What is Biblical Hope?

What is Biblical Hope?


Let’s read First
Corinthians, Chapter 13, verse 13. This series that we’re doing here is based on this passage.
Paul writes, “But now faith, hope, love abide these three;
but the greatest of these is love. In the first
lesson we talked about biblical faith and I said
that faith – biblical faith – was made up of three basic
elements. The first of which, precise knowledge, the words
of Christ in the Bible. The Word of God in the Bible. This
constitutes our faith. When the Bible talks about faith it’s
talking about a certain body of knowledge of information from God’s
word. Secondly, an act of the will in responding to this knowledge
in belief, in obedience. I decide that what I have heard
is true and I respond to that truth in some way, in the way
that that truth has demanded or required for me to respond to it.
That also is part of faith. Faith isn’t just one thing, it’s made up of
several elements. Precise knowledge, an act of the will, and then of
course, the experience of joy and determination, and
confidence or hope, which is the thing we’re going to talk about tonight.
Faith is not only in your head, not only a decision that you make, not only an act
of the will that you make, but it’s also something that you feel. Faith has feeling. And that feeling is one of joy.
As I mentioned last week: determination, confidence, all
of this is part of faith. Now, in the second lesson, as I
mentioned, I like to look at one of the experiences produced by
faith and that is Biblical hope. Now back in the sixties, remember her, Dusty
Springfield? You folks might remember her. A little pop reference here,
from way back in the day. She had a big song, it was a song
entitled Wishing and Hoping. Wishing and hoping and dreaming.
During the British invasion, in those days all the British bands and singers were
invading America, and she was one of them. And that song was about a girl
who was waiting and wanting a guy to really care for her, to
pay attention because he was pretty much ignoring her. And so she was
wishing and hoping that he would respond to her in
some way. And I use this example because I think this is how
the world interprets the idea of hope. It’s just
another word for wishing and hoping. Wishing and dreaming
about something, for example, well, I hope I win the lottery. Or I hope it’s – I hope it will be
nice for the picnic next week. Or I hope you’ll have a great vacation. Hope is seen as a fond
gesture of goodwill or the expression of an
unfulfilled desire. This word hope in the
dictionary has a much narrower meaning. According to Webster’s dictionary,
the word hope means, “a confident expectation that a desire will
be fulfilled.” So even in the world – the world doesn’t have the
right idea of what the world thinks of the word
hope. All right. When the Bible uses the
word hope, it uses it in – actually in this sense right here. A
confident expectation that a desire will be fulfilled. Little history of
this word, how it evolved through time. In the earliest times in the Bible, in the Hebrew language, the word for hope in
the Old Testament was one that meant a cord. A rope or an attachment signifying being attached in safety. By the time of Job, the word
included the sense of longing and expectation. And then
David and Solomon expressed this idea when they include
all of the concepts of security, desire, and
waiting. For example, David writes in Psalm 16, he
says, “Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices: my
flesh also shall rest in hope.” Security, longing, desire. Solomon writes in Proverbs 14, “The wicked
is driven away in his wickedness, but the righteous has hope in his death.” Again, security, longing, desire for something in the future. Then we move
to the New Testament. In the New Testament the writers use
this word hope in only one way, and that is to express the idea that one
anticipates, usually with pleasure, what one waits for. In the
world the general use of the word hope is akin to wishing or
dreaming for something. But the true meaning, which is in harmony
with the Bible, is a confident expectation that you will
receive something or something will take place. Now there’s one important
difference with the hope that is in Webster’s Dictionary and the
hope that is in the Bible. The hope in Webster’s dictionary is
based on the idea that one is relatively sure that things
are going to work out. In other words, you’ve worked hard in your
math class, for example, you’ve done the assignments, you’ve aced all
the previous tests, so you hope that the final will go
well. So you have a confident expectation that you should do well in the
final, based on all the work that you’ve done. So based on what you
know, things should go well. Your hope, in this case, is
well founded. Of course you could have an accident on the
way to the test, or you could have a bad night before the exam,
or the teacher may decide to test on obscure material not
really covered in class. You never know those teachers what they
can do to their students. In other words, the hope
referred to in Webster is relative. You’re relatively sure.
That’s why they call it hope. You’re pretty sure, but you’re not 100
percent sure, because stuff happens. Now the difference between this hope and the hope
mentioned in the Bible is that when the Bible mentions hope, it is talking
about something that is 100 percent sure. That’s the main difference. The Bible uses the term hope when it
refers to something that is not yet present or visible, but is nevertheless 100 percent sure. Webster’s uses the term hope when it refers to
something not yet present or visible, but pretty sure. Do you see
the difference here? Hope in the world – pretty sure. Hope in the Bible – 100 percent sure. What would you rather have, pretty sure or 100
percent sure? I’d rather have the 100 percent sure. And that’s what the Bible is
talking about. The Bible uses this term when it is referring to
something that is – let’s use another word – that it is certain. Certain that
it’s going to happen. So why this difference? The difference between the two concepts
of hope is based on the issue of guarantee. In the world, only human strength, or intelligence, or honor can
guarantee what is hoped for. Since there is a limit to these
things, there is only a limited guarantee on our hope. Limited guarantee for something
promised in the future. Why? Because you never know – you never
know what could happen, right? In the Bible, God is the one
that guarantees what we hope for. And since there is no
limitation on God, there is no limit on His guarantee for what we
hope for. That’s why our hope is absolutely sure, because
the guaranteer is God. The Psalmist describes
this truth so simply in Psalm 71, I believe, verse 5, he says, “For you are my hope.” Oh, I love that. Think about that for a second. He didn’t say, Oh God, all this stuff
that you promised me, oh Lord, I’m just thinking about the good things
you promise. He’s not saying that. He’s saying, for you, God, you are my hope. O Lord,
you are my confidence from my youth. God is the foundation, the guaranteer, and the provider of all we hope for. So the chances of us receiving
what we hope for are one hundred percent sure. Here – there’s always a little good and bad news mixed here. 100 percent sure, you see, that goes for the good
stuff, but it also goes for the not so good stuff too. You know Mark 16,
where he says, “Those who believe and are baptized will be
saved”. That’s a 100 percent sure. But then he finishes that and said, “But
those who disbelieve will be condemned.” Well, you see, the downside is
that also is a hundred percent sure. So the writer in Hebrews 11,
verse 1, tells us about the things that we hope for. He says,
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of
things not seen.” So the writer tells us that faith produces a feeling of
confidence, that we will receive the things we hope for.
The things that we confidently expect to
receive from God. Not from man, but from God. There’s also another
difference between Webster’s hope and the Bible’s hope. Hope in this
world is for things that we don’t have, but are in the future somewhere, maybe. Good health. I hope you have good health in
the future. Well, maybe. I hope that you will have prosperity.
Young people get married and then people stand up make a toast and we hope that this
young couple has a large family and has prosperity. Maybe. Maybe, because we can get any one of you up here
to make a testimony to say, well, I was young once, and
they hoped that for me in my marriage, but you know what, it didn’t quite work out
that way. Two years into it my husband had a car accident and
he was handicapped for the rest of his life, and he suffered for 10
years, and then he died and we had no children. That wasn’t the thing that was hoped
for on the glorious wedding day. That’s why they – well, maybe, I hope. I hope you have success in the future. You’ve
worked hard and you went to school, you got your degree and you got your training. You ought to
have some success. Let’s hope for that. And then the oil that’s at 125 dollars a barrel goes down to $10 a barrel. And you were
trained as a petroleum engineer. Yeah. Prosperity, maybe. Hope in the Bible, however,
refers to things that we have, but that we don’t see all of yet. The other reason why Biblical hope is a
100 percent is because God has already given to us the things that we hope for. We just do not see it all just yet. This is what the Hebrew writer
means here in Hebrews 11, verse 1. “By faith we accept as true that God has already given us the things that
we hoped for, but we haven’t seen them yet.” Now the best
example that I can give for this concept here in
Hebrews 11:1 is Christmas. It’s Christmas. We have the presents, our names are on the
presents. When you’re a little kid you go and then you see which presents have your name on it.
There, there, there you are. They get the name on it – the boxes are all wrapped up. One
problem, we have to wait until Christmas, midnight or whenever, so we can get down there
and rip open the boxes and see what’s inside. It’s ours. It has been given to
us. My name is on that thing. I just don’t know what’s inside yet. Paul also talks about this in
Romans Chapter 8, verse 24. He says, “For in hope we have been
saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes
for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do
not see, with perseverance we eagerly wait for it.” Then in
Ephesians one, verse three, to complement this, Paul says again, “Blessed
be the God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us
with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.”
It doesn’t say, “who will bless us with all the blessings
in heaven.” He says, here, who has – He’s
blessed us – we have them all. We own them, they’re ours, they belong to us. But
like those Christmas presents under the tree, we haven’t unwrapped all of them yet. We haven’t been able to see all of them yet. Note that every – and he also says,
“Every spiritual blessing has already been given to us.”
Everything that we can ever hope for. Like what, for
example? Well, forgiveness and the peace that comes with
forgiveness. And freedom from condemnation and punishment. And eternal life and spiritual power and a new
character. All of these things and more have already been given to
us. We haven’t fully unwrapped them yet. That’s why we hope. Now, some of these things we already
perceive in ourselves and some we don’t. For example, I see
the power of the Spirit of God working in me to enable me to overcome sinfulness that I was at
one time almost powerless to overcome. In other words,
I see myself becoming a spiritual man. A Christian man. I can look back five years, in ten years,
and 20 years, and 30 years and say, boy I am not the man that I
was 30 years ago in Christ. God has helped me to grow. I see that. I see it. It is not the work of the devil, that’s for sure. And it’s
not the work of my flesh, because my flesh is not interested in spiritual things. My flesh just wants
the eat candy and ice cream. That’s all my flesh wants to do. Thank you, Marty. Marty only Amen’s the food references. Those things I see, but there are some things I have, but I don’t see. And
that is that glorious body that I will resurrect to. I have that. It’s been given to me. It’s
mine, but that one is still – it’s to be unwrapped at a future date, but God has
promised that I have – what did He say? Who has blessed us with
every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Now some of these things, as I said, we
already perceive and some we don’t. But the point that the Bible makes is that
we already have them. That’s why our hope is secure. Now how do we obtain hope? We kind of look at the
what, who. So how do we obtain hope? Webster’s dictionary doesn’t
explain it, but the way to have hope in this world is through
effort. Let me explain. You work hard, you prepare, you invest,
your hope for the best. That’s Okay. That’s all right. I’ll use
the student analogy again. The student who goofs off, never does the
homework, pays little attention in class, cannot have real
hope to pass the final. He can wish, he can dream,
but he can’t have hope, because hope is confident
expectation usually based on effort, or some other kind of
guarantee. Well, he’s done everything wrong. He cannot expect a right
outcome. The Bible explains that hope, biblical hope, is
obtained not through effort, but through faith in Jesus Christ. Exactly what Marty was talking about this morning
in his lesson. And here’s how that works. We believe that Jesus is actually the Lord and Savior. We believe that
that’s true. How do we get to hope? Well, I start by believing in the
Lord of hope, who is Jesus Christ. And then I respond to Him in obedience,
expressed in repentance and baptism. And this will obtain for me all of the
spiritual blessings promised by God. Now the Apostles,
they don’t mention every single blessing that you get when you believe
or when you repent and are baptized every time they mention baptism, because
the Bible would be that thick. You kind of pick it up here and there. So in Acts 2:38 you find out that you’ll be – you receive forgiveness in the Holy Spirit. I think
I’ve done a lesson on this before. Where in different places in the Bible. You find out
other things that you receive when you become a Christian. When you repent and are baptized
you’re added to the church. Well, there is another blessing, you put on Christ,
there’s another blessing. You appeal to God for a clear conscience,
First Peter, there’s another blessing. All of these blessings, all of
these blessings we receive through faith and we can
have confident expectation to receive these things. Why? Because God has promised them to
us. None of us have worked, or prepared, or have any influence that
can obtain these gifts or blessings. We’ve all – like the student
who has goofed off and has no chance to pass the test through skill or effort -That’s
us. No chance to get to heaven through skill or effort, but God has abolished the test and He guarantees the rewards to all those who
believe in Christ. Something that everybody is able to do no
matter where they’re at in their lives. No matter who they are
in life. So we have hope, because through Jesus Christ we
possess all of the heavenly blessings. We may not see all of them yet, but
like those presents under the Christmas tree, our names are on
every single one of them. And God is saving them for us
until the appropriate time. And what will be the appropriate time? The
Bible tells us that when He comes and when we are resurrected to a
glorious body and a glorious life, and we – if I can say in this way – we get to open all of the gifts
that God has prepared for us. And so I ask a question and this is
one – this is a great conversation starter if you’ve run out of
things to talk about with somebody, a friend or a family member, you’ve run out of –
how’s the weather, how’s school, how’s your family how’s your hobby. You’re kind of looking for something to carry on the conversation. And you know that they’re
not Christians. How about asking him, do you have a 100 percent hope of going to heaven? You want to surprise them, you want to wake them
up, this will either kill the conversation or it’ll bring the conversation
in a whole new direction. Do you have 100 percent hope of heaven? And usually if I’m talking to someone who is
not a Christian, or a nominal Christian, many times the answer will
be, well, I think so. Or they say, I hope so, but when they
say I hope so, they’re really saying I’m hoping and wishing and dreaming. I’m
dreaming to go to heaven. Now, that’s one thing for someone who does not know
the Lord, someone who does not know the Gospel. I can forgive them for saying, well, I don’t know,
maybe. Maybe I’m going to heaven. I’m not sure. It’s when I talk to another
Christian and I ask them the question, so how sure are you that
you’re going to heaven? And they go, I don’t know. I hope so. I guess so. And as Christians we are one hundred percent certain that we are going to heaven. One hundred percent certain, not I think so. I hope so. 100 percent absolutely sure
kind of hope. This is the kind of hope that the Bible talks about.
This is the kind of hope that we have or should have. Now, you have this hope if
you’ve obeyed Jesus Christ and are faithful to Him. And I tell you
rejoice in this hope, launch out on it. Be courageous in it. You already have
everything you’ve hoped for. You’ve got it all. You possess it. Don’t be
afraid to step out in faith. But if you don’t have this kind
of hope, ask yourself, why? Why don’t I? I think I’m preaching to the choir
here, right. If I was talking to strangers, people who are not people of faith, obviously I could
go in and explain the gospel, but here we are among believers, here. So I am just
going to twist this a little bit and say if we’re members of the
church and we’re the body of Christ, if we call ourselves Christians and we’ve
been Christians a year, five years, 50, years 80 years, whatever, and we answer the
question, I don’t know. I think so. Then the next question we should ask
ourselves is, why? Why do I have some kind of uncertainty? Why is
it that I doubt, to a certain extent? Why am I not 100 percent sure that I’m going to heaven? Why don’t I have that thing? That’s an important
question to ask yourselves, to pray about. Lord, why do I not feel
confident about what you’ve promised me? What am I hoping
for? What’s in the way? That kind of prayer, that kind of prayer,
God will answer. That, God will reveal that to you, if you ask Him. Anyways, if you don’t have
that kind of hope, and if you don’t know why, and if it’s something you need to
take care of, then why not attach yourself with that cord of safety,
like the Old Testament writers used to say, why not attach yourself
securely to the Lord Jesus Christ today? Always, we make the
invitation in the hope that someone who has not yet
obeyed the gospel will hear the invitation and respond to it, by
confessing Christ and being baptized. Or perhaps by answering the question, I don’t
have that hope because I’ve doubted it and I doubt because I’ve sinned, or
because I’ve fallen, or because whatever, because there’s something between me and God,
or there’s something between myself and so-and-so – my wife, my husband, my son, or
whatever, my friend. There’s something between us. And that thing right
there, that discord is not permitting me to
have a 100 percent hope in my own salvation. If that’s the problem, and you
need prayer for that, or you need to confess that, whatever that is. We’re always ready to minister to you here as we stand and sing our closing song.

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