Curriculum

Dive Deeper

Incoming (Part 2)

Rhordan Wicks

INTRODUCTION

Hope is critical to life. Holocaust survivor Viktor E. Frankl observed that in the concentration camps, it was not the fittest or strongest who survived, but those who held on to hope. We often think of hope as wishful thinking, something we suspect will not happen, but we “hope” it will: we hope we can see an end to social distancing restrictions soon; we hope eating a spicy meal will not give us indigestion. But Biblical hope is not wishful thinking, it is an act of certainty. The difference lies in the source of our hope. In Biblical hope, we hope not in temporary things, but in things of eternal value such as the Word of God. 

The main hope we will explore in this week’s study is one described in Titus 2:11-13. Paul reminds Titus of their “blessed hope”, the return of Jesus Christ to earth. If our hope is only on this side of eternity, it is insufficient. When our hope is in Christ’s return, we are anchored. When we are looking forward to His return, we live our lives differently. Last week, our focus was on the Incarnation, Jesus’ first coming at Christmas. Similar to Christ’s first coming, there are many prophecies that speak of His return. But what does His Second Coming mean to us?

Hoping in His return provides security for the future that cannot be shaken. We can let Christ’s Second Coming anchor our hope.

DISCUSSION

  1. When you think of Christ’s Second Coming, what images, words, thoughts come to mind?
  2. Read Matthew 24:29-31. Jesus was giving His followers a glimpse of His return. For further reference, see also Daniel 7:13-14, Zechariah 12:10-14, and Revelation 1:7.

    a. Why do you think the people of the earth will mourn when they see Christ return? What significance does that hold for you?

    b. How do you think it will feel to be gathered to Christ as one of His disciples? How does this hope, if any, affect your actions today?

    c. Read 1 Corinthians 13:9-12. What does this verse mean to you? What do you know in part that you can look forward to knowing more fully?

  3. Read Revelation 19:11-16 and Revelation 20:11-15. Biblical justice is setting right anything that does not follow the ways of God.

    a. What differences do you see between Christ’s First Coming as a helpless baby and His return?

    b. Consider the brokenness in the world, in your community, in your family, in your heart. How does it encourage you to know that Jesus will set everything right?  How might it change the way you pray about these situations?

    c. In light of His coming justice, what changes do you want to make in your life today?

  4. Read 1 Corinthians 15:20-23, 50-54 and Acts 24:15. Our hope for Christ’s return gives us great hope for resurrection. 

    a. In what areas of your life are you praying for restoration and healing? For whom are you interceding?

    b. How does knowing that Christ’s resurrection is the first fruit for our resurrection give you hope?

    c. What difference does the hope of resurrection play in light of suffering in this life?

WHAT WILL YOU DO

The object of our hope is as important as the thing for which we hope. If we hope for restoration but our hope is in ourselves, other people, or other philosophies, we will be disappointed. If our hope is in Christ, we will be unshakeable. Holding onto the hope of His Second Coming will give our faith an anchor that can weather the most severe storms and seasons of suffering.

When you face trials, what happens to your hope? Is it crushed under the weight of suffering? Or have you found the secure hope of knowing God and looking forward to Christ’s return?

MEMORY VERSE

“Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.” Psalm 33:22 ESV