This is part two of a short series on hope. Part one was shared at Oak Hall in May; but I am aware that quite a few of us were not at Oak Hall, so I will re-cap on part one today as I lead into what I really want to communicate today about hope. There is a Power point presentation available either by clicking here or at the left side of the screen
There is also a recording of this session, which you can access here or at the bottom of the page.
I have a lot of very familiar verses to share with you today; but please don’t let the familiarity get in the way of fresh revelation.
I Corinthians 13:13 New Living Translation (NLT)
Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
It is important to note here that Paul ranks HOPE alongside faith and love. However, I have noticed in preaching, teaching, reading, and in listening to Christians talk that a lot more tends to be said about faith and love than about hope. I think (though this could just be me of course!) that this is because hope is a misunderstood concept. We mix up our “fond hopes”; vague thoughts and good ideas about what might be; with biblical hope, which is very certain.
When we read about hope in the NT we get quite a different picture of hope than we would hear in day-to-day conversations; especially in conversations with non-Christians. I am going to take us through some of the NT (and also a couple of OT) verses which talk about hope, over two sessions. I am expecting to set before you a clear picture of biblical hope, but still only to introduce a topic worthy of longer and deeper study.
I also want to introduce this topic through the words of a song (with thanks to Tim, who found the right song from a vague few lines that I remembered):
Jesus is king and I will extol Him
Give Him the glory, and honour His name
He reigns on high, enthroned in the heavens
Word of the Father, exalted for us
We have a hope that is steadfast and certain
Gone through the curtain and touching the throne
We have a Priest who is there interceding
Pouring His grace on our lives day by day
We come to Him, our Priest and Apostle
Clothed in His glory and bearing His name
Laying our lives with gladness before Him
Filled with His Spirit we worship the King
O Holy One, our hearts do adore You
Thrilled with Your goodness we give You our praise
Angels in light with worship surround Him
Jesus, our Saviour, forever the same
© 1982 Words Spirit of Praise Music: Wendy Churchill
I have a few passages that I want us to look at this morning, I realise each one is worthy of study in itself; but I want to paint a broad picture for you in these two sessions. I am going to try to paint a panorama – and leave it to each one of you to then paint in the detail for your own lives.
Where I am heading with this is to show us that we need just as much hope for the big picture of God’s plan for the future; as we need faith that the same plan will be worked out in our lives day-by-day. That, for me at least, is the key distinction between faith and hope – as Hebrews puts it in the AV “Faith is substance!” faith is now; whereas our hope is for what lies in the future.
OK, having given you a short introduction; let us embark on our journey through some NT scriptures about biblical hope.
Hebrews 6: 13-20 NLT
God’s Promises Bring Hope
For example, there was God’s promise to Abraham. Since there was no one greater to swear by, God took an oath in his own name, saying:
“I will certainly bless you, and I will multiply your descendants beyond number.”
Then Abraham waited patiently, and he received what God had promised.
Now when people take an oath, they call on someone greater than themselves to hold them to it. And without any question that oath is binding. God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind. So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.
Consider anchor: 2 types –
· In harbour in order to remain still
· For storms in order to prevent/reduce drifting off course due to currents and wind
Testimony: anchor = “hands off” Susie – kept praying but held off intervening even when she seemed in distress (because we heard and trusted God). She has now found a very personal faith and is going on with God.
Romans 8: 18 – 30 NLT
The Future Glory
Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)
And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.
Note: 1 John 3: 1 – 3 Our status as children of God and our hope; we already are; but what we shall be has yet to be revealed.
Note: Patience & Confidence – what happens when we lose them? – However, the arguments of both Romans and Hebrews link hope to confidence – perhaps if and only if we are certain of our hope will we be able to really gain our patience and confidence? Also – confidence is linked to our self-esteem, self-worth and our dignity.
Hebrews 7: 15-28 NLT
Jesus Is like Melchizedek
This change has been made very clear since a different priest, who is like Melchizedek, has appeared. Jesus became a priest, not by meeting the physical requirement of belonging to the tribe of Levi, but by the power of a life that cannot be destroyed. And the psalmist pointed this out when he prophesied,
“You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.”
Yes, the old requirement about the priesthood was set aside because it was weak and useless. For the law never made anything perfect. But now we have confidence in a better hope, through which we draw near to God.
This new system was established with a solemn oath. Aaron’s descendants became priests without such an oath, but there was an oath regarding Jesus. For God said to him,
“The Lord has taken an oath and will not break his vow:
‘You are a priest forever.’”
Because of this oath, Jesus is the one who guarantees this better covenant with God.
There were many priests under the old system, for death prevented them from remaining in office. But because Jesus lives forever, his priesthood lasts forever. Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.
He is the kind of high priest we need because he is holy and blameless, unstained by sin. He has been set apart from sinners and has been given the highest place of honor in heaven. Unlike those other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices every day. They did this for their own sins first and then for the sins of the people. But Jesus did this once for all when he offered himself as the sacrifice for the people’s sins. The law appointed high priests who were limited by human weakness. But after the law was given, God appointed his Son with an oath, and his Son has been made the perfect High Priest forever.
Romans 5: 1-11 NLT
Faith Brings Joy
Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.
Note: I don’t think we like how the NT links these things together very much:
Trials – endurance – character – HOPE & CONFIDENCE
Note: The New Covenant with The Holy Spirit as a deposit guarantees a sure and certain hope. The Holy Spirit is a guarantee – with no small print – He himself guarantees our HOPE and our INHERITANCE
Additional references for follow-up.
1 Peter 3: 15 & 16
Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ.
Hebrews 11: 1 & 2
Great Examples of Faith
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation.
Romans 4: 18 & 19
Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!” And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb.
Isaiah 33: 5 & 6
The LORD is exalted, for He dwells on high;
He has filled Zion with justice and righteousness.
And He will be the stability of your times,
A wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge;
The fear of the LORD is his treasure.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
But a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.