The Hope Within You

Opening Night of the Feast 2019 Mt Airy, NC

(Sermon Notes) By Warren Zehrung 10/13/19

Welcome! Feast of Tabernacles greetings to all our beloved brethren, here and across these fruited plains of America… To our brothers and sisters around the world; To our loved ones in the UK – we long to be with you… Across Canada, from East to West; to those on Indian reservations and in prisons… To our scattered brethren in the Philippines and Australia who endure the persecutions… To our southern brethren in Mexico and South America… To our far away brethren in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Hong Kong – as near as our spiritual hearts unite us… To our widows and widowers… To our European and African brethren who dearly grasp the Truth… To all of God’s people, we say, “Happy Feast of Tabernacles.”

Good evening – the Feast of Tabernacles had begun. This is the Opening Night of the Feast 2019 Mt Airy, NC

The Theme of this year’s Feast is: “The Hope Within You.” Let me ask you this question: What are you most looking forward to in the Millennium? Food and Fun – I don’t think so!

I think we will be looking for God’s will to be done on earth. At the Feast, God commands us to eat and drink to the full, while reminding us that these accommodations are temporary dwellings; looking forward to the Millennial reign of Jesus Christ – establishing His Father’s Kingdom in Jerusalem – over all the earth.

God commands us to eat and drink to the full – Spiritually!

Fall is here; the sun has dipped into the Southern Hemisphere; the Harvest Moon is bright and full on the first day of the Feast. We are here to picture the Feast of Tabernacles. We are in the Fall of the Year – picturing God’s harvest: The crops are in… The milk has been turned to cheese… The harvest has been reaped… The flocks and herds have multiplied… The vineyards have been gathered for vintage production.

Spiritually, the harvest of Saints is ready to begin anew…

Amos 9:13  Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt. 

Amos 9:14  And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them, and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. 

Amos 9:15  And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God. 

This Feast of Tabernacles is given to us for the express purpose that we might be able to see the coming Kingdom of God on earth… As much glory as our human eyes can grasp. The Kingdom of God will be a time when everything we see and know of today – will be vastly different.

Tonight, we will look to the word of God – and allow it to be our guide. The Feast of Tabernacles celebrates the great spiritual harvest that will take place during the Millennium as multiple billions of converted church people come to know God’s truth and receive His gift of eternal life!

We know that Faith is necessary, but do we realize to what extent Hope is necessary for the Resurrection and Kingdom of God?

The first citizens of the millennium are going to be the survivors of the Great Tribulation. Through God’s direct intervention, there will be a great sense of camaraderie among all the survivors. It will be like we’ve often seen following a number of catastrophic happenings – only better – and without exception.

Strangers will naturally come to the aid of victims in need – even when it means placing themselves in peril. People will indeed place their very lives in harm’s way to help those they don’t even know – to survive.

That brotherly love – even in a much greater way – will pervade the New Nation being formed by Jesus Christ in the Millennium.

We hope to be there among them. All living survivors of the tribulation will know that they are brothers and sisters to one another in a way that is hard for us to imagine.

Twelve thousand men and women from each of the tribes of Israel, – One-hundred and forty-four thousand of the tribes of Israel – will survive and live over into the World Tomorrow. They will all know that they are literally brothers and sisters to one another through the miraculous intervention of Jesus Christ.

That fact alone will give them a strong sense of purpose and belonging – and it will only grow stronger and stronger. With Jesus ruling from Jerusalem in accordance with God’s perfect law – the human spirit in man, coupled with God’s Spirit will soar to the heights that God originally intended!

Everyone will respect one another. Everyone will see Jesus Christ and God the Father in others. They will see only the good in their brethren. They will treat one another as we treat God Himself. All men will depend on one another. Every child will reach his full potential – all talents will be fully developed. The weak will be made strong and secure. Every mind will be mature, and brilliance will be the norm. Everyone will know and love everyone – even when they haven’t met – because everyone will have a sense of true brotherhood, belonging to one another.

John 10:28 I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

That is because Jesus, Himself, will lead in the way to the Kingdom of God. God reveals Himself and His wonderful plan for mankind in the Bible:

Isaiah 9:7 Of the [Great] increase [geometric progression – with an exponential growth towards infinity] of His government [His empire, realm, domain, of jurisdiction – the Plan of God] and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

There will be a great spreading of the Gospel of Peace and Truth that will go on and on…

It is good for us to stop and think back to our beginnings in the faith… Many of you, like us, have sought something… What is the Hope that lies within us? We have been looking for something… We have desired to take hold of something… We felt sure we would know it when we found it… Some of us thought that we had a hold of it when God first called us to His way of life.

That which were are hoping for had a great part of its foundation based on the Holy Days and the Plan of God… It was centered on the Sabbath and all the Ten Commandments… We tried our best to repent and believe… We made every effort to come out of the world… We wanted to be right with God… And, for a little while, we felt that it was all coming together. Back then, we were all in ONE big Church corporate organization.

At some point we realized that we were not altogether on track—Jesus was on the outside knocking (Revelation 3:20). We were able to find like-minded people and become friends with them… We had been called into the Truth, and it was good! We were preaching the Gospel to nearly every nation under the Sun. It seemed that the Gospel was going to the entire world.

We are shown in the Scriptures that a comparatively small physical remnant of Israel will survive the tribulation, and to live-over into the world tomorrow. That is where God’s people in the millennium will come from.

Isaiah 11:11 And it shall come to pass in that Day [Day of the Lord], that the Lord shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people, which shall be left [alive], from [all over the world] Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.

We know that soon modern Israel will be carried captive into every foreign nation and God will bring about their return.

Isaiah 11:12 And He shall set up an ensign, a sign, a banner for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth – to Zion.

Where and what is Zion? Zion; that’s the New Church of God in the Millennium. God will point the way for those people – His people – who belong to Him. “Assemble the outcasts of Israel” – look closely – that means that God is again assembling His people – His assembly – the people who will make up the beginning of His Millennial Church.

Please do not look to any man to get you to the Place of Safety and the New Promised Land.

The aftermath of the tribulation will be like the total disaster of the twin towers at Ground Zero in lower Manhattan, New York. They burned for over three months after the Islamic suicide attacks that brought down the World Trade Centre.

Matthew 24:22  Unless those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved [alive]: but for the elect’s sake, those days shall be shortened.

So, there will be survivors! But not a great number. In the Millennium, there will be advanced physical technology that will make today’s technology look like the stone age.

But, God will be given full credit and glory, because all good things come from Him. And spiritually eye has not seen nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love Him.

Even when we try, we cannot imagine the purpose, the support, the belonging, the cooperation, the limitless riches, the brilliant and perfect understanding, the love, the oneness, the creativity that will blossom under the direction of Jesus Christ when He begins to rule on earth.

God’s Spirit coupled with man’s spirit will begin to soar to heights that God originally intended. For an example of the creativity – picture Jesus creating the universe with color, music, man and animals, plants and jewels. Have you ever seen a spiritual flower? I suppose that in heaven their blooms and blossoms never fade or wilt.

On earth, the physically magnificent Garden of Eden aspects of plants, trees, flowers, terrain, climate, animals, and abundant life will be in harmony with the Plan of God… So that we might begin to comprehend the inestimable, Divine spiritual gifts that will be bestowed on millennial mankind – grace upon ever-increasing grace (John 1:16), gifts upon ever-increasing gifts of God’s Spirit.

The magnificent difference of that future day compared to now – will be the difference between day and night. That is only a reflection of how the hearts and minds of the people will be changed in the Millennium.

Jeremiah 24:7 And I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.

In this opening sermon of the Feast of Tabernacles, we’ve chosen the topic of, “The Hope Within You,” speaking of the Kingdom of God on earth. It is a God-given responsibility that we are there for one another. It is God alone who has separated us from this evil world.

Colossians 1:12 Giving thanks unto the Father, who has made us meet [fitting and proper] to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: [The saints, the Church brethren, the called-out ones, are one and the same!]

God, the Father has placed us where we belong:

Colossians 1:13 Who has delivered us from the power of darkness [where we do not belong], and has conveyed us – moved us – transferred us into the Kingdom of His dear Son:

As we saw in Jeremiah 24:7 … I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.

The definition of “hope” is a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. It is a lot like a wish.

In the Bible, however, “hope” becomes much more than just longing and desire.

Because of our Christian faith, the expectations and desires for all the things promised by God are raised from being optimistic prospects – to our, knowing that they are a sure reality.

When we possess a Godly hope, we no longer just wish that things were so, we know of a surety that they are tangible, they exist and they are fully real.

Faith and hope are very closely related. Where “faith” is our belief that what God has promised is true. “hope” is knowing that what God has promised is real, factual and genuine.

Hebrews 11:1  Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 

The lives that we are living combine faith and hope. This life is about living in anticipation of that realization – beginning with our resurrection. The resurrection is as real as can be – in fact, it has already begun in Jesus Christ who has already been raised from the dead. Title:

1Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is within you with meekness and fear:

The apostle Peter explained how the true Church brethren were to have Christian unity among themselves:

1Peter 3:8  Finally, be ye all of one mind [that’s unity], having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: 

Having compassion is a learned virtue for many – and it must be developed.

We do not want to have to endure severe trials before we realize the need for compassion.

1Peter 3:9  Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. 

1Peter 3:10  For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: 

1Peter 3:11  Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. 

We are to seek peace in every interaction we have – and not drive wedges of animosity that only brings division.

1Peter 3:12  For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. 

When are God’s ears open unto our prayers? I want you to read these words in your Bible. God’s ears are open unto our prayers when we do those things which are pleasing in His sight. John tells us:

1John 5:14  And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He hears us: 

1John 5:15  And if we know that He hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him. 

But there is a condition:

1John 3:22  And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. 

Which Commandment is John specifically referring to?

1John 3:23  And this is His commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as He gave us commandment.

This is where the Church of God is coming short in this last-time. We do not love all of the brethren. Perhaps more prayers would be answered if the love of the brethren was more universal. We just read:

1Peter 3:12  For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. 

1Peter 3:13  And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? 

1Peter 3:14  But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; 

We are to give God’s way the highest priority.

1Peter 3:15  But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts [Is God’s way our number one priority in life?]: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: 

1Peter 3:16  Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conduct [as true Christians] in Christ. 

We are to give an answer to every man (1Peter 3:15). That is a tall order! 

I hope that we realize that the great commission of preaching the Gospel of the soon-coming Kingdom of God is still in effect. Who is able to publish the Gospel message to the world? We are to give an answer to every man (1Peter 3:15). But, there are 7 Billion people on earth!

We cannot possibly get to every man – but that does not excuse us from doing what we are able. Who else is able to impact or change this dying world – except the people of God? The responsibility to publish the Gospel lies at the feet of the brethren of God’s Church.

Isaiah 52:7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that brings good tidings [Good News – Gospel], that publishes peace; that brings good tidings of good, that publishes salvation; that says unto Zion, Thy God reigns!

God tells us that when His word is sent out to the world, it will prosper. Some men and women will respond favorably to God’s calling. God describes the Gospel as rain in due season that brings forth fruit:

Isaiah 55:10-11 For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and returns not thither, but waters the earth, and makes it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

Without the Gospel message of God’s promises, this world is without hope—hopeless!

Let me give you some of the aspects of Hope.

Hope” is about our resurrection:

Our hope is toward God:

Acts 24:15  And have hope toward God, … that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.

Acts 23:6  … Paul said: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question.

Our hope is knowing that God’s promises are sure.

Acts 26:6-7  And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come.

It is Peter who develops the Biblical concept of “Hope” the best:

1Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

1Peter 1:4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that fades not away, reserved in heaven for you,

1Peter 1:5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for, salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

1Peter 1:20  [Jesus Christ] truly was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, 

1Peter 1:21  Who by Him do believe in God, that raised Him up from the dead, and gave Him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God

Hope” is about our resurrection: Our hope is in God.

Our hope is tangible (real)

Our hope is Jesus’ return

Colossians 1:23  If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven;

Our hope is the Kingdom of God on earth – and our millennial part in it.

Beyond the Millennium, Our hope is the eternal Kingdom of God

1Corinthians 15:19  If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

Our hope is not a wish but a reality.

Let me give you an analogy to help bring out this concept of Hope. We “know” that New York City is there – even if we’ve never visited it.

In the same way, Our hope means that we know that the spiritual resurrection is an absolute fact! And Hope goes well beyond that firm knowledge.

Our hope is knowing God and our relationship with Him

There is only one hope of our calling.

Ephesians 4:4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling.

Ephesians 1:18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.

It is only those in the Church of God in these end-times who know what the Gospel and the Holy Days are all about.

Do we “know” the Gospel enough to want to share it with all of our might?

The Holy Days explain God’s intervention in bringing many sons and daughters to glory.

We are the only ones who have a handle on the true nature of God and God’s Plan to share His glory with His children (Hebrews 2:10).

Jesus promised that He would personally be a part of the process of the Gospel going to all the world until the end of the age.

Matthew 28:19-20 Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.

Matthew 24:14 And this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

The apostle Peter explained how the true Church brethren were to have Christian unity among themselves if they were to hopefully attain to the first resurrection with Jesus Christ:

1Peter 3:8-9 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.

1Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is within you with meekness and fear:

To have true Hope, Jesus Christ and the Father must make their abode within us.

Colossians 1:26-27 The mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to His saints. To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

There was a time before Jesus Christ was in us – before we were called and converted:

Ephesians 2:12  That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: 

Ephesians 2:13  But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made near by the blood of Christ. 

Paul links our hope with our calling, which is God’s invitation into His presence so that we may have a relationship with Him.

The glory of God is the brilliance, the magnificence, the power, the majesty, the greatness, and an unlimited host of indefinable attributes of almighty God.

Our human language comes far short of being able to define the wonderful glory of God. And yet it is God’s plan that His people take on every characteristic that He possesses—even God’s Life and Glory evermore! God’s Plan is a Plan of Salvation, a plan of resurrection to eternal life, a plan of glory and a plan of hope: Our hope motivates us.

Titus 1:2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.

Let’s close in:

Romans 15:13  Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit.

End: The Hope Within You