The Modern Church Is Filled with the Hopeless.
Hope Is Joined to the Living Alone.
Hope (Gr. Elpis1680 – a confident expectation) is a NOUN.
The hope of the average person claiming to be a Christian is very akin to believing in Santa Claus. They want to think they are saved, have dotted every 'i' and crossed every 't', followed all the dictates of their denominations, and kept themselves holy enough for God's good boy and girl list. They inwardly tremble at the thought of not being saved and heap to themselves teachers that will tickle their ears and give them the hope (false) they so desperately desire and hope for.
The word hope1680 is found 51 times in the New Testament; the verbal forms of the word meaning either desire or despair number less than two dozen and usually are associated with a false hope. In grammar a noun is a person, place or thing: i.e. man, Jerusalem, church. This begs the question: why do people who claim to be Christian, hope they are saved? The terrifying answer lies in the fact they are without the hope (noun) that transforms a sinner into a new creation in Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
There is a danger side to the noun form of hope as found in Acts 16:19 in that one's future livelihood was based upon gaining the world's mammon. The church going crowd is no stranger to this phenomenon, for as 1 Timothy 6:10 warns, coveting money brings many sorrows. So many within the churches wear blinders and have placed their hope upon everything that comes out of the pulpit and not upon the Word itself.
Today, Where Is Your Hope Fixed?
The Hope of a Believer, Sets Them Worlds Apart.
The Holy Trinity of Hope – the Person, the Foundation and our Confidence.
The Person – when the word hope1680 is found preceded by the Greek definite article eis - 'the' it refers to the Holy Spirit; the resident Hope within the saved. He is the unseen Hope as Romans 8:24-25 declares that we are saved by an unseen Hope. I thought we were saved by grace through faith and that faith was a gift from God. That gift of faith is in the Person of the Holy Spirit; the Comforter of John 16, the One who prays for us when we are at a loss for words. The Holy Spirit convicts us, teaches us and makes the Word alive to those He has sealed. (Ephesians 1:13) Hebrews 11:1 tells us that our faith is a substance, a noun that fills our desires – elpizo and is the unseen evidence of our salvation.
The first clue that one is not living by the Hope within them is their inability to discern the Word, even in its most elementary level. Very early in my life when testifying to my salvation to a lost person about the only thing I could say was: "Once I was blind, but now I see." Very elementary.
The Foundation – our hope does not reside in the Person of the Holy Spirit alone, but also in Christ (1 Timothy 1:1) and in the Father (1 Peter 1:21). The Trinity is active in every phase of our salvation which was recorded in the Lamb's Book of Life before the foundation of creation (Gr. kosmos), our sanctification and our soon glorification. Our God does not lie, for we have an anchor for our souls, both sure and steadfast. (Hebrews 6:18-19) Remember, the Law made nothing perfect, but a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God. (Hebrews 7:19) Everyone seems to acknowledge the Father and the work of the Son, but church types have failed to instill the work of the Holy Spirit into our assemblies which in large part is why many are laying by the wayside due to starvation.
Our Confidence – lies in the promises of God to His own. Sadly, many appear not to be on solid ground, for it seems they are ignorant of the mystery of the Hope within: a necessary ingredient in the power of the Gospel to the world. (Colossians 1:27-29) This very same hope lies in the Truth of the Gospel, (Colossians 1:5) and seems foreign to many who proliferate the social media and in pulpits across the world. We may be in a very trying time in history, but for those of us who truly love our Lord and Savior, it needs to be a time of renewing our hope in God (Romans 5:4-5) from the gift of the Holy Spirit now dwelling within us. The Word of Truth of the Gospel points His own's hearts and minds towards our Savior's return (Titus 2:13) and towards heaven to that which is awaiting the Bride. (Colossians 1:5, Titus 1:2) Those who posses this Hope will work diligently to show themselves approved to God, that we need not be ashamed in that day when we shall appear before Him. (1 John 3:3)
The Greatest Deterent to Hope is Worldliness
Churches Mirror the World as They Struggle with Hope
When believers and supposed believers struggle with hope, they will often turn towards tangible things that assault our senses and sensibilities from the world around us. Couple of observations:
- Denominational doctrine before the Word. They become sheep being led by not a shepherd but a goat with a bell around its neck. The world of Christendom is filled with those whose hope lie in water baptism; strangely, the cults make water baptism an absolute necessity. Those who insist upon a specific day are not any different as they if they have not read Colossians 2:16-17. To these add specific clothing for both the cleric and the lay; the observance of communion from a wonderful privilege to a rote ritual and the list goes on.
- Health and wealth, or as I like to put it … the blab it and grab it crowd. Everyone notices, including the world, that the healers of the day are strangely absent and the hear the cries coming from the professional holy men to remember the tithes from which they make a living. Funny thing about this pandemic is that neither wealth, nor the office of professional holy man avail against this disease. Not only that, but many are now known as law breakers, imagined or real makes no difference; the world is watching.
On the positive side of the aisle, a good number of previous church goers are finding a closer relationship to their Lord now that they are not around their normal crowd. Remember, poor company corrupts one's walk with their Lord. (1 Corinthians 15:33) I 'hope' (a verb) and pray that many will come out from among the world's churches that they may begin to worship and be in the Word with other believers only. You know as well as I, old habits are hard to break and when the churches are again opened, most will have learned nothing from these days as they flock back to their previous haunts and mediocrity.