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Hope

Introduction

"Hope" is so important to a human being, that when it is lost, people just lay down and die. William Frankl, the Father of Logotherapy, saw this truth while in a Nazi concentration camp. Those who lost all hope of ever getting out, died. Those who kept their hope and planned on what they would do when they got out, lived. When hope dies in the human heart, the mind and the will to live cease functioning. God has so created us that we must hope in order to live.

What holds for the individual also applies to a family and to a church. When people give up all hope that their family or church will succeed, that family or church will die. But as long as there is hope, there will be life. Thus faith, hope and love constitute the heartbeat of a person, a family and a church. Just as we would physically die without them, a church will spiritually die without them. The same applies to the spirit of a nation. If the "American dream," which is hope, ever dies, our nation will die.

 

  1. The Meaning of "Hope"
     
    1. Even though hope is often connected with faith and love, we must not confuse these three different things (I Cor. l3:l3).
       
      • Hope: Concerns the Future (Rom. 8:23-24)
      • Faith: Concerns the Past and Present (Rev. l:5-6)
      • Love: Concerns the Present (I Cor. l3)

    2. While the modern meaning of the word "hope" implies uncertainty and merely wishing for something which may or may not happen, the Greek word used by the authors of the New Testament was a word which implied absolute certainty. There was no vagueness or uncertainty connected with this word. The New Testament meaning of the word "hope" is:

      The inner attitude of joyful and confident expectation and anticipation that everything God has promised in His Word will come to pass.

      1. "Inner Attitude:" The way of mentally viewing and responding to life.
      2. "Joyful and Confident:" Positive, victorious, assured, inspires joy, stability, etc.
      3. "Expectation and Anticipation:" Plan on it and enjoy it now by foretaste.
      4. "That everything God has promised in His Word will come to pass:" What the Bible says about our future will happen.
  2. The Attributes of Hope

    TEXT

    THE ATTRIBUTES OF HOPE

     

    Heb. 7:l9  

     

    A Better Hope

     

     Pet. l:3

     

    A Living Hope

     

    Titus 2:l3

     

    A Blessed Hope

     

    I John 3:2-3

     

    A Purifying Hope

     

    II Thess. 2:l6

     

    A Good Hope

     

    I Tim. l:l

     

    A Christ-Centered Hope

     

    Rom. 5:5

     

    A Hope Which Does Not Disappoint

     

    Heb. 6:l8

     

    A Hope Set Before Us (In the Gospel) (Col. l:23)

     

    Heb. 6:l9

     

    A Sure and Steadfast Anchor of the Soul

     

    I Cor. l3:l3

     

    An Abiding Hope

  3. The Fruit of Hope

    What does "hope" do for us in terms of practical living? Of what benefit is hope? How does it help us to live the Christian life?

    Christian hope produces perseverance and steadfastness in the face of trials, tiredness and temptation (Rom. 4:l8; I Thess. l:3; II Thess. 2:l6-l7; Heb. 3:6; 6:7-l2; l8-20; l0:23).

     

    Why do people stop growing and going in the Christian life?

    Answer -

    • Trials: Personal, family, church, financial, etc.
    • Tiredness: Physical, emotional, spiritual.
    • Temptation: To pursue personal pleasure, wealth, fame, acceptance of the world, etc.

     

    Why should trials, tiredness or temptations affect us?

    Answer- When we become "self-centered" and begin to dwell on present problems instead of dwelling on future blessings and build our security and joy around temporal objects or people, the grace of hope withers within us.

    Since perseverance and steadfastness depend on a strong living hope in us in which our view of the future affects the way we respond to the present, a weakened hope will weaken our dedication to persevere in the Christian life.

     

    WHAT IS THE GOAL OF LIFE ITSELF? FOR WHAT SHOULD I LIVE?

    Answer - The Glory of God (I Cor. l0:3l)

    The development of Christ-like character qualities in my life (Rom. 8:29; Rom. 5:3- 5; James 1:2-4; II Pet. l:3-9: Matt. 5:3- l6, etc.)

    1. Hope is essential to the development of our character (Rom. 5:2-5).
    2. The fruit of the Spirit comes from hope (Joy, peace, faith: Rom. l5:l3; Col. l:4-5).
    3. The ability to rejoice in the midst of trials comes from hope (Rom. 5:2-3; l2:l2; James l:2).
    4. Boldness in our witness comes from hope (II Cor. 3:l2; I Pet. 3:l5).
    5. We should derive strong encouragement from our hope (Heb. 6:l8).
    6. Hope is our helmet in the armor of God (I Thess. 5:8).

    HOPE GIVES US THE POWER TO LIVE THE CHRISTIAN LIFE!!

  4. THE FOCUS OF HOPE

    So what does hope look? Just as faith can focus on the past and love will focus on thepresent, hope should focus on the future.

    THE FUTURE - Things yet Unseen and Experienced

    OUR FUTURE BLESSINGS

    1. Revelation (Rom. 8:l9)
    2. Liberation (Rom. 8:l9-21)
    3. Vindication (Rom. 8:23)
    4. Vivification (Rom. 8:23)
      1. Our resurrection (Acts 23:6 24:l5; 26:6-7)
      2. Eternal Life (Titus l:2; 3:7)
    5. Justification (Gal. 5:5; Phil. 3:9)
    6. Glorification (Col. l:27; Rom. 8:30)

     

    THE GLORIOUS RETURN OF CHRIST

  5. THE BASIS OF OUR HOPES

    Upon what do we base our hopes for the future? What are the grounds of our hope? Where is the warrant for our hope?

    1. It is sadly possible to have ill-founded hopes (Matt. 7:2l-23). Ill-founded hopes.
      1. "A mere profession of faith is sufficient."
      2.  "My religious works will get me to Heaven."
      3. "There is no need for a personal relationship with Christ."

    2. It is possible to have a firm and secure hope (Heb. 6:l9).

    3. We must have our hopes on the following:
      1. A reliable document:  The Word of God, Scripture, the Gospel, (Col. l:5,23; Tit. l:2-3) the Word of Truth
      2. A Historical Guarantee: Christ's resurrection (I Pet. l:3,2l; Acts l7:30-3l).

     

  6. HOW TO INCREASE YOUR HOPE
     
    1. Realize that God wants you to "overflow" with hope. There are degrees of hopefulness. We should strive to increase hope within us (Rom. l5:l3).

    2. Recognize that all well-grounded hope comes from God. Thus you must look to the God from whom hope comes (Rom. l5:l3). "The God of Hope"

    3. "O, God of Hope, make me to abound in hope. Increase the amount of hope within me."

    4. In faith, ask God for the filling of the Spirit (Rom. l5:l3).
      1. "Fill you" (Aorist tense) an act of God, not a process.
      2. "Joy and Peace:" Two of the "fruits" of "walking in the Spirit" i.e., being spirit filled (Gal. 5:l6,22,25; Eph. 5:l8).
      3. "In Believing" (Present Infinitive) A constant activity of exercising faith, not one act but an abiding activity.
      4. "In order that you may overflow with hope" - "Overflow:" (Present Infinitive) A constant overflowing going on all the time. Not one act but a continuous experience.
      5. "By the power of the Holy Spirit" - Instrumental clause telling us how we overflow with hope. By the power of the Spirit, we can have this experience.

    5. As "Endurance" or "Perseverance" in the Christian life arise out of hope, your endurance of trials, tiredness and temptations will, in turn, give rise to more hope (Rom. l5:4).

       

      "Through endurance...We might have hope."

      1. Hope Endurance Hope Endurance Hope, etc. (Rom. 5:3).
      2. "We might have hope" (Present active subjunctive)

         

        Not just one infusion of hope, but a constant increasing of hope.

        "We should be constantly having more hope."

    6. To "Overflow" with hope, we must derive much encouragement from the Scriptures (Rom. l5:4).

      What does "encouragement" mean?

      To take someone aside to give them comfort, encouragement or consolation.

  7. HOW CAN SCRIPTURE ENCOURAGE US?
     
    1. By assuring us of God's faithfulness which does not depend on our faithfulness to Him (Heb. l3:3-6; I Thess. 5:24; II Thess. 3:3; I John l:9).

    2. By reminding us of man's fickleness - the best of saints had besetting sins which they never conquered. "All idols have clay feet." There is no such thing as "perfection," "victorious living," "total sanctification" in this life.
      • Abraham's Problem: Lying
      • David's Problem: Lust
      • Peter's Problem: Cowardice
      • Paul's Problem: Anger

 

Conclusion

Only Biblical Christianity can give us a well-grounded and secure hope concerning the future. Western culture has reaped untold benefits from the Scriptural hope that the good will triumph over the evil in the end; the wicked will be punished and the righteous vindicated and rewarded; that justice will triumph in the end.

The only alternative is the ugliness of existentialism which has the evil triumphing over the good; the wicked set free and the righteous destroyed. Hopelessness and despair are the only things which humanism offers us.

As Christians we know that we shall live "happily ever after." We look forward to a new earth wherein no evil shall dwell.

But the non-Christian does not have any well-grounded hopes for the future. He can look forward only to what Heb. l0:27,29,3l; l2:29, describes.

We need a mighty Hope which enables us to face anything in this life because we know what the life to come will bring.

 

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