Resolved in the Spirit

As followers of Christ, we can make the decision to follow the leading of the Spirit and His call or we can still go our own way.  I am not sure if we decide to go our own way as to when we are no longer followers of Jesus.  

Paul expressed many times how the Spirit of God was leading him through the instinct and motion of the Spirit and how his whole life was framed according to God’s will and pleasure.  The outcomes of his journey did not depend on the journey itself but rather that he obeyed and was faithful – for we know some of the outcomes Paul faced, even death.  It was if Paul was addicted to following Jesus – to the profit of the Church – even neglecting his own safety.  At one point, he even deprived himself of his most faithful companion, Timothy, so that the Macedonian church would not have to wait for him.

We see a little bit of Paul at this very moment in his letter to the Romans.  He writes —

Thus I make it my ambition to proclaim the good news,[a] not where Christ has already been named, so that I do not build on someone else’s foundation, but as it is written,

“Those who have never been told of him shall see,
    and those who have never heard of him shall understand.”

 

 This is the reason that I have so often been hindered from coming to you.  But now, with no further place for me in these regions, I desire, as I have for many years, to come to you  when I go to Spain. For I do hope to see you on my journey and to be sent on by you, once I have enjoyed your company for a little while.  At present, however, I am going to Jerusalem in a ministry to the saints – Romans 15:20-25

Paul had an incredible desire to not want to build on the foundation of another – he wanted to work in bringing the gospel to a place that had never heard it before.  

Now after these things had been accomplished, Paul resolved in the Spirit to go through Macedonia and Achaia, and then to go on to Jerusalem. He said, “After I have gone there, I must also see Rome.” – Acts 19:21

Where hope is ultimately placed

Paul’s experience in Ephesus must have been amazing.  To see the fruit of discipleship displayed so demonstratively with the burning of all their magic books would have been moving.

My first experience was with a drug user who had come to Christ.  He took me back to his place where he showed me all of his cocaine and then told me that for Christ he was going to flush them down the sink.  He did so.  Wow!

I also think of Judas – I know, a little weird – he probably would have wanted to sell all the magic books to redeem their value and give more to the poor.  But as usual, he would have missed the point of repentance that was taking place and the turning of ones back to the things that held them prisoner for so long.  But also, why put someone else into bondage?

 Also many of those who became believers confessed and disclosed their practices. A number of those who practiced magic collected their books and burned them publicly; when the value of these books was calculated, it was found to come to fifty thousand silver coins.  Acts 19:18-19

Where Hope Is Still Alive.wmv

 

 

 

What must I do to be saved?

Are you willing to turn from what you have been trusting and transfer all your hope of heaven upon Christ?

What hope then do we have? God has made it possible for us to be reconciled to Him by providing a perfect sacrifice to atone for our sins. God sent His Son, Jesus, to live a perfect life so that He could die, not for His own sins, but for ours.  

How can we can receive forgiveness of sins and the hope of eternal life? The Bible’s answer is that salvation is a free gift of God’s grace which we receive through Jesus by responding to Him in faith.

 But Paul shouted in a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” The jailer called for lights, and rushing in, he fell down trembling before Paul and Silas.  Then he brought them outside and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”  They answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”  They spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.  At the same hour of the night he took them and washed their wounds; then he and his entire family were baptized without delay.  He brought them up into the house and set food before them; and he and his entire household rejoiced that he had become a believer in God. – Acts 16:28-34

Go

From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia[a]
    my suppliants, my scattered ones,
    shall bring my offering. – Zephaniah 3:10

Do not let the foreigner joined to the Lord say,
    “The Lord will surely separate me from his people”;
and do not let the eunuch say,
    “I am just a dry tree.”
 For thus says the Lord:
To the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths,
    who choose the things that please me
    and hold fast my covenant,
 I will give, in my house and within my walls,
    a monument and a name
    better than sons and daughters;
I will give them an everlasting name
    that shall not be cut off.

 And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord,
    to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord,
    and to be his servants,
all who keep the sabbath, and do not profane it,
    and hold fast my covenant— Isaiah 56:3-6

 

The story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch is a powerful one.  When I read it again I saw two sets of hope – Philip knew an adventure was coming when God asked him to go along a wilderness road and the eunuch made a long trip in hopes of finding more of God.  Then I found the third and fourth hope, but I guess they count as one since the Holy Spirit inspired both Zephaniah and Isaiah.  

The Holy Spirit was still trying to woo the Ethiopian as we saw his thirst in still reading the scroll of Isaiah.  Here in the Old Testament, the revelation of Jesus as the sacrificed lamb was powerful enough to save.

But in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you – 1 Peter 3:15

When we think about opportunities to share the gospel, we can trust the Holy Spirit to already have gone ahead of us to prepare the heart that needs to hear.  If you care about those who will be eternally separated from God, if you suspect and hope that you are a link in the many influences of a person becoming a follower of Christ and even if you are a bit nervous about pushing Jesus – sharing your faith is still something you want to do even if it is rather intimidating – it is your turn to trust Him – He will lead the way, you only need to follow and serve.

Then an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Get up and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a wilderness road.) So he got up and went. – Acts 8:26-27

Go – Hillsong United

Ask the Lord

Do we remember what is was like when we walked this life without Jesus?  Do we remember how we acted like we had it all together – for those who came to Christ at an older age we may have even defined ourselves as successful.  Jesus though saw our hearts. Saw our despair.

Remember that you were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. – Ephesians 2:12

Jesus saw us as part of His family.  Yes, He had eyes of compassion when He saw us missing the meaning and purpose of life.  So Jesus looks at this lost world and says that just as He brought me to Him He wants to bring them all to Him – not only does He want too, He says that they are ready to come.  In order for us to understand, we need to see the world as Jesus does, look through His eyes to see how lost people are and then to experience the compassion of Christ to them.  We need to have the expectancy and hopefulness of Jesus and anticipate this harvest time. I want to look at my neighbours, colleagues, classmates and associates and see them as potential followers of Jesus.  We know the world is missing Him.

If you are like me, what is holding us back, what is paralyzing us to share who we are in Christ?  God, by design, established the universe – whether you enjoy the stars in the sky or the trees of the forest – He knows them all by name, even knows the number of hairs on our head. There is hope, even in the midst of what we think is too big for us.  Since we know the Lord of the harvest, we can ask Him to send out those He has called.

Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness.  When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few;  therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” – Matthew 9:35-38

Jackie Evancho – To Believe

Everlasting

Jesus Christ – the same tomorrow as He was yesterday and today.  Our hope for everlasting joy rests on this relationship.

Our promised redemption on oath and absolute certainty, ratified by blood on the cross, and now we place our entire faith and hope on Him.

Unchanging – a Saviour only to sinners – those lost, those farthest away from God and hope – inspiring them through the Holy Spirit.

Our faith and hope and knowledge all ultimately depend on a person who is infinitely worthy of trust – because he is absolutely and eternally unchanging in his being, perfections, purposes, and promises. – Grudem

We all experience those moments in life when the only consolation we have is to hold on to that unchanging hand of God.  As much as change can be exciting and maybe even desirable at times, it also can be accompanied by failure, loss of health, death of loved ones, and old age.  The soul of a person can find no better haven of rest than in the unchanging Jesus.  He is the north star in the heavens, shining the brightest in the darkness, an unchanging hope in a world of troubles.

The unchanging character of Jesus also means that everything surrounding Him is also changeless.  The gospel, the plan of redemption, His relationship with the Church – it’s government, doctrine, purpose and hope – all are changeless.  His purposes, great love, assurance of resurrection and eternal life – all the same.

So we give Jesus our total commitment – we place our hope completely on Him and His grace.

Jesus, our unchanging rock, immutable hope, firm foundation – the one whom we place our trust, forever.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. – Hebrews 13:8

Brian Doerksen, Everlasting

What you’ve been called to

Prayer is made for wisdom – asking to know God and His ways.

I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth,  and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. – Ephesians 3:18-19

I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints,  and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. – Ephesians 1:17-19

I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective when you perceive all the good that we[a] may do for Christ. – Philemon 6

 So that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God. – Colossians 1:10

I want their hearts to be encouraged and united in love, so that they may have all the riches of assured understanding and have the knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ himself,[a]  in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. – Colossians 2:2-3

In practice, that will be found in those who hide God’s Word in them, feeding on it daily, acquiring a habitual bent towards spiritual matters.  How hopeful am I when I preach that someone’s soul is listening.  When the heart applies to the Word and some portion of it enters in, it makes room for more.

My child, if you accept my words and treasure up my commandments within you,  making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding;  if you indeed cry out for insight, and raise your voice for understanding;  if you seek it like silver, and search for it as for hidden treasures—  then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. – Proverbs 2:1-5

Ephesians 4:4

Called to Hope

The hope to which we are called

God Called Us into Life and Hope

Live worthy of your calling

 

Introduction of a better hope

Christ, however, was faithful over God’s[a] house as a son, and we are his house if we hold firm[b] the confidence and the pride that belong to hope. – Hebrews 3:6

Barnes, in his commentary, commented on the transition from OT to NT as, “but there is the bringing in of a better hope, by which we have access to God.” He mentioned that the Law could not do this because it still left a guilty conscience and the sin in their lives were never atoned for. Now we can be reconciled and approach God through the gospel – a better foundation for hope than what the Law could do. Being grounded in this hope, given through the gospel, we are now reconciled with God, can approach Him, and with full assurance know that He is ready to saves us.

Not the grace of hope; that is not something newly brought in, the saints under the Old Testament had it; nor is it better now than then, though it has greater advantages and more encouragement to the exercise of it: nor heaven and eternal glory, the thing hoped for; the saints under the legal dispensation hoped for this, as well as believers under the present dispensation; nor is what the latter hope for better than that the former did: nor is God the author and object of hope intended; the phrase of bringing in will not suit with him; besides, he is distinguished from it, in the next clause: to understand it of the Gospel, the means of hope, and of encouraging it, is no ill sense; that standing in direct contradistinction to the law: but the priesthood of Christ, of which the apostle is treating in the context, is generally understood, which is the ground of hope; for all promises respecting eternal life are confirmed by it, and all blessings connected with it procured; and it is better than the Aaronic priesthood, under the law; and a better ground of hope than the sacrifices of that law were: Christ himself may be designed, who is often called hope, being the object, ground, and foundation of it; and is a better one than Moses, or his law, Aaron, or his priesthood; and it is by him men draw nigh to God; and the bringing in of him or his priesthood shows that Christ’s priesthood was not upon the foot of the law, and that he existed as a priest, before brought in, and as a better hope, though not so fully revealed; and it may have respect to his coming in the flesh, being sent, or brought in by his father: now the bringing in of him and his priesthood did make something perfect; it brought to perfection all the types, promises, and prophecies of the Old Testament, the whole law, moral and ceremonial; it brought in perfect atonement, reconciliation, pardon, righteousness, and redemption; it perfected the persons of all God’s elect; and perfectly provided for their holiness, peace, comfort, and eternal happiness: some read the words “but it”, the law, “was the bringing in of a better hope”: the law led unto, made way for, and introduced. Christ, the better hope; and so the Arabic version, “seeing it should be an entrance to a more noble hope”; the Syriac version renders it, “but in the room of it entered a hope more excellent than that”; than the law. – Gill

There is, on the one hand, the abrogation of an earlier commandment because it was weak and ineffectual  (for the law made nothing perfect); there is, on the other hand, the introduction of a better hope, through which we approach God – Hebrews 7:18-19

A better hope is introduced

Jesus: Our Advocate

 

Confidence and Pride

Christ is to be considered as the Apostle of our profession, the Messenger sent by God to men, the great Revealer of that faith which we profess to hold, and of that hope which we profess to have. As Christ, the Messiah, anointed for the office both of Apostle and High Priest. As Jesus, our Saviour, our Healer, the great Physician of souls. Consider him thus. Consider what he is in himself, what he is to us, and what he will be to us hereafter and for ever. Close and serious thoughts of Christ bring us to know more of him. The Jews had a high opinion of the faithfulness of Moses, yet his faithfulness was but a type of Christ’s. Christ was the Master of this house, of his church, his people, as well as their Maker. Moses was a faithful servant; Christ, as the eternal Son of God, is rightful Owner and Sovereign Ruler of the Church. There must not only be setting out well in the ways of Christ, but stedfastness and perseverance therein to the end. Every meditation on his person and his salvation, will suggest more wisdom, new motives to love, confidence, and obedience. – Matthew Henry

Do I have confidence in Christ, and do I have pride that comes by hoping in Him?

Where did you find the strength and joy to continue in your work, despite all the obstacles and discouragements?” I sat in silence for a long time before a confessional answer welled up in me: “I believe in a God who makes a way out of no way!” Tears suddenly came to my eyes. “But sometimes, when I look honestly at our present realities, I find it so hard to find hope that God will make a way.” – Katerina Friesen

I have noticed how closely entwined faith is with other biblical elements.  Almost mutually connected, sometimes definitely requisite and at times the elements are more prominent than the concept itself.  Grace for instance is one that keeps showing up or the revealing of grace and fellowship is another as this faith of ours cannot live in isolation and then hope – playing in the background allowing itself to look like trust – having full confidence and firm standing, until the end, in Jesus.

What new places and new ministries does God want to lead us into next? How will all Christ to form or re-form us in order to reach our world in confidence, pride and hope?  How will we change? What will we build?

Therefore, brothers and sisters, holy partners in a heavenly calling, consider that Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession,  was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses also “was faithful in all God’s house.” Yet Jesus is worthy of more glory than Moses, just as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.)  Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that would be spoken later.  Christ, however, was faithful over God’s house as a son, and we are his house if we hold firm the confidence and the pride that belong to hope. – Hebrews 3:1-6

Hope in Christ

I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him.  See, I and the children whom the Lord has given me are signs and portents in Israel from the Lord of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion. – Isaiah 8:17-18

This Isaiah passage was quoted later on in Hebrews.  I statement suggests that the OT is hidden (but still with hope) and also suggesting that the NT would be a time of understanding God.  When Hebrews identifies the last days, it would seem that the promises and realization of the Messiah marked that day and a better day coming.  All that was hoped for and spoken of in the OT met its end in Christ.

So the message of the NT – summarized well in Colossians —

 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. – Colossians 1:27

We do not have any hope if we do not have Christ.  If Christ is not active in you, and you have not already begun to experience the mystery of His life being lived in you, then, first of all, you are not a follower of Christ, and second, you have no hope — no hope of glory, no hope of fulfillment, no hope of ever being anything, in the final analysis, other than a non-entity, a total zero in life! All this is involved in this vastly important secret.

Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets,  but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds.  He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. – Hebrews 1:1-3

Hope in Christ | Spoken Word

Hope in Christ

1 Corinthians 15:19

Hope in Christ