Easter Hope

Bible Book: 1 Peter  1 : 13-14
Subject: Christ, Return Of; Easter; Rapture; Holy Living

Easter Hope

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor, www.pastorlife.com

1 Peter 1:13-14: 13 "Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lists, as in your ignorance ... " (NKJV)

It has been said that a human being can live without many things, but cannot survive long without hope. One must ask in what do most people put their hope in life and beyond that where is hope in the life to come. Peter points out that the Christian must not look at worldwide events, pandemics, crime, and other problems but rather must call his and her mind to be fixed upon Jesus. In fact, when Peter writes here about the "revelation of Jesus Christ" he is speaking of the coming of Jesus for all believers. He is referring to the promise of the return of Christ for His Church - to call all believers into His presence. This is called the "rapture" or "the Blessed Hope." Now, understand this, a dead man can't save you, help you and return to take you to heaven. It requires a risen, living, victorious Savior to accomplish those blessings.

In fact, in scripture there is a great link between the resurrection of Jesus and the coming of Jesus for His saints. This is because His resurrection was the first fruit of all those who shall be raised when He returns. Without His resurrection, we have no resurrection; however, due to His resurrection, all believers have the assurance of a like resurrection. Thus, this is a most fitting subject for us to consider this Easter Sunday morning. We are going to look at the subject, "Easter Hope," which involves, "Looking for the Blessed Hope." The Blessed Hope simply stands for the coming of Christ in the clouds to take His redeemed people home to Heaven.

This is a great and important subject. In the dome of the capitol building in Washington, D.C., there is a line inscribed which states, "One far off event toward which the whole creation moves." A visitor asked one day what that meant. A guide said that it spoke of the return of Jesus Christ. This tells us that at one time our leaders in America knew of this coming event. Few likely even look up any more to see those words or to consider the coming again of the risen Lord.

I have heard it said that newspaper publishers have a name for the largest type they use for spectacular headlines called, "Second Coming Type." I don't know if that's true but if it is ever used to declare that He has returned, it will be to late for those who read it.

The return of Jesus, the Blessed Hope or Easter Hope of all believers, is mentioned in the New Testament on an average of once every 25 verses. It is mentioned more often than Creation, The Fall of Man, The Birth of Christ, His Death, or His Resurrection. In other words, God has placed great importance on this subject and so should each of us.

Many people are confused about his coming. I am reminded of the little boy who was trying out for a little league ball team. He was in right field while His dad was watching him try out for the team. The coach hit a ball his way but the little boy's glove fell off his hand and he missed the ball. The coach hit him another. The little fellow stumbled going back and missed it again. His father ran out there and took the glove saying that he would show the boy how to catch a ball, but on the fly ball hit to him the father stepped in a hole and missed the ball. On the next fly ball the sun got in the man's eyes and he dropped that ball as well. On the next ball the man was so frustrated he just blew the catch. He went over to his son, handed him the glove and said, "Son, you've got right field so messed up no one can play it."

Some think that the return of Jesus has been so confused by various false information that no one can explain it. Actually, we are not here today to answer all the questions, but I assure you that God's Word is plain on His coming. And the point Peter makes for us today is critical to the Christian life in the here and now.

Note here that Peter links the return of Christ with our current behavior. Peter is pointing out that BELIEF DETERMINES BEHAVIOR - DOCTRINE EFFECTS DUTY. So, Peter begins by establishing that we must give ourselves fully to God's truth. In fact, he gives us a comparison. He says that this is like a man going out to do physical labor. Such a person will dress for the work he is going to do. He will make sure he has removed every encumbrance. So, he tells us that we should do the same with our minds in regard to the truth of God. He would tell us that due to the promised return of Christ we must get our minds ready for action. Then he begins to tell us the four things which we must concentrate upon if we would live effective, holy lives.

The first of these involves the coming of Jesus for the Church. If we fail to live in the awareness of His return, Peter would say that we are bound to fail in pleasing God with our Christian lives. We must set our minds on the coming of Jesus in order to set our feet on the path of His mission for our lives. How many times this week did the return of Christ affect your actions? Once? Three times? What is that you say, "Not at all."

The thought of the return of Christ should be altering our lives daily. Let me share some facts about the coming of Jesus for His Church, for all believers, and we will see clearly why this thought must occupy our thinking on a regular basis.

I. Think on the Return of Christ so You will not be Ignorant

One little boy was asked in school, "What is 3/4 divided 5/16?" The little fellow scratched his head and answered, "I don't rightly know, but it ain't enough to worry about." Some folks feel totally unconcerned about the return of Christ. This is dangerous and is a result of not realizing that Jesus is coming soon. This should make our minds keen and alert!

A. The Ignorance of a Wasted Life

It is sad to see Christians throwing their lives away on things in the world. I mean, they just do not give themselves to the work of God. They do not tithe. They do not pray. They do not witness. They do not live for Jesus. Do you know why? They are ignorant of something very important. They do not realize that Jesus is coming soon and all that will matter is what we have done for Him.

This ignorance leads to evil. Back during the 1800s a new idea began. It was the idea of evolution. Man actually believed that he would become more and more civilized until war, poverty, crime, hate, prejudice, etc., were eradicated simply by human effort. Then came WWI. When it ended leaders called it the war to end all wars. Actually, at that very moment a German corporeal was beginning his plot to become the greatest menace, the great killer, the greatest hate-monger, the world had ever known.

We have not gotten any better. We need only think of what was done on September 11, 2001, when fanatical terrorists killed thousands of innocent Americans. Or think of the man in Colorado this last week who killed ten people at a grocery store. The world is sick with a disease. It is called SIN. The only cure is Jesus. The only ultimate cure is the return of Jesus to this earth. If you live in ignorance of this you will believe the lies the devil tells you through the world.

B. The Ignorance of a Worried Life

So many people are worried about worldly things. We fret over things that do not matter and let souls slip out to meet God unsaved. Even Christians rant and rave if we get a scratch on our car, but never shed tears over the souls of our friends and relatives.

What if you and I lived each day with the awareness that Jesus is coming soon? It would affect our knowledge. We would "gird up the loins of our minds." We would not be fooled by the world's lies.

 If we let the thought of His return it will help us in another way.

II. Think on the Return of Christ so you will not be Impeded

A farmer went to town years ago and went into a department store. He saw pajamas for the first time. They were a beautiful red color and caught his attention. The storekeeper said they were the first he had ever had in his store. He asked the man if he wanted a pair. The man asked the storekeeper what pajamas were used for. The storekeeper said they are to wear at night. The old man said, "Naw, I don't want any. I don't go no whar at night but to bed." Friend, the child of God is to be dressed in spiritual pajamas. We are to be awake and working when our lord returns.

A. Not Impeded in our Progress

It is a sad thing to see someone who never makes progress. That is what Peter is dealing with here. He tells us that looking for Christ to come will cause us to grow in the knowledge of the Lord. He speaks here of us not "conforming" to the evil desires of our former life. looking to the coming of the Lord will help us to make progress rather than falling back to our old ways.

Alexander Maclaren calls this passage from Peter the text on the family likeness. Yes, we are to be more like Him and less like the world. Concentrating on His coming will help us to be more like Him.

B. Not Impeded in our Performance

F.B. Meyer asked D.L. Moody for the secret of his power with God. Moody said that he lived every minute in the awareness that Christ could come at that moment. Moody said he never preached a sermon without realizing that Jesus could come before that sermon ended. Living in the awareness of the coming of Christ would heighten any Christian's performance level. Some Christians never grow because their attention is fixed on this world alone. I know that we must not be so heavenly minded that we are of no earthly good, but looking for Jesus to come for us will actually make us capable of living for Him while we are waiting for Him.

III. Think on the Return of Christ so You will not be Intoxicated

So many people are drunk - not necessarily on some alcoholic spirit but rather they are intoxicated on the spirit of the world. Each age has its own spirit or wordy attitude. Our age is one of the most publicly vulgar generations in modern history. Some preachers have even begun to slip a curse word into their sermons. When asked why they respond that it helps the  relate to people who use that kind of language every day. When Peter wrote he told us not to be intoxicated with the age in which we live but to fix our eyes and minds on the return of Christ. What did he mean by that?

A. Not Intoxicated with the World's Values

The world places great value on pride and pleasure,  but the Christian is to be intoxicated with the Holy Spirit. We are told in Ephesians 5:8,"...And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit..." To be controlled by the Holy Spirit will guide us to God's values in this world. It is easy to get caught up in having, enjoying and doing all that the world does. God calls us to follow our Lord, and in that we will find true joy and meaning in life.

B. Not Intoxicated with the World's Victories

So many people are drunk on the applause of men. They want to win the favor of people. Yet, these same people do not stop to think that one day they are going to stand before Jesus. All that will matter at that moment is what we have done for Him. He is coming. He is coming soon. He is coming and He has His reward with Him.

We need to get off the drug of winning the world's popularity contest and start asking if what we are thinking, doing and saying is pleasing to the coming King of Kings. He is the One we are to please.

C. Not Intoxicated with the World's Vices

He is coming. Just as He came the first time, He is coming again.  It the next time He comes He will not be born and laid in a manger. He is coming as Lord!

Just as Jesus rose from the dead, He is coming and people will be shocked. The Bible tells us that He is coming as a thief. A thief never sends you a message that he is coming. A thief shows up unannounced. My dear friends, Jesus is coming soon and the only announcement of His coming is that which is found in His Word. Are you ready? How about you Christian, are you living as if he were coming today?

"Living He loved me,

Dying he saved me,

Buried He carried my sins far away,

Rising He justified, freely forever,

Someday He's coming,

O glorious day." (J. Wilbur Chapman)


Easter turns our hearts and heads to the past. It calls on us to remember that we serve a risen Savior. But, this Easter Sunday, let us turn our hearts and heads upward and forward. The One who rose is coming again. The One who overcame the grave will one day come to raise and gather all those who placed faith in Him to enter their heavenly, eternal home.