H o p e

by: Bill Bratt

Email: info@icogsfg.org

What is the worst feeling a person can have? Could it be fear, loneliness, depression, desperation, anger, discouragement or resentment? How about hopelessness? A person who is without hope has nothing to live for and in some cases might contemplate suicide and some might actually commit suicide. This person sees no way out of his situation and with the lack of hope, death looks better than life. He gets into a frame of mind where he is to tired to care.

With other types of feelings you can still have hope. If you had a fear of something, you can still have the hope that you can do something about it, overcome it or conquer it. Fear could actually motivate you to do something. In the terrorist attack on the Trade Towers on September 11, the firemen and policemen put away fear in the hope of saving lives. If they had allowed fear to control them, then they would have become the slaves of fear. Fear motivated them to do something and to hope that they could save lives.

What is Hope?

What is hope? Websterís Dictionary defines the word "hope" as: "to cherish a desire with anticipation, trust, to desire with expectation of obtainment, to expect with confidence."

To a Christian, "hope" is one of the three primary elements of Christian character: faith, hope and love. (1 Corinthians 13:13.) The apostle Paul told the Church at Rome: "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?" (Romans 8:24.) Hope is similar to faith in that it is the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1.) This hope is an expectation and anticipation that what we hope for will happen and it is not just a wish.

Hope of the Glory of God

Paul also told the Romans: "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, {2} through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. {3} And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; {4} and perseverance, character; and character, hope. {5} Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which was given to us. {6} For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. {7} For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. {8} But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. {9} Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. {10} For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. {11} And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation" (Romans 5:1-11.) Notice in verse 2 that Paul said we are to "rejoice in the hope of the glory of God." We are to be happy, excited about this hope in the glory of God. The glory of God is referring to Godís glorious presence and power. The prophet Isaiah recorded: "The sun shall no longer be your light by day, Nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you; But the LORD will be to you an everlasting light, And your God your glory" (Isaiah 60:19.)

God has from time to time let His people see evidence of His glorious presence and power among them. One day in the future we will see Jesus in all His glory (Revelation 1:13-16.) Until that day we must live our lives motivated by the hope of seeing His glory.

Our hope should be that we will be like Him and that we will also have spiritual bodies that are glorious.

Patience Helps to Develop Hope

Notice in Romans 5:3 that we are to glory in tribulations. Hope is related to trials, tests, tribulations and suffering. The apostle Paul recognized that sufferings could have several good consequences, he rejoiced in his sufferings and did not deny the pain of the suffering but saw past its immediate circumstances to its final results in his life. When we suffer, it teaches us to continue trying rather than quitting. We must endure to the end (Matthew 24:13) to be saved. We gain a new perspective when we suffer, looking on life with hope rather than despair, a hope based on enduring experience with God and growing faith in God's promises as enforced in our life by His Holy Spirit.

Notice in verses 3-4 that hope is produced from tribulation, perseverance and character or experience. The word perseverance could be translated as patience. By going through trials and tests of whatever kind of trouble we are in or perhaps a health or job problem we have to develop patience and persevere in our experience and this helps us to develop hope. As we grow in character we should also grow in hope.

Where does hope come from?

Where does hope come from? It comes from God. We learn that if God gives us a promise then that should automatically create hope in us. If God promises it then God will do it. This gives us hope. This also gave David hope: "For You are my hope, O Lord GOD; You are my trust from my youth" (Psalms 71:5.)

Hope also comes from our own desires. If we set goals then we must have hope to accomplish our goals. Hope is tied to goals and without goals hope is meaningless. We set our goals to define where we want to go. Spiritually we must have a goal and that goal is to: "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you (Matthew 6:33.) This goal also includes eternal life: "the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23.)

Now letís notice Romans 5:5 again: "Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which was given to us." (Romans 5:5 .) We see here that hope is again tied to love, the love of God and we all should be familiar with the Bible verses that says that "God is love" (1 John 4:8,16.)

If people are without God, they have no faith and therefore they also have no hope. Paul stated the following: "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 2:12.)

Jesus Is Our Hope

Our goal of hope is to: "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness" (Matthew 6:33). This goal involves the gospel message of Jesus Christ. The gospel of Mark records the following: "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. .... {14} Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, {15} and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel" (Mark 1:1,14 .) "And He (Jesus) said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15.)

Jesus preached the gospel message of the ĎKingdom of God.í He gave His disciples a model prayer, that we call the Lordís Prayer, which included the words "Thy kingdom come" (Matthew 6:10.)

Jesus said that He would return, in the Sermon on the Mount, "Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. {30} "Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. {31} "And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other" (Matthew 24:29-31.)

A very important part of the gospel message is that Jesus died for us: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (Jesus Christ), that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16.)

The apostle Paul reveals some very important information regarding the first resurrection: "Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed; {52} 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. {53} For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality" (1 Corinthians 15:51-53.)

The apostle Paul revealed "the blessed hope" to Titus: "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, {12} teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, {13} looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, {14} who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works" (Titus 2:11-14.)

Our goal of hope involves the gospel message of Jesus Christ in which we are to repent, believe the message He gave us regarding the kingdom of God that is going to be established on this earth for a thousand years (Revelation 20:4-6) and that Jesus will be King of kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 17:14) and we, the saints, will rule with Him on the earth as kings and priests (Revelation 5:10) for one thousand years (Revelation 20:4.) This gospel message includes the fact that Jesus died for us so that we can have eternal life (John 3:16) and "we shall always be with the Lord" (1 Thessalonians 4:17.)

The writer of Hebrews was writing about the certainty of Godís promises and how we are to lay hold on 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, {20} where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek" (Hebrews 6:19-20.) Notice that hope is an anchor of the soul. The word Ďsoulí is the Greek word "psuche" meaning our life or breath. An anchor is what is used to keep a ship in one place and not floating away. Our hope and anchor is to be in Jesus Christ. It is only through Him that we have life (John 6:53, 11:25, 14:6.)

Our anchor is to be Jesus Christ, not our Church or church corporation, nor a human religious leader or figurehead.

If by some chance you get into a state of mind or an attitude of hopelessness, try to regain your hope by taking your Bible into your place of prayer and start reading the Psalms, verse by verse, and meditating on it with God in your prayers. Ask God to restore your hope.

In Conclusion: The message of hope for the "World of Tomorrow" is the return of Jesus Christ and His establishing the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is a promise from God. We can trust God and look forward with hope for His kingdom and we should pray daily for His kingdom to come. Our hope in God is at the greatest when our hope in the world is at the lowest. If we are on our deathbed then we need to have hope in the future. The return of Jesus Christ and the first resurrection is the hope of our future. The first resurrection is a promise from God and we should look forward with hope of the time when we will be changed to spirit.

Hope for the Christian looks forward to the future and it expands our mind to eternity. If we have hope for the kingdom of God then we will work for it and it will have a high priority in our lives. It must be real to us for us to have hope.

Hope to be worthwhile must be big enough to never be completely fulfilled. Eternity is big and God has not revealed everything to us: "But as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him" (1 Corinthians 2:9.)

For more information: Pick the following link: 
A Message of Hope for the World of Tomorrow 
by: James McBride