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For several days we have been examining the nature of hope as spoken of in 1 Corinthians 13:13 where Paul wrote, “Now abide faith, hope and love…” In Thessalonians 2:19, Paul personalized hope and said a major part of his hope, a major part of his forward confident expectation, was the people who had given their lives to the Lord. There he wrote, “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?”
For sure, many of those people he thought of were still alive but quite possibly some he thought of had already experienced their departure into heaven. Paul had a deep longing to see his friends and loved ones and even people he had not personally led to Christ, standing before the Lord. That picture in his mind of all the saints ready for the Lord and standing before and knelling before the Lord propelled Paul to press onward as he looked upward. His hope and our hope should be very personal.
We are all at various stages in our walk with the Lord. Even if we have walked with the Lord for many years, there are times when we lose heart, when the path becomes a weary path. The key truth about hope is this –
Our confident, everlasting, forward-looking hope is based on the perfect plan of God. Even when it looks like evil is winning, keep on pressing on because our hope is in the resurrection of our Lord and His glorious return for us when our faith will be sight.
Tomorrow we begin looking at the third part of this marvelous trilogy. That would be the tremendous virtue of love. Take care
In Romans 5:1-2, Paul wrote about how we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God even through difficult times. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” The believer’s hope is a guarantee that the promises of God will not fail and will be completely fulfilled.
When we read on in verses 3-5, we see that our hope expands. “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Our hope is tested and it expands as we go through trials and tribulations of life. The believer’s hope is a guarantee that the promises of God will not fail and will be fulfilled.
In Romans 12:12 we see that we endure difficult situations and we continue in prayerful expectation because of the hope we have in Christ. “Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer.”
In 1 John 3:3 we find that because Jesus is in us and is a living hope, this hope within us is a cleansing agent. “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. The hope we have in Christ gives us reason to rejoice.
In 1 Peter 3:15 we find these words. “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.”
The hope that we have in Christ gives us the confidence we need to be able to share our faith. We are able to share and can be ready to share at all times because of the hope that is within us.
Witnessing is a major fear for many people; but it need not be. Because of the work of God in our lives, because of the Lord living inside us, and because of the work of the Holy Spirit, we have a story to tell and can have the confidence to tell that story. Most of us just need some practice and that is precisely what the enemy does not want you do; practice. However, because of the hope we have from God, the enemy’s desires can be thwarted. Today, tell somebody about “the hope that is in you.”
In these past few days we have been looking at hope as spoken of in the Bible. In Ephesians 1:15-18, Paul shared with the Ephesians, “Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
Here again we see the benefit of knowing the truths in the Word of God. By knowing these truths, our spiritual eyes are enlightened to know more than we can know without His enlightenment. Let’s remember this hope speaks of something absolutely certain. This enlightenment also causes us to long for the inheritance we have now; the inheritance we will full appreciate one day.
Paul also included this in the letter to the Galatians where he wrote “For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.” The hope of His calling begins with justification at the moment of salvation, continues through our sanctification, and will be completely fulfilled in glorification. We were made heirs of God at the moment of salvation. We have a new ancestry, and a new family. What began at salvation, He is continuing to complete, and will ultimately complete when we are glorified. We see this in Titus 3:7. “That having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
In Ephesians 4:4, Paul speaks of “the one hope of your calling” because there is only one way to be saved. All believers have this in common. Our hope is in Jesus and all He has done, is doing, and will keep doing for us. Finally, notice how Paul wrote of this in Colossians 1:27. “To them (and that includes us and all who are saved) God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
In Hebrews 6:19-20 the writer says, “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” Our hope is sure and steadfast because of our Lord and the truth of the Scriptures. In Romans 15:4 Paul tells us the patience and the comfort of the Scriptures produces hope. We have hope as a gift from God and the more we interact with Scripture the more dynamic our hope.
This hope, this confident expectation, is bound up in the gospel that has been preached and is being preached to us and to everyone under heaven. Today, if you have not acquired this hope, why not acquire it today?
In Colossians 1:3-5, we find that our hope is actually laid up in store in heaven. There we find, “We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel.” Our hope is stored up in heaven because it is in Christ. He resurrected from the dead. He ascended to the Father. He is there making intercessions for us. Because of Him and all that He has done and is doing for us, our hope is sure and steadfast.
The truth is our hope is in Jesus. In Colossians 1:27 we find these marvelous words. “To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” As we see here in Col 1:27, this hope is in Jesus and therefore is in us because we are indwelt with Christ. He is in us and we are in Him.
In 1 Thessalonians 1:3, Paul wrote about patience of hope. In that context as in most contexts when the word patience is used, it refers to endurance. Our endurance to press on in the Christian life is inspired by the hope that we have in Christ. If you will read these words carefully, you will see that once again our hope is most definitely tied to the return of Christ.
We can also say here, Jesus is a better hope. We see that in Hebrews 7:19. “For the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.” The writer wrote of Jesus who is our better hope. The idea here is, regardless of what people may put their trust in, Jesus is better.
We also see this in 1 Timothy 1:1. “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope.” Jesus is our hope. The fact is Jesus is our hope and our hope is in Jesus. He is the salvation plan of God. He is not one of many ways. He is the way. There is one way; as Jesus said in John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”
There is one more item to consider here. In Acts 28:20 Paul spoke of Jesus being “the hope of Israel.” He calls Jesus “the hope of Israel” because Jesus is the fulfillment of all the Old Testament promises to Israel. The location of our hope is in Jesus because our hope is in Jesus.
In Romans 15:13 we find that our hope comes from God. “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. The idea within the phrase “God of hope” means out of the source of. God is the source of our hope. Also, Paul referred to God as the “God of hope” because He will fulfill all His promises. He has fulfilled many already in the first coming of our Lord and will fulfill the rest with the second coming of our Lord.
Because hope comes from Him and not from within ourselves, we have and can keep on having hope. In Acts 26:6-7, Luke recorded Paul’s confession in this way. “And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers. To this promise our twelve tribes, earnestly serving God night and day, hope to attain.”
Another passage that speaks of our hope is one of my favorite passages in the Bible, 1 Peter 1:3-5. Notice this continuous sentence by the Apostle Peter. He just keeps praising God for our living hope. “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, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
Our hope is a living hope because it comes from God and is enmeshed in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our assurance is as certain as the perfect sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus which is absolutely certain and will be fully revealed one day.
In Bible study, the law of first mention is an important Bible study principle. In the way we are studying the word, the very first time hope is mentioned is Acts 23:6. “But when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee; concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am being judged!” At that time, Paul the Apostle affirmed our hope, our confident conviction, is based on the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Adding to this we should say that our hope is founded on God; the fact that God cannot lie. We read about this in Titus 1:2 & Hebrews 6:18. “Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began” (Titus 1:1-2). “Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us” (Hebrews 6:17-18). Since God cannot lie, we know what He says in His Word is absolutely true. Therefore we “lay hold” of the hope that we have.
In Romans 4:16-18, we have a remarkable illustration of hope. Even though humanly and biologically speaking, there was every reason to believe that Abraham and Sarah could not have children, Abraham believed he would be the father of the nation of Israel because God promised him it would happen. Even though it did not seem possible when analyzed according to normal biological processes, Abraham believed. “Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.” Just as Abraham believed God because God cannot lie, we can also “lay hold upon” or “take hold of” hope in a very real and practical sense.
Tomorrow, we are Saved by Hope.
Possibly one of the best natural biblical pictures of hope is that found in 1 Corinthians 9:10. This verse speaks of the farmer and the reaper. “Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written, that he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope.”
We can relate to this because most, if not all, of us work in hope of a future paycheck. Maybe some of you are fortunate enough to get paid before you do the job. Most of us work in hope of a future reward.
To take this to the opposite extreme, let’s see our situation when we were lost and had no hope. In Ephesians 2:11-12 we see a five-fold description of our condition before we gave our lives to Christ. “That at that time (when we were lost) you 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.” In our lost condition we were …
A person without Christ and without hope has absolutely no expectation of anything good happening in the future. We know this is true because of where they are headed. Many if us can remember the dead-end we were on when we were lost. We had no hope.
The word for hope (elpis) is found 48 times in 15 different New Testament books. Over the next few days we will consider several of the ways “hope” is used in the New Testament. Walk today in the confidence that our hope is in Jesus. Tomorrow we will see The Foundation of Our Hope. Have a great day!