"Hope, Part VII"

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"Hope, Part VII"

Post by Romans » Thu Oct 12, 2017 1:47 pm

“Hope, Part VII” by Romans

Tonight, I honestly believed we would be concluding our Series, “Hope.” I have far too much material for you for that to happen. I am looking, now, perhaps to see ten installments to this Series. I sincerely hope that y'all are getting as much out of it, I am in preparing it for you. Tonight, I am going to be using the entries in Torrey's Topical Textbook under the category heading, “Hope.”

This will not only cite those Scriptures which include the word “hope,” but also very likely we will be directed to Scriptures which speak of hope without necessarily using the word, itself. There may well be some repetition of verses previous used in previous installments, but I think that looking at them even a second time, separated and categorized will give us new insight into their meaning and significance.

Our first “stop” tonight is Hope In God. For this we are directed to two verses, the first in Psalms 39:7 which reads, “And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee.”

Matthew Henry writes, “The psalmist, having meditated on the shortness and uncertainty of life, and the vanity and vexation of spirit that attend all the comforts of life, here, in these verses, turns his eyes and heart heaven-ward. When there is no solid satisfaction to be had in the creature it is to be found in God, and in communion with him; and to him we should be driven by our disappointments in the world. David here expresses his dependence on God. Seeing all is vanity, and man himself is so,

1. He despairs of a happiness in the things of the world, and disclaims all expectations from it: “Now, Lord, what wait I for? Even nothing from the things of sense and time; I have nothing to wish for, nothing to hope for, from this earth.” Note, The consideration of the vanity and frailty of human life should deaden our desires to the things of this world and lower our expectations from it. “If the world be such a thing as this, God deliver me from having, or seeking, my portion in it. We cannot reckon upon constant health and prosperity, nor upon comfort in any relation; for it is all as uncertain as our continuance here. “Though I have sometimes foolishly promised myself this and the other from the world, I am now of another mind.” 2. He takes hold of happiness and satisfaction in God: My hope is in thee. Note, When creature-confidences fail, it is our comfort that we have a God to go to, a God to trust to, and we should thereby be quickened to take so much the faster hold of him by faith.”
The Sermon Bible says, “Set God before thee, and the Pharisee religion of the day will not be thine. Thou shalt walk, not in a shadowy being, as this life would in itself be, but up and down with God; in God thou shalt take thy rest, with God converse; His wisdom shall be thy wisdom, His truth thy light, His love thy joy. And if this be the mirror, what is the "face to face"? "And now, Lord, what have I ever longed for? My longing expectation is for Thee."

The Barnes' Commentary writes, “And now, Lord, what wait I for? - From the consideration of a vain world - of the fruitless efforts of man - of what so perplexed, embarrassed, and troubled him - the psalmist now turns to God, and looks to him as the source of consolation. Turning to Him, he gains more cheerful views of life. The expression “What wait I for?” means, what do I now expect or hope for; on what is my hope based; where do I find any cheerful, comforting views in regard to life? He had found none in the contemplation of the world itself, in man and his pursuits; in the course of things so shadowy and so mysterious; and he says now, that he turns to God to find comfort in his perplexities. My hope is in thee - In thee alone. My reliance is on thee; my expectation is from thee. It is not from what I see in the world; it is not in my power of solving the mysteries which surround me; it is not that I can see the reason why these shadows are pursuing shadows so eagerly around me; it is in the God that made all, the Ruler over all, that can control all, and that can accomplish His own great purposes in connection even with these moving shadows, and that can confer on man thus vain in himself and in his pursuits that which will be valuable and permanent. The idea is, that the contemplation of a world so vain, so shadowy, so mysterious, should lead us away from all expectation of finding in that world what we need, or finding a solution of the questions which so much perplex us, up to the great God who is infinitely wise, and who can meet all the necessities of our immortal nature; and who, in his own time, can solve all these mysteries.”

Under the banner of Hope in God, we are taken, second, to 1 Peter 1:21: “Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.”

Of this the Preacher's Homiletic says, “Faith.—πίστις. Relates to things present which, though invisible, are realised by the eye of the mind. Hope.—ἔλπις. Relates to things in the distant future, which are objects of such loveliness that they fill the heart and engage the affections, as if they were near at hand (Webster and Wilkinson).”

Matthew Henry writes, “The decree of God to send Christ to be a Mediator was from everlasting, and was a just and merciful decree. God had purposes of special favour towards his people long before he made any manifestations of such grace to them. The clearness of light, the supports of faith, the efficacy of ordinances, and the proportion of comforts - these are all much greater since the manifestation of Christ than they were before. The redemption of Christ belongs to none but true believers. God in Christ is the ultimate object of a Christian's faith, which is strongly supported by the resurrection of Christ, and the glory that did follow.”

Adama Clarke writes, “Who by him do believe in God - This is supposed to refer to the Gentiles, who never knew the true God till they heard the preaching of the Gospel: the Jews had known him long before, but the Gentiles had every thing to learn when the first preachers of the Gospel arrived amongst them.

Gave him glory - Raised him to his right hand, where, as a Prince and a Savior, he gives repentance and remission of sins. That your faith - In the fulfillment of all his promises, and your hope of eternal glory, might be in God, who is unchangeable in his counsels, and infinite in his mercies.”

The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary says regarding, “that your faith and hope might be in God—the object and effect of God's raising Christ. He states what was the actual result and fact, not an exhortation, except indirectly. Your faith flows from His resurrection; your hope from God's having "given Him glory." Remember God's having raised and glorified Jesus as the anchor of your faith and hope in God, and so keep alive these graces. Apart from Christ we could have only feared, not believed and hoped in God.”

The Pulpit Commentary says, “The resurrection and the glory of Christ not only inspire the Christian with confidence in God, but they also give his faith the character of hope; they fill it with hope. Christ had promised that where he is there should his servant be; he had prayed that those whom the Father had given him should be with him where he is, to behold his glory. He is in heaven, on the right hand of God. Thus the Christian's faith assumes the attitude of hope; he hopes to be where Christ is, to see him as he is, to be made like unto him. This is "the hope of glory" for which we offer our thanksgivings. St. Peter is the apostle of hope.”

As we move forward in the Topical Bible, under the banner of Hope, we are taken next to the heading:
Hope In Christ. The first verse for this is 1 Corinthians 15:19: “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.”

Of this the Sermon Bible says, “In this life we have hope in Christ, and there may be pleasure in such hope in Christ while it lasts. But it is a hope which, if there be, as there assuredly is, a hereafter, will be found to be utterly hollow and untrue. For it is the hope, it is the faith of our being saved from our sins.

But we are not saved from our sins if Christ be not raised. But it is not so. Christ is risen from the dead. He who was dead is alive for evermore. Therefore we, as well as our predecessors in the life of faith, have a hope which neither death nor sin can touch.”

Albert Barnes writes, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ - If our hope in Christ shall not be followed by the resurrection of the dead and future glory, and if all our hopes shall be disappointed.

We are ... - Doddridge, Macknight, Grotius, and some others, suppose that this refers to the apostles only, and that the sense is, that if there was no resurrection, they, of all people would be most to be pitied, since they had exposed themselves to such a variety of dangers and trials, in which nothing could sustain them but the hope of immortality...
If they failed in that they failed in everything. They were regarded as the most vile of the human family; they suffered more from persecution, poverty, and perils than other people; and if, after all, they were to be deprived of all their hopes, and disappointed in their expectation of the resurrection, their condition would be more deplorable than that of any other people. But there is no good reason for supposing that the word “we,” here, is to be limited to the apostles. For:

(1) Paul had not mentioned the apostles particularly in the previous verses; and,

(2) The argument demands that it should be understood of all Christians, and the declaration is as true, substantially, of all Christians as it was of the apostles.
Of all men most miserable - More to be pitied or commiserated than any other class of people. The word used here means, properly, more deserving of pity, more pitiable. It may mean sometimes, more wretched or unhappy; but this is not necessarily its meaning, nor is it its meaning here. It refers rather to their condition and hopes than to their personal feeling; and does not mean that Christians are unhappy, or that their religion does not produce comfort, but that their condition would be most deplorable; they would be more deserving of pity than any other class of people. This would be:

(1) Because no other people had so elevated hopes, and, of course, no others could experience so great disappointment.

(2) They were subjected to more trials than any other class of people. They were persecuted and reviled, and subjected to toil, and privation, and want, on account of their religion; and if, after all, they were to be disappointed, their condition was truly deplorable.

(3) They do not indulge in the pleasures of this life; they do not give themselves, as others do, to the enjoyments of this world. They voluntarily subject themselves to trial and self-denial; and if they are not admitted to eternal life, they are not only disappointed in this but they are cut off from the sources of happiness which their fellow-men enjoy in this world.

4) On the whole, therefore, there would be disappointed hopes, and trials, and poverty, and want, and all for nothing; and no condition could be conceived to be more deplorable than where a man was looking for eternal life, and for it subjecting himself to a life of want, and poverty, persecution, and tears, and should be finally disappointed. This passage, therefore, does not mean that virtue and piety are not attended with happiness; it does not mean that, even if there were no future state, a man would not be more happy if he walked in the paths of virtue than if he lived a life of sin;

it does not mean that the Christian has no happiness in “religion itself” - in the love of God, and in prayer, and praise, and in purity of life. In all this he has enjoyment and even if there were no heaven, a life of virtue and piety would be more happy than a life of sin. But it means that the condition of the Christian would be more “deplorable” than that of other people; he would be more to be pitied. All his high hopes would be disappointed. Other people have no such hopes to be dashed to the ground; and, of course, no other people would be such objects of pity and compassion.

The “argument” in this verse is derived from the high hopes of the Christian. “Could they believe that all their hopes were to be frustrated? Were they prepared, by the denial of the doctrine of the resurrection, to put themselves in the condition of the most miserable and wretched of the human family - to “admit” that they were in a condition most to be deplored? Could they subject themselves to all these trials and privations, without believing that they would rise from the dead? ”

Our next verse under the banner of Hope in Christ is 1 Timothy 1:1: “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and the Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope.”

Adam Clarke writes, “Jesus Christ - our hope - Without Jesus, the world was hopeless; the expectation of being saved can only come to mankind by his Gospel. He is called our hope, as he is called our life, our peace, our righteousness, etc., because from him hope, life, peace, righteousness, and all other blessings proceed.”

Matthew Henry writes, “Observe, God is our Saviour. - Jesus Christ, who is our hope. Observe, Jesus Christ is a Christian's hope; our hope is in him, all our hope of eternal life is built upon him; Christ is in us the hope of glory... And I think, by a parity of reason, every thing else that ministers questions rather than godly edifying should be disclaimed and disregarded by us, such as an uninterrupted succession in the ministry from the apostles down to these times... These are as bad as Jewish fables and endless genealogies, for they involve us in inextricable difficulties, and tend only to shake the foundations of a Christian's hope and to fill his mind with perplexing doubts and fears. Godly edifying is the end ministers should aim at in all their discourses, that Christians may be improving in godliness and growing up to a greater likeness to the blessed God. The gospel is the foundation on which we build; it is by faith that we come to God at first, and it must be in the same way, and by the same principle of faith, that we must be edified.”

Albert Barnes writes, “The meaning is, that the whole of that truth, so full of glory, and so rich and elevated in its effect, is summed up in this - that Christ is revealed among you as the source of the hope of glory in a better world. This was the great truth which so animated the heart and fired the zeal of the apostle Paul. The wonderful announcement had burst on his mind like a flood of day, that the offer of salvation was not to be confined, as he had once supposed, to the Jewish people, but that all men were now placed on a level; that they had a common Saviour. This great truth Paul burned to communicate to the whole world; and for holding it, and in making it known, he had involved himself in all the difficulties which he had with his own countrymen; had suffered from want, and peril, and toil; and had finally been made a captive, and was expecting to be put to death. It was just such a truth as was fitted to fire such a mind as that of Paul, and to make it; known as worth all the sacrifices and toils which he endured. Life is well sacrificed in making known such a doctrine to the world.”

Let's move on to Torrey next Hope Topic, Hope in God's Promises: First we'll look at Acts 26:6-7: “And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers:  Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope's sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews.”

Adam Clarke writes, “For the hope of the promise - This does not appear to mean, the hope of the Messiah, as some have imagined, but the hope of the resurrection of the dead, to which the apostle referred to in Act_23:6, where he says to the Jewish council, (from which the Roman governor took him), of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question. And here he says, I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise. The Messiah had come, and was gone again, as Paul well knew; and what is here meant is something which the Jews hoped to come to, or attain; not what was to come to them... and this singular observation excludes the Messiah from being meant. It was the resurrection of all men from the dead which Paul’s words signified; and this the Jews had been taught to hope for, by many passages in the Old Testament. I shall only add, that when, in the next verse, this hope of the promise is mentioned as what the Jews did then hope, to come to, it is the very same word which Paul, in Philippians_3:11, uses to express the same thing: If by any means, (says he) I might attain to, the resurrection of the dead. Bp. Pearce.”

Matthew Henry writes, “{Paul's} religion is built upon the promise made of God unto the fathers. It is built upon divine revelation, which he receives and believes, and ventures his soul upon; it is built upon divine grace, and that grace manifested and conveyed by promise. The promise of God is the guide and ground of his religion, the promise made to the fathers, which was more ancient than the ceremonial law, that covenant which was confirmed before of God in Christ, and which the law, that was not till four hundred and thirty years after, could not disannul.

God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Now these two are the matter of the promise made unto the fathers. It may look back as far as the promise made to father Adam, concerning the seed of the woman, and those discoveries of a future state which the first patriarchs acted faith upon, and were saved by that faith; but it respects chiefly the promise made to father Abraham, that in his seed all the families of the earth should be blessed, and that God would be a God to him, and to his seed after him: the former meaning Christ, the latter heaven; for, if God had not prepared for them a city, he would have been ashamed to have called himself their God.”

Next, our Hope In Christ is spoken of in Titus 1:2: “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.”  I noticed that under this banner of Hope in Christ, the verse talks, seemingly instead, “in hope of eternal life.” I do not see this as any contradiction in light of what we read in John 3:36: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” This verse clearly shows us that we cannot experience Eternal Life without Christ. Notice also what the Sermon Bible points out: “I. Note the antiquity of this promise. It was made ages and ages ago. There are two considerations, I imagine, in the Apostle’s mind—the actual promise made in time, and the Divine purpose from which that promise sprang, fixed in eternity; and he joins the two considerations together without the least impropriety of thought. No sooner had man occasion for the promise than the promise was made to him. The Jews who were contemporary with Christ vainly supposed that the law given by Moses had in it a life-giving power. They stumbled at that stumbling-stone, for they sought eternal salvation, not by faith in Christ, but, as it were, by the works of the law; whereas the law was given for a widely different purpose, and not with that object at all. If, indeed, a law had been given which was capable of giving life, then, no doubt, justification would have been by the law. The man might have looked to it for his acquittal; but law, though essential for the regulation of manners, is, of its own nature, incapable of giving eternal salvation; for he who obeys its ordinances can, at most, but deserve to escape from its penalties.

II. Consider the security of the promise. "God, who cannot lie," made it. He who has made the promise to us cannot, from His very nature, fail in its fulfilment. There are many people in the world who, with the best intentions, are unable to help us; many who would fain do for us all that lies in their power, but who, from very ignorance, are useless in the day of trouble. There are others, again, on whom you have been leaning with fond hopes of substantial aid, who yet fail you when the day of calamity approaches—fair-weather friends, who disappear at the very first symptom of a cloud...

Many accidents, again, may prevent a man, who is really sincere, and bent upon helping us, from keeping his promise. Without any intention of so doing, he may-deceive us in the most important matters, and fail at the very crisis when he is wanted most; and of course, in many cases, we cannot conceal from ourselves that men have an interest in deceiving us. We cannot in all cases rely implicitly on their word. But, with respect to the promise which is now occupying our thoughts, not one jot or one tittle shall fail. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but God’s word never. He cannot lie.

III. Note the extent of the promise. It embraces you and all mankind. God, who cannot lie, has set before us, with all plainness, and with most comfortable assurance, the hope of eternal life. There is but one road that leads to it, one door that opens into it; but the road, though a narrow one, is broad enough for all who really mean to travel on it. The door is wide enough for any man to enter in, and go in and out and find pasture. "He that hath the Son hath life."

Matthew Henry writes, “With the heart man believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Such as retain the truth in unrighteousness neither know nor believe as they ought. To bring to this knowledge and faith, and to the acknowledging and professing of the truth which is after godliness, is the great end of the gospel ministry, even of the highest degree and order in it; their teachings should have this chief aim, to beget faith and confirm in it. In (or for) hope of eternal life. This is the further intent of the gospel, to beget hope as well as faith; to take off the mind and heart from the world, and to raise them to heaven and the things above.
The faith and godliness of Christians lead to eternal life, and give hope and well-grounded expectation of it; for God, that cannot lie, hath promised it. It is the honour of God that he cannot lie or deceive: and this is the comfort of believers, whose treasure is laid up in his faithful promises. But how is he said to promise before the world began? Answer, By promise some understand his decree: he purposed it in his eternal counsels, which were as it were his promise in embryo: … before ancient times... Here is the stability and antiquity of the promise of eternal life to the saints. God, who cannot lie, hath promised before the world began, that is, many ages since. How excellent then is the gospel, which was the matter of divine promise so early! how much to be esteemed by us, and what thanks due for our privilege beyond those before us! Blessed are your eyes, for they see... He has not only promised it of old, but has in due times manifested his word through preaching; that is, made that his promise... more plain by preaching; that which some called foolishness of preaching has been thus honoured. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God, by the word preached.”

Lastly for tonight, we will look at Hope In the mercy of God as found in Ps 33:18 which says, “Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy.

Matthew Henry writes, "All the motions and operations of the souls of men, which no mortals know but themselves, God knows better than they do. Their hearts, as well as their times, are all in his hand; he formed the spirit of each man within him. All the powers of the creature depend upon him, and are of no account, of no avail at all, without him. If we make God's favour sure towards us, then we need not fear whatever is against us. We are to give to him the glory of his special grace. All human devices for the salvation of our souls are vain; but the Lord's watchful eye is over those whose conscientious fear of his name proceeds from a believing hope in his mercy. In difficulties they shall be helped; in dangers they shall not receive any real damage. Those that fear God and his wrath, must hope in God and his mercy; for there is no flying from him, but by flying to him. Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us; let us always have the comfort and benefit, not according to our merits, but according to the promise which thou hast in thy word given to us, and according to the faith thou hast by thy Spirit and grace wrought in us."

Albert Barnes writes, "Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him - He watches over them, and safeguards them from danger. His eye is, in fact, upon all men; but it is directed with special attention to those who fear him and trust in him. Their security is in the fact that the eye of God is upon them; that he knows their wants; that he sees their dangers; that he has ample ability to deliver and save them.
Upon them that hope in his mercy - Upon the pious; upon his friends. The expression is a very beautiful one. It describes the true state of a pious heart; it in fact characterizes the whole of religion, for we imply all that there is in religion on earth when we say of a man, that - conscious of his weakness and sinfulness - he hopes in the mercy of God. Finally, The Preacher's Homiletic says, “The God of redemption: “While mortal strength is vain for defence and security, they who fear the Lord and hope in His mercy shall be safe under Jehovah’s eye, and kept by His almighty “power, through faith unto salvation.” God is the only true deliverer. His deliverance reaches to the soul, and transcends all the perils of time and all the powers of evil. 'While such omnipotence terrifies those who love not the Lord, it is rich in consolation to those who hope in His mercy. The whole people commit themselves to the Lord, rejoicing in Him and trusting in His name.'”

In God's Word, we read of the hope of our calling, the hope of His mercy, the hope of the Gospel, the hope of Salvation, the hope of Eternal Life, the hope of righteousness, and the hope of glory. As we have read in Hebrews 6:19, hope is the anchor of the soul. It is at the very heart of a believer's existence. But we have that hope in the promises of our God Who cannot lie, and Who has promised us all that we look forward to from before the foundation of the world. It is both a sure and steadfast hope because we serve a God Who can and will fulfill His Word. We read in Philippians 1:6: "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."

This concludes this Evening's Discussion, "Hope, Part 7."

This Discussion was originally presented "live" on October 11th, 2017.

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