It Is a Blessed Hope

Bible Book: Titus  2 : 11-14
Subject: The Rapture; Christ, Return of; Blessed Hope

It Is a Blessed Hope

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

Titus 2:11-14

People are hoping for all sorts of things in life, and you never know what they are until you ask. For example, I asked a waitress one day if I could pray for any concerns she had, since I was going to pray before I ate my meal. She said, “Yes, pray that I win the lottery.” Then she broke out in laughter. In a manner of speaking, she was pulling my leg. I said, "Okay, I pray you win the lottery if you will give a full tithe to my church if you win." She made no promises and I didn't pray for her to win the lottery either!

How wonderful it is that the child of God has a blessed hope, because we are looking for the promised return of our Lord. That is far better than any other hope that mankind can experience.

Look with me at Titus 2:11-14: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope-- the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.”

One must remember that the word "hope" in the Bible is in no way related to the word hope we use in today's language. People say, "I hope it doesn't rain," or, "I hope my team wins." The modern idea of hope is like wishing upon a star and is simply personal craving for a desired outcome. In the Bible the word "hope" means something promised by God but the time of provision is yet unknown. We have a "blessed hope" regarding the Lord's return, but we don't know the exact time the promised hope will be realized. His return is sure - it is a divine promise - but His return will come like a thief in the night.

The Blessed Hope is the Christian’s joyful, confident, expectation of the imminent, personal return of Jesus Christ. It a subject which dominates the Bible, Old and New Testaments. There are more Old Testament prophecies concerning His second coming than there are prophecies regarding His first coming. In the New Testament the return of Christ is mentioned 318 times in only twenty-seven books. It averages out to one mention of his return for every 25 verses in the New Testament. We can state without equivocation that God wanted this subject to be in the forefront of the Gospel message. Why? He wanted it there because the return of Christ is indeed a blessed hope.

What does it mean when we say that the return of Christ is a blessed hope? The word “blessed” means “advantageous” or “beneficial.” The faithful waiting and watching for His return is “blessed,” that is, it is “beneficial” for us. It is good for us and God gave us this promise as a means of helping us in this life where we are right now.

The promise of Christ’s return for His Church is not given to make us so heavenly-minded that we are of no earthly good, but rather to assist us in living right where we are in this present age with joy, confidence and expectation. Today I want us to see how the joyful, confident looking for His return is “blessed,” “beneficial,” and “advantageous” for the child of God.

I. The Blessed Hope is Beneficial because it points to the Subject of Grace

A. The Unprejudiced Nature of Grace

How wonderful grace really is! Grace is the self-originating love of God, which needs no motivation outside itself, but is a love that washes over all who receive it with blessings from the Lord.

We can see God’s goodness and grace in nature. Just think of the sun shining in the heavens. It does not just shine on a large farm growing thousands of acres of corn or wheat, but also beams it rays down on your little garden growing vegetables for your table. The sun works its wonders on the little plot of ground where you have a few tomato plants or a watermelon patch. Sure, you have to plant something for God’s sunbeams to make it grow, but the seeds also come from God. It is given to us through the unmerited grace of God. There is no prejudice in God’s sunshine. It is true of God’s love that He offers it to us through His Son, not because we deserve it because He wills to do so.

B. The Unselfish Nature of Grace

Paul reminds Titus and us that Jesus “gave Himself.” The world is full of selfishness, and even we have to admit that we act in selfish ways on a regular basis. Yet, God revealed His grace to us in such an unselfish way. He gave us His Son for our redemption.

Jesus gave His all that we might have it all!

Jesus died that we might live forever.

Jesus became sin that we might not have any sin.

Jesus took our judgment upon Himself that we might not face eternal judgment and separation from the Father forever.

Jesus bore the guilt that we might be guiltless.

How unselfish is the grace of God! So unselfish that no one can measure it its width, depth, or height. No wonder Newton wrote, “Amazing Grace,” for it is indeed, amazing!

C. The Unlimited Nature of Grace

Our text says that God’s grace was to “unto all men.”

No matter how deeply you have sunk into sin, or how many times you have cursed God, if you turn to Him in repentance and faith, His grace will work its wonders in your life. So many people have given testimony to how unlimited God’s grace has been to them.

Someone has said that no metal is so hard that it will not melt if heated to the right temperature and that no heart is so hard that it will not melt if it gets near enough to Jesus. Those not experiencing His grace are running hard and fast to get away from the heat of His love, for if you get close enough to His grace, your heart will melt.

It is not just the hardened sinner who runs from God, but also the “good” person who puts out of his or her mind that fact that we must all face the Lord one day. People do everything possible to put out of their minds the truth that there is a day set in God’s history when we will be called upon to give an account for our lives. We will appear before the Lord, and only His grace can spare a soul at that moment!

I think the story of Diane Downs is one of the darkest crimes in history. She took her children for a ride on a dark Oregon highway some years ago. She pulled out a 22 caliber pistol out and shot all three of them in the car. After a long investigation, she was arrested and tried for that horrible crime. In the courtroom they brought evidence against her, but then there came a tense moment in the courtroom. Into the court came a little child named Christie, who was one of the children Diane shot that fateful night. Christie amazingly survived the gunshot from her mother’s gun. The little child was asked, “Who shot your sister sitting in the front seat.” Christie answered, “My mom.” Then she was asked, “Who shot your brother sitting in the back seat?” She answered, “My mom.” Then came the crucial question. “Christie, who shot you?” The little girl dropped her face in her hands. She wept. The entire courtroom wept. Finally, she answered, “My mom.” Surely that was the last question the prosecutor would ask her, but no there was one more question. “Christie, do you still love your mom?” Christie answered, “Yes.”

How could Christie still love her mom after what her mother had done to her and her siblings? It was a part of her nature as the daughter to still love her mother. Her mother did not deserve her love, but Christie loved her anyway. Oh friend, think about it, you and I through our sins crucified Jesus, but He looks at us and says, “I still love you.” That is the grace of God! How amazing, indeed!

II. The Blessed Hope is Beneficial because it points to Service through Godly Living

A. Restraint - Character - Inward

Self-control means to live a sober life in an upright manner. Paul wrote on one occasion that he sought to keep his body under control and that he sought to take every thought captive. Paul lived in the light of the return of Christ and was always looking for the Blessed Hope – the return of Jesus Christ. This aided him in living his life in restraint from the world’s influences, helped his maintain his Christian character and gave him inward boldness and peace.

1 Peter 4:7 shows us how thinking of the end times can cause us to be self-controlled and spiritually minded. Also, we note in Colossians 3:1-4 this same principle. Looking for the Blessed Hope helps to keep our minds and hearts fixed upon the Lord and His will.

B. Righteousness - Conduct - Outward

Also, thinking upon the Blessed Hope urges us to maintain a proper, godly conduct in our everyday activities in this world. “Let others see Jesus in you,” becomes our theme when we are looking upward for His return.

Someone has said that it is easy to be saints abroad but demons at home. How true, and how sad! What we practice can speak more loudly than what we profess. We must keep our eyes on the skies if we expect to stay in His ways all of our days.

C. Reverence - Control - Upward

We can become more godlike in our aims, goals, decisions, kindnesses, sympathies and all other issues of life by concentrating on His return. Thinking upon the return of Christ is not meant to make us sit down and watch for Him, but is meant to prompt us to good works so that we might please Him and honor Him in this world. It motivates us to know that our labor is never in vain in the Lord.

A farmer went to town and saw for the first time in his life a pair of red pajamas. The clerk saw him looking at them and said, “You need those pajamas.” The farmer asked, “What do I need them fer? What do you do with 'em?” The clerk said, “They are to wear at night.” The farmer replied, “I don’t need nothing to wear at night, I don’t go nowhere at night except’n to bed.”

Friends, we are to be dressed and ready for duty, because we are not people of the night but people of the day. We are looking for the coming of Christ.

III. The Blessed Hope is Beneficial because it points to the Savior from Glory

A. A Sparkling Appearance

Jesus shall come in brilliant glory and light. He is coming for His bride and He will be adorned in splendor. We, too, must be dressed in white, a pure bride for our Bridegroom!

B. A Sovereign Appearance

He is the King of glory, and when He comes back it will not be as it was at His first appearing. The first time He came, He was laid in a manger. When He returns, He will be riding a white stallion. The first time He came, He came to die on a Cross. The second time He comes, He will come to occupy a throne. He wore a crown of thorns the first time He came, but He will wear the diadem of glory when He comes again. He is coming as the Sovereign Lord!

C. A Saving Appearance

It has been said that, “They build too low, who build beneath the stars!” Jesus is coming to save us from the present, evil world and He promised to build a place for us in heaven (John 14:1-6). Those who are saved have the promise of being at home with Him.

“God has a home in glory land that outshines the sun,

Look away beyond the blue!”

The Lord is building mansions on prime property that was purchased at the cost of His blood. What a day it will be when we see our Savior face to face.

Conclusion

You must be ready for His return and you can be! He stands at the door of your heart and knocks today. He will build a place just for you, if you turn from sin and trust Him today. Do you have a reservation for a mansion in heaven? Today is a good day to look away beyond the blue!

Surprisingly, when you have a home in heaven, you are motivated to live right down here, to remember the grace that saved you, to witness to your friends and neighbors. When you have a home on the other side, it makes things so much better in the home on this side. It is a blessed hope!

A woman baked some fresh chocolate-chipped cookies. She gave each of her two children one and told them not to try to reach the others. She put the remainder in a cookie jar atop the refrigerator. Soon it got awfully quit so she tiptoed into the kitchen to see what was happening. There they were, on a chair sliding the cookie jar ever closer so they could get some more.

The Lord has given us a taste of glory. He has placed His Spirit in us who are saved. We should be reaching up for more, even though we cannot have it all till He comes. Let us live our lives on tiptoe for Jesus.

“One little hour of watching with the Master,

Eternal years to walk with Him in white;

One little hour to bravely meet disaster,

Eternal years to reign with Him in light.

One little hour for weary toils and trials,

Eternal years for calm and peaceful rest;

One little hour for patient self-denials,

Eternal years of life where life is best." (Lyrics by Jessie Brown Pounds)