3 Part Study by David Niednagel, Pastor and Teacher, Evansville, IN. (David uses the S.O.A.P. method for his morning study and devotional time: study, observe, apply, pray).
Col 1:5 “faith and love … spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel” Our faith to trust and obey, and our love for one another come from the confident expectation that the gospel is true – that He died for us, was raised for us and is coming again for us. If we don’t have confidence that He is coming again, we will give up in the hard times. We will think it is not worth it. So we need to keep reminding ourselves of the truth – or we will give up!
Col 1:23 “Continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel.” Paul knew some believers gave in to peer pressure or fear of rejection and drifted away from the Lord Jesus. Don’t do that! How do we resist those pressures?
Rom 15:4 “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.” When we re-read what God said and did in the Scriptures (and Paul was referring to the OT), we will have confidence that we can trust Him now. We are transformed by renewing our minds with God’s word (Rom 12:1-2; 2 Tim 3:16-17)
So this is how Paul prayed for the churches “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead.” (Eph 1:18-20)
He has called us to hope! Not fear. But we don’t automatically realize that, so he prays for our hearts to be able to see what our eyes cannot. And he prays for us to live in and with the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. A Living Hope! That power assures us that our hope/confidence in Him is justified.
Titus 1:2 Paul wrote to strengthen their “hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time,”
1Tim 1:1 Christ Jesus is our hope
Col 1:27 “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Note well, it is not Christ our there somewhere, or even up in heaven that is our confidence that we will share His glory, it is only if He is IN US. Have you cried out to Him to be your Savior and been born again? If so, then He lives in you. (Rom 8:9-11)
1Tim 4:10 We have put our hope in the living God
Rom 5:2 “We boast in hope of the glory of God.” We know we will share in His glory when He returns.
Heb 6:18 Because “it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. 19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”
Hope is an anchor to our soul that keeps us steady and safe when others are being blown around by circumstances and fear.
Heb 10:23 “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.”
Heb. 11:1 “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for…”
Rom 8:24 “We were given this hope when we were saved. If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. 25 But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.”
Our faith to endure comes from the confidence of His promises.
1Thes 5:8 “put on the hope of salvation as a helmet” Our confidence in Christ’s salvation is necessary to face the challenges and resist the temptations we will face day by day. Notice:
1Thes 1:3 Paul commended them for their “work of faith, labor of love, endurance inspired by hope” As noted before, if we don’t think something is worth it, we will give up – in physical exercise, healthy eating, managing our money, sexual purity, etc. And the same is true in following the Lord Jesus. You can tell how much hope/confidence a believer has in Christ by the way they handle the daily stress of life – Do we “lose it” ? or trust that He is with us and His grace is enough for whatever the challenge?
Rom 12:12 “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
In affliction and troubles, we can actually have joy knowing His grace is more than enough. But we have to keep coming back to Him in prayer.
1Thes 4:13 “Do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.”
What a difference it makes in the way we handle the loss of our loved ones! We do grieve. Tears flow. But we have hope – that if they trusted Christ they will be raised up with Him and we will be with Him too!
2Th 2:16 “God loved us and gave us eternal encouragement and good hope.” Aren’t you thankful for that? Is there any other place that gives eternal encouragement and good hope?
1 Pet 3:15 “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”
If we live with hope/confidence that Jesus is coming again, people will see the stability, purity and love in our lives, and will want to know how we do it.
Lord Jesus, Thank You that You are living in us and empowering us with Your life. Help us consciously choose to keep putting our hope in You, and may others notice and ask about You! Amen