Ultimate Hope

July 2, 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.

C.S. Lewis put it so well. He was writing to people who said, “This life is all there is, and everything I feel is just my genetic programming.” He says, “Yeah, yeah, if you really believe life is an accident and when we die we rot …” He says, “You might decide simply to have as good a time as possible” (even though that’s your belief of our destiny).

“You can’t, except in the lowest animal sense, be in love with a girl if you know (and keep on remembering) that all the beauties both of her person and of her character are a momentary and accidental pattern produced by the collision of atoms, and that your own response to them is only a sort of psychic phosphorescence arising from the behavior of your genes.”

He says, “You can’t go on getting any very serious pleasure from music if you know and remember that its air of significance is a pure illusion, that you like it only because your nervous system is irrationally conditioned to like it. You may still, in the lowest sense, have a ‘good time’; but just in so far as it becomes very good, just in so far as it ever threatens to push you on from cold sensuality into real warmth and enthusiasm and joy, so far you will be forced to feel the hopeless disharmony between your own emotions and the universe in which you really live.”

If you put your ultimate hope in anything in this world, there will be an anxiety all the time in your life, and if you believe your ultimate future is nothingness, nothing out there at all, that will keep breaking in on you, and your life will be characterized by sorrow and sadness and despondency. You cannot avoid it.

Paul said, “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.”

There is a hope that cannot be diminished by the trials and disappointments of this life. When we see Jesus, we begin to understand and to know the ultimate hope we have been created for.



Eternal Hope

July 1, 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.

Viktor Frankl, who was a Jewish doctor who was put into the death camps in Germany during World War II … He survived, and he came out and wrote about his experiences. One of the things he noticed, of course, being a doctor was that some of the prisoners just sort of withered up and died, and other prisoners stayed strong. He tried to figure out why, and he decided this.

He basically said, “If a prisoner lost faith in his future, he was doomed.” He gave this example. He says, “One of my friends in the camp had a dream that the war would end March 30. He was convinced the dream was a revelation, but as the date drew nearer, it became clear from the news reports the war was not ending. On March 29, he began running a temperature. On March 30, he lost consciousness. On March 31, he was dead. His loss of hope had lowered his body’s resistance to all of the diseases in the camp.”

You literally can’t live without hope. You can’t stay healthy without something to look forward to. Depression is linked to hopelessness.

Frankl noticed again … He was thinking about why it was some prisoners withered up and died and some prisoners went bad. They informed. They collaborated with the enemy. Some prisoners stayed not only strong, but also true to their fellow inmates.

He tried to figure out what it was in the ones who stayed strong. He said,  “Life in a concentration camp exposes your soul’s foundation. Only a few of the prisoners were able to keep their full inner liberty and inner strength. Life only has meaning in any circumstances if you have a hope that suffering, circumstances, and even death cannot destroy.

Frankl said that’s not just a sentimental little interesting psychological trick. If you put your ultimate hope into anything in this life, into your job, into money, into your family, into your health, into your status, then suffering and circumstances can take it away, and your life will always be characterized by a ground note of anxiety. You’ll always be anxious. The only way you’re going to be able to face life under any circumstances is if you find a way to put your ultimate hope into something suffering and even death can’t take away, something eternal.

 



Hope

June 29, 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.

Becoming a Christian is to receive the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is a down payment, a deposit, which means it’s the first installation, the first installment of the future redemption of the universe. It’s a down payment, an installment of the future come into your life. That’s the reason 1 Peter 1 has the audacity to say, “We’re born again into a living hope.” There’s a future, and when our connection to that future becomes a living thing in our lives, it so changes us we have to talk in terms of dying and rising. You can’t live without hope.

How you live now is completely determined by your believed-in future. We’re going to take a look at what hope is and what Christian hope is and how this is the great dynamic of change in the Christian life.

Imagine two guys, and they both have the same job. The job is a terrible job. It’s a menial job. It’s a boring job. Long hours, no vacation, for one year. It’s all the same. The circumstances are the same. It’s boring, menial work. It’s terrible lighting and terrible working conditions. It’s 80 hours a week. It’s no vacation for one year. So they’re having the very same circumstances.

Oh, but one thing. One guy is told, “You’re going to be paid $15,000 for this year of work,” and the other guy is told, “You’re going to be paid $15 million for this year of work.” It’s funny, because they’re in the very same circumstances, but it’s not the circumstances. They are experiencing their circumstances in totally different ways because of that future.

The guy who knows he’s going to get $15,000 is bored, is unhappy, he’s grumpy, he can’t stand it, and maybe a quarter of the way through the year he quits. The other guy whistles while he works. He goes to work, always gets there on time, is very happy. He works all day and he goes through his whole year. Why? It’s not the circumstances that actually make you feel the way you feel. It’s not the circumstances that actually affect the way you live. Your believed-in future completely determines how you process and how you respond to the circumstances now. You literally can’t live without hope.

Right now, we are going through difficult times but have you thought about your future? The hope we have in Christ doesn’t just change the future, it changes how we relate to the present.

 




Daily Devotions 2020