THE BENEFITS OF BEING A CHRISTIAN #2
A New Strength: The Christian’s Hope
A. The Christian, a new person in Christ, has a new hope…1 Peter 1:3
1. Everyone wants hope
2. Everyone needs hope
B. In this lesson, we will look at hope as one of the cherished benefits of Christianity.
A. HOPE’S NATURE: WHAT IS IT?
1. Hope is the expectation of something desired.
a. Hope = desire + expectation.
b. Hope is always the expectation of something good in contrast to fear, which is the dreaded expectation of something bad.
c. Hope is always oriented toward the future… Romans 8:24-25… Hope is waiting with:
1) Joy – (Rom. 12:12)
2) Confidence… 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
3) Patience… 1 Thessalonians 1:3
4) Discipline… Hebrews 10:23; 1 Peter 1:13
d. Hope’s orientation toward the future instills peace, calmness, “stillness” – but it is not slothful or inactive
1) Romans 13:11
2) 1 Corinthians 15:58
2. Hope is closely related to other important biblical ideas
a. Forgiveness of sins.
1) Hope is the outgrowth of forgiveness
2) Psalm 130:1-8
b. Confidence, trust
1) Psalm 43:5
2) Philippians 4:6-7
c. Optimism – Romans 8:28, 31-32
d. Faith and love
1) 1 Corinthians 13:13
2) Neither faith, hope, nor love can exist without the others.
3. Hope is securely and objectively grounded
a. Critics have attempted to portray Christian hope as a silly groundless blind optimism
b. F. W. Nietzsche said, “Hope is the worst of evils, for it prolongs the torment of man.”
c. Like faith, hope is only as solid as the foundation upon which it rests. Hope is grounded in:
1) God’s character – Psalm 71:5; Romans 15:13… God, the Guarantee of our hope, is faithful and can be confidently counted on… Titus 1:2.
2) Christ’s resurrection – 1 Corinthians 15:19-20; Colossians 1:27; 1 Peter 1:3-4, 21.
3) The Scriptures – Romans 15:4; Colossians 1:5, 23.
d. Hope will grow in intensity, but it never, even at first, need be tentative or uncertain… 1 John 5:13.
B. HOPE’S CONTENT: WHAT ARE THE OBJECTS OF HOPE?
1. God is an object of our hope
a. The appearing of Christ… Titus 2:13; 1 John 3:2
b. The presence of God and Christ… Philippians 1:23; 1 Thessalonians 4:17
c. The glory of God… Romans 5:1-5
2. Eternal life is an object of our hope
a. Bodily resurrection… Acts 24:15; John 5:28-29
b. Rest from sorrow, labor, tribulation… Hebrew 4:1, 10-11; Revelation 14:13
c. Salvation, eternal inheritance, true life.. Titus 1:2; 1 Peter 1:3-5
d. Glory… 2 Corinthians 4:17; Romans 8:18
C. HOPE’S BENEFIT: WHAT IS THE VALUE OF HOPE?
1. Hope protects and preserves
a. The power of hope to protect… 1 Thessalonians 5:8; Ephesians 6:17.
b. The power of hope to purify… 1 John 3:3
c. The stability and permanence which hope contributes to… 1 Peter 1:4-5.
d. The mainstay and anchor provided by hope… Hebrews 6:17-20.
e. The confidence and trust engendered by hope – Jeremiah 17:7-8… This trust and confidence brings:
1) A new courage and boldness in life – Philippians 1:20.
2) A new attitude toward death – 1 Thessalonians 4:13, 17-18
2. Hope is productive and also promises
a. The power of hope to give purpose and direction… Hebrews 12:1-2.
1) “No wind favors him who has no destined port”
2) “Everyone needs long-range goals, if for no other reason than to keep from being frustrated by short-range failures.”
b. The power of hope to give enthusiasm and aspiration – Philippians 1:12; 4:13.
“The hopeful man sees success where others see failure, sunshine where others see shadows and storm” (O. S. Marden).
c. The diligence and industry inspired by hope… 1 Corinthians 15:54-58; 1 Thessalonians 1:3…
“Of all the forces that make for a better world, none is so indispensable, none so powerful, as hope.
Without hope men are only half alive. With hope they dream and think and work” (Charles Sawyer).
d. The unity and harmony made possible by hope – Ephesians 1:18; 4:4.
e. The joy and gladness of hope – Hebrews 3:6
A. Hope may be one of the most conspicuous blessings of Christianity, a thing other people notice and ask about: 1 Peter 3:15
B. Hope is a gift of God… 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
1. Hope is centered on Christ, our “better hope” (Heb. 7:19).
2. Hope is announced by the gospel – Colossians 1:5, 23.
3. Hope is a central theme of the gospel – Acts 24:14-15
C. The Christian needs to meditate on and enjoy the great blessing that hope is. Paul prayed for the Ephesian brethren: “that you may know what is the hope of His calling” (Eph. 1:18).
D. We also need to express gratitude for our hope, guard it, feed it, and share it. Peter urges us… 1 Peter 1:13
E. “Great hopes make great men” (Thomas Fuller).
1. If so, then the Christian has the greatest of potentials and the greatest of blessings.
2. Romans 15:13
F. The Christian alone can derive the full richness of this life, because he can see that it is the prelude to a deeper, better, more enduring life in God.
G. Hebrews 13:14-15