“THE BLESSED HOPE” (Titus 2:11-14)
FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT Dec.. 3, 2017 10:30 AM
FBC Earlville, NY J B Stopford, Pastor
TODAY’S SPECIAL: “An Air Funny”
A minister introduced a number of improvements in his church, including hot air dryers in the wash rooms.
He had them removed after two weeks because someone had stuck a notice on one of them which read “For details of last week’s sermon, please press here.”
Today is the first Sunday of Advent – the theme word for today is “HOPE”. The word appears 180 times in our Bibles.
It is not only the theme, but is also the result of the first coming of our Savior, Whose birth we remember this month.
As we look forward to our communion service later this morning, our text reminds us that the first advent of our Savior accomplished many eternal things, and all are centered around the word “HOPE”.
Has the coming of Christ brought you hope?
Our text tells us that as a result of Jesus’ first coming, we wait for the “blessed” hope. This is literally the “happy” or “great” hope. God’s people should be a happy people NOW because we can patiently wait for our Savior to return. How should that “blessed” – happy, great – hope affect us today? PRAYER
#1: Our hope is blessed because God’s grace is first offered to all people (v. 11)
One of our favorite Christmas verses is Luke 2:11, “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” But do you remember what verse 10 says? “But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” God’s grace was for all people as the news of His first coming was one of great joy for all people!
So…when you think of Christmas in your house, who do you exclude from your gatherings? Who do you hope does not come?
ILLUSTRATION: Mom used to send Christmas cards and kept an active book as to who got a card. But the book also recorded if they sent or didn’t send a card back! And whoa be it to that one who did not send a card back two years in a row – they would be taken off her Christmas card list! That was mom.
Aren’t you glad that God doesn’t keep a list as to who remembers Him 2 years in a row? He says the purpose of His Son’s first coming will create a blessed hope for His second coming because His first coming was to bless all people! That was its intention – and only those who have received Him as Savior are the ones who are the beneficiaries of His coming.
#2: Our hope is blessed because Jesus’ first coming changes lives now! (vs. 11-12)
Now here’s an amazing thing. IF you go to work, you might get paid, but it might not change your life. IF you go to church, you might be blessed, but it might not change your life. IF you get married, you might be happy, but it might not change your life.
But IF Jesus comes to earth, gives His life on the cross, and is raised the third day as He promised He would, and you trust that truth is so, THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE!
You will reject those things that dishonor the Lord – and in turn you will be blessed for honoring Him first of all. (v. 12a)
You will receive those things that honor Him – and in turn you will be blessed with a life that has purpose and maturity (v. 12b)
The Bible speaks of this amazing work this way: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Cor. 5:17). Things become new at the new birth; AND things become new every day as we die to the things we used to be and we live for the things we now desire due to Jesus being in our lives.
#3: Our hope is blessed because while we wait for His second coming, we live lives that are blessed now.
Catch the end of verse 14: “to purify for himself a people that are his very own”.
ILLUSTRATION: I don’t know about you, but it was always special when my Dad spent quality time with me – throwing the baseball, playing golf, even helping me in my studies. He did all that not just because I am his son. He did that because I am “his very own”. I belong to him. And even though he is passed away, I still want to do those things which please him because I belong to him.
* That is what Paul is saying to Titus. Our goals in life aren’t based just upon eternal hopes. Our goals in life are based upon eternal ownership! The fruit of that will be different in each of our lives – our lives are like snowflakes, none is the same. So it is with our walk with the Lord. I cannot legislate how your life is to be walked! But I can guarantee that your life is a blessed life because of your being owned by our Heavenly Father as a result of His Son’s work in His first coming. Wow.
As we wrap this up, isn’t it interesting that Paul didn’t give Titus all the details about Jesus’ second coming? He didn’t say the “when”. He didn’t say the changes that will take place on earth. We can leave those truths to books like Revelation in the NT and Daniel and Ezekiel in the OT. But Paul did tell Titus that his hope is a blessed one, and that the rest of his earthly life will be changed because of his hope for the future.
How about you? Is your life being lived with eternity’s values in view? OR is it simply being lived for yourself, for today?
Does your life display the blessed hope, or no hope?
Jesus came to give hope – hope for today, and a blessed hope for tomorrow!
Do you have that hope? Don’t you wish everybody did?
Close in prayer