Lesson 3

The Jesus Hope: Part 1

(Acts 1, Romans 5 & 8)
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Introduction: How can we have a series of lessons on hope without studying the hope of Jesus' return? Of course, we cannot! This week and next we turn our attention to the hope Jesus gives us and the hope of His Second Coming. Let's dive in!

  1. Last Minute Instructions on Hope

    1. Read Acts 1:1-3. When is this 40 day period? At what point in Jesus' life does it occur? (This is after Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection. It is Jesus' extended farewell to His disciples.)

    2. Why did Jesus take so much time to say goodbye? (Verse 3 is the key: Jesus wanted the disciples to have no doubt that He was alive. He wanted them to be absolutely sure He had been resurrected. He also wanted them to be sure they understood "the kingdom of God.")

      1. What does it mean (v. 2)that Jesus was giving instructions "through the Holy Spirit" during this time? (It appears Jesus and the Holy Spirit were working together to aid the disciples in understanding their work. Jesus wanted them to be comfortable with their new teacher, the Holy Spirit.)

    3. Read Acts 1:6. After all this instruction about (v.3) "the Kingdom of God" and the future, what was the hope of the disciples? (That Jesus would restore the Kingdom of Israel - that He would set up an earthly power with them as His chief lieutenants.)

      1. What kind of grade would you give the disciples if you were their teacher?

      2. What would you have said to the disciples, if you were Jesus, about their hope? (If I were Jesus, I would have commented about how I hoped they would: a) Start listening better; and, b)Stop acting so stupid. Of course, that is just one reason why I'm not Jesus.)

    4. Read Acts 1:7-8. What did Jesus say instead? How does He deal with the disciples' false hope? (He does nothing that I would have done. Instead, He takes their misguided hope and re-channels it into practical actions for the immediate future. While Jesus never did create a super-kingdom in Israel to overthrow the Romans, He will ultimately establish His kingdom on earth. Revelation 21:2-4)

      1. What do you think clarified the hope of the disciples? (The Holy Spirit.)

      1. What will help clarify your hope?

  1. Reinforcing the Hope of the Second Coming

    1. Read Acts 1:9. The way I understand this text, Jesus just drifted up and away. I feel quite certain that Jesus did not float all the way to heaven. If I'm right, why did Jesus appear to go to heaven in this way? Why not use a "beam me up Scotty" thing like in Star Trek? Why not just dematerialize? (I think Jesus wanted the disciples to have a clear understanding that He was going to heaven, and not just disappearing. This was a practical way to convey that message.)

    2. Read Acts 1:10-11. Do you think the angels' question is stupid? Is it possible the angels heard the disciples' last question to Jesus and decided that they would start out with the obvious? Is it just an "ice-breaker?" Or, is there more to this question than appears on the surface? (The angels obviously knew why the disciples were looking up. I think they were saying, "Look, you don't need to keep looking up to hope to see Him come back down. He will come back. You can move on to the more important matter of being ready.")

      1. What important hope do you find in the statement "this same Jesus" will come back in the "same way?" (The same Jesus that showed love and compassion to us will be the Lord that returns to take us to heaven with Him. Telling us Jesus is coming back in the "same way" (drifting down from the clouds) gives us an insight into the way our hope will be fulfilled at Jesus' Second Coming.)

        1. Our lesson points out (Monday)that many do not believe that Jesus will return again because this belief cannot be scientifically tested. Was Jesus addressing that very point by the way He ascended to heaven? (Certainly, for His disciples He was. If you can drift up, it would certainly seem you could drift down more easily! When I fly, getting up is the thing I hope about. I have no doubt that we will ultimately come down in some fashion.)

  2. The Hope of Glory

    1. Read Romans 5:1-2. What is the hope of the glory of God?

      1. Does it have something to do with faith and grace?

      2. What role does Jesus play in this hope of the glory of God? (Because of Jesus' sacrifice, we are able to "stand" in grace. Having grace from God gives us hope that we will be with Him in glory. This is a promise of heaven.)

      3. What does this hope in Jesus give us? (It gives us (v.1) "peace with God" and (v.2) a cause for rejoicing.)

    2. Read Romans 5:3-4. Notice this list of bad things. Do bad things end up in hope? Why does this string of things end up in hope?

      1. Do you find this to be true in your life - that suffering causes you to hope? (It seems to say that the good thing about bad things is that they sharpen our hope if we remain faithful.)

    3. Read Romans 5:6-8. What special hope does this give to you? (This shows us how much God loves us. The text suggests that no man would do what God did. Jesus died for us when we were sinners. He did not wait until we became good or righteous.)

      1. Do you know someone who stays away from church because they are not "good enough?" What does this text say to them?

    4. Read Romans 8:32. Romans 5:7-8 told us God's sacrifice for us is remarkable. What does Romans 8:32 add to that thought? (Not only is Jesus' sacrifice for us remarkable, but it shows that He loves us more than anything! This means God will not withhold any good thing from us.)

    5. Read Romans 8:33-34. Who is it that brings charges against us? Who condemns us? ( Revelation 12:10 tells us our accuser has been "hurled down." Revelation 12:9 identified the party hurled down as the dragon or Satan.)

      1. What happens to your hope when people condemn you and bring charges against you?

      2. Who wins in the controversy between Jesus and Satan? (The "hurled down" text gives us a hint - Jesus wins. The charges and accusations against us go the same way as the accuser.)

        1. Why does Jesus win for us? (Notice that Romans 8:34 tells us our Intercessor has the ear of God. He is at the right hand of the Father. Jesus lived, died, was resurrected, and now He has a special place by the Father where He puts in a good word for us. That is cause for hope!)

      3. What qualifies Jesus to be our Intercessor? (Not only that Jesus died for us, but He also was raised to life.)

    6. Read Romans 8:35. It asks "Who shall separate us from the love of God?" What is the answer to that?

      1. This text gives several possible causes for separating us from God's love. What do all of these causes have in common? (They are all bad. But, more than that, they all have an external source. They come from outside us.)

      2. As you consider the various possible causes for separation, what does that suggest about the answer to the question in verse 35? (That nothing external can separate us from God's love. This suggests that we are the only ones who can separate ourselves from God's love.)

    7. Read Romans 8:37. Who gives us the victory over all of these external problems? (Jesus makes us "more than conquerors.")

      1. Do you feel like a conqueror?

    8. Conquerors sometimes find that with time they lose their ability to win over their opponents. Read Romans 8:38-39. What gives us hope and confidence that will not happen to us? (It tells us nothing in all creation will be powerful enough to separate us from God. Praise God!)

    9. Friend, do you see the importance of your personal decision about Jesus? If you decide to accept His sacrifice and His victory for you, there is nothing in all creation that can separate you from His love. Why not decide to accept Him right now?

  3. Next Week: The Jesus Hope: Part 2

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