Intro: Jeremiah 29 – God was displeased with his people, Israel, and especially the false prophets such as Hananiah, who had taught the people to rebel against Him. So the people of Jerusalem were on their way to exile, to become captives in a foreign land. To the nation that once were called the people of God, the circumstance must have appeared dismal and bleak, maybe even hopeless.
Read Jeremiah’s letter to the people – Jeremiah 29:1-14
There is no sadder word in the English language than the word “hopeless”. We never want to hear that word from the doctor, from the marriage counselor, from the captain of the boat or pilot of the plane. We certainly do want to hear it from our Creator and Judge. Jeremiah’s letter to the inhabitants of Jerusalem gave them hope, and hope is a wonderful blessing. This morning we begin a study of the next of the seven ones of Ephesians 4:4 – There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling;
I. What is hope? I am confident that we all have an understanding of hope. We live in confident expectation of things. We may have a hope of a good job, of finding a mate, raising a family, traveling, of enjoying life, retirement. But the term hope also has a deeper spiritual significance among us.
A. The concept of hope runs throughout the scriptures. The NT word (Elpis el-pece’) that is translated as hope comes from a root word that means to anticipate with pleasure. Thus it means a favorable or confident expectation. It is not just wishful thinking or desire, but rather expresses a real expectation. Sometimes the word is used to describe the object upon which the expectation is based (such as 1 Tim. 1:1, where Jesus is called “our hope”, and Col. 1:27 where Paul says that Christ in us is the hope of glory.) Thus, real hope, as the Bible describes it, has a foundation or a solid basis.
II. What is the Basis of Our Hope? The foundation of our hope is described in several ways.
A. Our hope is based on the words of God. Titus 1:1-3 – Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness, 2 in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began, 3 but has in due time manifested His word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior;
1. The author of Hebrews reminded his readers of the promises God made to Abraham- (Heb 6:14 – Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.” He goes on to say that the Christian’s hope is based on “two immutable things in which it is impossible for God to lie.” God promised and then confirmed the promise with an oath. That settled it for It is impossible for God to lie. We who are Christians are heirs of that promise. Hence, we have grounds for our hope – the immutable word of God. Heb 10:23 – Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. God’s words are powerful. They can create hope, even when things appear hopeless (as in Jer. 29)
2. God promises to hear my prayers. He promises to not forsake me. He promises to provide for my needs. He promises to forgive me when I repent. He promises to give me strength to endure. All of these promises are the basis of my hope (confident expectations) about life.
B. Our hope is based on the actions of God. Asaph, in the 78th Psalm calls on God’s people to teach the words of God to their children. Ps 78:1-4 – Give ear, O my people, to my law; Incline your ears to the words of my mouth. 2 I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, 3 Which we have heard and known, And our fathers have told us. 4 We will not hide them from their children, Telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done. Why was this crucial? Ps 78:6-7 – That the generation to come might know them, The children who would be born, That they may arise and declare them to their children, 7 That they may set their hope in God, And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments; The hope of the next generation was to be based on the words and the previous works of God.
1. 1 Cor 15:3-4– For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, In defending the hope of the Christian against those who were denying the resurrection from the dead, Paul begins with the facts – Jesus lived, He died, was buried, and rose again. But how does that give me hope?
2. My hope stems from Jesus’ life – Heb 5:7-9 – who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, 8 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. 9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,
a. Again in I Peter, the apostle rests our hope on the reality of our suffering for righteousness. 1 Pet. 1:6, 7; “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith– of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire– may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”… 1 Peter 2:20-23 For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God.21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:22 “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”;23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; If Jesus can suffer through trusting in His Father, so can I. In the face of great persecution, I have hope.
3. Jesus’ death provided the sacrifice that all men needed. The blood of bulls and goats could never take away sin, and thus, as sinners, could not be the basis of our hope.1 John 2:1-2…And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.
• 1 Tim 2:5-6 – For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time,
• Hebrews 9:26 But now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. Heb 10:11-13– And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.
4. Jesus’ resurrection is the foundation of my hope. 1 Peter 1:3-5 – 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, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
a. Hope for the future: Peter describes our hope as a “living hope” (hope that we will live again is founded on the FACT that God is alive). Peter says our hope is based upon the event of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. Objectively he identifies this hope as the confident expectation of a future incorruptible inheritance in heaven. But it is based on what has already happened. If Jesus was not raised from the dead, then we have no hope. Paul told us in 1 Cor 15:17-19 – And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. Everything we hope for depends on what God accomplished on the third day.
1) As we lay our loved ones in the tomb, we do not despair, but rather we have hope.1 Thess. 4:14-18 – For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. The hope of the gospel is the hope of resurrection. Indeed, the Lord brought life and immortality to light through the gospel (2 Tim. 1:10).
b. Hope for the present: Our confident expectation of the present forgiveness of our sins rests in our living High Priest –The boldness and confidence of the Christian is founded on the living intercession of Jesus as our High Priest.
• Hebrews 2:17-18 – 17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.
• 4:14-16“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
1) He ever lives to make intercession for us. Hebrews 7:16-17 – 16 who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life.17 For He testifies:”You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.” The writer declares that Jesus is our High Priest by the “power of an endless life” – There is always an intercessor available – (Monnie’s anxiety over the death of her priest) 24-25 – 24 But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood.25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
Conclusion: Paul’s declaration that there is one hope of our calling erases any value in the aspirations of men, or the promises of a future paradise on earth. Our one hope is reserved in heaven through the words and works of God. Paul described the unsaved world of his day as “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.” If you are not a Christian, you have no hope.
“My hope is built on nothing less that Jesus blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.”