The Glorious Hope

Lesson 6 - January 7, 2018

Focus Text: Isaiah 11:1-12

Central Truth: In a world of darkness, Christians must be known as people of hope.

Objective: By the end of this lesson my students will be able to identify three ways they can be known as people of hope in a world of darkness.

Lesson Outline:

  1. The Glorious Hope: Righteousness (Isaiah 11:1-5)
  2. The Glorious Hope: Peace (Isaiah 11:6-10)
  3. The Glorious Hope: Victory (Isaiah 11:11-12)

The Inspiration of Hope

Monday, December 18

Read 1 John 3:1-6

“And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he [Christ] is pure” (v. 3).

It is easy to become discouraged when it can seem so long since Christ ascended leaving us with the promise that He would come again. Many times Christians are taunted by the world for believing in such an old promise. The fact is that we, much like Simeon and Anna (Luke 2:25-40), aren’t believing in an old promise but in an ever-present Promise Giver. This is the reason for the discipline and effort that the Christian must make to be made pure “even as he is pure.” We must live our lives every day with the awareness that His coming is imminent and we must be ready.

I had a close family member that suffered a major heart attack and needed a heart transplant. While waiting for that to happen, he would have some very rough days. He was unable to participate in some activities, eat some foods, and visit some places. His life style had to be altered to be a candidate for that procedure. He often commented that he could tolerate these trials because he would get a new heart someday and be able to get back to a full life.

We must be willing to change our lives now because of the hope of what is yet to come. (Tim Brubeck)

“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness” (Edward Mote).

Is your hope in wealth?

In "Doctrinal Discussion" Jason Lindahl writes:

One of these was Job, a respected leader in his ancient community. In Eastern poetical language, he said, “Oh that I were as in months past, as in the days when God preserved me . . . when I washed my steps with butter, and the rock poured me out rivers of oil” (29:2-6). Job confessed that he fully expected to die in this blessed state: “Then I said, I shall die in my nest, and I shall multiply my days as the sand” (29:18). However, his story illustrates that wealth, by itself, is a lousy source of security. In chapter 28, Job wrote about the wealth of precious stones and metals hidden in the earth and the means men use to mine them. Perhaps some of his own wealth was related to this mining. However, Job went on to explain that wisdom's value is much greater than all of this earthly wealth. He understood the principle that “the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding” (v. 28). Job's hope was not in his wealth, but in God.

Source: Building Christian Relationships: Adult Teacher's Insights, page 32.

Uplook for the Downcast

Lesson 7 - October 16, 2016

Focus Text: Psalms 42:1-11; 43:1-5

Central Truth: Hope in God gives us victory over discouragement.

Objective: By the end of this lesson my students should be able to list at least three ways to express hope in God.

Lesson Outline:

  1. The Desire of the Heart (Psalm 42:1, 2)
  2. The Dilemma of the Soul (Psalm 42:3-7)
  3. The Determination of the Will (Psalm 42:8-43:5)

How does our hope in God overcome sorrow?

In "Doctrinal Discussion" Don Englund writes:

Our choice to trust in God and His purposes is a choice that defies the verdicts of the enemy of our souls who often suggests that our condition is personal, that it extends to all areas of our lives, and that it is permanent. Health professionals and psychological remedies may not have the answers we need, but Jesus, the Author of life, does! He is alive! He is in control! He is effectively managing the affairs of this sin-cursed world at the present moment! He gave us life on earth and is the Source of the greatest human dream on earth — eternal life! No, we do not sorrow as those who have no hope (1 Thess. 4:13), for our sorrow is not personal, not pervasive, not purposeless, and not permanent. Because He lives, you and I can face tomorrow.

Source: Christ, the Triumphant Lord: Adult Teacher's Insights, page 61.

Hope of Glory

*"To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." (Colossians 1:27). *

One of my favorite vacation activities is reading G.K. Chesterton’s Father Brown mysteries. For a mystery to “work,” the secret must be revealed at the end. No one would want to reach the end of a book only to read, “I can’t tell you who did it. It is a mystery.” The last chapter should reveal the solution to the mystery.

Paul said to the Colossians, “Let me reveal the mystery that was hidden in the past: because of Jesus Christ, Jews and Gentiles alike live in hope” (Personal paraphrase). Christ is in you – that is the hope of glory! Our hope is not grounded on political currents or social trends; our hope is in Christ.

This hope is more than a statement of intellectual consent. It is a personal relationship; “Christ in you.” A political leader who professes to be a Christian was recently asked, “What does being a Christian mean to you?” He responded, “It means that I believe Jesus existed.” “Christ in you, the hope of glory” is much more than believing that Jesus existed. The hope of glory is Jesus Christ living in us leading to a daily transformation into His image. The hope of glory is lives shaped by the reality of His presence. (Randy McElwain)

Rejoice today in this wonderful news: the mystery of the ages has been revealed – Jesus Christ in us brings the hope of glory!

This devotional is the Friday, April 29, 2016 entry of Opening the Word.

Foundation for Christian Hope

Lesson 9 - May 1, 2016

Focus Text: John 14:1-19

Central Truth: Christ gives us good reason to live with hope.

Objective: By the end of this lesson my students should be able to state the foundation of the hope of the Christian in at least three areas.

Lesson Outline:

  1. The Home Christ Is Preparing (John 14:1-7)
  2. The Help Christ Promises (John 14:8-14)
  3. The Helper Christ Has Provided (John 14:15-31)

Devotional: His Appearance – Our Blessed Hope

Read I Peter 1:1-5

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (v. 3).

Resurrection power is not wishy-washy. Today’s scripture reminds us that Christ’s mercy is
abundant and our hope is lively, both related to His resurrection.

In 2000 our daughter, Becky, had a serious spinal injury. fter surgery the anesthesia affected her thought processes. She went through what she now calls her “loopy period.” She thought she was going to die, but didn’t say so. That night she told her husband, “Go home.” I was at their home caring for their three children. When Paul arrived he sunk into a chair and said something like, “I can deal with the effects of the injury, but this crazy stuff I don’t know how to handle.” He went to bed upstairs and I settled into a fitful sleep on the couch.

Early the next morning the phone rang. On the way down the stairs Paul said, “Becky called. She‘s going to be alright.” Our hope had taken on a lively twist. God’s mercy was evident. Becky’s mental anxiety was gone, but the physical healing has taken time. While today she walks without assistance, it’s mind over matter. (Ann Coker)

Because He lives I can face tomorrow, because He lives, all fear is gone; because I know He holds the future and life is worth the living – just because He lives. – William and Gloria Gaither

We all have reason to rejoice over God’s mercies and the hope that His resurrection brings.

This devotional is the Sunday, March 27, 2016 entry of Opening the Word.

What does it mean to be demon-possessed?

In "Word Focus" William Sillings writes:

The text says that this man had an unclean spirit (pneumati akatharto — a spirit, an unclean one). Another way to describe this unclean spirit is to say that the man was mad. According to the Talmud, there were four signs of madness — walking abroad at night, spending the night on a grave, tearing one’s clothes, and destroying what one was given. This man had the added characteristic of unnatural, almost supernatural strength. He tore the chains and shackles that had been used to bind him, and no one was strong enough to subdue him (v. 4). Add to this the fact that he was self-destructive and often cut himself with stones, and you have a classic case of extreme demonic possession.

While this definition of demon-possession is intriguing, Sillings' next paragraph exploring the fact that this man had no control over himself is more important...

His name was Legion, he said, for we are many. The word legion is the name of a Roman army unit containing about 6000 soldiers. Even when this man spoke, it was not a man that spoke, but a multitude of demonic spirits speaking through him. What could this person have done to have become so possessed with this multitude? It is clear that the man had not the slightest control over himself, his thoughts, his actions, his words, his feelings, his strength, or anything else. He was a pitiful case. Anyone who is in any way bound by sin is, in some ways, in a pitiful condition, but this man was hopeless.

Discussion: Do you know anyone who, while not demon-possessed, seems hopelessly out of control, spiritually? What is our hope for such hopeless cases?

Source: Miracles of Jesus: Adult Teacher's Insights, page 52.