Abiding - A Trilogy - Book One: Triumphant Faith Book Two: Courageous Hope Book Three: Transforming Love “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” - 1 Corinthians 13:13 - Wednesday Evening Adult Study Winter Quarter 2006 – 2007 by Jody Broyles Class Schedule December 6 The Excellence of Hope December 13 The Character of Hope December 20 The Basis of Our Hope December 27 Abounding in Hope January 3 Abrahamic Hope January 10 Messianic Hope January 17 Hope in the Face of Tragedy January 24 When Hope is Gone January 31 False Hopes February 7 Hope That Does Not Disappoint February 14 Suffering in Hope February 21 The Message of Hope February 28 The Hope of Glory The Excellence of Hope “Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, Whose hope is in the Lord his God.” - Psalm 146:5 - Lesson 1 HOPE is the second of the trilogy of Christian graces mentioned in 1Corinthians 13:13, “And now abides faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” Appropriately placed in the middle, hope has the bookends of faith and love—triumphant faith serves as the foundation upon which hope is built and transforming love is the character of the life based on hope. Indeed, hope is a key ingredient to living a life for God and the cornerstone of all we do. 1. What is the result of life without hope? Explain. 2. Why use the adjective courageous before hope—in what way is hope courageous? Seen In The Abundance Of Blessings It Bestows Ä Joy & Peace – Romans 15:13 Ä Happiness – Psalm 146:5 Ä Security & Protection – Psalm 33:18-19 Ä Deliverance – Psalm 71:4-6 Ä Strength & Boldness – Psalm 31:24 Ä Comfort & Confidence – 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 Ä Rest & Joy – Psalm 16:9-11 Ä Grace – 1 Peter 1:13 Ä Eternal Life – Titus 3:4-7 3. This is certainly not an exhaustive list, what other blessings can you think of that come from having hope? Seen In The Adjectives Used To Describe It Ä Good Hope “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace” (2 Thessalonians 2:16). Ä 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” (1 Peter 1:3). Ä Blessed Hope “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). 4. What is the basis or foundation of the Christian’s living hope (cf. 1 Peter 1:3- 5)? How might a person have a dead hope? An Anchoring For The Storms Of Life “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. 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” (Hebrews 6:17-20). 5. In what way(s) does the analogy of an anchor help you to understand the excellence of hope? Conclusion: Hope, much like faith, is to be firmly placed in the God of heaven and His everlasting mercy and grace—as such; our hope should be undaunted, unwavering, undiminished and unassailable. Anchoring the Christian through all the storms of life is a living, vibrant, courageous hope. Some of the saddest words in the entire Bible were spoken by the Jews in Babylonian captivity: “Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off” (Ezekiel 37:11). Fortunately for them, the prophet was sent to tell them, “I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live” (Ezekiel 37:14). God gives hope, let us trust in Him! The Character of Hope “…hope that is seen is not hope;, for why does one still hope for what he sees? - Romans 8:24 - Lesson 2 Considering the excellence of hope (lesson #1), it becomes very important to understand what hope is and how it works in the life of a believer. If one were to pull out a concordance and run the references on hope, he would find that there are over 150 direct references to it, and the other thing that would become abundantly clear is that hope is not a passive acceptance, but an active reliance: Ä Hope changes how we see ourselves – We no longer view ourselves as permanent citizens of this earth, we see ourselves as temporary residents: “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul” (1 Peter 2:11, cf. 2 Peter 1:13; Philippians 3:20). Ä Hope changes what we value in life – We no longer consider this world’s goods as the most important attainment: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19-20; cf. Matt. 6:25-43, 16:26; Philippians 3:7-8). Ä Hope changes how we use our time and talents – We no longer live selfishly for ourselves, but we give ourselves in service to the Lord and His great cause: “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…In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother” (1 John 3:1, 10; cf. Romans 12:1-2; Titus 2:14). 1. If Christians are to be people anchored by a real heavenly hope, why do we so often resemble the people of this world? 2. How do the uses of our time, talents and treasures tell where our hope lies? Defining & Describing Hope The song by Ani DiFranco characterizes the view of some regarding hope: “Wishin', and hopin', and thinkin', and prayin', Planning and dreamin' each night of his charms. That won't get you into his arms…” Be assured though, it does not reflect the Biblical view of hope. Genuine Biblical hope is full of assurance, confidence and trust—actually, it is a commitment founded in reality. Ä The age old definition of hope is: DESIRE + EXPECTATION = HOPE 3. How does wishing differ from Biblical hope? Give an example of each. Ä Hope is used in two senses: § As a verb, the activity of hoping for a thing, often translated by the word “trust” – the verb form is followed by one of three Greek prepositions (eis – John 5:45; epi – 1 Timothy 4:10; en – 1 Corinthians 15:19). § As a noun, the object hoped for – i.e. salvation in 1 Thessalonians 5:8, resurrection in Acts 23:6, eternal life in Titus 3:7, et. al. Ä Another thing to note about hope is that it is 1) futuristic and 2) invisible: “For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, then we eagerly wait for it with perseverance” (Romans 8:24-25). 4. List some of the futuristic, invisible objects of a Christian’s hope. Hope Is Good, Positive & Affirming Ä Hope is upbeat. Ä Hope encourages Ä Hope gives strength Ä Hope buoys us up when others are down. Ä Hope is bright in its outlook. Ä Hope rallies the forces into action. Ä Hope holds on when the world seems to give way. Conclusion: Hope is a great thing to live with and a terrible thing to be without in this life! The Basis of Our Hope “…God, who cannot lie, promised before time began” - Titus 1:2 Lesson 3 Since hope has been defined as a “strong desire coupled with sincere expectation,” it is quite natural to ask “What is the basis of such hope?” It is easy to see how people would desire such things as joy, peace, security, forgiveness, salvation, heaven, etc. (all things talked about in Lesson #1), but why would they ever expect to receive them? 1. Can a 6’3” girl really hope to be a petite 5’2”? Explain. It Is Not Based Upon Me Ä Perfection is out of the question “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Ä Not enough good works to earn it “So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do” (Luke 17:10). Ä Not enough money to buy it “‘The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,’ says the Lord of hosts” (Haggai 2:8). 2. Why is it such a great relief to know that my hope is not based upon me? It Is Based Entirely Upon God When God enters the picture, everything radically changes! Thanks be unto God, our hope is not based on our own efforts or activities, but solely on Him! “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” (Hebrews 6:19-20). The characteristics of God show us that our hope in Him is “sure and steadfast.” Ä His power – He is able to do anything! “But Jesus looked at them and said to them, ‘With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). Ä His sovereignty – He is the ruler of everything! “Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises! For God is King of all the earth; Sing praises with understanding” (Psalm 47:6-7) 3. What role do power and sovereignty play in anchoring our hope? List an example or two showing God’s power and sovereignty at work regarding our spiritual forefathers. Ä His truthfulness – He can not ever lie! “Paul, a servant of God and an apostles of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which is according to godliness, in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began” (Titus 1:1-2). Ä His mercy – He always acts with mercy! “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” (1 Peter 1:3). Ä His patience – He is longsuffering! “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). 4. What would be the awful consequence of our hope if God was impatient with us? Ä His love – He is governed by amazing love! “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!...” (1 John 3:1) Ä His trustworthiness – He can always be counted on! Psalm 119:89-91 “Forever, Lord, Your word is settled in heaven. Your faithfulness endures to all generations; You established the earth, and it abides” (Psalm 119:89-90). Conclusion: Since God is sure and steadfast, “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast” (Hebrews 6:19). God is the basis of our hope and “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17); thus our faith should not ever waiver! Abounding in Hope “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.” - Romans 15:13 - Lesson 4 The hope we can have in God is both broad and deep—His ways are exhaustive! As a result, we are able to “abound in hope” (Romans 15:13). We are not left here on this earth to wander around in ankle-deep hope; we are able to plunge in, fully immersing ourselves, and refreshing our souls. This is a very general lesson; in it we are going to list some of the things for which we can hope. Later lessons will explore some of these items in much greater detail… A Baker’s Dozen Of Things To Hope For Ä Deliverance from death – Psalm 16:9-11, 33:18-22 Ä Deliverance from enemies – Psalm 71:4-6 Ä Spiritual restoration – Jeremiah 31:15-17 1. In this dark time in Israel’s history (in Babylonian captivity), Jeremiah is given words of hope and comfort regarding spiritual restoration. What was his reaction to the news (cf. Jeremiah 31:23-26)? 2. How, or in what way(s), does this serve as an analogy for us today in our relationship with God? Ä Eternal life – Titus 1:1-2, 3:4-7 Ä Fruit from spiritual endeavors – 1 Thessalonians 2:17-20 Ä God’s protective presence – Psalm 33:20-22 Ä Righteousness – Galatians 5:5 Ä God’s grace to be given – 1 Peter 1:13-16 3. Since grace is completely undeserved, why should we hope for it? In other words, what is the basis of our hope in God’s grace to be given to us? Ä Redemption of our bodies – Romans 8:18-25 Ä Resurrection of the dead – Acts 24:13-15 4. Explain Ecclesiastes 3:11 and what bearing it has regarding hope in the resurrection of the dead? Ä Return of Jesus Christ – Titus 2:11-13 5. Read 2 Peter chapter 3. What has been the reaction of some regarding the return of Jesus? In light of Peter’s teaching, how much hope can we have in the Lord’s return? Explain. Ä Sharing in God’s glory – Romans 5:1-2 Ä Heaven – Colossians 1:3-5 6. As the song says, “Won’t it be wonderful there!” How does a courageous hope in heaven show itself in the life of a believer? Rely On God Possibly the most amazing thing about all this is that God wants us to have all these blessings—He is not stingy. He so wants us to have them that He helps us every step of the way and encourages us to lean on Him so He can strengthen our hearts. “Oh, love the Lord, all you His saints! For the Lord preserves the faithful, And fully repays the proud person. Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart, All you who hope in the Lord.” - Psalm 31:23-24 Conclusion: Wow, what a wonderful list of blessings for the child of God!!! Keep in mind that our hope is not founded on our own merit, but on the grace, mercy, and love of God. If it were left up to ourselves, we would be hopeless, but when God enters the picture, everything brightens with hope. Abrahamic Hope “[Abraham] who, contrary to hope, in hope believed…” - Romans 4:18 - Lesson 5 The patriarch Abraham, who serves as the “father” of the faithful, also serves as a “father” of the hopeful. When we examined the life of Abraham last quarter (Triumphant Faith), we saw that his faithful life of obedience was “accounted to him for righteousness” (Romans 4:3). As we examine his life in this lesson we will see how his hope was also rewarded. He Hoped Against Hope “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, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though 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.’ And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform” - Romans 4:16-21 1. Go back and read Genesis 15:1-5. What did God promise Abraham? 2. From a physical standpoint, what two reasons would make it seem foolish for Abraham to hope that such a promise would be fulfilled? § § 3. Read Genesis 18:9-15. What was Sarah’s reaction to the news of this promise? What does the name Isaac mean? 4. How was Abraham able to hope (desire + expectation); in other words, what was the foundation or basis for Abraham’s hope (cf. Heb. 11:1)? Following Abraham’s Example Of Hopefulness Ä Shunamite woman – 2 Kings 4:18-31 Ä Woman with a hemorrhage – Matthew 9:20-22 5. In what way(s) does this woman’s hopeful faith resemble that of Abraham? Ä Father of a demon-possessed son – Luke 9:37-42 Ä Ten lepers – Luke 17:11-19 Making Application Of His Example To Our Lives Today Ä God promises forgiveness of sins – It is almost incomprehensible to hope that every foul word we’ve ever spoken, every mean-spirited or thoughtless deed we’ve ever done, every cruel and calculating plan we’ve ever hatched, every sexual indiscretion, every act of defiance, every sin…have all been forgiven by the sacrifice of Jesus. “In Him [Jesus Christ] we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence” (Ephesians 1:7-8). Ä God promises a brand new start – Although it seems too good to be true, our past can truly be our past when we come to Christ. He allows us to have a brand new start, a “do-over”! “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Ä God promises His grace – Even though there is absolutely no way we earn it or deserve it, God showers His grace (unmerited favor) on us. We do not have to earn our way to heaven with good works (we could never do that), but God reaches down to us in love and mercy in extending His grace. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Ä God promises heaven – The unending and glorious heavenly shore is awaiting those who have been washed in the blood of the Lamb. Eternal bliss in the home of the soul where there will be no pain, suffering, tears, sorrow or death ever again! “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2). 6. How can we display Abrahamic hope in the four above-mentioned items? Conclusion: Although things seemed hopeless, Abraham still hoped & believed. Does your hope resemble Abraham’s? Messianic Hope “I know that Messiah is coming… When He comes, He will tell us all things.” - John 4:25 - Lesson 6 For years and years (centuries actually) the people of God looked for the Messiah to come and deliver them. The Messiah is the instrument by whom God’s kingdom is to be established in Israel and in the world. The hope of a personal deliverer is thus inseparable from the wider hope that runs through the OT. The Jews were a nation who lived in the future. In this respect they stand alone among the peoples of antiquity. No nation ever cherished such strong expectations of a good time coming, or clung more tenaciously amid defeat and disaster to the certainty of final triumph over all enemies and of entrance upon a state of perfect peace and happiness. - I.S.B.E., “Messiah,” p. 2039 Messiah means “anointed” and is equivalent to Christ. It is sometimes used of prophets and kings in the Old Testament, but has a special significance as the future deliverer of Israel. All Jews rested their hope in the Messiah of God who would come and redeem them. 1. How does the use of the term Messiah (which referred to kings and priests) help to describe the role of Jesus, the Messiah of God? Looking For The Messiah Ä The very first promise: “And I will put enmity between you and woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” - Genesis 3:15 Ä Abraham’s covenant promise: “…I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” - Genesis 12:2-3 2. How, or in what way, were all the families of the earth blessed? Prophetic Descriptions Of The Coming Messiah Ä He would come in the days of the Roman Empire – Daniel 2:44 Ä He would be preceded by a forerunner – Isaiah 40:3; Micah 3:1 Ä He would be born in Bethlehem – Micah 5:2 Ä He will issue forth His word from Jerusalem – Isaiah 2:3 Ä He will be born of a virgin – Isaiah 7:14 Ä He will be a descendent of King David – Isaiah 11:1-2 Ä He would be a Prophet, speaking the words of God – Deuteronomy 18:15, 18 Ä He would be betrayed by a friend – Psalm 41:9 Ä He would be given up for 30 pieces of silver – Zechariah 11:12-13 Ä He would be forsaken by His disciples – Zechariah 13:7 Ä His hands and feet would be pierced – Psalm 22:16 Ä He would be ridiculed in His death – Psalm 22:7, 109:25 Ä He would suffer all alone – Psalm 22:1 Ä He would be resurrected back to life – Psalm 16:10 3. Who is the One who fulfills all of these prophecies and hundreds more? Is there any doubt whatsoever? 4. Why were the Jews of Jesus’ day so ignorant as to who He was and what He was doing? Two Examples Re: The Messiah Excitement – John 1:40-42 “One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which is translated, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus…” Anticipation – John 4:25 “The woman said to Him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming’ (who is called Christ). ‘When He comes, He will tell us all things.’” Conclusion: Jesus fulfilled every O.T. prophecy regarding the Messiah—He is the Anointed Deliverer! Hope in the Face of Tragedy “…the righteous has a refuge in his death.” - Proverbs 14:32 - Lesson 7 Have you seen the news reels of Pearl Harbor during and immediately after being bombed by the Japanese? The destruction of property and loss of human life was sickening. The looks on people’s faces were that of complete shock and fear. What should they do? How could they make sense of things? In the wake of such a tragedy, many felt abject hopelessness. Advance several decades… The morning of September 11, 2001 was another such day. I’m sure you can remember where you were and what you were doing when you learned of the terrible tragedy of that day—I was in Keith Spurlock’s barber chair. The looks on the faces of the people of New York was similar in appearance—shock and fear. As the news was broadcast across this country and around the world, a sense of utter hopelessness gripped many. Yet, it doesn’t have to be on a national scale to make it tragic… - Look in the eyes of a mother whose child was abducted. - Hear it in the voice of a father of three whose wife was killed by a drunk driver. - See it in the downcast walk of the man who lost his job due to corporate takeover or plant closure. - Sit beside the one who just got horrible news from their oncologist. - Hold the trembling hands of the one whose loved one is suffering from Alzheimer’s. 1. Comment on Job’s statement in Job 14:1. Was Job just being pessimistic? How true are his words here? Responding to Tragedy with Hope Ä A look at Israelite history 2. When Israel was in Egyptian bondage, what did God do for them? 3. When Israel faced a stronger, more fortified nation already residing in the land of Canaan, what did God do for them? 4. When Israel was in Babylonian captivity, what did God do for them? 5. How do the above and countless other similar examples help us to respond to tragedy with hope? Ä A look at some of the promises of God 6. What does the Lord promise in Matthew 11:28-30? 7. What does He promise in Hebrews 13:5-6? 8. What does God promise in Proverbs 14:32? 9. What does Jesus promise in John 8:51? 10. What does the Holy Spirit promise through David in Psalm 15? 11. How do these and so many other promises give us hope in times of tragedy? A Final Thought To Inspire You To Hope “For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, then we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Sprit Himself makes intercession for us with groaning which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:24-27). 12. What does the Holy Spirit do for us when we are weak and do not even know how to pray? How does this inspire us to hope, even in times of tragedy? Conclusion: The people of God have never been immune to tragedy! In fact, there is even a promise that those who live for God will face trials (2 Timothy 3:12). We need to look back at the history of God’s people through the centuries and be encouraged with hope by the way that God delivered them over and over again. We also need to rest in the abundance of promises God has made to the faithful. God is living today, God is abiding today, God is protecting today, and God welcomes those who are His into the heavenly realm. Hope in God, He will never let you down! When Hope is Gone “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.” - Proverbs 13:12 - Lesson 8 Possibly the saddest words in the entire Bible are found in Jeremiah 8:20: “The harvest is past, The summer is ended, And we are not saved!” Every word echoes a minor chord. Emptiness rings out. Unfulfilled potential! Discouragement is heard. A certain pathetic hopelessness settles over the passage like a eerie fog rolling down off the mountains. Harvest, a time of rejoicing and festivities—too late, it is already past. Summer, a time of new life, growth and vitality—sorry, it has already ended. How sad that even after all that time—two seasons—they still were not saved. 1. Who is the prophet talking about in this verse? Why does he feel their situation is so hopeless? 2. How does the prophet feel about their situation (cf. Jer. 8:21-9:2)? What other book does this prophet write which graphically shows his attitude? Situations That Looked Hopeless Ä Israelites before the Red Sea – Exodus 14:10-12, 21-29 Ä Israelite spies report of Canaanites – Numbers 13:26-33; Joshua 6-12 Ä City of Dothan surrounded – 2 Kings 6:8-15, 16-23 Ä Hezekiah facing Sennacherib’s threat – 2 Kings 19:14-19, 35-37 Ä The widow of Nain’s son’s funeral – Luke 7:11-13, 14-17 Ä The epileptic boy & his father – Matthew 17:14-16, 17-21 Ä Jesus placed in the tomb – Luke 23:44-53, 24:1-6 3. What was the one element that changed each of these “hopeless” situations? 4. Can the introduction of that same “one element” change our apparently hopeless situations today? Explain. A Truly Hopeless Situation Man without God is truly hopeless! “Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— that at that time 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.” - Ephesians 2:11-12 5. Who is Paul talking about in this passage? Does this mean that they are destined to forever have “no hope”? Explain. How Does One Gain Hope In God? Jesus receives sinful men! He called out for all those who were “weary and heavy- laden” (Matthew 11:28, NAS); that is, all who were burdened by sin and the hopelessness of resolving it on our own. In the very next verse we are told that His call of welcome was so that we would be given “rest for your souls.” Ä We must first come to Jesus seeking His help – Matthew 11:28-30 Ä We come to Him because of our belief that He is God’s Son, the Messiah – John 8:24 Ä We are moved by this firm conviction to repent and change our lives – Luke 13:3 Ä We confess our faith in Him – Matthew 10:32-33 Ä We submit to baptism—a burial of the old self & raising of the new – Mark 16:16 Ä We daily live in the joys of His grace – 1 John 1:7 Conclusion: The ONLY SITUATION which is truly hopeless in this life is when a man or woman purposely and defiantly chooses to live without God. If they continue that course, an eternity in a devil’s hell is their eventual fate. Yet, thanks be to God that He has provided the needed sacrifice in my place…if I will change my stubborn ways and submit to God, I can have the confident hope of spending eternity in glorious home of heaven! False Hopes “Do not trust in a friend; Do not put your confidence in a companion…” - Micah 7:5 - Lesson 9 Do you remember ever getting your hopes all built up that you would get a certain item for Christmas and it wasn’t under the tree? Have you ever sat around waiting for the phone to ring and it didn’t? When was the last time you put your confidence in someone and they let you down? Were you hoping to hear good news from your doctor? Did you expect to see different numbers on the financial page? All of these were built on false hope. We may have had the greatest of intentions and the strongest of desire, but still they failed us and let us down. Channels Of Hope To Which Some Are Tuned Ä Money – Luke 12:16-21 “…The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” 1. Why do so many set their hope on wealth & money? How sure is it? Ä Military strength – Isaiah 31:1 “Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, and rely on horses, who trust in chariots because they are many, and in horsemen because they are very strong, but who do not look to the Holy One of Israel, nor seek the Lord!” 2. How was it that Israel continually relied on the strength of their “allies” when God was the greatest ally anyone could ever have? Ä Beauty & Charm – Proverbs 31:30-31 “Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates.” Ä Intellect – 1 Corinthians 1:19, 25 “For it is written: ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.’ … Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” Ä Friends – Micah 7:5 “Do not trust in a friend; do not put your confidence in a companion… Therefore I will look to the Lord, I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me.” Ä Family connections – Philippians 3:4-5 “…If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews…” Ä Works of merit – Philippians 3:4-6 “…concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.” 3. What does the following statement say about one’s hope: “I hope I’ve done enough so that when my time is up, I can go to heaven.”? Ä Spiritual heritage – Matthew 3:7-9 “But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, ‘Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our father.” For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.’” The Sure And Solid Remedy “Thus says the Lord: ‘Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; But let him who glories glory in this; That he understands and knows Me, That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,’ says the Lord.” - Jeremiah 9:23-24 Conclusion: If the platform of our hope is anyone other than the Lord or anything other than His Word, we have established a false hope and will be severely disappointed in this life and the life to come. Hope in God, develop a relationship with God; He will never disappoint! Hope That Does Not Disappoint “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts…” - Romans 5:5 - Lesson 10 Last week’s lesson examined “false hopes,” and it was noted that every one of them leads to failure. Hope in the wrong things or in the wrong people is terribly disappointing, but when one puts his hope in God, he will never be disappointed. 1. Why is it that all those who hope in God will not be disappointed? 2. There is a caveat to the above—how can a person hope in God and yet still be disappointed (cf. Isaiah 1:10-20; John 8:31-47; et. al.)? Promises To Those Who Hope In God Ä Preservation, courage & strength – Psalm 31:23-24 “Oh, love the Lord, all you His saints! For the Lord preserves the faithful, And fully repays the proud person. Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart, All you who hope in the Lord.” Ä God’s listening ear – Psalm 38:15 “For in You, O Lord, I hope; You will hear, O Lord my God.” Ä God’s mercy & redemption – Psalm 130:7 “Oh Israel, hope in the Lord; For with the Lord there is mercy, And with Him is abundant redemption.” Ä Productivity, no fear & no anxiety – Jeremiah 17:7-8 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, And whose hope is in the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit.” Ä Eternal life – Titus 1:1-2, 3:7 “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…that having been justified by grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” 3. How is it that God is able to “pull off” all of these things and so much more? Hope Of The Resurrection Chapter 15 of 1 Corinthians is the great chapter of the resurrection! Paul’s argument goes something like this…(1) The apostles preached that Jesus was raised from the dead, (2) Some Christians were saying there was no such thing as a resurrection of the dead, (3) If that is true, then Christ did not raise up, (4) Thus the apostles would be false witnesses, (5) Their faith would be useless, (6) They would still be in their sins, (7) Those who have already died before Jesus’ return would have perished, and (8) We are a miserable lot who have hoped in Christ. [Read 1 Corinthians 15:12-19.] But the fact of the matter is “Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep…Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”” (1 Corinthians 15:20, 51-52). 4. “How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?” (See 1 Corinthians 15:35-49) 5. What is the basis of this sure hope in our future resurrection? 6. In Acts 23, while testifying before the Jewish Supreme Court, Paul caused a great disturbance over what issue? Why was the court so divided? Conclusion: If we believe God and fully trust in Him, our hope of salvation, peace, guidance, comfort, and eternal bliss will never be disappointed. In this ever-changing world affix your hope to God and know that He will never let you down. Suffering in Hope “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials.” - 1 Peter 1:6 - Lesson 11 Peter is sometimes referred to as “the apostle of hope.” Paul wrote about “faith” and John wrote about “love,” but the subject of hope is central to Peter’s writing. This lesson will be a survey of the book of 1 Peter… 1. Who does Peter write his letter to? What is their relationship to God? What is their relationship to the world (1:1; 2:11-12)? Christians Have A Living Hope Ä Born again to this living hope through the abundant mercy of God. 2. What is the difference between a living hope and a dead hope? Ä Basis of our hope—the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead! § The resurrection was a constant theme of 1st century preaching – Acts 2:22-24, 3:13-15, 4:9-10, 5:29-30, et. al. § It demonstrates God’s power – Ephesians 1:19-20. § God promises to raise all Christians – 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 Ä End result of our hope—heaven! Ä An inheritance (“Someone died and left you a fortune!”) - Incorruptible - Undefiled - Unfading 3. Contrast the differences between our spiritual inheritance and an earthly or physical inheritance. Ä Reserved in heaven - We are kept by the power of God – Ephesians 3:20-21 - We are kept through faith – 1 John 5:4 Christians Can Endure Suffering Ä Although Christians have this strong hope of future glory, at this time they are being “grieved by various trials” (1:6). Ä Yet the child of God can endure and “rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory” (1:8). 4. How can a child of God “rejoice with joy inexpressible” during times of extreme hardship (take a look at Romans 8:16-18 for further commentary on this)? (From 1:13 through the end of the book, Peter gives the practical side of how we are to conduct our lives since we have this living hope. He covers a vast array of subjects, but we will just briefly examine each of his “Therefore” statements.) Therefore… Ä “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to brought to you…as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance…be holy in all your conduct…” (1:13-16). 5. How does one “rest his hope fully”? What does this say obviously say about some people and the hope they have? What should be done to correct it? Ä “ Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that your may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious” (2:1-3). Ä Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evil doers and for the praise of those who do good” 2:13-14). Ä “Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of the men, but for the will of God” (4:1-2). Ä “Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator” (4:19). Ä “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (5:6-7). Conclusion: We live in a world that is antagonistic toward God—at times Christians suffer tremendous challenges and setbacks. We need to keep our focus on heaven and endure so we can experience the joys of heaven in the afterwhile. The Message of Hope “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son…” - John 3:16 - Lesson 12 There are so many people in this world barely making it through life each day—they plod along gripped with grief, saddled with sadness, weighted down with worry, doused with disappointments, or suffocated by their own sins. Many in the world try to avoid them saying, “Oh well, I’ve got my own problems to deal with, I don’t have time to help you out with yours.” 1. Although we might not ever say the above quote, what ways do we often show the world that we are not concerned about their troubles? We have the great privilege of being Christ’s stewards here on this earth and we have been entrusted with the message: “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints.” - Jude 3 2. Who has the responsibility of sharing this message with world? If they don’t do it, who will? Content of the Hopeful Message Observation in life and clear Bible teaching show that it all starts out rather bleak and hopeless: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Job said it this way, “Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble. He comes forth like a flower and fades away; he flees like a shadow and does not continue” (Job 14:1-2). 3. Was Job overstating or exaggerating the case? Was Paul? Explain. The message of hope is that anyone can be forgiven by the God we’ve offended: “…the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Ä Jesus invites us – Matthew 11:28-30 Ä We can come boldly to the throne – Hebrews 4:14-16 Ä God paid the price – John 3:16 Ä We can be forgiven & receive grace – Ephesians 2:4-9 Ä We have heaven to look forward to – Colossians 1:3-5 4. How can we better convey the hopefulness of the message to the people of this world? Why do we often make it sound so restrictive rather than so emancipating? The “good news” about this hopeful message is that Jesus has already paid the price; He has already done the work! If it were left up to us, we would all fall woefully short for none of us measure up. As the perfect Lamb of God (John 1:29), Jesus paid the price by His vicarious sacrifice on Calvary’s cross. I have hope, not because of what I’ve done, but because of who He is and what He’s done for me! To Whom does the Hopeful Message Appeal? Ä Murderers can be forgiven – Acts 2:36-39 “‘Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.’ Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?’ Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’” Ä Immoral can be forgiven – 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” Ä Workers of deceit can be forgiven – Acts 19:18-20 “And many who believed came confessing and telling their deeds. Also, many of those who practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.” Ä All are welcome – Matthew 11:28-30; John 3:16; Revelation 22:17 Conclusion: The glorious message of the gospel of Christ is bursting with hope. It is a message of hope from opening to close. All of the good things of this world and all of the good news of this world can not even begin to compare to the hopeful, soul-satisfying message of the gospel of Christ—you can be forgiven of everything you’ve ever done & you can be assured that heaven is waiting for you! The Hope of Glory “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself…” - John 14:3 - Lesson 13 Everything we’ve spoken of this entire quarter leads up to this final lesson for the Christian’s ultimate hope is that of glory (heaven). This earth is just not enough; our eternal spirit within each of us cries out for satisfaction and fulfillment in land beyond the grave. God informs us that we have an inheritance awaiting—a wonderful home for the soul. 1. What does the word inheritance signify to you? 2. What has to happen for an inheritance to kick in? How does this concept apply to our spiritual inheritance through Christ? Old Testament Saints Looked For An Inheritance Ä Abraham looked – Acts 7:2-5 Ä Jews in Egyptian bondage looked – Exodus 15:14-17, 32:11-13 Ä Moses longed for the inheritance – Deuteronomy 3:23-26 3. Read Deut. 34:1-8. What did Moses get to do before he died? Did Moses receive an inheritance? Ä Joshua looked and led them in – Joshua 3:1-17 Ä Jews after captivity looked – Isaiah 65:8-10; Zechariah 8:11-13 Ä They even looked beyond the physical land – Hebrews 11:13-16 New Testament Saints Look For An Inheritance “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions, if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” - John 14:1-3 “Now I saw a new heaven and new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” - Revelation 21:1-4 4. How would you describe the inheritance that awaits us? Characteristics Of Our Inheritance Ä It is reserved for those who are “in Christ” – 1 Peter 1:3-5; Ephesians 1:11-14 Ä It is unseen & beyond the grave – Romans 8:24-25; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 5. Does a Christian have to wait until death to experience any of the blessings of Christianity? Explain. Ä It is designed by God – Ephesians 1:11 Ä It is sure and certain (God’s part) – Romans 5:5; Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18-19 Ä It can be forfeited (man’s part) – Colossians 1:23; Hebrews 10:35-39 Implication Of The Hope Of Glory Ä It promotes joyful living – Romans 12:12 Ä It promotes endurance & steadfast living – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 Ä It promotes holiness & purity – 1 John 3:3 6. What other things can you think of that are promoted by the hope of glory? Conclusion: Before God ever created man, He had a plan to redeem him. If it were not for the forethought and planning of God, man would be without hope. If it were not for the love and grace of God, man would be without hope. If it were not for the patience and mercy of God, man would be without hope. Thanks be unto God for giving us hope through Jesus Christ—a hope of future glory in heaven!