- October 20, 2021
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Hebrews 10:23-24. What a Mess We are living in difficult and dark days. The world appears to be coming apart at the seams. The
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Hebrews 10:23-24.
What a Mess
We are living in difficult and dark days. The world appears to be coming apart at the seams. The news is filled with pandemic fears, division over mask and vaccine mandates, chaos in Afghanistan, mounting terror threats, awful memories of 9/11, increasing racial tension, over-the-top political hostility, surging inflation, natural disasters — some say it’s worse than ever.
It is messy out there, but is the world really worse off today than it’s ever been? The straight answer is no. Our planet is deeply scarred by thousands of years of pain and suffering. Evildoers and imposters have always followed the same path — they go from bad to worse. See II Timothy 3.
Man’s inhumanity to man knows no bounds. The sinful and fallen condition of the human soul provides a constant gravitational pull toward evil. Here is the simple truth: the world was a mess yesterday, it’s a mess today, and it’s going to be a mess tomorrow. Anyone who tells you anything different is selling something. Like it or not, life in this world is a wild ride on a bucking bronco — and it’s doing its best to destroy you.
Jesus warned us about the difficult nature of life on earth, especially for those who follow Him and serve in the mission. In Matthew 10, He said, “You will be hated by everyone because of me.” Paul said in II Timothy 3, “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” There are plenty of hucksters out there selling a soft form of Christianity that promises a life of wealth and health. It is an insidious lie designed to camouflage self-worship. Jesus already warned us it would be tough, and that’s why we need hope.
The Greek word for unswervingly is katecho. It means to hold fast, keep secure, keep firm possession of.
Jesus used katecho in Luke 8:15, “But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”
Paul used katecho in I Thessalonians 5:19-22, “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.
Hold on Tight to Hope
In a messy world, hope provides peace, contentment, purpose, and inspiration. Hope is what carries us through the dark nights and long, cold seasons — like the hope of sunshine and warm weather pulls us through every February in Pennsylvania. Hope raises us above the slop. Hope provides our feet with solid rock in a world of ever-shifting sand. Hope declares that something better is coming and that our best days are still ahead of us. This world is full of trouble, but for those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ, there is plenty to hold on to:
First, we hold on tight to the hope of reconciliation. Through Jesus Christ, God has bought us back from sin, death, and the grave, restoring us to His presence, to holiness, and to eternal life. Hallelujah! There is nothing greater than being reconciled with our loving Creator! This is where hope begins.
In II Corinthians 5:17-19, we read, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.”
If reconciliation with God is the only blessing we ever receive during this lifetime, it is enough to inspire our thanksgiving and worship both now and for all eternity. Hallelujah!
Second, we hold on tight to the hope of goodness. God’s transformative power is miraculous, changing the heart and mind of the fully yielded believer until we are able to know and accomplish the good works He has prepared in advance for us to do — and then actually overcome evil with good! See Romans 12:1-2 and 21 and Ephesians 2:10.
My friends, by God’s grace, you and I have grown — but we’re not perfect yet. With each passing day, we hold tight to the hope that God will continue to transform our hearts and minds until we act and think just like Jesus Christ. That is our hope of goodness!
Third, we hold on tight to the hope of redemption. God buys back all of our loss and pain, and failure. It’s hard to imagine, but God does it. All of our hurts and regrets and mistakes — all of it. His redemption is so complete that, like Joseph, we declare, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20.
My friend, the very thing that is tearing you down may actually be a launching pad God will someday use to bring healing or comfort or restoration to someone else. If you haven’t read the story of Joseph, I encourage you to do so. It is found in Genesis chapters 37-50.
Fourth, we hold tight to the hope of victory. In case you weren’t aware, the amazing story of God and humanity ends in glorious victory over sin, death, and the grave. Jesus said in John 16:33, “In this world, you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world.” I John 5:4 John writes, “For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.”
Believer, we know the end of the story. I often read portions of Revelation 21 and 22 at graveside committal services just to remind everyone that the grave is not the end of the story — it is merely the beginning! By God’s grace offered through Jesus Christ, we are victorious over death — forever. Hallelujah!
This world is truly a mess, but in Jesus Christ, we have great hope! Hold on tight!