Hope

Living Hope - Apr 2019

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead

- 1 Peter 1:3


The other day I was helping my dad load some things in his car when he asked me to go inside and grab a few specific boxes. After walking through the front door, I froze, literally not being able to recall a word he’d just said! Something about some boxes, but for the life of me I couldn’t remember which ones or where they were… even though he had just told me 20 seconds ago!

Have you ever had Gospel amnesia? Not that you couldn’t explain the Gospel if asked, but maybe you’ve lost sight of what Jesus has done for you in the moments you needed most to remember it? Or maybe life’s routines have settled you in to a rhythm of security and provision that the wonder of the Gospel has faded? Or perhaps the cares and temptations of this world have given you a clouded view of your need for God’s transforming grace?

One of Israel’s besetting sins was the plague of forgetfulness. Moses was constantly on them saying, “Take care lest you forget the LORD your God” (Deut 8:11). When would they forget the Lord? Would it be in life’s most broken moments? Much more concerning was the temptation to forget God when life went well! So Moses warned that enjoying the gifts of their God while forgetting their God would ultimately be deadly for them. Instead, they must take care to remember what He had done for them. How he met their greatest need in their most hopeless moment, freeing them and feeding them.

As Christians, Jesus isn’t just the one we turn to when we have no other place to go, but He is the One we turn to every moment of every day. Because otherwise we will, no doubt, turn to ourselves or somewhere else for assurance and satisfaction. Will we have seasons of doubt and wandering? It’s likely. But that’s why we need to be constantly reminded of the Gospel. Constantly telling and retelling the wonders of God’s glorious grace in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. Because we are so prone to forgetfulness.

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Our hope is a living hope because we have a living Savior! Our hope is a living hope because we were dead but have been made alive in Christ! Our hope is a living hope, because Christ is the very sustenance by which we live. As we need a constant reminder of the Gospel, one of the most vivid pictures we have is the sacrament of Communion. At the Table we feast on Christ for spiritual nourishment (John 6:54).

I rejoice also that God has provided songs for the church throughout the generations that tell and retell the central story of the Gospel: the depth of our need and that Jesus Christ lived, died, and rose for sinners like you and me. As we sing “Living Hope” throughout Easter, remember. Remember that there was nothing you could do to save yourself, but God sovereignly and graciously called you by name and breathed new life into your dead soul. What great mercy and what boundless grace! Praise be to the One who set us free! This is a story that can’t be over-told. For there indeed is no other name by which we can be saved than Jesus Christ, our living Hope (Acts 4:12).

Living Hope

Written by Phil Wickham & Brian Johnson

Lyrics:

How great the chasm that lay between us
How high the mountain I could not climb
In desperation, I turned to heaven
And spoke Your name into the night
Then through the darkness, Your loving-kindness
Tore through the shadows of my soul
The work is finished, the end is written
Jesus Christ, my living Hope

Who could imagine so great a mercy?
What heart could fathom such boundless grace?
The God of ages stepped down from glory
To wear my sin and bear my shame
The cross has spoken, I am forgiven
The King of kings calls me His own
Beautiful Savior, I'm Yours forever
Jesus Christ, my living Hope

Hallelujah, praise the One who set me free
Hallelujah, death has lost its grip on me
You have broken every chain
There's salvation in Your name
Jesus Christ, my living Hope

Then came the morning that sealed the promise
Your buried body began to breathe
Out of the silence, the Roaring Lion
Declared the grave has no claim on me
Jesus, Yours is the victory!

© 2017 Phil Wickham Music, Simply Global Songs,
Sing My Songs, Bethel Music Publishing / CCLI #193208


God With Us - Dec 2018

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

- John 1:14


One of the most foundational aspects of the Christian faith is that our God has come to us. No, we are not required to achieve a certain status or climb high enough to get to Him, because Christ made Himself low that we might be given access to the Father.

From the beginning God has been sovereignly working this plan to be “with” His people. In Genesis 26, we see this promise to Abraham. Declared in Exodus 29 and fulfilled in Leviticus, God says, “I will dwell among the people of Israel and will be their God.” When Moses passes on the baton to Joshua, he encourages the young leader, “It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you.” The list could go on…

But, of course, this earth-shattering concept of a holy God dwelling with a broken and sinful people finds its ultimate fulfillment in Jesus, who among many names, is given the name Emmanuel (which means “God with us”) by the prophet Isaiah over 700 years before His birth. Not only would the Word become flesh to dwell among us, but He would be the means through Whom God would bring hope to this world, peace between God and man, and victory over sin and death.

Among the host of beloved Christmas songs for worship, we’ll be singing “God With Us” as a declaration and reminder that God has indeed made good on His promise to dwell with His people in the person of Jesus Christ. And let’s not forget that Jesus made His own promise to be “with us” forever (Matthew 28:20), quickly fulfilled in the coming of the Holy Spirit to dwell intimately in the heart of every believer. 

As we celebrate the birth of Jesus this Christmas, may we enjoy the festivities of the season, but truly marvel in our great Savior who became one of us so that we may be one with Him.

God With Us

Written by Jason Ingram & Leslie Jordan

Lyrics:

You've come to bring peace
To be Love, to be nearer to us
You've come to bring life
To be Light, to shine brighter in us
Emmanuel, God with us

Our Deliverer, You are Savior
In Your presence we find our strength
Over everything, our Redemption
God with us, You are God with us

You've come to be Hope
To this world, for Your honor and name
You've come to take sin
To bear shame and to conquer the grave
Emmanuel, God with us

You are here, You are holy
We are standing in Your glory
You are here, You are holy
We are standing in Your glory, Lord

© 2018 Integrity’s Praise! Music / CCLI #193208