Mature Class Study, teacher Edith Tolbert.

God wants us to hold fast the confidence of our rejoicing to the end.

Hebrews 3:6 But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.

A lot of people have placed their hope in things of this earth. The proverb writer says, hope deferred make the heart sick. The hope for things on this earth is not the kind of hope God gives but it is like the hope in John 3:16.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

God wants us to have confidence and rejoicing of a lively hope to the end, like the song, We Have A Hope. “Have we any hope within us of a life beyond the grave, in the fair and vernal land? Do we know that when this earthly home by death shall be dissolved, we’ve a house not made with hands? We have a hope within our souls, Brighter than the perfect day: God has given us His Spirit, And we want the world to hear it, all our doubts are passed away.” We’re “saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope…But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait…” (Romans 8:24-35).

I Peter 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and…our Lord Jesus…according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation…revealed in the last time.

If we only have hope in this life, we’re miserable. Buddhist, Hindu, and atheists don’t believe in an afterlife or hell, but believe in reincarnation or other things. Everyone that dies will be resurrected to eternal life or to damnation. God’s word teaches us the truth. God wants us to rejoice in truth and to be a witness of that hope. We have hope of heaven with real salvation!

I Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer…of the hope that is in you…

God doesn’t want us to sorrow for those who die saved because they’ll be resurrected from the dead. Jesus could return any day. It’s important to keep the victory, confidence, and rejoicing of hope firm to the end. Those who remain alive will be raised in the clouds to be with the Lord forever when he returns. We’re just passing through and our treasures are in heaven.

I Thessalonians 4:13-18 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again…them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him…For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel…and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive…shall be caught up together with them…to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

We have a hope and confidence through the word that we have everlasting live and Jesus went to prepare a place for us.

Romans 15:4…things were written…for our learning, that…through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

Jesus said when you die you’re going to weep and be sorry. There are tears and sorrow when a person dies. But before Jesus was crucified, he said our sorrow will be turned to joy because you know someone is saved and going to heaven.

John 16:21-22 A woman…in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more…for joy that a man is born…And ye now therefore have sorrow: but…your heart shall rejoice…

With all the trials and tribulations, we can have joy and can be of good cheer because Jesus has overcome the world.

John 16:33…in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Habakkuk said he would rejoice when there was great famine, the herds weren’t producing, and there was no fruit. Rejoicing is a choice. We can choose to rejoice in God regardless of how hard our outward circumstances are.

Habakkuk 3:17 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:

God wants us to progress spiritually and to refine us through hard trials and in the furnace of affliction.

Habbakuk 3:19 (Amplified Classic) The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery…invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and…to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress…[of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]!

It’s important to rejoice in the Lord and show it to those around us because Jesus coming soon. People need to see it.

Philippians 4:4-5 Rejoice in the Lord always…again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all…The Lord is at hand.

Philippians 4:4-5 (Amplified Classic) Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, gladden yourselves in Him]; again I say, Rejoice! Let all men know and perceive and recognize your unselfishness (your considerateness, your forbearing spirit). The Lord…coming soon].

God is asking that we look to the blessed hope because we’ve been saved from all our sin, purified, and sanctified.

Titus 2:13-14 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus…Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

The Israelites were exiled in Babylon 70 years. The king asked Nehemiah why he was sad. He told him that Jerusalem’s walls of were torn down. The king let Nehemiah take people to rebuild the walls. The walls were finished in 52 days.

Nehemiah 8:1-3 And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra…to bring the book of the law…which the Lord had commanded…Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation…And he read…from the morning until midday…were attentive unto the book of the law.

Ezra found the book of the law in the temple. The people hadn’t heard the word for years and stood 4 hours in honor to hear.

Nehemiah 8:5-6 And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up: And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground.

About 50,000 people listened attentively. God helped them understand and they were grieved to know they hadn’t obeyed God but allowed idolatry and the ways of other people in their life. When God convicts us of our sin, there’s godly sorrow. We need godly sorrow to get right with God. Ezra encouraged them to rejoice that God freed them from captivity.

Nehemiah 8:8-12 So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly…and caused them to understand…This day is holy unto the Lord your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law. Then he said…Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared…neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength…Hold your peace, for the day is holy; neither be ye grieved. And all the people went…to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words…declared unto them.

The people rejoiced because of what God did for them. God frees us from the captivity of sin to have joy in the Lord and in being our strength. That’s why it’s so important for us to keep that joy and be clothed with the garment of salvation.

Isaiah 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation…covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom…and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.

David fled from Saul who tried to kill him and the Philistines because he was afraid. The historian Josephus said when the Philistines recognized who David was, he wanted them to think he was mad. The Philistines wouldn’t prosecute a mad man.

I Samuel 21:10-15 And David…fled that day for fear of Saul…to Achish…And the servants of Achish said…Is not this David the king of the land?…And David…was sore afraid of Achish…And he …feigned himself mad…Then said Achish…the man is mad: wherefore…have ye brought him to me? Have I need of mad men, that ye have brought this fellow…in my presence?…

David wrote Psalm 34 in a cave where he was hiding when God had delivered him from Saul and the Philistines. When we cry to the Lord like David, he hears and delivers us from our troubles. God’s angels are camping around us.

Psalm 34:1-4 I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall…be glad. O magnify the Lord…I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.

Psalm 34:6-8 This poor man cried, and the Lord heard…saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. O taste and see…the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.