Finding Hope and Assurance

This past Sunday I celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ with my church family at Northside Baptist. As we studied the Bible together, I challenged those in attendance to find proof of Christ’s resurrection and assurance of their faith in the first four books of the New Testament known as the Gospels. In particular, we looked at the Gospel of Luke which was written to provide a consecutive and orderly account of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ (Luke 1:1-4). The final chapter of Luke contains an encounter where Jesus explains all about Himself from the Old Testament. I closed our study with a plea for listeners to read the Gospel of Luke for themselves as a way to find hope and assurance.

Below is a two-week, selected Bible reading plan in the Gospel of Luke. When read consecutively, these passages give a clear and compelling testimony of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. The goal of this reading list is to help readers find hope and assurance in Jesus Christ.

  • Day 1: An Introduction and Jesus’ Birth (Luke 1:1-4, 2:1-20)
  • Day 2: Jesus Visits the Temple (Luke 2:39-52)
  • Day 3: The Temptation and Public Ministry (Luke 4:1-30)
  • Day4: Jesus Calls His First Disciples (Luke 5:1-11)
  • Day 5:Jesus Rescues Two from Death (Luke 7:1-17)
  • Day 6: Jesus Feed 5,000 (Luke 9:12-27)
  • Day 7: Teaching about Prayer and the Resurrection (Luke 11:1-36)
  • Day 8: The Parables of Loss (Luke 15:1-32)
  • Day 9: Jesus Heals Ten Lepers (Luke 17:11-21)
  • Day 10: Two Final Miracles (Luke 18:35-19:10)
  • Day 11: The Triumphal Entry and the Lord’s Supper (Luke 19:28-40, 22: 14-23)
  • Day 12: The Arrest and Trial (Luke 22:54-23:25)
  • Day 13: The Crucifixion and Burial (Luke 23:33-56)
  • Day 14: A Resurrection Appearance on the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35)

Uncertainty is the enemy of hope. God’s Word gives us the evidence and instruction we need so that we don’t have to live without hope.

Leave a comment below if this reading plan was helpful.

Hope in the Face of Death

Scattered Cumulus Clouds in a Blue SkyRecently, I walked into a dimly lit nursing home room to say goodbye to an elderly friend for the last time.  He wasn’t able to vocalize any words with his lips, but his eyes spoke volumes.  As we sat together in the faint glow of the television, I held his hand and noticed the fragile rhythm of the pulse in his wrist.

Before I left I prayed with him and realized that things were not as dark as they might have been.  A few years earlier, he had opened up to me about one of his greatest fears: he was afraid to die.  He had been in church and around church for a long time.  He had made a profession of faith and was baptized years earlier, but he still wondered if he was really saved.  This lack of assurance haunted him as he thought about the end of his life.

As we talked, I shared what I hoped would be helpful words from 1 John 5:1-4.  One of the reasons The Apostle John wrote this letter was to encourage believers who were tentative and insecure about where they stood with God.  In order to find assurance, John asked them look at the effects of their  faith.  According to these verses, saving faith produces three loves: a love for God and His Son, Jesus Christ, a love for others, and a love for keeping God’s commandments.  Love is one of those things you can’t fake.  Sooner or later, your true feelings will surface.  One of the ways God’s children can be identified is by the way they love.

As my friend looked at this life from this perspective he gained a newfound confidence in his relationship with God and changed his perspective on death.  Not just because he had rediscovered his feelings, but because he was able to see God’s transforming work in his life, in spite of his sin.  His faith had produced love.

Maybe you or someone you know is struggling with your salvation.  You’ve come to the end of yourself and ask God to forgive you based on Jesus Christ and His death on the cross.  You’ve made a declaration of faith and maybe even shared it your family, friends, or church.  But somehow, you just don’t feel confident in your decision, especially when you think about death.  If that is you, or someone you know ask yourself the following questions: what is your faith producing?  Are you growing in your love for Jesus?  Do you treat other people with love?  Do you love God’s Word?  These are just three indications that you have been adopted into God’s family and sealed your fate for eternity.