THE HOPE OF GOD
For many people hope is like a see-saw. At one moment their hope is very high, and a little later it can be dashed to the ground. It appears to be only an illusion when they need it the most. During the storm on Paulís trip to Rome, all hope appeared to be gone.
Acts 27:20 Now when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest beat on us, all hope that we would be saved was finally given up.
During this grim situation Paul stepped out and encouraged the people because he had heard from God. Even in the most hopeless situations you can depend on God, because He said: "I will never leave you or forsake you," - Hebrews 13:5.
There are four major divisions of HOPE:
1. The HUMAN HOPE: the hope people of the world use
2. The HOPE OF GOD: divine hope
3. The BLESSED HOPE: the Rapture.
4. The HOPE OF GLORY: Christ in you. Colossians 1:26, 27
There are three kinds of faith:
1. Human Faith
2. Faith of the Senses
3. Divine Faith or the Faith of God.
The word "hope" when used as human hope, has many meanings:
1. Wishing something to take place
2. A desired result after preparation
3. Hope in what it is placed
4. The person in whom his confidence is placed.
Often when people use the human type of hope they are using the word in a sense of wishing to see something take place. Many people pray to God and hope that He will answer their prayers. This type of prayer will receive no results, because when the word "hope" is used this way, it becomes an enemy of faith. This type of hope would like to see the prayer answered, but he is not completely expecting the Lord to answer. They are basing their ideas on faith of the senses, which refuses to believe until the evidence is received. They are limiting their vision of Godís power to their experiences or what they have seen. They are not completely expecting God to demonstrate His power to fulfill His Word. The excuse some people have is: "Well, you never know what the Lord will do." People who make this kind of statement do not really know their Bible or the nature of God. 1 Corinthians 2:9 is referring to the carnal Christian or the unconverted person. This type of person does not really understand that God wants to honor His promises, when they are applied with divine faith and divine hope. Verse 10 is talking about the person who is directed by the Holy Spirit and he is expecting to be guided by Him on a continual basis.
1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him." 10. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 12. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 14. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
One of the characteristics, or part of the nature of God, is to help people. His nature also requires Him to be governed by the laws He has set in motion. He does not give because people wish to receive, nor will He answer your prayers because you deserve to receive the answer. Those who are not using divine faith are working with the hope of the world, which is only wishing that God will meet the need. God does not answer prayers based on this type of hope. He answers your prayers based on the divine faith that He has given you. This comes from:
1. Studying the Bible, Romans 10:17
2. Believing what you have studied.
3. Understanding what you believe, Isaiah 6:9; Matthew 13:14-15 and Mark 4:12
4. Acting on what you believe.
HOPE BASED ON YOUR PREPARATIONS
Many people have placed their hopes in their efforts with the expectation of reaching their goal. They may have studied very hard for an examination, with the total confidence that they would pass the tests. During the examination they were distracted and did not pass. People have done much preparation for races or the Olympics. Their hopes were dashed to the ground because of problems beyond their control. On one occasion a man prepared almost sixty pages of material to present in court. When it came time for the Judge to hear his case, the Judge refused to accept any of his work. His hopes of getting a favorable decision were completely destroyed.
HOPE BASED ON A PRODUCT
Many people as well as companies have placed their hopes in products or ideas, investing their money. They later found that the ideas would not work, or someone else had a less expensive way to manufacture the items. Many people invested in products whose usefulness was short lived. Museums are full of items that were once considered great ideas, but did not last long. Some worked very faithfully in gold or other types of mines, only to find that they were "chasing after foolís gold."
HOPE BASED ON A PERSON
Many people have placed their hopes in leaders or people, only to see their hopes dashed to the ground. Many leaders have made great promises and it was later proven that they had hidden ideas of cheating the people once they came into power. Human hope is very frail when it is not connected to divine faith and the power of God.
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
People who use the faith of God receive what they expect when praying in the will of God, because the Holy Spirit places an EARNEST EXPECTATION or divine hope in their spirits. Divine hope is not just a wish, because it is placed in your spirit and not in your mind. It is possible to have this type of hope every time, when you are believing God for something that is in His will for your life.
Every building of any value must have blueprints to go by for its construction. The builder frequently refers to the plans to properly complete his task. Divine hope is the plan or blueprint for faith. This is like a road map that allows your faith to act. God increases His faith in you in direct proportion to how much time you spend studying His Word. Natural hope places an image in the mind of the person, where as divine hope places the image in the spirit.
Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
The HOPE OF GOD places an image or vision in your spirit instead of just in your mind. This hope then depends on the faith of God to allow His power to accomplish or supply the things that are needed. Faith will never have substance, or see the evidence or results, if it does not have this kind of hope.
It is possible to start on a trip without making any plans. If someone asked you: "Where are you going?" the answer would be: "I donít know." If he asked when you would arrive at your destination, your answer would be the same. Without a goal, no plans can really be made.
Without the hope of God, or divine hope, your faith does not have anywhere to go, because there is no goal. Your faith will not accomplish anything without the hope of God to work with it. You cannot use human hope if you want to see the power of God demonstrated in your life. When the hope of God works together WITH the faith of God, you will receive answers to your prayers.
GOD HAS GIVEN US CONFIDENCE
Colossians 1:21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22. in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, (or free from accusation), and irreproachable in His sight. 23. IF indeed YOU CONTINUE in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.
You keep your confidence of being blameless as long as you do not move away from the hope of the Gospel. You determine how long you stay under Godís protection by how close you stay to Him. See Romans 8:2, 11-14; 11:17-22; 14:16; 1 Corinthians 3:17; 9:27; Galatians 5:16-17; 6:7-9; Colossians 1:20-23; 3:25; Hebrews 4:11; 10:26-27; 12:14-15; Ezekiel 3:20; 18:26. Compare 2 Peter 1:4.
There have been many people who have accepted Jesus as their personal Savior, but as time went by they drifted away from the Lord. Paul is showing you that you do not need to worry about being turned away from the Lord - as long as you continue serving Him and do not move away from the HOPE OF THE GOSPEL.
Paul would not have warned you about moving away from the hope of the Gospel, if it was not possible. It is very necessary to protect this divine hope which God has placed in you. It will slip away from you if you allow things of the world to come between yourself and the Lord. Becoming too busy to read the Word, or to go to Church can rob you, causing your divine hope to turn back to human hope. This later causes the things you used to believe were possible, now seem to be impossible. Your excuse may be "Well it is not really Godís will."
All of us will be faced with problems that may look like mountains. The size of the mountain will mean one of two things:
1. IMPOSSIBLE: Overcoming the problem may seem like an absolute impossibility with no answers,
2. CHALLENGE: The problem will cause you to increase your faith by really studying the Bible, applying what you study, making the problem a lot easier to overcome the next time.
Divine hope is the earnest expectation which comes about because of the confidence you have in the promises of God.
The hope of God has been given to you, and it is your choice to accept or reject this wonderful gift. You receive salvation by words spoken out of your mouth, which must be an _expression from your spirit. Divine hope is received in the same way. Many stop this hope from becoming activated by the words of their mouths. They look at circumstances and then say: "There is no hope," instead of looking to the Lord Who is the source of their hope.
THE INNER SANCTUARY
The High Priest was the only one who was permitted to enter into the Tabernacle or Templeís Holy of Holies. He was only able to enter this inner sanctuary once a year. He entered this area with great fear, because of the possibility that he could be killed by the power of God if there was sin in his life. Most of the people who entered the temple area were required to remain in the outer court. Only the priests were able to go past the area of sacrifice.
Hebrews 6:18 That by two immutable (unchangeable) things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.
You are to lay hold of this divine hope which God has set before you. The majority of Christians are not completely walking in the area of divine hope. They fail to lay hold of this vision or blueprint for faith that is available for them.
Hebrews 6:18 "This was so that two unchangeable things [His promise and His oath], in which it is impossible for God to ever prove false or deceive us, we who have fled [to Him] for refuge might have mighty indwelling strength and strong encouragement to grasp and hold fast the hope appointed for us and set before [us]." - Amplified Bible.
You are not to be a Christian without divine hope. God has opened all the doors for you to run to Him to receive divine hope which becomes a complete expectation that God is going to meet the needs you bring to Him. He has His messengers, who are His angels, to bring the answers to you. You are to step out of the realm of human hope - which is usually based on wishing for the thing to take place, and enter the realm of divine hope.
Hebrews 6:19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, 20. where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
Once you recognize that God has placed His hope in your spirit, you can begin to understand more of what He has in store for you. This divine hope is like an anchor or tethering pin, to keep your mind, which is your soul, from drifting back into the area of unbelief. This hope of God enables you to enter the Inner Sanctuary behind the curtain.
Frequently boats on the Congo or Amazon Rivers travel only during the day time. In some areas where the channel is very shallow, it is necessary for the boat to put out four anchors each night. This will keep it from drifting onto rocks or sand bars during the night. Your divine hope becomes an anchor for your mind to keep you from drifting off course into the realm of doubt, fear and unbelief. The more you see the problems of life coming toward you, the greater amount of time you need to spend studying Godís Word and filling your spirits with this wonderful gift of divine hope.
The next thing that God expects you to do, is to enter His Presence behind the veil. Under the old Temple law, the High Priest was the only person who was permitted to enter into this most holy place. You can now enter His Presence through prayer, because He has placed His divine hope in you and He has given you that right.
Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore COME BOLDLY to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace, (favor) to help in time of need.
Many Christians have claimed that they have bombarded the gates of heaven when they prayed. God is not located at the gates. If the City of God is 1,500 miles across and the throne is in the middle, then the person who is bombarding the gates of heaven is 750 miles from the throne. The gates are not locked so you do not have to bombard them. Perhaps the person who has this attitude has the feeling that the Lord is not hearing his prayer. Pay attention to the promises. God expects you to come BOLDLY to the throne of grace, because later it will become a throne of judgment.
Speak to God on a continual basis; build an intimate relationship with Him. He is a loving Heavenly Father and He wants to meet your needs. There are times when an earthly father only pays attention when he is provoked, but not so with your Heavenly Father. The divine hope in you is expecting Him to honor His Word.
Isaiah 59:1 Behold, the Lordís hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear.
Isaiah 65:24 It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.
Jeremiah 33:3 Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.
STOPPING DIVINE HOPE
Worry, fear and unbelief keep many people from crossing from the side of human hope over into the area of divine hope. They will constantly see their problem as an insurmountable mountain. They are not realizing that God allowed the problem to come, to be used as a stepping stone, instead of a handicap or stumbling block. EXPECT God to supply the answer which will overcome the problem. The key to overcoming the problem and making it a victory, is to get your eyes off your own resources and onto the promises of God and His power.
Three thoughts need to be in your mind when you are faced with difficult situations:
1. "I wonder what glory the Lord will get out of this problem?"
2. "Where is a Scripture to overcome the problem?"
3. "Lord give me wisdom to know what to do."
The Holy Spirit will immediately remind you of a Scripture you have studied or heard; then apply that promise to take care of the situation.
Psalm 57:7 My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and give praise.
Psalm 108:1 O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and give praise, even with my glory.
Psalm 112:7 He will not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. 8. His heart is established; He will not be afraid, until he sees his desire upon his enemies.
Hebrews 13:6 So we may boldly say: "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?"
On many occasions the disciples as well as Jesusí followers had problems and did not receive answers for their needs. Jesus described them in a number of ways. Once He told them: "O you of little faith." On another occasion He referred to them as people with no faith or full of unbelief. Remember the time that Peter walked on the water? As long as he didnít mix faith with doubt he had no problem. When he took his eyes off of faith and put them on doubt, he lost out.
The people of today are the same; human nature doesnít change. Some are hopeless, having no divine hope. Others have a lot of the hope of the world, but only very little divine hope. Others have had a lot of divine hope, but have allowed it to be watered down because they spent so much time looking at the problem, instead of the SOLVER OF THE PROBLEM. Donít pray the problem. Pray the answer. What are you expecting from God?
You have a hope that is steadfast and sure because it is based on Godís promises. Fill your spirit constantly with the promises of God. Expect Him to honor His Word in your life. You canít ever get too much of God!
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