The Foundation of Hope
(ILLUS) Last Tuesday began as a normal day in the life of ministry…
Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But /when/ the desire comes, /it is/ a tree of life.
Without hope the heart gets sick….
And there are many things that can defer hope, or sidetrack hope which in turn makes the heart sick.
Think about what your mind absorbs every day from just the media….
Of course people go to bed feeling hopeless when all they see is that stuff
* Hope is an expectation or belief in the fulfillment of something desired*.
Present hurts and uncertainty over what the future holds create the constant need for hope.
Worldwide poverty, hunger, disease, and human potential to generate terror and destruction create a longing for something better.
Many have concluded that there is no reasonable basis for hope and therefore that to hope is to live with an illusion.
Without God there is no real hope…
Ephesians 2:11-12 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— 12 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.
Without God there really is no hope.
You can probably remember times in your own life when you had this deep sense of hopelessness.
Things may have been running smoothly in your life but you began to contemplate and think what really is there to look forward to? Things do seem to be getting worse- as far as the overall condition of the world….
But then turning your life over to Jesus changed your outlook on life because you now had a sense of hope that you didn’t have before.
*Where there is a belief in the living God who acts and intervenes in human life and who can be trusted to implement His promises, hope in the specifically biblical sense becomes possible.
1 Peter 1:3 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,
The majority of secular thinkers in the ancient world did not regard hope as a virtue, but merely a temporary illusion.
But hope in the Bible is considered a virtue.
Paul says in:
1 Corinthians 13:13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these /is/ love.
This kind of hope is not a matter of temperament nor is it conditioned by prevailing circumstances or any human possibilities.
This kind of hope does not depend upon what a person possesses and it does not depend upon what a person is able to do for themselves and it does not depend upon what another human being is able to do for them.
This biblical hope rests solely on the All-Powerful Sovereign God.
God is the foundation of our hope-
Romans 15:13 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.
And when God is the foundation of your hope then it is a real hope, it is an unshakable hope, it is an unmovable hope because you’re dependent upon, not human resources or human beings, but the God who by His very Word framed the world.
When we say God is the foundation of our hope we are saying that we totally trust in His Word, His promises, and what He is capable of doing.
!! A. There is an illustration of this kind of hope in the life of Abraham.
Turn to Romans 4:17-18….
Romans 4:17-18 (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; 18 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.”/
Now most of you know the background to the promise that God made to Abraham.
In a nutshell God said through your seed there will come forth many nations.
There was just one small problem, Abraham was nearing a hundred and his wife was about 90- impossible to have offspring.
But Abraham believed God’s Word, He believed His promise to Him.
!!! 1. Verse 18 says, Contrary to Hope, in hope believed.
There are two kinds of hope spoken of in that verse.
The first is the hope from a human perspective.
That hope is what I was speaking of earlier- the hope that rests in what a man possesses, what a man is capable of doing for himself, and what someone else is capable of doing for them.
Even if they had fertility doctors in Abraham’s time there was no way Sarah was going to conceive.
The other kind of hope, the hope Abraham possessed, is a foundational hope in God, not in the resources that were available of this world.
Abraham could possess this hope because of who God is.
!!! 2. The Holy Spirit Characterized God in two ways in verse 17.
It is the reason why Abraham could have a hope that is contrary to human hope….
!!!! a) God is Characterized as giving life to the dead.
God can bring life to the dead.
There were instances when God brought back to life that which was dead-
Such as In 2 Kings 17 Elijah raised the widow’s son, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead
Sarah’s womb was dead and God brought life out of it
!!!! b) God is Characterized as making something out of nothing.
Abraham could trust in God’s promise to him because God is able to make something out of nothing.
Creation took place that way- there was absolutely nothing, only God- then He created, He created the unseen angelic world, then He created the universes and world as we know it.
When God makes a promise He has the power to bring it about, He doesn’t lack any resources.
God can bring life to the dead and He could make something out of nothing.
Did God honor His word to Abraham? Yes, the Jewish people are a testimony to that fact.
Every time you read or hear about the Jewish people it is a reminder that God fulfilled His promise to Abraham in spite of the impossibility of it all.
!! B. The Bible pictures our Hope in a couple ways.
This is what I found intriguing; the Bible only uses two pictures for hope.
It is pictured as a helmet.
1 Thessalonians 5:8 But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and /as/ a helmet the hope of salvation.
Helmets were important in the 1st century as they are today.
It is one of the most important instruments in warfare.
Whenever soldiers went into battle they put on their helmets to protect one of the most important parts of the body the head.
Whenever you see pictures of war such as the current one in Iraq the soldiers are almost always wearing their helmets.
I remember seeing a picture of a young soldier with his helmet on and there was a hole in the middle of it where it stopped a bullet.
In the spiritual war you and I engage in here hope is a helmet for us, it is a primary instrument of our warfare.
!!! 2. It is also pictured as an anchor.
Hebrews 6:19 This /hope/ we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence /behind/ the veil,
Anchors are also important, they were and are vital to ships.
Sails are important in order for the ship to move forward, rudders are important for directing the ships, and the anchors are important for holding the ship in place, especially during a storm.
If the captain of a ship knew a storm was coming the general rule was to find a safe harbor and drop the anchors until the storm blew over.
It kept the ship safe.
Hope becomes the anchor of our souls during the storms of our lives.
We know that even though a hurricane is taking place in our life, that the storm is going to pass and hope is our anchor in the storms….
*Transition: One of the primary reasons that hope is our helmet in warfare and an anchor in the storms of life is because our hope is oriented to what God is going to do for us in the future*.
!! C. Our hope is linked to the future.
This becomes obvious in the words of the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15.
1 Corinthians 15:19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.
That verse was set in the context of the resurrection.
Paul is saying if all we have to look forward to in this life then it really isn’t hope at all.
What we endure and what we encounter for Christ’s sake is for nothing.
We have absolutely nothing to look forward to death has won and the grave has the last word.
But that isn’t the case because the same chapter Paul says Jesus rose from the dead and He is the firstfruits of the resurrection.
IV.The big question is, “What does this hope do for us?” How does this hope change our lives and the way we live?
We know that faith changes the way we live, we know that love changes the way we live, but what impact does this third virtue in the great triad do for us?
I’m glad you asked that question because I asked the same one in my study of this subject.
Titus calls this hope a blessed hope- Titus 2:13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,
And you can see why it is called the blessed hope because of what it does for the believer’s life.
!! A. This blessed hope encourages us at times of personal loss.
One of the most difficult things we face in life is the loss of loved ones, those close to us pass away.
This was happening in the church in Corinth and so Paul instructed them concerning their grieving over the loss of loved ones.
They knew the Lord was going to return but what happened if people died prior to His return and that’s when Paul wrote those great words in 1 Thessalonians 4:13,
1 Thessalonians 4:13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.
Paul doesn’t say that we aren’t to grieve, but we aren’t to grieve as those with no hope.
Because we have hope in our future with God we know that we’ll see those whom we love in Christ again.