Part 1

June 18, 2017

BEFORE we begin, if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, take a moment to name your sins to God the Father. This will allow you to be filled with the power of The Holy Spirit as you read this booklet (EPH 5:18 & 1JO 1:9). IF YOU HAVE never believed in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you have that opportunity right now. Simply tell God the Father that you are believing on His Son Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. If you make that decision, you are now a believer and will always be a child of God! When you die, you will spend eternity with Him forever in heaven! (JOH 3:16 & ACT 16:31).


            Let’s start our study with PHI 1:20: …according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. This verse is better translated like this: …on the basis of my intense concentration and confident expectation. What Paul demonstrates for us in these few words is the attitude which believers should have, in order to forge ahead, in the Plan of God. If we do not concentrate on God’s Plan and do not have an intense desire to fulfill it, we will eventually fall by the way side. If we don’t have confidence in the outcome, we’ll never fulfill His Plan!


In the few next words, we have the complete opposite of fear: “and hope.” These words describe a confidence or a confident expectation – something anticipated with pleasure. This is not a hope as we commonly know it – as an uncertainty or a wish. The hope of the Bible is an absolute confident expectation of the future. It is knowing without a doubt that all will turn out for the Glory of God as well as for our benefit and pleasure.

Hope means to expect or look forward to with desire and confidence; a confidence in a future event; expectation of something desired. Confidence is a firm trust; reliance; self-assurance, boldness; an assured state of mind, a state of trust and intimacy. Such a hope is not something which can simply be voiced and then claimed It must stem from a firm strength of mind. This confidence must come from something that causes or justifies hope. In this case, it’s The Word of God.


The word for hope in the Greek is “elpis“, which was, actually, coined by the great philosopher Plato. Plato developed this word as a concept of being a virtue. It started out meaning “I know” things will turn out okay. Whereas today, thousands of years later, the word hope is used more like – “I wish” things would turn out okay, but I’m not really sure. Plato states that human existence is determined not merely by one’s intellectual perception but by the ability to recall that intellectual perception when needed. It is in such recall that hope is secured. The doctrinal translation would be, anyone can think when the going is easy, but what is important is how you think when the going becomes difficult and fraught with pressure; that is when the recall of doctrine is of the utmost importance.


This same word “elpis” is the word Paul used in PHI 1:20 where it points to a strong and absolute confidence that at the Judgment Seat of Christ, he would not be embarrassed and when he goes to heaven, he will be at a much greater place than he was on earth. Paul uses these same words which Plato used to develop the concept of hope to make his claim that we should have an absolute confidence and expectation of things in our future. The future should be as much a reality to us as is the present and was the past. Such a confidence can only be attained by making positive decisions for God’s Plan. Your habitually good decisions in God’s Plan will make you absolutely confident to expect certain things in your future. Habit hardens the body for great exertions, strengthens the heart in great peril, and fortifies judgment against first impressions. Habit breeds that priceless quality of calmness and confidence that lightens one’s task.


To have meaning and purpose in life you need to have a philosophy that looks forward to something better – like eternity. COL 3:2 commands us to: Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. This means that you should be eternity-minded rather than fixing your sight and hopes on the things of this world. With your sight on “the things above” – you will develop hope because you will be aware of the eternal life we received at Salvation!


Let’s look at Problem-Solving Tool #6 – A Personal Sense of Destiny. A Personal Sense of Destiny is God’s meaning, purpose, and definition for the believer’s life. This sense of destiny becomes stronger and clearer as you progress through the three stages of spiritual adulthood. The Personal Sense of Destiny gives the believer great confidence in the future with the knowledge that his loving God has tailor-designed a plan just for him that will result in maximum blessing and the glorification of God. Hope gives the believer a Personal Sense of Destiny, with regard, to the future.


Titus 1:2 teaches us that our hope for eternal life should be an absolute confidence: …in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago… If you have hope in your thinking, you go forward to the fantastic future that is to come and then bring it back into time with great strength and power to overcome your present problems. You should be aware that this involves three different types of hope. First, there is a confidence in your salvation/eternal life. Second involves your rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ for your consistent positive decisions in time in accordance with God’s Word. Third, is a confidence that the problems and difficulties of this life will also work out for your benefit.


It is who you are in your thinking which determines how you live and what you hope for. Most times, our expectations and hopes are our own projection of the future, not God’s. Most believers don’t have the confidence or the knowledge of God’s Word to look beyond what sight dictates and to grasp God Promises.


Have you ever heard or read the term Spiritual Warfare? Well, the battlefield for the Christian soldier is in the soul. Our warfare in the Christian life is neither physical nor fleshly; it is invisible and spiritual! We are to use our God-Given Assets (Bible doctrine, Filling of The Spirit, etc.) to battle the forces and deceit of the great deceiver, the devil. Bible doctrine resident in the believer’s soul is the only weapon you need in Spiritual Warfare. It’s the only way to defeat Satan!


It is very important in spiritual warfare to remain focused on the objective. War has a way of masking the stage with scenery crudely painted with fearsome sights. Once this is cleared away, and the horizon becomes unobstructed, developments will confirm one’s earlier and clear convictions concerning the objective. This is why, we must stick fast to our hope. This is one of the great gulfs between learning and applying. To think a matter through or learn a doctrine is quite different than to experience it and apply it. It’s always the experience which brings about a change of perspective. In fact, this is what the kingdom of darkness counts on. And this change of perspective is induced by the worse of scenarios which is why we need hope for the future-clearing beyond the present smoke.

{to be continued}

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