Summary: God hears us because He hears Christ, and He loves us the way He loves Christ. In a nutshell, identity in Christ means every child of God can point to Jesus and before the Father’s throne testify: “I’m with Him.”
Title: Can One Have Hope Without God?
Text: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
Scripture Reading: Romans 15:4-13
4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.
5 May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus,
6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7 Welcome one another, therefore, as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.
8 For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised[Jews] to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs,
9 and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “Therefore I will praise thee among the Gentiles, and sing to thy name”;
10 and again it is said, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people”;
11 and again, “Praise the Lord, all Gentiles, and let all the peoples praise him”;
12 and further Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse shall come, he who rises to rule the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles hope.”
13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
We live in a world, where for the most part, people have lost hope. We don’t see that so much in this country, but if you could go to Mexico, South America, Central America, Africa, the Middle East, or Asia you would find huge numbers of people who feel they have no hope. Even here, in America, there is hopelessness among those who are sick, or poor, or homeless. I believe there are some here where you live, who feel the same way. But we must have hope! Life without hope is miserable. Hope is the subject for today. And there is a question that we will answer; “Can one have hope without God?”
Our study of Hope is in six parts:
1. What Is Hope?
2. Hope Is a Psychological Necessity.
3. The Giver of Dependable Hope Is God.
4. The Hope God Gives Fills Us with Joy and Peace.
5. The Means of Appropriating this Hope.
6. The purpose of Constant Believing.
I hope that this study will increase your understanding of a great principle of the Christian faith: “God is our only hope!”
The first thing we have to do is to answer the question, “WHAT IS HOPE?” One answer to the question is that hope is a desire for future good. Its object, just like faith, is something unseen. It is different than mere expectation, because expectation lacks the element of desire. Did you know that the word hope doesn’t appear in any of the gospels? So you may ask the question, “Why is there so little teaching on hope in the gospels?”
Maybe the answer is one of the following:
1. The religion of the Old Testament was Judaism, and that is what Jesus and the disciples related themselves to. Judaism was a religion of hope, and of joyful desire or anticipation. What Jesus taught was meant to deepen that hope. The hope of the Jews, however, was small when compared to the “better hope” of Hebrews 7:9, which rested on the unchangeable kingly priesthood of Christ. There we read, “For the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.”
We come to God through Christ. He is our High Priest, and He is a perfect priest. The Jewish priesthood could not fill the bill. Now, the Lord Jesus Christ is our priest. He has provided salvation for you and me, and God has placed us in Him. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). We are joined to the living Christ!
2. The disciples knew that in Christ was realized the hope of Israel. They didn’t know in the beginning that Jesus was the Messiah; but as they saw more miracles and heard more of what Jesus taught, they did believe He was the One Israel had waited for, for so long.
3. Jesus trained His disciples in faith and in the preeminence of love, but He remained silent in regard to hope. He presented Himself as the fulfillment of their hope. He was a present possession. Of course, He taught them of His future coming back in glory, but nevertheless He never wanted to divert their attention from Himself as the center and focus of all their future hopes. This is the reason why Paul speaks of “Christ our hope.” This is why he who has Christ in him immediately acquires hope of a better world and a far greater bliss than the one we have experienced here and now. This is why the Lord Jesus did not invite people to acquire the hope of heaven, but He said, “…Come unto me.”