The Hope Which is Laid Up
1. Paul mentions an oft-repeated trilogy of Christian graces in this passage: faith, love, and hope.
2. There is an important relationship between these three… mentioned in nearly all the commentaries – author unknown…
a. Faith looks upward to God; love looks outward to others; hope looks forward to the future.
b. Faith rests upon the past work of Christ; love operates in the present; and hope anticipates the future…
3. This morning we are going to look at HOPE…
This Hope Is Objective
1. Paul is speaking about a hope that is laid up in heaven.
2. That which is laid up in heaven is hope in the objective sense.
a. It is not the attitude of waiting or looking forward to something (subjective) but the hope here refers to that for which a person waits… anticipates… the object of our hope.
b. Hope in the subjective sense speaks of our personal sense of hope… our possession of a hopeful spirit…
3. Now of course, hope in the objective and subjective senses are related closely.
a. The glorious future promised us (our objective hope) creates in us a feeling of hope… a confident expectation (subjective).
b. The more we focus on the heavenly hope laid up for us… the more hopeful we will be as a person!
c. If we fill our minds with hearts with our objective hope… we will become FILLED with hope… we will become hopeful people… characterized by hope.
4. We are going to see in this passage that when our minds are filled with heavenly things, then the love for all the saints will be rekindled… Hope is extremely beneficial in the Christian life.
5. Let’s consider what the Bible says about our HOPE… what our hope is in the objective sense… and KNOWING more of this hope will make us more hopeful people.
This Hope Is In Christ
1. Hope Defined:
a. Hope: anticipation of good in the future… confidence of good prospects in the future…
• Zodhiates: a desire for good and an expectation of obtaining it.
• Vines: the happy anticipation of good
b. The term Paul uses for hope here does not imply uncertainty as the English term sometimes does. (I hope so…)
c. It is a confident expectation of good…
d. Sometimes we think of hope as a hope so.
e. At an accident scene a person is severely injured, and we try to comfort them by saying, “It’s going to be all right.” However, we don’t KNOW it is. Those words may have no basis in fact whatsoever. It may NOT be all right! Such words though well intentioned are meaningless.
2. Our hope in Christ is based upon truth… the truth of the gospel… gospel truth.
a. Hence, it is not a hope so… but a certainty.
b. Our hope is rock solid… resting on the promises of God.
3. I Tim. 1:1 – our hope resides in a Person – the Lord Jesus Christ.
a. The only reason we have any hope is because of Him – and because of what He accomplished for us on Calvary.
b. All of our hopes for the future are attached to Him… to His work on the cross… to His resurrection and ascension… to His present High Priestly intercessory ministry…
c. Our hopes are linked to His promises for tomorrow…
d. Our hopes are linked to the Person, the Provision (cross), and the Promises of Jesus Christ—He is our hope.
The Hope of Glory
1. Col. 1:27 – Christ in you, the hope of glory!
a. Paul speaks of the indwelling Christ… the riches of the glory of the mystery of this age…
b. The indwelling life of Christ is a foretaste of glory divine… a foretaste of future glory that we will one day share WITH Him in glory itself…
c. We get a taste of that now… Christ with us… IN us… and we in Him… an eternal union with our Savior… His LIFE manifested through us…
d. Glory belongs to us for all eternity, yet that glory is all future.
e. It is HOPE that links us to that future glory… and THROUGH the indwelling Person of Jesus Christ… the hope of glory… a foretaste of glory divine—today!
2. Heb. 6:18-20 – Christ, our High Priest is our HOPE.
a. This hope that He engenders in us is an anchor to our soul…
b. This hope connects us directly to Christ who is already in the inner sanctuary of heaven… already in glory…
c. And we are connected to Him by this hope… which is like an invisible cord attached to our soul… and the other end is safely anchored in heaven…
d. What an awesome picture is painted here!
3. Col. 3:4 – we shall appear with Him in glory!
a. Here Paul speaks of our future as believers…
b. When Christ returns for the church, we will appear WITH Him in glory…
c. We will one day share in His glorified state…
d. The heavenly sphere is our position already… We have already been raised into heavenly places in Christ Jesus!
e. Our citizenship is there… our inheritance is there… and one day we too shall be there! Oh that will be glory for me!
4. Rom. 8:17-18 – suffering now… glory later.
a. The sufferings of this life are not worthy to be compared to the glory that shall be revealed in us.
b. The sufferings are only for a time; the glory is forever.
c. We suffer in this lifetime… but as we suffer, this hope enables us to endure…
d. Vs. 24-25 – The suffering we experience in this life is due to living in a cursed earth, in a corruptible body with a sin nature…
• However, one day all that will be reversed for the believer… a regenerated earth; a redeemed body with no sin! Until then we HOPE.
• Hope enables us to endure the sufferings of this life
• vs. 23 – we also have the glorious hope of a redeemed body one day… a body suited for eternity in the heavenly city…
e. Many folks here today are dealing with health issues… some with daily aches and pains; others with effects of aging; others are bearing some serious internal diseases;
• Here Paul says that part of the hope of future glory is obtaining a new body! A resurrection body… clothed with immortality… an incorruptible body!
• Paul says if we had that body now, we wouldn’t need hope. But since we DON’T have it now… then because of hope, we can with patience wait for it.
f. But even the world has to endure this kind of suffering resulting from corruptible bodies in a cursed earth.
• Their hope is not the same as a Christian hope.
• Their hope is that someone will find a cure for their disease…
• Their hope is that their company will do better next quarter…
• Their hope is that a new medication for their arthritis will be found…
• Their hopes are grounded entirely on life on the earth… relating to earthly suffering.
• Our hope is heavenly. It relates to suffering on earth… but especially to suffering for righteousness sake…
• And our hope is not simply that the suffering for righteousness we are experiencing will STOP…
• But rather, that God will give the grace and strength to endure SO THAT this suffering will result in eternal rewards… that will so far outweigh the pain that it will not be worthy to be compared to the glory that shall be revealed in us!
5. I Thess. 1:3 – hope produces patient endurance through life’s trials. (faith produces works; love results in labor; hope results in patience!)
a. An earthly kind of hope will make you feel good and might help you get through life’s trials on an earthly level. Psychologists encourage people to use hope as a “self help.” That is a completely SELF centered approach—where as true hope MUST be Christ centered.
b. Our Christian hope is based on the assurance of our future glory with Christ… and that is as far above their hope as heaven is above the earth!
c. Hope in Christ results in patient endurance… through physical suffering AND through suffering for righteousness sake.
d. Believers who fall away into sin and backslide – have somehow or other lost hope… given up hope… have allowed hope to dwindle away in their hearts… and that has resulted in unmitigated suffering—the only escape from which seems to be to return to the world.
e. Beware – our adversary is ever present… trying to cause us to lose hope in Christ.
f. If we are abiding in Christ, focused upon HIM… who is the hope of glory… we will patiently endure… looking unto Jesus, we will be enabled to run the race with patience.
g. Hope is strengthened in our hearts by keeping our eyes on the Lord Jesus Christ.
h. Focused on circumstances, we will lose hope… and will find our hands hanging down and our knees too feeble to run!
The Hope of His Coming
1. In one sense, all of our hopes are connected to that which is referred to as Our Blessed Hope (Titus 2:13).
a. Read Titus 2:11-14 – this passage looks back at God’s grace revealed at Calvary… and it looks ahead to Christ’s coming.
b. Both aspects of Christ’s work (past and future) will have an effect on the way we live… if we are looking…
c. The one who gave Himself to redeem us from iniquity is the same One who is coming again!
d. As we LOOK for His coming… it engenders HOPE in us… and that coupled with an appreciation of His grace enables us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts.
e. As many times as we struggle in the flesh with the lusts of the flesh in this life, we need to have that HOPE set before us – that this struggle is not forever… we have HOPE of being set free eternally from ungodly and worldly lusts… no more sin!
f. But of course, that which is MOST blessed about Christ’s coming is seeing Him face to face… being with Him forevermore… in His very presence…
g. Ps. 16:8-11 – in His presence is fullness of joy! Pleasures forever more! That truly IS a blessed hope… to be with the One we love… forever.
The Hope of the Resurrection
1. Acts 23:6 – Paul was called into question because of his HOPE of the resurrection.
a. The Sadducees and Pharisees were divided on this issue. The Pharisees believed in resurrection… the Sadducees did not. That’s why they were sad, you see! (vs. 8)
b. Paul had great hope in the resurrection… based on the promises of the Old Testament… and the new revelation he was given.
c. Paul was willing to face death in defense of his beliefs. This was his hope… and he wasn’t going to back down from it!
2. I Cor. 15:16-20 – Later Paul wrote of his hope of resurrection… and what effect it had on his life.
a. If our hope in Christ goes no farther than this life only – then we are of all men most miserable…
b. Why miserable? Because the apostles gave UP their earthly lives to follow Christ.
c. They suffered much in following Him. If there is no resurrection and no afterlife, then they were fools! They should have lived it up… eat, drink, and be merry!
d. They lived their entire earthly lives in hopes of being raised to glory… resurrected into glorified bodies… and receiving rewards in glory for their suffering on earth.
e. This hope enabled them to persevere by giving them REASON to suffer in this life—KNOWING that it will be worth it all!
f. Hope in the resurrection will do the same in our lives as well… IF we believe it… trust in it… live by it… saturate our minds and hearts with it…
g. But since Christ rose from the dead, we too have a glorious hope of being raised ourselves one day… in a resurrected body – into that heavenly city! What a hope!
The Hope of Meeting Loved Ones in Glory
1. I Thess. 4:15-18 – Here Paul speaks of that grand reunion in the sky!
a. When Christ returns, all those who died in Christ before us will be returning with Him…
b. The dead in Christ will be raised into glorified bodies first.
c. Then that generation of Christians alive at His return will be translated into a glorified body…
d. And then we will meet Christ in the air…
e. And we will meet all those saints in Christ who have gone before us…
2. I know folks who will be in that crowd. Do you?
a. That godly grandmother… who prayed for you while you were growing up…
b. That child who died in a tragic accident…
c. That good friend whose life was taken early by cancer…
d. That one who waited till the last days of his life to surrender to Christ and believe on Him… he’ll be there.
e. That deacon who lived for Christ… that lady who suffered so with polio will be there…
f. And on and on it goes… they’ll all be there… and so will we! What a reunion!
g. For some of you it will be a spouse… a child… a mother, father, brother… a friend… one you led to the Savior… or perhaps the one who led you to Christ…
h. We all know folks there; what a day of rejoicing that will be!
3. It is our great hope – an assured, confident expectation to meet all those folks again.
a. And this is not just a wish… but based upon the promises of God! Rock Solid!
b. Jesus is coming again… maybe morning; maybe noon; maybe evening and maybe soon! And all those who died in Christ will be with Him!
The Hope of Our Calling
1. Eph. 1:18 – Paul prayed that the Ephesian saints might KNOW what is the HOPE of their calling.
a. Our calling is a high, heavenly, calling…
b. Our calling includes being IN Christ; accepted in the Beloved; redeemed; forgiven; holiness; seated in heavenly places; citizens of heaven;.
2. Understanding their glorious calling – their position in Christ would create HOPE in them.
a. That in turn would have an effect on the way they lived here and now!
b. PRAY that God would open OUR understanding concerning our glorious position in Christ… that it will SINK IN…
c. PRAY that we would learn to REST in our glorious position and from that position of rest, we would have confidence expectation of good—and bright hope for tomorrow…
3. We can have a hope of resurrection. But we are already called to live a resurrection life! This is a foretaste of that future glory…
The Hope of Being Like Him (I John 3:1-2)
1. Vs. 1-2a – We are right now (by faith) called the sons of God!
a. We are sons of God, but the world doesn’t recognize us as such.
b. Why? Because we look just like them. That’s why they didn’t recognize the Lord either.
c. Unfortunately, we sometimes behave like the world too…
d. They don’t recognize us as the sons of God… because we are like them.
2. But when Christ appears, we shall no more be like them, we shall be LIKE Him. What does it mean to be LIKE Him?
a. Throughout this life we are gradually being transformed into His image… glory to glory… but we have a LONG way to go…
b. As we contemplate, meditate, and ruminate on who we are in Christ… our glorious heavenly calling and position… we will be changed more and more into that image.
c. As a matter of fact, we fall infinitely short of His glory today.
d. Positionally, we are like Him… holy…sanctified… blameless… without spot or wrinkle…
e. But practically, we are quite spotted—every one of us—by the world around us and by sin within us.
f. One day that gradual transformation will be finalized… when we are raised up with Him… new bodies… with no sin nature!
g. He that began a good work in us WILL perform it until the day of Jesus Christ… until the work is done—until we are truly LIKE HIM!
3. To be like Him means sinless… holy…
a. The real struggles we face as believers are not so much from the world or the devil… but from the sin that resides in us!
b. Isn’t that where we agonize? Don’t we often come to the place where we cry out, “Oh wretched man that I am. Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”
c. The real struggle is learning to walk by faith… and having a life of victory over our thoughts… the intents of our heart… over self-righteousness… over envy, jealousy, lust, anger, pride, bitterness… etc.
d. When He shall appear – those battles will be over forever! Praise the Lord… we shall be like Him.
e. That too is part of our hope… no more sin!
4. I John 3:3 – this hope in us has a purifying effect…
a. The hope of His coming… and the hope of our being made like Him one day… our struggles all over… sin no more… holy… pure!
b. Hope purifies…
c. The discouraged believer is going to throw in the towel a lot sooner than the one who is filled with HOPE… the one who is expectantly awaiting the consummation of his faith…
d. You NEED hope to keep you going… to face the difficulties of the day… and the trials that you know are coming tomorrow!
The Hope of Heaven
1. Paul says that our hope is laid up for us in heaven.
a. Our hope is heavenly… not earthly.
b. Our hopes for the future are tied up with God’s promise to the church of a place on high…
c. Israel’s hope was earthly. They hoped for land… a kingdom…a fig tree… and bountiful crops.
d. Our hope is heavenly… not at all related to this earth and its ways.
e. In fact, as Christians, our ALL is heavenly! Our hope, our calling, our home, our future, our blessings, our inheritance… are all found above… where Christ sits at the right hand of God…
f. Our hopes are found in the person of Christ… He IS our hope!
g. And this hope is not a theory or speculation. It is a spiritual reality…
h. And those heavenly realities can be enjoyed TODAY by faith…
• We are by nature tied to this earth and its ways.
• It is our DEATH with Christ that breaks that link for us and enables us by faith to enjoy our spiritual blessings… and heavenly realities…
• Not until we are willing to be made conformable to His death will we fully appreciate our heavenly hope…
• The hope of our resurrection life is experienced first by reckoning self to be dead… and then alive to walk in newness of life… that sees, understands, and appreciates our heavenly hope.
2. John 14:1-3 – the hope of a home in heaven… finally home!
a. Jesus was about to go to the cross and leave His disciples on their own… He would leaving this world for glory.
b. Jesus wanted to encourage His disciples by leaving them with bright HOPE for tomorrow…
c. He told them He was coming again (our Blessed Hope)… and He assured them of a place in heaven with Him for ever! A mansion (dwelling or abiding place)…
d. Earlier Peter asked the Lord, “Behold, we have forsaken all and followed thee. What shall we have therefore?”
e. What shall they have? Among other things – Jesus that every one who has forsaken houses or brethren in this life shall have a mansion in glory! What makes it a mansion? There are no tall white pillars… it is an abiding place close to Christ!
f. It will be more than worth it all!
3. Rev. 21:3-4 – God shall dwell with us… and be our God… and shall wipe away all tears… no more sorrow or crying… no more pain…
a. This is also our blessed hope for the future!
b. Ours is a heavenly hope…
c. II Peter 3:10-13 – our hope is NOT in this world.
• This world will one day be melted with a fervent heat… and all that is in it.
• How vain and how foolish to put all our hopes in temporal things of earth that will one day be turned to ashes…
• Our hopes are not tied to the kingdoms of this world… our hope is not to make the world a better place in which to live… (although it is true that the church’s presence in the world does retard the corruption of sin – like salt).
• Our true hope is in the world to come… heavenly… eternal…
d. How much better to have our hope is in Christ… and in our eternal home… in things that have eternal value…
e. It’s nice to have a home here on earth; it’s nice to have good health; it’s nice to own things on earth… but every bit of it will be gone one day.
f. Don’t place your hope in that which is corruptible and temporal… but in that which is eternal.
The Hope of Rewards
1. I Pet. 1:3-4 – Peter says that the believer has been born UNTO a living hope…
a. The new birth produces HOPE… in the regenerated heart.
b. The born again person is alive… alive unto God… alive unto the hope we have in Christ…
c. This living hope is tied to our heavenly inheritance… which (like our hope) is laid up for us in heaven! Reserved in heaven for you!
d. This brings great hope to the believer…
e. We have an inheritance in heaven. In fact, we are joint heirs with Christ!
2. II Tim. 4:6-8 – Paul was aware that one day he would receive rewards in heaven for his faithful service on earth.
a. This produces hope. Paul was full of hope to the very end of his life.
b. In fact, this motivated him to serve to the very end.
c. Oh how we all need that bright hope for tomorrow! Glorious rewards to look forward to!
This Hope Is Secure (Laid Up)
1. Laid up defined: reserved; put in store; deposited out of the reach of all enemies.
2. The tense: perfect: this hope was laid up for you with the present result that it is STILL laid up for and awaiting you…
3. I Pet. 1:4 – our inheritance is also laid up… reserved in heaven.
4. Heb. 6:18-19 – our (objective) hope is laid up within the veil in heaven… and we are to lay hold of it (subjective hope)… it is an anchor… sure and steadfast… hope connects us to heavenly realities.
5. The believer has such rewards LAID UP for him in heaven.
a. II Tim. 4:8 – Paul’s crowns for faithful service were “laid up” for him. (same word – laid up)
b. Matt. 6:19-20 – treasures laid up in heaven…
c. They are reserved in heaven for us.
d. This is a solid rock assurance to support our hope… and keep it going.
e. Nothing can ever hinder or undermine our heavenly hope.
This Hope is Heavenly
1. Their hopes were laid up in heaven… not on the earth.
a. This is what differentiates between a worldly believer and a spiritually minded believer: where does your real hope lie? What are you hoping for?
b. The Colossian heresy related to earthly philosophies and earthly ordinances… which tended to place man’s hopes on the things of earth.
c. They were being warned … beware lest they allow earthly things to occupy their minds and hearts… and lose hope in future heavenly glory…
d. While the form of the attack against us today is different than it was 2000 years ago, in essence it is the same: an attempt to get us to become worldly minded… earthly minded… and to put all of our treasures and hopes in this life only…
2. This basic principle of the Christian life is foolishness apart from our heavenly hope.
a. The Christian philosophy is this: we suffer on earth and receive glory in heaven; we forsake the here and now for rewards in the by and by; we use our earthly treasures to lay up treasures in heaven;
b. But if this earthly life is all there is, then we are of all men most miserable!
c. We should ALL live like Esau – who cared not for future rewards.
• He lived for today… he wanted his porridge now.
• Why? Because future glory meant nothing to him.
• We are FOOLS for giving up the pleasures in this life for some future hope that will not be fulfilled! Fools!
d. The Christian LIVES his entire life with this frame of mind: Our hope is Christ…
• He is the ONE in whom all our hopes reside…
• He is the ONE in heaven…
• He is the source of all of our hope… His work; His word; His person; His promises…
• Without Christ, we have no hope…
• In fact that is exactly how the lost gentiles are described today… without Christ and without hope in the world.
3. You can’t live the Christian life without HOPE. Consider its effects:
a. Hope has a purifying effect on our lives (I John 3:3)
b. Hope links us to Christ behind the veil in the heavenly sanctuary – and brings assurance to our soul. (Heb. 6:18-20)
c. Hope produces patient endurance (I Thess. 1:3)
d. Our heavenly hope gives us a sensible reason for living a sacrificial life… to obtain future glory.
e. Hope also is a motivating factor which energizes our faith in Christ and love to all the saints.
4. Therefore do whatever you can to stir up hope in your heart!
a. This is one reason why the local church is so necessary – to encourage one another to keep on hoping in Christ…
b. Stay in the Word – for there our hope is put before us daily—even when we think we aren’t getting anything new out of our reading – hope is revitalized… whether we realize it or not…
c. Set your affection on things above… where Christ is – who is our HOPE!
OUR HEAVENLY HOPE AND OUR EARTHLY WALK:
This Hope Is the Source of Faith and Love (Col. 1:5)
1. Some might accuse us of having a heavenly hope… that is no earthly good. Nonsense!
a. Our passage teaches us just the opposite.
b. Col. 1:5 teaches us that it is BECAUSE of our hope for a glorious future that we are able to endure today… AND because of that hope we continue trusting in Christ and demonstrating deeds of love to the brethren… unto the glory of God!
2. FOR: dia: through… because of… on account of…
a. This expression is to be linked back to the Colossian’s love to all the saints…
b. Paul is saying that the Colossian believers were able to love one another BECAUSE of the hope they had!
c. Hope was the motivating factor behind their faith and love.
d. Wuest says that the preposition (for – dia) is a preposition of intermediate agency. This shows that the hope is an active thing… working in the believers… and energizing that faith and love to a greater intensity.
3. Hope isn’t the ONLY motivating factor, but it is a legitimate one… and an active one.
a. Paul writes to the Colossians and not only did he know about their love and their faith… he also knew WHY their faith and love were active: because of their hope!
b. As the Colossians (and us!) contemplated their glorious position in heavenly places in Christ, and what marvelous glories God has in store for us… those thoughts of HOPE stirred up in them a love for the brethren… for other citizens of heaven.
c. Hope became a fountain, out of which faith and love flowed.
4. Faith, love, and hope are all interrelated. They have an effect on each other.
a. Faith works by love (Gal. 6:6).
b. Hope is a motivating factor behind both faith and love.
5. Hope is that which enables believers to lead a life of sacrifice… a living sacrifice.
a. Because of a glorious hope for tomorrow, we are able to sacrifice today… and to us it is worth it!
b. Because of hope for a glorious tomorrow – we won’t live for today. We live for tomorrow… with eternity in mind.
c. Hope teaches us that it makes good sense to be willing to suffer today… for future glory.
d. Hope teaches us that whatever we suffer in the present is not worthy to be compared to the glory that shall be revealed in us.
e. Hope of future glory motivates the believer to give up in this life to gain in the future.
f. This kind and depth of hope is unable to be understood by the world… because they have no such hope for the future.
g. The world understands this principle in earthly things… but not when it comes to spiritual and eternal things.
• Ex: When a student gives up his today (his money; time; pleasure) to get a good education, the world understands the value of that… he gives up now to gain in the future.
• Ex: Or making a monetary investment in a fledgling company now for a greater dividend to be paid later.
• The world understands that – because in those cases both the giving up and gaining are here one earth… in this life.
• But they can’t understand one who gives up this life for some pie in the sky by and by. That is folly to them.
• But it is wisdom to the believer. It is our HOPE.
DO YOU HAVE HOPE IN CHRIST TODAY?
• You do if you have received Him as your Savior.
• But if not, then you are without hope…
• Believe on Christ and be saved today!