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Easter Hope

Sunday Morning Bible Study

April 1, 2018


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it address the person who is: Empty, lonely, guilty, or afraid to die?  Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved? Regular:  2900 words    Communion: 2500 words  Video=75wpm

What does it feel like to be hopeless?

In 1970, two days into the Apollo 13 mission, the astronauts were on their way to the moon and doing routine maintenance procedures when…

 Video:  Apollo 13 (1995) Houston, We have a problem
For the next four days, the whole world wondered if the three astronauts on board would make it back alive.

In 1940, the German forces had been sweeping across Europe, pinning the entire British army on the coast of France.  330,000 troops were facing slaughter at the hands of the Germans as they waited unprotected on the beaches awaiting evacuation.

Video:  Dunkirk Battle Scene Compilation
If help didn’t arrive, the British army would be gone, and Europe would be lost.

Maybe your life isn’t as dramatic as these situations, but when we lose hope, it’s hard to keep going.

It might be a situation at work.

It might be your finances.

It might be your health.

It might be your marriage.

It has been said you can live 3 weeks without food, 3 days without water, and 3 minutes without air, but you can’t live a second without hope.


We’re going to look at three stories in the Bible that teach us about hope.


Joseph was a young man from the ultimate of dysfunctional families.

His dad had four wives, all at the same time, all living under the same roof.

He had eleven other brothers, and since he was his daddy’s favorite, his brothers all hated him.

One day his father sent him out to check on his older brothers, and when they saw him coming, they decided to grab him, throw him into a pit.  They figured they could make a little money off their little brother.

(Genesis 37:28 NLT) So when the Ishmaelites, who were Midianite traders, came by, Joseph’s brothers pulled him out of the cistern and sold him to them for twenty pieces of silver. And the traders took him to Egypt.

Do you think you have a bad family situation?

Joseph would then spend the next couple of years of years as a slave in Egypt, working for a man named Potiphar.

While Potiphar liked Joseph, Potiphar’s wife like him even more.

She started flirting with Joseph…

(Genesis 39:10 NLT) She kept putting pressure on Joseph day after day, but he refused to sleep with her, and he kept out of her way as much as possible.
Talk about sexual harassment in the workplace.

When Joseph continued to rebuff her advances, she eventually went to her husband and accused Joseph of trying to rape her.

What did Joseph’s boss do?

(Genesis 39:20 NLT) So he took Joseph and threw him into the prison where the king’s prisoners were held, and there he remained.
Do you too have difficulties at work?

During Joseph’s time in prison he met two of Pharaoh’s servants and even established a relationship with them.

They both had strange dreams and Joseph was able to interpret their dreams.

When one of these servants was released and went back to work for Pharaoh, I imagine that Joseph was hoping that this man would put in a good word for him with the Pharaoh and maybe even get him released.

But instead the man forgot about Joseph, and Joseph found himself stuck in prison for another two years…

There seemed to be no hope.


We’ll zoom ahead about 1100 years to the time of King Hezekiah.

Hezekiah was one of the few “good” kings.

While other kings allowed the nation to slip away from God and follow after idols, Hezekiah had brought revival, calling the nation back to God and had destroyed the temples of all false gods.

One day, Hezekiah found something horrible on his front doorstep.

The king of Assyria had been slowly making his way through the civilized world, conquering and wiping out one nation after another.

The Assyrians were a cruel, evil nation.  They were known to torture people by skinning them alive.  They would capture a city, and those who weren’t killed were marched off to a foreign land where they were resettled.

The king of Assyria had decided that Jerusalem was going to be his next conquest.

I have actual footage of the Assyrians marching on Jerusalem …
Video:  Orcs march on Minas Tirith

The Assyrians look a lot like Orcs, don’t they?

The armies of Assyria were encircling Jerusalem, and the Assyrian ambassadors had come to deliver an ultimatum to Hezekiah, including this:

(Isaiah 36:10 NLT) What’s more, do you think we have invaded your land without the Lord’s direction? The Lord himself told us, ‘Attack this land and destroy it!’ ”

The Assyrian ambassadors followed up their initial threats with a letter demanding the surrender of Hezekiah and the city of Jerusalem.  Included in the letter was this reminder of the Assyrian battle record:

(Isaiah 37:11 NLT) You know perfectly well what the kings of Assyria have done wherever they have gone. They have completely destroyed everyone who stood in their way! Why should you be any different?

It was the darkest of days for King Hezekiah.

It seemed as if God may have abandoned them.
It seemed as if all was lost.
There was no hope.


Jesus was telling His disciples some strange things.

(Matthew 16:21 NKJV) From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.

What it meant to be “raised” was anybody’s guess, but Peter was having none of this idea of Jesus being “killed”.

On the Sunday before the Passover, Palm Sunday, was a wonderful day with everyone cheering for Jesus.

Within days the mood of the city had changed.

(Matthew 22:15 NKJV) Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk.

In the middle of the week, Jesus says,

(Matthew 26:2 NKJV) “You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.”

At the Passover meal, Jesus now tells the disciples that one of them would betray Him.

(Matthew 26:21 NKJV) Now as they were eating, He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.”

Jesus would say that they would all soon be scattered from Him.

(Matthew 26:31 NKJV) Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: ‘I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’

And worst yet, was Jesus said Peter the “Rock” would deny Him…

(Matthew 26:34 NKJV) Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.”

They spent that night in the Garden of Gethsemane, where the disciples would be woken from their sleep to see Jesus arrested.

Throughout that night and into the early morning, Jesus had to face ridiculous trials before the high priests, the Sanhedrin, Pilate, and Herod.

In the early morning, Pilate made the final decree, Jesus would be brutally beaten, and then taken to Golgotha where He was to be crucified.

Crucifixion was the cruelest and most humiliating of all forms of punishment.

Crucifixion was done at the major crossroads outside a city so the most number of people could see it.

The criminals were stripped naked and nailed to a cross to die a slow painful death.

There would be no last-minute pardons.  There would be no army of angels rescuing Jesus.

It almost seemed as if even God was against Jesus.

There was a supernatural darkness that covered the land for the last three hours before Jesus died.
When Jesus cried out to the Father, “Why have You forsaken Me?” there was no answer.

When Jesus breathed His last breath on the cross, most of the disciples had abandoned Him.  Only John and a few of the women were there to see Him die.

Jesus would be taken down from the cross and buried in a borrowed tomb.

For the followers of Jesus, these were the darkest of days.

They had hoped He would be their promised Messiah, but now all their hopes were dashed.

Video:  Sunday’s Coming


Let’s go back and see how each of these stories turned out.


We last left Joseph in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, forgotten and abandoned.

And then came the day when Pharaoh had a couple of really strange dreams.

Pharaoh was convinced these dreams were important, but nobody could tell him what they meant.

And THAT’S when Joseph’s friend remembered Joseph.

Joseph soon found himself standing before Pharaoh, interpreting the dreams, and then suddenly being elevated to becoming the second most powerful man in Egypt in order to deal with the coming crisis that Pharaoh’s dreams predicted.


Wait for the last chapter

The story of Joseph starts in Genesis 37.
Joseph isn’t released from prison until Genesis 41.
And the best part is that by the time that Genesis 50 rolls around, Joseph has not only saved the world, but he has been reconciled to his highly dysfunctional family.
Joseph would say to his brothers,
(Genesis 50:20 NLT) You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.
Our lesson from Joseph is that we need to be careful to not give up until we get to the last chapter.
Don’t give up in chapter 37 of your life when you’re sold as a slave.
Don’t give up in chapter 39 when you’ve been accused of something you didn’t do.
Don’t give up in chapter 40 when you’ve been forgotten in your prison.
Keep going until the end.


We last left Hezekiah with a huge army of Orcs, I mean Assyrians camped outside his doorstep. 

Hezekiah has just received a letter demanding his surrender.

What did Hezekiah do?  Did he survive?  Did he die?

(Isaiah 37:14–15 NKJV) —14 And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord, and spread it before the Lord. 15 Then Hezekiah prayed to the Lord

God responded to Hezekiah’s prayer by sending a single angel.

Just one angel.

(Isaiah 37:36 NKJV) Then the angel of the Lord went out, and killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand; and when people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses—all dead.


Call on the Lord

Hezekiah took his problem, spread it all out before the Lord, and prayed.
Have you taken your problem to the Lord?
Have you made a serious effort to pray?
Sometimes the only reason things haven’t changed is because we haven’t prayed.
James wrote,

(James 4:2b NKJV) …Yet you do not have because you do not ask.

I’m hoping to end the service just a little bit early today to leave room for you to get prayer.
God has been doing some amazing things lately.  People have been healed.  Lives have been changed.


We left our story of Jesus with Him being dead and buried in the tomb.

Things probably don’t get worse than that, do they?

We are in church today celebrating because Jesus didn’t stay in the tomb.

The disciples were a little bit slow to realize what had happened.

You too may be a little slow to realize happened.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is no joke.
It wasn’t the ultimate “April Fool’s” prank.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is one of the best attested facts in history.


Because He lives

We now have the sure hope of heaven, guaranteed by the fact the Jesus rose from the dead and is there waiting for us.
(1 Corinthians 15:22 NLT) Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life.

Do you belong to Christ?  Have you given your life to Jesus?

We sing a song that says, “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.”
Because He lives, death is no longer the “end of the story”.

Death is no longer the worst that can happen.

There was a story about a king in Africa who had a close friend that he grew up with. The friend had a habit of looking at every situation that ever occurred in his life (positive or negative) and remarking, “This is good!”
One day the king and his friend were out on a hunting expedition. The friend would load and prepare the guns for the king. The friend had apparently done something wrong in preparing one of the guns, for after taking the gun from his friend, the king fired it and his thumb was blown off. Examining the situation the friend remarked as usual, “This is good!”. To which the king replied, “No, this is NOT good!” and proceeded to send his friend to jail.
About a year later, the king was hunting in an area that he should have known to stay clear of. Cannibals captured him and took them to their village. They tied his hands, stacked some wood, set up a stake and bound him to the stake. As they came near to set fire to the wood, they noticed that the king was missing a thumb. Being superstitious, they never ate anyone that was less than whole. So untying the king, they sent him on his way.
As he returned home, he was reminded of the event that had taken his thumb and felt sad about how he had treated his friend. He went immediately to the jail to speak with his friend. “You were right” he said, “it was good that my thumb was blown off.” And he proceeded to tell the friend all that had just happened. “And so I am very sorry for sending you to jail for so long. It was bad for me to do this.” “No,” his friend replied, “this is good!” “What do you mean, ‘this is good’! How could it be good that I sent my friend to jail for a year.” “If I had NOT been in jail” the friend replies, “I would have been with you.”
This is not just a silly story.
God can in fact take things that seem so bad and use them for our good, just as Joseph had found out.

(Romans 8:28 NKJV) And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Paul wrote,
(2 Corinthians 4:16–18 NKJV) —16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

The resurrection shows us that there is a future, and when your future is with Jesus, it is very good.

Video:  It’s not over