Welcome to Becomning Closer! 

Communion (1995 Series)

A Good Hope

Scheduled for July 20

If, as has happened to me, you have been summonsed for jury duty, you may have the privilege of serving on a trial jury.  At the beginning of this proceeding, the judge (or some videotape) will explain the difference between evidence and proof.  Proof is conclusive;  no doubt remains.  Evidence is something which points to a conclusion but which, in itself, is not proof.

Now, most of us find it absolutely necessary to pass through our daily lives working on evidence.  We cannot prove the job will be there tomorrow -- but we have good evidence, and so we continue working in the hope of a paycheck.  The Christian faith works the same way.  It is based on evidence, which is what you would expect of the truth.  It is not based on proof.  If it were, there could be no doubt;  if doubt were not possible, faith would be unnecessary.  And without faith it is impossible to please God.

 

In our daily Christian walk, then, we turn the evidence of Christ (which is very solid) into the working, day to day principle that we call hope.  That trusting in the evidence, and the Lord it presents, is faith.  Hope is based on faith, and hope then becomes the working principle of our lives -- or should so become. 

Confused?  Let me give you a walking example.  I have faith that my wife is faithful to me.  There’s a lot of evidence for that (starting with the fact she’s put up with me for so long).  But there is no way I could prove that she’s faithful;  indeed, even to make the attempt would so wound her that it would damage our relationship.  So I take the evidence I have, turn it into practical hope, and go through life blithely assuming her fidelity.  Hope becomes the ground work for action.

 

Our hope is in the Resurrection.  At the Lord’s Supper, we celebrate the sacrifice our Lord made at Calvary.  Among many other meanings is this:  our Lord was human, just as we are.  He too had to have faith in His Father, for He, like us, faced the grave.  Facing it, He suffered and died -- and was raised from the dead by the power of the Spirit.  It is the central fact of Christianity, and of history:  Jesus rose.

 

His Resurrection is our evidence.  From that evidence we should draw the conclusion stated so long ago in the New Testament:

 (1 Th 4:14 NIV)  We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.

But do we?  Do we believe the resurrection of the dead, or is it a comforting fairy tale for preachers to use at funeral services?  After all, he’s been gone a long time.

 

Every time I take Communion, I proclaim the Lord’s death -- until He comes.  To take Communion is to state your hope in the resurrection.  To state it means you will act on it.  Are you stating it on Sunday, and denying it in the hospital corridors on Monday?  Examine yourself well;  you do not know when He returns.

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