Text: The following passages give us an overview of Hope:
1 Peter 1:3 (NIV); Ecclesiastes 9:4 (NIV); Acts 2:26; 1 Timothy 4:10 (NIV)
Hope is one of the 3 pillars of the Christian way of life. So we go through life by hoping. We go from hope to hope as our aspirations change. The bible says that we are saved by hope and wait for promises by hope in Romans 8:24-25 (KJV)
HOPE TAKES ITS SOURCE FROM A PROMISE
The source of Hope is a Promise. The source of Promise is diverse: Promises from God or A Material Goal or Personal DESIRE, Promises from Satan or Mammon, Promises from Man.
Note also that the nature of the Promise can be divine, eternal, temporal or carnal.
TECHNICALITIES OF HOPE
So because we have the promise of an expectation we have hope and immediately become Prisoner of that Hope (Zech 9:12).
The source of the promise determines the source of help you get. A Prisoner needs help to get out of prison. Yes?
For us as Christians when we choose God’s promises then He becomes the God of hope (Rom 15:13) with power sufficient to bring us out of that prison and call those things that be not as though they were.
For unbeliever, if he chooses the devil’s promises he could have mammon for the god of his hope or demons.
Or if you believe in other gods, they become the god of your hope.
If a person chooses the promises from man then he has man for the god of his hope.
Only the living God gives real, tangible and living hope. All others only give false hope because the promises never last and never satisfy. They are carnally driven and only embrace the values of this world which will perish. But living hope embraces eternal values and eternal promises.
Am I saying we cannot have hope for material things? No, we can but we must not be lustful about material things. Secondly, when we embrace God’s eternal promises they embody temporal blessings on which we might have placed our hope in a carnal sense. Eternal promises are so awesome they are beyond human ability and therefore we need God to call them into being. After that they then take on a life of their own. The manifestation of Abraham’s Promise has continued for over 4,000 years.
FROM HOPE TO HOPE
So we go through life from one prison of hope to another because material and financial desires are never satisfied. It is time to stop, and reflect on the true promises of God for our life.
Note however that the moment hope is ignited the devil sends hopelessness along side so that Man can lose the hope of that promise. He does this so that man can turn to him as the source of worldly desires. Once hope is lost the promise is aborted. The joy of that promise is lost and that believer never attains the best that God has planned.
Christians lose God’s promise when hope is lost through weak faith because with God all things are possible. This is what happened to Israel in the wilderness. This is what happens to a couple who have waited long for a child. This is what happens to a ministry that is not growing, this is what happens to a business that never breakthrough. This is what happens to a marriage ending in divorce for lack of Christ.
It is also pertinent to know that a person can also release himself from the prison of hope through hopelessness, through discontinued interest in the promise of God.
Right now, I am a Prisoner of Hope because God has given me an awesome promise….
I want to think that we are in Prison within a Prison. The largest prison is that of the eternal purpose of God for our life and the smaller prisons become our continued earthly desires.
CASE FOR HOPELESSNESS:
Let us examine the case for hopelessness. Opportunities for hopelessness come to every one in life because the god of this world has a ministry, which is to kill, to steal and to destroy (John 10:10). So he comes to throw difficulties and discouragement against the promises of God. There is a place in Switzerland where Hopeless people are being helped to die because there is no hope for a turnaround in their medical dilemma. Take a look at the reversal of fortune for Job, look at the warfare of Saul against David and the challenges of life experienced by Joseph. Jeremiah passed through much affliction as prophet of God. These were difficult times for them and are typical cases for Hopelessness to triumph.
Hopelessness can be described as:
v Having no expectation of good or success
v Not susceptible to remedy or cure
v Incapable of redemption or improvement
v Giving no ground for hope
v Incapable of solution, management, or accomplishment
Look at yourself and the challenges of life you now endure, can you see the attack of hopelessness on your mind? Have you not considered to give up or backslide or curse God? There are people sick unto death and people without any idea how they will survive today. There are prayers that people have prayed for which the answer appears not forthcoming for long periods. Families have lost loved ones and bread winners. Some have become orphans at tender ages?
How does a Christian stay alive and not give up on life and on God?
I remember when my thriving business collapsed in 1999/2000; friends disappeared, money short supply, court case hot, spiritual warfare was hot, life must go on, attack on my body, demands for money etc
It is very easy at such times at this for a person to cry out: where is my hope, I am done. Where will my help come from; how can I survive this situation? At times like this we start to look at family curses and imagine all kinds of evil in our hearts as to how we got here. I remember, my wife would tell me my sin has caught up with me or did we failed to pay correct tithes and then pray together for strength. We held on to God of Hope.
The devil’s strategy is to cut off people’s hope in their low to their lowest situation. Or he can lead them to false hope by shifting focus from God. In all cases, people fail to develop faith in God, slide into despair of life to commit suicide; people can make decisions to stab God, people can backslide into the world and deny God. Hopelessness has set in.
HOW DOES AN AVERAGE PERSON RESPOND IN SUCH HOPELESS SITUATION?
- Some people go into depression because of discouragement and failure to see a way out of their difficulty.
- Hope is lost and people can commit suicide or seek the promise from the devil
- Once hopelessness sets in, faith being the substance of hope, dies and God is out of the picture because faith goes down with hopelessness
- Hope is seen deferred by some and this makes their heart sick to do anything ungodly. Prov13:12
- Some will release themselves from the prison of hope in which case they never attain the best from God.
- Some pursue false hope only to dive into more hopelessness, idol worship, wealth seeking etc
- Some walk in their own devices and in the imagination of their evil heart
The end result is separation from God and hopelessness sets in, hope is lost and the promise is lost.
Ephesians 2:12 (NIV)
Once Hope is lost, Faith is dead and Promise is Aborted
CASE FOR HOPE
Let us build a Case for Hope. If there is no promise there is no case for Hope (Romans 8:24-25 (KJV)). However, the moment there is a Promise, Hope is ignited. Apart from God, Man can promise, Devil too can promise but hoping on their promises invariably leads to False Hope.
Definition of Hope:
Hope is an essential and fundamental element of Christian life.
v To cherish a desire with anticipation of future manifestation
v To desire with expectation of obtainment, to expect with confidence
v The expectation of a favourable future under God’s direction
Let us draw a distinction between Hope and Faith, even though they work together as fundamental to Christian life, Hope has been down-played in favour of Faith. This ought not to be so. Notice that Abraham hoped in Hope before faith came (Rom 4:18). Secondly, faith is the substance of hope, in other words faith depends on hope. Without hope, faith is dead. Hope without faith leads to hopelessness. And faith without works is also dead because it leads to hopelessness.
The promise of God ignites hope for obtainment but faith is needed to confront hopelessness and build a living hope. This is because faith is the substance of hope. So God comes along with some little encouragement so that the Christian has something to hold on to for building faith and trust in God of hope. Accordingly, as faith grows experientially, hope becomes stronger until it becomes living hope.
Living Hope is strong, not frail because it is futuristic and not perishable no matter the odds against or of a negative prevailing situation and circumstances.
The combination of living hope garnished with strong faith produce divine strategy to bring a person successfully out of hopeless situation and call those things that be not as though they were.
The devil and his cohorts unleash all kind of barrages against God’s promises and pour discouragements and attack on the foundation of one’s faith but we cannot afford to lose hope or waver at the promises of God through unbelief The combination of living hope with strong faith will crush every attack from Hopelessness.
Let us also know that there is hope; and there is living hope. Operating on just hope is operating with little faith which can be dangerous in times of high opposition from the kingdom of darkness but living hope calls for strong faith in the living God. Strong faith surrender totally to God for the promise.
THERE IS HOPE FOR US NO MATTER THE SITUATION
There is hope for us no matter the situation because we have the God of hope as our God. With Him all things are possible. This is why we have full assurance for obtainment of the promise.
Job reveal there is hope for a seemingly dead tree. Job 14:7-9 (NKJV)
As long as there is life, there is hope for those who trust in God. It is an anchor to the soul and the believer’s helmet of salvation and hence victory over enemies of hope.
In summary, the following steps are necessary for a believer to develop a living hope in order to receive the eternal promise of God
Hoping against hope
Firstly, establish the promises of God….not of man or the devil. Some people have no promises, they just drift on material expectation. Based on this Promise you are now a Prisoner of Hope Zech 9:12.
However, the magnitude of God’s promise is always so daunting that a believer could easily lose hope. The necessary mindset therefore is: hoping against hope; that is being without any basis for expecting the fulfillment of the promise.
This was the first step Abraham took (Romans 4:18). Israel failed to do this coming out of Egypt.
Get scriptures to strengthen hope such as Psalm 119:116
The important thing here is to develop the same mind set like Jesus in Heb 12:2..look for the joy that is set before you in God’s promises.
Step 2: Stop the pity party
Believers are not to sorrow as those who have no hope 1Thess 4:13
Ezekiel revealed a vision in which it is said, ‘Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are clean cut off’ ’ (37:11). Israel indulged in pity party but it didn’t do them any good (Num 14:1). So quit it.
But rather Jeremiah declared: ‘For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope’ (29:11).
God is the object of the hope of individual believer, his family, business, ministry and nation
He is also God of hope Rom 5:13; so Rejoice in hope Rom 12:12; Hope that does not disappointment or make ashamed comes from God Almighty – Jehovah El Shaddai. (Rom5:5)
God takes pleasure in those that hope in Him. The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy
Hold on to the Promise(s) of God
Ps. 71:5: ‘For thou, O Lord, art my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth’
As long as a person hopes in God, God will eventually perform mighty deeds by calling those things that be not as though they are. This is the ultimate.
Abraham held on to the promise that he should become the father of many nations. He did not weaken in faith nor did he waver concerning the promise of God through unbelief, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. Rom. 4:18-21
v Define and write down the promise(s) in order to have certainty of what is hoped for
v We have hope of God’s promises because God cannot lie
v Hope sustains the believer until performance of the promise
v Prayer keeps you encouraged and connected to God
Expect God’s encouragement and respond to it with growing faith
Because the promise is usually impossible for the believer to attain by himself, God will provide little breaks and encouragement for the believer to grow in faith that God is able to perform the promise.
For Abraham: God took him to observe the stars so he can fire his imagination, and then took him to the sea shore to connect him to the magnitude of the promise plus other things.
Don’t miss the ray of hope whenever God sends it to encourage faith to be stronger and to develop a living hope.
1. Be alive to God’s encouragement to build faith from little to strong faith
2. Prophesy to the situation in accordance with the promise
3. Learn to Praise and Worship God in the face of hopelessness
4. Take steps of faith in line with God’s promise
5. Faith: Hope: Love can never fail for they are inseparable.
6. Saved by hope Rom 8:24-25….wait and be patient for it
The objective here is to develop a strong faith and a living hope in our God of hope.
Hold on to the Word backing the Promise
God gives the believer His Word as guarantee for the performance of the Promise. You cannot afford to have His promise without His word that backs the promise because the devil will tempt you to lose hope.
By two immutable things by which it is impossible for God to lie (Heb 6:18): the Promise and His word.
v There is a promise backed by God’s word
v We have a hope because of God’s integrity to fulfill the promise
|50 This is my comfort in my affliction, For Your word has given me life.|
Rejoice in your hope Rom 12:12. Praising God is a pillar to hope, rejoicing in your hope bring eventual victory.
Psalm 119:49-50 (NKJV)
49 Remember the word to Your servant,
Upon which You have caused me to hope.
Habbakuk and Israel faced a terrible and hopeless situation but hear them: Hab 3:17-18
Abounding in hope by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit Rom 15:13
Start adjusting to the promise while waiting patiently on God
Start to adjust your life and environment to the promise like Abraham and Sarah had their names changed to reflect the promise. They moved into the Promised Land without planning to go back to where they came from in spite of the Cannanites already occupying the land.
Faith is the substance of things hoped for …..Trust God to show up sooner or later
David prayed this prayer:
Psalm 121:1-4 (NKJV)
1 I will lift up my eyes to the hills— From whence comes my help?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
Encourage yourself by ‘looking’ at the promise and relishing in its glory even before its manifestation. After battle in 1 Sam 30:6, David encouraged himself….encourage yourself too.
Psalm 43:5 (KJV)
5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.
The Promise of God does not come like the instant coffee and fast-food expectation of the 21st century, obtaining God’s promise requires patience. There is always time duration between the promise and its manifestation. It a period designed for you to adjust yourself to the promise. Do not attempt to run faster than God to avoid crash. Abraham took 25 years, Job was 9 months, Israel becoming a nation again 2,550years, Joseph took 13 years, David took 13 years etc.
Enjoy the manifestation as hope comes alive with the manifestation
Suddenly the Promise is delivered, maybe not even when expected. God is good because He has called those things that be not as though they were. The impossible has become possible and satan is defeated.
Give glory to God and rejoice. Call a party and give testimony of amazing acts of God.
The Prisoner of Hope is released from prison and he celebrates. This was what happened to Abraham on the birth of Isaac, and Zecharias on the birth of John. The Prisoner of Purpose-Hope has everlasting joy the prisoner of eternal life is released
Pay all your vows that you vowed to God regarding the manifestation of the promise.
On very few occasions God manifests the promise when hope is lost only by Divine Intervention for the strategic fulfillment of his purpose in the life of the individual (for example Zecharias and Elizabeth (Luke 1:7)) or because He had covenanted to do it regardless of the individual.
Hoping against Hope, develops Living Hope, strong Faith and Promise is Born in due Time
THE STAGE IS SET
| PRISONER OF HOPE
Your Time Has Come |