We enjoyed a triumphant, majestic service this morning; complete with stirring choral performances of the Hallelujah Chorus and the Te Deum. And the service was not without bold preaching; the kind that takes courage.
Here's part of today's sermon.
This is the Festival of hope but I fear that we, the believers who live in this marvelous land of plenty have had our hope diluted and diverted.
The one true hope of resurrection is diluted by the many hopes our good land offers. Some of you hope for a good education which you hope leads to a good life, a life of plenty. Some of you hope for a bigger better income which is the gateway to hope for a bigger better home, bigger better vacations, and bigger better toys. The one hope, the Christian hope, is diluted by the deluge of hoax hopes that are offered to us in this good land of ours. These are in fact no hope at all because as soon as you have that hoax hope you hoped for, you begin hunting for the next hope. You are never satisfied. The hoax hopes are mirages. You think they will offer refreshment but you no sooner get to where the mirage was than you begin searching for the next because it was only a mirage hope.
When I visit with the sick and shut in, I find myself increasingly focusing on the hope of resurrection and I find myself increasingly bold to remind folks that our hope is not another doctor, another pill, another devise that will somehow keep us alive a little longer and a little better. I am weary of hearing “I hope the doctor will have some good news.” “I hope this new medication will do the job.” “I hope this therapy will help me do what I use to do.”
All such hopes dilute the one true hope and divert us from the one true hope the bodily resurrection of the dead. I know that we say such thing innocently enough but what a testimony when God’s people can open their lips and say what Job said, "For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God," (Job 19:25-26, ESV)
Today, you see the Firstfruits of the dead; you see Jesus alive. His resurrection is the sure hope that all who believe and are baptized in His Name will likewise be raised from the dead and be alive forever in heaven.
It's not often that I find a preacher courageous enough to say tough things; the very things that the people of his flock really need to hear.