Easter Means Hope

Date Preached: April 17, 2020
From the Series: Easter 2020
Topics: easter, hope
Scripture: 1 Peter 1:3-5
Speakers: Gary Combs, Jonathan Combs

Summary

What is hope? For many of us, hope is made of flimsy, fragile stuff. Kind of like a thread. For many, their hopes are like wishes, and their hopes are often broken. Their “thread” of hope is easily broken.

But when the Bible speaks of hope, it speaks of much stronger stuff! For biblical hope is more like a rope! It’s a living hope anchored in Christ’s resurrection and extending through our present and into Christ’s future return.

Transcript

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Good morning. Welcome to Church online this morning and Happy Easter! Wow, it’s been a great service so far. It was so good seeing those videos, pastor Jonathan, of the different family saying, “He is risen. He has risen indeed!” And then, to see our children with the “Prove it” verse. I’m still a little confused about our children’s pastors offering, but I think he finally landed the plane, don’t you? We’re just so happy to be with you here this morning; Happy Easter! We have people watching from all over the United States and the world.

As I was sitting here a minute ago, Jonathan, I had our friend, Alex from Uganda, asking me about our link again. I was texting him just before I came up; it’s 6pm in Kisoro, Uganda right now. He wanted to make sure he could join us. We have friends all over the world right now watching. We love you. We love our friends, but we’re here for Jesus. This Sunday, we’re remembering what He’s done.

Today is a little different, though, as I look out at the seats here, Jonathan. I see our band, appropriately socially distanced from each other, seated here. But most of the seats are empty, so we have to imagine our people at home. It’s probably the same for you today. Our usual Easter traditions have been broken today. I’m still dressed up a little bit here today, but maybe you’re at home. Usually that’s part of Easter; we dress up in our Easter clothes. Maybe we would go visit Grandma, but I don’t think we’ll be doing that this year because that would be dangerous for her. Maybe have all of the family over to our house. That’s what we usually do at my house, Jonathan, is we have you and your family over and Stephen and Erin and their kids over. We have an egg hunt in the front yard. I don’t think we’ll be doing that today, and I don’t think your mother, I mean, I’m bothered by it, but I don’t think your mother is ever gonna get over this. Maybe a lot of you are feeling that way today. Our traditions about Easter are not the same this year, but may I say to you, perhaps that’s not what Easter means anyway. What Easter really means is hope. That’s what Easter means; it means hope. Especially during a crisis. Easter means hope.

Sometimes, when we see that word hope, it means more like a wish. It’s kind of like a thread. As you can see, I’ve got a spool of thread here. We kind of throw our hope around and we say stuff like this. I hope it doesn’t rain. I wish it wouldn’t rain; maybe we’re planning to play catch this afternoon. A father has promised his son, “Hey, once I finish work, we’ll play catch,” and so a little boy is waiting patiently with his ball glove. He’s saying, “I hope Daddy keeps his promise; I hope he plays with me like he promised.” Maybe there’s a young wife whose husband seems distant; maybe he’s been laid off work. She says, “I hope (and she pulls that thread of hope out) he still loves me because he’s not talking to me.” Maybe there’s a middle-aged husband right now that just this week has been sitting with his wife at her bedside waiting for the results on a test. He’s saying, “I hope it isn’t cancer.” There’s an elderly grandmother right now in a retirement center. She hasn’t seen her family for weeks because of the Covid19 pandemic. She sees them drive by and peck on the window. She says, “I hope the day comes when I can see my children again.” People are casting their hopes around like thin threads. But when hopes are just like wishes, (take the end of that thread Jonathan, then hang on tight)whenever the time comes for the promise to be kept, they are just like wishes. They usually don’t come true. They just break like this flimsy thread. (thread breaks)

When you look it up in the dictionary, the word, hope, is defined like this. It has three features. The first is the desire that we have of hope, the feeling that we have. It’s a desire, accompanied by an expectation or belief that something favorable is going to happen. So it’s a desire, but here is the thing; there’s the person that you’re depending on or the thing you’re depending on to make that desire come true . Like the little boy, he’s counting on his daddy to keep his promise. And then there’s that which is the object of her hope, using the little boy again that he will get to play ball with his daddy. And so, there’s the desire of hope. There’s the person or thing you’re counting on to make it happen. And then there’s the object of your hope. If any one of those is weak, it breaks like a thread.

What happens when we have the kind of hope that the Bible speaks of; the kind of hope that’s based on Jesus? It’s not just up to the strength of our desire, but it’s up to the strength of the One who can keep His promise and the One who has proven Himself faithful instead of it being hope, like a thread.

Jonathan, would you go and pull the rope across the stage? True hope, Christian hope, biblical hope is more like a rope. So hang on to it there , Jonathan, hang on to the rope and I’m going to pull it across the stage. Biblical hope, Christian hope is more like a rope. See if you can break that. Jonathan, kind of pull it like this. Can you break it now? There’s no way you and I are breaking this rope; it’s too strong. This hope is like a rope. It’s anchored on the fact of the resurrection. It passes through the present where we are and gives us this firm hope that we can take hold off and the promises that Christ who is at the right hand of the father. So this rope then goes past the veil to the right hand of the father and it’s anchored on both ends. This is Biblical hope; Biblical hope is more like a rope .

In the apostle Peter’s first letter, we see this new birth that’s promised to us; this Biblical hope that’s promised to us. This is a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I believe today that we can have this living hope, this hope that has the strength of the promise of Jesus Christ. Let me read the text now, Jonathan. The text is in 1 Peter, if you have your Bibles at home.

1 Peter 1:3-5 (ESV) 3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” This is God’s word.

Pastor Jonathan, why don’t you explain the first step? We’re looking at these three verses and we see three steps on how to have this living hope in Jesus.

How can we have this strong and living hope? That’s what we’re trying to discover this morning as we dig into the text. The first step is:

1. Anchor your hope in Christ’s resurrection. I’m going to deal, for just a moment, with verse three. If you’ll notice what it says there in verse three, it says, “…born again to a living hope through the resurrection.” Do you see those two words; they’re the words “hope” and “resurrection.” If you haven’t put the two together yet, that’s what Christianity is truly all about; it is hope in the resurrection.

You just heard pastor Gary speaking of this defined hope; that kind of helps us, actually, because one aspect you talked about was this idea that it’s centered or based on someone or something. In this case, Christ is the someone, and resurrection is the something. It is not just based on my desire or the strength of my hope, but it’s based on the power of the One who’s made the promise. Again, like an anchor, not so much based on the strength of the ship, but rather the anchor itself. This is where we anchor our hope; it’s in this historical fact of the resurrection.

Now, if you haven’t been under a rock, you’re probably aware that there’s a dispute over whether or not the resurrection is something we can consider factual. You could go to many places; I don’t certainly have time to deal with everything today because it would take perhaps all day or all week, but there have been many who have arrived at this fact of the resurrection without having to leave their brains behind. Without having to leave their minds behind. In fact, we can find that faith is often rooted in facts.

You may have not heard of this person,but some of you have; his name is Sir Lionel Luckhoo, who is often considered the most successful lawyer of all time. He was twice knighted by Queen Elizabeth and is a distinguished diplomat on justice for that country’s highest court. He concluded, as he dug into the resurrection evidence, he concluded this, “I say unequivocally that the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ is so overwhelming that it compels acceptance by proof which leaves absolutely no room for doubt.” When he put his detective, his law mind to it, he discovered that it is a fact, without any doubt. This kind of conversation is the kind that really appeals to you and I doesn’t, right?

Some people are very moved by the emotional content of an argument, and, you know, I’m moved by that as well, but I’ve always been someone who loves science. I love facts and it means a lot to me that the empty tomb is one of the most well documented, proven fact in all of human history. That Jesus rose from the grave is a central fact of Christianity that we all must deal with. You don’t have to commit intellectual suicide. In fact, Christianity engages the heart and the mind. I love reading about this great attorney who sees the evidence of the empty tomb.

Well, since you love it so much, let me give you a couple of others. Come on, bring it on. I love this stuff.

There was a Yale law school graduate, former journalist for the Chicago Tribune. I’m saying he is still alive. His name is Lee Strobel. He wrote a book called, “The Case for Easter.” He was dealing with this. His wife came to Jesus and converted to Christianity, and he made it his objective to prove her wrong and to help her see what he believed was the truth. He began investigating, looking into the resurrection specifically, and as a result of this investigation, a crazy thing happened. He actually came to Christ, as well. The evidence compelled him. He once wrote, “I didn’t become a Christian because God promised I would have an even happier life than I had as an atheist. He never promised any such thing. Indeed, following him would inevitably bring divine demotions in the eyes of the world. Rather, I became a Christian because the evidence was so compelling that Jesus really is the one- and-only Son of God who proved his divinity by rising from the dead. That meant following him was the most rational and logical step I could possibly take.” I really appreciate his thoughts on the resurrection. That’s not all for me. The Bible speaks to itself. It’s evidence in and of itself.

Had we lived in the first century, we could have been compelled , as Paul was compelled. The apostle Paul anchors his testimony in the eyewitness accounts of hundreds of people, including his own. It was an undeniable fact for him that the resurrection was true. It was authentic, and it moved him to a life for the gospel that really is unexplainable without the truth of the resurrection. He said in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 (ESV) 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. The apostle Paul anchors his hope in the resurrection. For him, he didn’t have to check out anything to do it. His heart was in it, but also his brain, his mind was fully engaged in this. In fact, Jonathan, wouldn’t you agree that the apostle Paul was one of the greatest minds of the first century? He was an intellectual giant. He was completely convinced, to the point that he changes the whole direction of his life, because he has encountered the risen Lord Jesus.

A couple of years ago, I was at a church meeting where I actually got to hear Lee Strobel, the the reporter you talked about, and he gave his testimony that he was so aggravated at his wife because she became a Christian, that he decided to apply his journalistic expertise tp destroying her faith because this was not the woman he married. He said he would sit in the back of her church, week after week, taking notes. After a year, he became convinced, because of the way she had changed and the people he was meeting in that church, that Jesus is alive. And so, instead of trying to convert her to changing her mind, his mind was changed.

I’m so moved by these stories, aren’t you? I am. So, what you’re speaking of, is not only is there evidence that can move and stir the mind, there’s evidence that stirs the heart, which you were speaking of. There is much about experiencing and seeing life change. That’s what we see in the apostle Paul.

I think one of the greatest pieces of evidence he mentions is James, the brother of Jesus. If you can believe that your brother is the son of God, then surely He must be, right? You can believe that your big brother actually is the son of God. You’ve been convinced by the facts. James sees the resurrection and is convinced.

In order to have this kind of strong and living hope, we have to anchor it in something bigger than that thread, something bigger than that thin string. I’m going to use this rope again for just a moment. We can do a lot of things with this rope. We can put this rope around ourselves. This is what many of us do. This is what I’ve done many times. And the problem with this; let me just tug on that there for a second. If we do this, we can be stirred in all different directions. We put our hopes in our bank accounts, in our families and our relationships. We say, you know, I’m gonna be okay. I got this. I can handle this. Unfortunately, we are stirred all over the place, as Paul writes, “so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.”

We don’t have the strength or the power to control this. We can’t even see what’s gonna happen in the next few minutes, much less tomorrow. And so we put our hope in something that’s not gonna hold and so we can do this with a lot of different things. We can anchor it in the government. We can anchor it in a lot of places. What I suggest this morning is that there’s only one place to anchor it, where we can truly experience what the anchor is really intended to do, where we aren’t moved.

Just picture, for a moment, a ship. A ship cannot be stirred when it is anchored solidly to the earth. So, we anchor it to the cross. We anchor it to the resurrection. This is where we put our living hope today because He’s forgiven us. Our hope is anchored on both ends, anchored beyond the veil, from the cross and the resurrection, the empty cross. The empty cross’ white cloth is symbolic of the linen that was folded in the empty tomb. We have here the representation of the empty tomb; those are His grave clothes and the empty cross because He has risen again. It’s a fact; it really happened. It split history in two. It’s the year 2020; 2020 years since that happened. It’s a historical fact. It’s true. It happened. But not only that, we know Him, don’t we? We know Him. And so, when storms come, here we are.

This is the second step to have this strong and living hope:

2. Rest your hope on Christ’s reliability.

Look at verses four and five; look at your bibles again. We’re asking you to write in your bibles. Did you know you could do that? You can write in your Bible. In verse four, circle the word, “kept.” I want you to circle the word, “kept,” in verse four and then in verse five, circle the word, “power.” I want to talk about that for a second.

First of all, in verse four, it says, “to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.” That word, “kept,” could be translated, guarded. As if it’s in a safe, under lock and key. It’s kept in heaven for you. If you’re a believer, everything that belongs to Christ is yours. “We’re co-inheritors with Christ,” the apostle Paul says .

In this season, I would advise you, don’t look at your 401 K right now. Don’t even look at it. Don’t sell anything because it’s the wrong season to do that. Now don’t take advice from your pastor on finances, necessarily, but I am saying, don’t look at that right now. Look to the Lord instead of looking at your 401 k, your bank account, your job, the situation or watching the news 24/7. Get this in your mind right now; all of that is out of your control and the more you try to control it, the more anxiety and fear will come your way. It controls you now instead of you controlling it. You can’t control what’s going to happen tomorrow, much less in the next moment.

Here’s what Jesus promises. Here’s what the apostle Peter teaches us from Jesus; that our heavenly retirement, our heavenly bank account is guarded. Look at this; it says that it’s imperishable, undefiled and unfading. You can’t lose it; it’s kept for you. There’s no event in history on planet Earth that can unanchor that fact, that promise, that living hope that we have. It’s kept for you; our inheritance is kept.

I was reading on marketwatch.com it is reported that the Dow is on pace for its worst month since the Great Depression. Wow. The decline for the Dow Jones industrial average has been simply gut wrenching. This article reports for the average investor. But listen, you I understand there are practicalities for us to live today, but these things are out of our control. The one thing you can take hold of is you can take hold of hope and know that it’s guarded in heaven for you.

I want you to hear this promise that we have today, it says in Philippians 4:19 (ESV) “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Here’s the promise; your future is kept for you according to his riches.

Now listen, my wife and I, (your mama and I,) have been thanking the Lord every night that we have a house, that we have food, that the people of this church are faithfully giving, so that so that we’re able to put food on the table. I’m telling you, church, I can’t believe your faithfulness right now that even though you’re going through this season, you’ve been so faithful. We thank you so much. I’m so blessed. We’re so blessed. I go through praying for my kids; my wife and I pray through every name of every grand kid. We’ve got a bunch of them (grandchildren), right? You (Jonathan) had most of them. You’ve (Jonathan) got four of those “crumb snatchers” over there at your house. When we look at the promise in the present, He will take care of us.

Then we have this word, “power.” You know, I told you to circle, “kept,” and then I told you to circle the word, “power.” This word, “power,” is the Greek word, δύναμις. It’s where we get the words, dynamo, dynamic or dynamite. It means explosive resurrection power; “raising you from the dead” kind of power.

When we read this in verse five, it says, “who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” Who’s it talking about here? That’s those who are in Christ. He’s guarding our inheritance but He’s also guarding His children; those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. He’s guarding you. And so, even when you have doubts, even when you wonder, where are you, God? He won’t let go of you.

Now, pastor Jonathan, I would never diminish you in front of a virtual audience like this. Publicly, maybe, but not virtual. Okay, I gotta think about you for just a second; there was a time when you were a child. You are my middle child. He was a runner, folks. He’s still a pretty good runner. He was a runner. You know how you have a child that’s a runner. You get them out of the car seat and the first time that you put them down on the ground, they’re walking. You put them down and they stand there and they reach out their hand to hold your hand. Not this guy (Jonathan). The minute you put him down, he was gone. So what I learned with you (because you gotta learn for your kids, Jonathan) is to grab whatever I could grab. Just grab your ear, your hair, your sleeve . Whatever. You were like a cartoon character running in place when I would hang on to you. If I’m a good father, I’m going to guard you because you’re my son. I’m not going to let up even though you’re childish. You’re going to try to run off and get hit by a car. If I’m a good father, I’m not gonna let you go, right?

Our heavenly Father is a much better father than I am. He won’t let you go, friends. That’s what it says; by God’s power. He is guarding your salvation and so we have this hope.

This is what Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6:19-21 (ESV) 19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Here’s what Jesus says. You put your value in things on this earth and it always loses that “new car smell.” It’s always going to leave you dissatisfied. It’s always going to run down. But if you place your hope in that which God has promised us, through Jesus Christ, it will never disappoint.

Let’s take a look at this rope again; be careful when you step over here. Here we are now; it’s anchored on both ends. We believe in the resurrection. We believe that our inheritance in heaven is anchored in hope. When Covid19 comes, this storm comes; these things are real, they affect us. When the storms of life and storms of difficulty come, we sway, perhaps, as the boat in the storm sways. But we don’t get cast overboard because our Biblical hope, resurrection hope, it’s like a rope. Amen. Amen.

So this third step, you can kind of see the progression of us coming here, we’ve talked about anchoring it to the resurrection, to His reliability. Thirdly, we see this focus:

3. Focus your hope on Christ’s return.

As we read a moment ago in verse five, there is this idea of God’s power guarding us. It’s keeping us. It’s sheltering us through this faith, but there’s a sense of the future here. That’s interesting. I’m fascinated by just this little bit of text; we’ve got past, present and future all in this bite of Scripture. It says that in verse five it will be revealed in the last time. This anchor is not only something in the past that we can choose to believe but the facts speak to the heart and are stirred by it. We can put that there we can we can hang on presently and be strengthened by this hope. Often, when we use the word hope, it is really what we intend by the word hope, and it is something that has not yet passed. Often, when I say hope, I’m thinking of something in the future, something that I haven’t yet seen. And so how can we have a living hope and something in the future?

That’s what the apostle Peter is talking about here. In fact, I might argue that he’s, in just these few verses, talking about the concepts of justification, sanctification and glorification. Here is this idea that we have been justified by the cross and the resurrection. Our anchor is there; we are also being sanctified. He’s keeping us; our bodies, oue inheritance is imperishable and undefiled. This is sanctification. He’s keeping us not just for Himself, but he’s also making us more like Jesus in this process. So sanctification and then glorification. This is this revelation. In the last time, this hasn’t happened yet. Friends, this is something that is to come.

When we talk about this idea of hope, we can have hope in something that’s coming. And it’s this hope then, which is anchored in the fact of the resurrection, which we affirm by faith. We weren’t there. I wasn’t at Ford’s Theatre when Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, but I believe the history because there were eyewitness accounts. And so, I believe this history because of their eyewitness accounts.

Not only do I believe the fact of it, but I believe it in the present because of the way my life has changed because I have experienced the living Jesus in my life. I have observed that change in you because you grew up at my house and I saw the change in you when you were a young boy and received Jesus as your Lord and Savior. And so, we have it in the present. We can take hold of those with a real assurance and a real hope.

Now, this future one we are taking hold of because we already have our hands on the other two. Don’t you think that really strengthens our determination of hope, that we know, just as surely as He came the first time that He lives in us now through the Holy Spirit? He’s coming again. That’s right. This Jesus said He would be crucified. He did that; He accomplished that. He also said He would rise again on the third day, right? And He accomplished that. This same Jesus also tells us why. He tells us why He came to die for us, for our sin, for our shame, for our eternal life, so we would have eternal life through the resurrection. He has told us this, and so now He’s done it. It was accomplished nearly 2000 years ago. He’s accomplished this.

He’s also said something else; I hope you’re following my stream of consciousness here for just a moment. If you can believe, based on the facts, based on the evidence of a changed life, based on what Christ is doing, if you can believe that He has died and He has raised, then perhaps you can believe everything he said. Perhaps you can believe all of his teachings.

John 14:3 (ESV) “ I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” And so, if He said, I’m going to the cross, I’m going to be raised in three days, I’m doing this for your sin and for your salvation. God loved us so much that He sent His Son so that we would have eternal life. If this is true, then I choose to believe. Everything He said was true. Therefore, He is preparing a place; He has been preparing, at least for us, a long time. He’s not come again yet, which means he’s been preparing for a while. It took Him seven days to make the Earth. I don’t know what He’s doing for 2000. It’s gonna be incredible, I suppose. And so, when He says, I’m coming again and I’m taking you with me, I can hardly believe this!

I love what pastor, Tim Keller, said. He said, “If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that he said; if he didn’t rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said? The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like his teaching but whether or not he rose from the dead.” If he did that, then everything He said is true. He had the power to stand up in the tomb and He has the power to fulfill what He has said to us. Since He died on that cruel cross and He did rise from the grave, His word is truth.

Dear friends, this word to you today, is that we can be saved by belief in Jesus as Lord. That’s what Romans, chapter 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Jesus fulfilled that. We can believe that. That means, dear friends, that we don’t have to put our hope in ourselves or in something else. We can put our hope in something that’s beyond the veil; we can stake our claim in our trust in Him.

Some might argue that just because we can’t see it, it doesn’t make it any less real to us. If I can start you, for just a moment, to think about this concept; we believe all of the time in things that are unseen. This event has not yet occured that Christ has come again. We cannot see that He’s preparing a place for us. We couldn’t see Him 2000 years ago either. We can’t see that which we put our faith in but would argue, and perhaps we always do this; we put our faith in unseen things. We put our faith in this crazy word we call love; at times, which, if we’re honest, can be hard to explain. It is certainly an unseen emotion.

Even now, the world is shaken. The world is upside down by something that is truly unseen. We see the evidence of this unseen thing that people are ill, that the world is in catastrophe. But it’s an unseen thing; we might argue that we see the evidence of this great hope as well. Although it’s unseen, creation waits with an eager expectation; in groanings deeper than words. We can believe that Christ is coming again.

I hope you can get this today and that this hope can be anchored in a truth, in a fact that will change your life, not just something that’s in your head but moves from your head to your heart. That will change everything about who you are. It’s reliable; it can’t be broken and there’s something beyond what we cannot see, but we can trust, as we tug on this rope. He’s gone to prepare a place for us; it passes beyond the veil to the right hand of the throne of God, to where Jesus is seated until that day when He returns. That’s just as sure to us, as this fact is that He’s with us today. So I was thinking about this old hymn earlier this week, when we were studying. This is what happens to us when we’re studying; I’ll often start singing and then I have to look it up because I can’t remember the words.

It’s this hymn; “My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less,” published in 1837 by Edward Mote. It illustrates this strong and living hope that we’re talking about. Let’s sing a couple verses of it:

My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less 1. My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ Name. On Christ, the solid rock, I stand. All other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand. 2. When darkness seems to hide his face, I rest on his unchanging grace. Dressed in his righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne. On Christ, the solid rock, I stand. All other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand. Amen. This hope that we’re talking about today is a sure thing. It’s hope, like a rope. The Book of Romans does say, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” In a moment. I’m going to pray, and I’m going to ask you to pray with me so that you would know this hope that is stronger than our hope today. So that you would recognize I’m not in control and I surrender my attempts to be controlled to the One who is able to save and to keep us. You know, He has resurrected from the dead. He’s been raised. He’s reliable in the present, and He’s returning again someday. That’s right. Let’s pray. Lord Jesus. Thank you. Thank you for defeating sin, death and the grave. Lord, I know that you’re touching hearts throughout America, and even the world, right now. I pray for that person that is sitting in a living room or in a car, maybe they’re sitting out on the porch and they’re watching on their phone or their watching on their big screen TV. Maybe they’re still in their bedroom. Wherever they are right now, Lord, I know You’re speaking. And so I pray for you, my friend, if you’re here right now, I pray that you would bow your head and you would say, I want to release control to Jesus. I believe He defeated sin, death and the grave and that He’s alive today. Would you pray with me right now? Dear Lord Jesus, I’m a sinner. I cannot control my life. I surrender my life to You. I believe You died on the cross for me, that You were raised again on the third day, that You live today and that You’re coming again. I believe that. And now I receive You as my Lord and Savior. Come into my life and make me the person You want me to be. I want You as my Lord and Savior in Jesus’ name. Amen.