truth....That is hope in God and by faith put their trust in Him.
D. What was the point of His grace? It was to bring salvation to men. Grace is simply unmerited favor. You cannot earn God’s grace.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
1. Men are lost in condemned world. Living on a planet that the Bible reveals has a date with utter destruction.
ILLS: When I was in service I often had a lot of time to myself and a read a lot...especially on long grave yard shifts. I liked to read science fiction books and often the story was the people of earth were seeking a new world because of some disaster that destroyed the earth. I did not know the Lord in those years. Little did I know that the plot is true.
II. God’s grace is a means of His teaching us how to live the best life we can.
A. God’s grace is manifested in teaching us what is good and what is harmful for us. The verse says “denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.”
1. God’s plan is for us to live soberly, rightly and godly in this present world.
2. This is the positive side of a believer’s life. This is what makes his life worth while and satisfying .
ILLS: I had a man write me one Friday and say he appreciated the many sermons I have on my web site Bible-truth.org. He said he would like to see more posted and especially on a person having peace of mind. He said he was having some trouble with that. You know a lot of people are having trouble with that....often peace of mind is hard to obtain.
B. But God tell us how we can have this peace of mind....how we can live today is a world that is alien to us.
III. Believers will never be comfortable in a world that serves the Devil. Titus 2:13
A. True believers are looking for the Blessed Hope that God has promised.
1 John 3:1-3 expresses the same theme as does Titus 2.
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”
B. Among some there is a question of who is truly saved and is going to heaven. The verse clarifies the matter as does the whole of the Book of 1 John.
1. Every man....not some, not a few, but every man that has this hope in him purifies himself....as he is pure. A saved man/ woman/young person if saved will strive to life a godly life. There is no confusing here.
2. Note that he verse says....has this hope in him. The object of salvation is the realization that we are lost and need a Savior. The Savior tell us plainly....that this world is going to perish. Read John 3:16-19 and the many passages that clearly state this truth. The person who hears God’s message...the Gospel of Jesus Christ, realizes he is a sinner and therefore believes and turning to the Lord puts his faith in God....and is saved.
3. Salvation, basically bring two things.
1. Forgiveness of sins...that is what 1 John 3 is saying....the believer is able to I’ve a life where he purifies himself....as he is pure. That means God forgives all his sins and imparting unto him God’s righteousness.
2. Salvation brings eternal life. That is the sure hope of heaven...the promise of God that one day....we will be with the Lord.
When the Lord calls us home. When death comes...whenever that is...we will be with Him.
B. This is the Blessed Hope. For the believer is not something that maybe true....but a fact, a sure and absolute truth in which he rests.
1. It gives strength to the present to endure and live the best we can.....it gives us something sure to hang on to knowing that one day....sooner or later.....the trials and sufferings of this world will be over.
2. It is something we can focus on....when life bears down on us, when the burden seems more than we can carry.
3. It is the Blessed Hope.....God is there, He hears our prayers, knows our every care, and offers us His strength to put a smile on our faces....look the world straight in the eye....and pressing forward.
4. He gives us purpose.
ILLUS: Several months before I was to be discharged from the Air Force they closed the radar site was stationed at in Crystal Springs, MS. I had only a few months to go so they sent me to Fisher AFS, which was another radar installation and a NORAD (North America Defense Command. backup center which was near my home in North Carolina. They really did not need me there as they were fully staffed and although they assigned me to the Communications Center...I did not have a job. It was a miserable time. Did you ever try to look busy when you did not have anything to do? Some might like that kind of job, but I didn’t. In other words I had no real purpose to be there.
God gives us a reason for living.
ILLS: Years ago in Parade Magazine on the front cover was a picture of a young teenage girl, standing by the side of the road in the rain. She was thumbing and holding a sign that read....Anywhere! She clearly as adrift....being swept along without plan or purpose.
How many people are like that....without a purpose? God has revealed Himself to us all and yet so many will not received Him. Deep down they know His is there....yet they life denying that possible life changing truth.
God is reaching out to them....to us all and yet so many will not hear.
IV. One day, maybe soon, Jesus the Christ will return. There is no question about the fact of His return....only the time that it will happen.
A. God promises that those who believe in His Son the Lord Jesus Christ will be a part of that return.
1. We are assured in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 that whether we are alive at His coming....or in the grave....we will all be caught up in the air to meet Him and to forever remain with Him.
2. 2 Corinthians 5:1-8 explains that if the Lord takes us before He returns....He has prepared for us a “tabernacle”...a special body not made with hands....in which we will dwell with Him in heaven till He returns. He promises us that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.
1. The question every man/woman/boy/girl must answer is: Do I believe God and have placed my faith in Him. . Will I accept God’s urging in my heart that I know is there.
2. Will we accept our Creator’s grace....repent and turn from sin unto the life He has for us. His purpose is that we be eternally with Him.....but He leaves that choice up to us.
Return to Sermons Page
Return to Bible Truth Home Page