Dynamic Hope

July 9, 2020

Philippians 1:19-24

Yes, and I will rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance,

20 as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.

21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.

24 But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.

Hope is never an escape from reality or from problems. It doesn’t leave us idle, drifting or just rocking on the front porch. Hope is dynamic, it will put us in gear. When the people who were persecuting Paul were trying to decide whether they should punish Paul him or put him to death, Paul presents them with an incredible dilemma. Let me try and paraphrase his argument:

“If you kill me I will be happy, for then I can be with my Lord and savior, so go ahead and kill me. But if you let me live I will also be happy, for then I can continue to share the gospel, which is what I am called to do. If you choose to punish me then I will rejoice because I will be suffering for my savior who suffered and died for me.”

I don’t think they knew what to do. They hated Paul and tried to do the thing he least wanted, but they could never understand how he could be so bold in the face of danger. The hope Paul possessed was dynamic and not passive.

When faced with peril we do not shrink back and cower in fear. Hope does not operate that way. Hope does not say, “oh well, at least I will have joy one day…” but rather hope accomplishes in us fruitful labor, no matter what the circumstance we face.

When faced with death we are comforted because of the hope we possess. We have a future inheritance as the children of God. We shall see the face of Jesus.

When we are in the midst of suffering we experience the power of hope, a moment by moment awareness of the presence of Christ as he comforts us and gives us strength to endure.

 

Dynamic hope moves us forward. It would be easy to be depressed and anxious about the circumstances we find ourselves in. Hope gets us moving. Hope reminds us that although there may be many things I can’t do because of my circumstances, here some things I can do… I can praise God for Jesus.  I can share my hope with someone else. I can encourage others with my story. I can pray like never before when I am close to God because of my suffering. And I can know, like Paul, I am still in this world not for my sake but because I have something of great importance to offer someone else.



Our Living Hope

July 8, 2020

Ephesians 1:13–19

13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. 15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.

17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray also 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 the saints, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe.

What defines this incomparable great power for us as believers? How can we live a life that honors God when we are faced with so many distractions and temptations? How can we have joy in the midst of pain and suffering? What great power allows us to choose holiness over sinful temptations? It is not simply the idea of hope, it is a person. Jesus is our living hope.

He was pierced for us. He was crushed. He was forsaken. He was whipped. He was nailed. What got him through it?

Hebrews 12:1 says it was the joy that was set before him so he endured the cross. What was it? It tells you right there. It was for us. In Isaiah 53 it says he was crushed, he was oppressed, he was afflicted, he was pierced, but the results of his suffering he shall see and be satisfied. One of the great lines in the Bible. He lost everything, yet he thought it was worth it because of the results. What are the results? We are.

To the degree you realize you were his living hope, to that degree he’ll become yours.

To the degree you’re melted by the thought that what got him through his suffering … The only thing he didn’t have before he suffered that he did have after he suffered … I mean he had the universe. He had everything. The only thing he didn’t have was you.

Therefore, you and I were his living hope. That’s what got him through it. If he loves you like that, if he values you like that … To the degree you realize you were his living hope, to that degree he’ll become your living hope.

And when I go through suffering I will keep my eyes on Jesus because he is my hope. When I am tested I will keep my eyes on Jesus because he is my hope. When I am tempted to give up because the road gets tough, I will keep my eyes on Jesus because he is my hope. He gave up everything for me, therefore I can endure anything for him.

 



Great Power

July 7, 2020

Ephesians 1:13–19

13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. 15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.

17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray also 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 the saints, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe.

Understanding hope has enormous implications for enduring suffering. Looking forward to the redemption of all things is a reality for us as believers. God has called us to that reality and secured it for us by the death of Jesus Christ. Because he suffered, we will be saved. Because he died for us, we will have life eternal life. Because he lives we have power to live this life – incomparably great power for us who believe.

Suffering in this physical world is a reality. Suffering means we have lost something we once had, or have been deprived of something we should have had. When In get sick I am being deprived of something I once had, my health. If I am born with without sight, I am suffering the loss of something I should have had, my eyesight.

If I lost my ability to work, I am suffering the loss of my income. The effects of loss are painful to endure. If I become sick, the symptoms and effects of my illness may be painful to endure. If my friend betrays me I will suffer the loss of that friendship, but the anguish from the end of that relationship may go on for years.

We live in a fallen world, suffering is a familiar companion. God promises not to take away all suffering but to give us power not only to endure suffering, but to experience joy despite the suffering we face.

Paul says in Romans 8:15 “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

The glory that will be revealed in us will redeem all the suffering, not just make up or the suffering but remove it and replace it with something greater.

When I was 4 or 5 years old my parents bought me an air rifle, not a BB gun but a popgun. I loved that gun, because I was a cowboy and a cowboy needs a rifle. But one day I left the rifle out somewhere and I lost it. I can still remember that first great loss and the suffering I went through. I dreamed about finding that toy gun.

When I get to heaven and see the face of Jesus, that rifle lost to a 5-year-old will be the last thing I will ever think of. But what if… upon entering the room prepared for me by Jesus, over in the corner there is an air rifle leaning?

It’s a silly example but that is how much God cares about our suffering. He remembers every detail and every detail will be made right. That is what the restoration of all things means. That is where our hope lies. God gives up incomparable great power to endure the short-term suffering of this present word.




Daily Devotions 2020