"A LIVELY HOPE"
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead"-1 Peter 1:3
Many years ago, a battle was fought, the greatest battle that has ever occurred since the world began. The captain of one army evaluated his enemy, a great opposing force. He looked at his own army and knew there was no chance for his army to win. It would be like sending little children to fight giants or matching swords and spears against a nuclear arsenal. So, one day, unknown to his own troops, he marched off to battle and faced the enemy alone. Though he was just one warrior, the enemy used every diabolical device in their arsenal. They knew the death of this great champion would mean certain victory for them. As expected, the warrior was killed. As his body was laid to rest the enemy smiled, considering the millions of captured souls that would become their dupes and slaves. But something unexpected happened. Just 3 days after the great warrior was placed in his grave…..he arose, walked about, spoke to his soldiers, comforted them, reassured them, and gave them the greatest treasure that can lie in the bosom of any soldier: hope, a vision of a great and certain victory with an anticipation of the full reward of it. That great warrior was Jesus Christ. As we write, He continues with His comforts, spreading the news of victory throughout his ranks. If you have read the last chapter of His book, you will find Him revealed as the enthroned King, victorious over His enemies, with all of His soldiers around him.
Paul blew the victory trumpet as he wrote: "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" Death's stinger has been spent. A bee whose stinger has been used may scare us, yet do us no harm. His poison has been used on another. He must fly away and die himself. Death's stinger has found it's place in one who rose from the grave, a conqueror over his venom. The grave has no victory for the Captain of our salvation nor for the least of His soldiers. Though they face the monster death, it has no hold upon the redeemed possession. It shall….it must, follow its commander home.
There have been many great commanders of conquest: Alexander the Great, Washington, Patton. Yet, none of their men could say of their leader what Paul said of Christ: "We are more than conquerors through him that loved us." How can one be more than a conqueror? First of all, Jesus has "loved us". He knows us personally. Thus He is cognizant of our needs. Secondly, none of His soldiers have been lost in battle. At the victory celebration we find them all present and accounted for as the book is opened and the roll is called. Finally, the most interesting part of being "More than a conqueror" is the fact that the victory was won entirely by the Captain. He trod the winepress alone.
"A lively hope" gave Peter the strength to go on. It is greatly needed by the soldiers of Christ's cross today as much as ever. Not only at the hour of death, but during the hours of life. Much opposition is around us and the knowledge of our resurrected captain encourages the weary and war worn soul that our battle has an expected end. When our focus is on our Captain, our hope remains lively.
Come and worship with us at Harmony Primitive Baptist Church. Singing begins at 10:30 each Sunday morning followed by preaching at 11:00. By His mercy and grace, Neil Phelan, Jr., Pastor.