1 Thessalonians 2:19-20
For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?…
(Farewell sermon). Let us consider —
I. WHAT YOU ARE TO ME IN THE PRESENT.
1. Some of you are my hope. Joy comes of anticipations realized, but we hope for that we see not. Some of you are my hope because there are possibilities which have never been developed, aspiration s which have never been fulfilled, blessings not yet experienced. At the same time you have not yet turned your backs upon them. You and I are hoping that the seed may yet bear fruit.
(1) Some of you young men have not yet become corrupted by a life of sin; but you have not yet given your hearts to God. Turn my hope into joy by deciding for Christ.
(2) Some of you maidens have not yet yielded to the fashions and frivolities of the world, and have indeed been drawn after Christ; but you have not yet embraced Him. Make my hope joy by doing so now.
(3) Whether old or young you are my hope if you are convinced that what I say is and has been true. No longer halt, then, between two opinions.
2. Some of you are my joy. My hopes have been realized. You have tasted and seen that the Lord is good. Cleave to Him and work for Him so that you may continue to be my joy, and be something more by and by.
II. WHAT YOU MAY BE TO ME IN THE FUTURE. We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ: I as your pastor to render an account of my ministry. Whether I have done my work well or ill it cannot be altered now; but if you have been unprofitable hearers you may remember in days to come what you have heard, and by giving yourselves to Christ be my "crown of rejoicing." Then I shall be able to point to you and others and say, "Here am I and the children Thou hast given me." And if any shall say, "He did not feed the flock, comfort the sorrowful," etc., I shall be able to point to you in refutation.
Parallel VersesKJV: For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?