Gospel Gazette, Bible Articles

Vol. 1, No. 9 Page 2 September 1999

Gospel Gazette, Bible Articles
TITLE:   Hope Spoken
TEXT:    Romans 10:13-17
THESIS: To Emphasize the urgency with which the Gospel of Hope must be proclaimed to a sin-laden and sorrow-ridden world.
SONG:   The Gospel Is For All

INTRODUCTION:

  1. First, we must define biblical hope and distinguish it from mere earthly hope.
  2. Second, each Christian, each congregation of the Lord’s church, each eldership, each preacher and each teacher must prayerfully review his obligation to proclaim God’s Message of Hope.
  3. Third, we must identify the target audience to whom we ought to proclaim the Message of Hope.
  4. Fourth, we must re-evaluate the available mediums of communicating the divine Message of Hope (of course, with due consideration of biblical authority).
BODY:
 I. Hope Defined.
    A. The fundamental and underlying characteristic of the word “hope” in both its verb and noun form is “1: to desire with expectation of obtainment; 2: to expect with confidence” (Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc., 1993.)
    1. The concept of “hope” may be applied to non-spiritual matters pertaining to the physical universe and one’s existence therein.
    2. Further, “hope” may be applied to spiritual matters that transcend one’s physical surroundings.
    3. Most people who entertain hope do so with regard to their earthly existence only.
    4. Christians frequently entertain hope both regarding their earthly habitation and especially their spiritual citizenship in heaven.
    5. Unfortunately, vast numbers of the world’s population entertain neither earthly hope nor spiritual hope.
    6. Even more sad, many souls have an empty, false spiritual hope that is not substantiated by God’s Word.
    B. Earthly hope is deficient and temporal at best--it won’t last!
    1. The apostle Paul wrote: “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (1 Corinthians 15:19).
    2. That sentiment is amplified for those whose hope pertains solely to this physical existence and doesn’t even entertain a heavenly pursuit (Luke 12:16-21).
    3. Most of the world’s population exists under some sort of great oppression that does not provide much prospect of hope in this life (e.g., political, religious, social, racial, economical, educational, handicapped, dysfunctional family, etc.).
    4. The only pursuits of many are to eat, have clothes and shelter; often, they will not have enough of any of it in this life.  They have no real hope.  Many despair in this life and know only a miserable existence.
    5. Even those who have real hope in this life regarding a measure of affluence, it is fleeting because of the temporary nature of life as well as the temporary duration of this world (James 4:14; 2 Peter 3:10-12).
    C. Biblical hope sustains God’s faithful children in this life and provides a bright prospect of eternity in heaven.
    1. The Greek word “elpizo[el-pid’-zo] is translated 18 times as “trust” and 10 times as “hope.”  It means “1a: in a religious sense, to wait for salvation with joy and full confidence.” (Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1995.)
    2. The Greek word “elpis[el-pece’] is translated 53 times as “hope.”  It means “2a: in the Christian sense 2a1: joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation.”  (Ibid.)
    3. Biblical hope rests on the divine assurance of eternal bliss after this life is concluded.

    4. a) “. . . in hope of eternal life . . .” (Titus 1:2; 3:7).
      b) “. . . hope of his calling . . . his inheritance in the saints” (Ephesians 1:18).
      c) “For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven . . .” (Colossians 1:5).
    5. As such, then, biblical hope pertains to salvation.

    6. a) “For we are saved by hope . . .” (Romans 8:24).
      b) “. . . hope of salvation” (1 Thessalonians 5:8).
    7. There is only one hope (Ephesians 4:4).
    8. Our “God of Hope” is the source of the Christian’s hope (Romans 15:13).
    9. The Christian hope is Messianic in nature (1 Timothy 1:1; Titus 2:13).
    10. Further, the biblical hope is effective because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

    11. a) Acts 23:6; 24:15.
      b) “. . . a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).
    12. Biblical hope is the chief object of written revelation.

    13. a) The testament with which the former testament was replaced provides great hope (2 Corinthians 3:11-12).
      b) “. . . hope of the gospel . . .” (Colossians 1:23).
      c) “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4).
    14. Biblical hope was the subject of prophecy.

    15. a) “. . . the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers . . . hope to come . . .” (Acts 26:6-7).
      b) “. . . hope of Israel . . .” (Acts 28:20).
    16. Biblical hope provides confidence in this life and the approaching eternity, where faithful children of God will spend forever with God in heaven.

    17. a) “. . . the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul . . .” (Hebrews 6:18-19).
      b) Christians, therefore have “the full assurance of hope unto the end” (Hebrews 6:11; 3:6; 1 Peter 1:13).
    18. Consequently, biblical hope is the source of great rejoicing (Romans 12:12; Hebrews 3:6).
    19. It is biblical hope that animates the Christian:  “. . . the hope that is in you . . .” (1 Peter 3:15).
    20. Therefore, unlike other souls, Christians can approach death with every confidence and expectation of spending eternity in heaven with God.  “. . . the righteous hath hope in his death” (Proverbs 14:32).
    21. For the child of God, then, life should not be one of despair, despite the physical circumstances in which he finds himself.  “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God” (Psalm 43:5).
II. Each Christian shares some degree of responsibility in proclaiming God’s Message of Hope.
    A. Preachers must carefully and faithfully proclaim the good news of the Gospel.
    1. 2 Timothy 4:2, 5, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine . . . But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”
    2. 1 Timothy 4:16, “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”
    B. Elders bear an immense responsibility, which unfortunately, often is not fully recognized by those who serve as elders.
    1. Hebrews 13:17, “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”
    2. 1 Timothy 3:2, “. . . apt to teach.”
    C. Each Christian must teach in some degree.
    1. Every Christian ought (has a moral obligation) to develop his teaching skills (Hebrews 5:11-6:2).
    2. The growth of the early church was not attributable solely to the work of apostles and other preachers, but depended heavily on the teaching done by other members of the church (Acts 8:1-4; 18:26).
III. Target Audience.
    A. It must seem strange to even need to consider to whom the Gospel (with its message of hope) needs proclaimed.
    1. Should we limit our presentation of the Gospel to the “unchurched”?
    2. Is anyone really lost, or will an infinitely loving God save everyone anyway?
    3. Are our denominational neighbors and friends in need of hearing the Gospel of Christ?
    4. Should the church preach the Gospel to members of the church, including faithful Christians?
    B. Almighty God has selected the target audience!
    1. Biblical unity and fellowship are limited to those souls who have submitted to the divinely authored scheme of redemption and are practicing simple, New Testament Christianity.

    2. a) 2 John 9, “. . . He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.”
      b) 1 John 1:3, “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.”
    3. The so-called “unchurched” as well as every other lost soul, including denominational people need to hear the saving Gospel with its exclusive Message of Hope.
    4. Unfaithful Christians need to be rejuvenated with the Gospel (James 5:19-20).
    5. Even faithful Christians need to hear the Gospel over and over again.

    6. a) Romans 1:15, “So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.”
      b) 1 Corinthians 4:17, “For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.”
      c) 1 Timothy 4:6, “If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.” (2 Timothy 2:14).
      d) 2 Peter 1:12-13, “Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance.”
      e) 2 Peter 3:1, “This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance.”
      f) Jude 5, “I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this . . .”
IV. Contemporary Mediums of Communication.
    A. Anciently, the Word of God was communicated from person to person orally and in written form.
    1. Preaching is the formal presentation of the Gospel message (Acts 5:42).
    2. Teaching is the informal presentation of the God’s Word (Acts 18:26).
    3. Of course, the committing of God’s Word to writing gave us both testaments (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Thessalonians 3:17).
    B. Throughout the years, our Lord’s church has employed a variety of these methods in several forms.
    1. Preaching: pulpit messages, lectureships, debates.
    2. Teaching: Bible classes, VBS, workshops, seminars, schools of preaching, church camp.
    3. Writing: BCC, Gospel journals, Bible class material, religious books, mass mailing.
    4. Television:
    5. Radio:
    C. Contemporary evangelism.
    1. No one medium of communication is superior to any other medium of communication.
    2. Each medium of communication has its strengths and weaknesses.
    3. One or more mediums of communication should be utilized to the extent that they are useful in a given locality and financially feasible.
    D. The internet is a recently new medium of communication that should not be overlooked or underestimated.
    1. It can employ preaching, teaching, oral presentations, colorful illustrations and written messages on demand at the convenience of the auditor.
    2. The internet is high tech and yet cost efficient.
    3. The potential audience runs in the millions and spans the globe.
Conclusion:
  1.  You and I must explain to the world the crucial distinction between biblical hope and earthly hope.

  2. a) The strength of biblical hope is the promise of a sovereign God.
    b) The efficiency of the Christian hope depends on the Messiah, his resurrection and his promise to return for us.
    c) The confidence of hope is salvation from past sins and the prospect of eternal redemption.
  3. You and I must realize that we alone have the responsibility to bring God’s Message of Hope to a lost and dying world; no one else can do it!

  4. a) For many in this world, they can have no hope in physical matters; their lot in life may never improve.
    b) However, we can offer them real and enduring hope despite their physical circumstances.
    c) These are the souls most likely to obey the Gospel (e.g., India, Russian, Africa, the poor, etc.)
  5. You and I must accept the fact that all souls need to hear the Gospel’s Message of Hope, even our religious neighbors.
  6. You and I must take advantage of as many different, valid mediums of communication as possible to get God’s message out to the world.
  7. Brethren, let’s go to heaven together--and take as many souls with us as possible.  Tell someone about God’s Message of Hope today!


Copyright 1999, conditions of use
Gospel Gazette Online
Louis Rushmore, Editor
4325 Southeast Drive
Steubenville, Ohio 43953-3353
rushmore@gospelgazette.com http://www.gospelgazette.com/ webmaster@gospelgazette.com