STRENGTHENED BY HOPE – Intro to Lesson 2 – June 28 – July 5

“When tragedy strikes, when life caves in, when your plans are dashed on the jagged rocks of reality, when you find yourself in a place you never wanted to be, that’s when you discover what you really believe.  As long as things are going good, you don’t really know what you believe.  It’s all theoretical.  You discover your theology at midnight.  Anyone can sing ‘Shout to the Lord’ when life is good, you’ve got money in the bank, your marriage is strong, your kids are doing well, you’re happy in your job, you love your church, and all is right with the world.”  (From a rather recent sermon by John Piper)  It is in these times of trouble that what you believe becomes clear, not only to you, but to those who are watching you, to those who are trying to figure out if the hope that you have in Jesus is really enough.

When Paul wrote to the new believers in Thessalonica, he knew that they were experiencing persecution and very serious problems.  He knew that there were many distractions which could easily lead them astray and take their focus away from trusting in Jesus and what he had promised to them.  He knew that one of the things that would give them strength and endurance to live a holy life was to remind them that they were dearly loved by God and that His grace was great enough to sustain them.  He knew that the hope that is found in knowing the Lord Jesus Christ as your own personal Savior would give them the strength to be filled with good words and good deeds. 

It seems wise to settle certain issues before the midnight hour, so that when that time comes, you are already convinced that God’s promises for today and for eternity are certain and sure.  He will do what He has promised to do and that hope will always be enough!

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