Scriptures with Songs

What is our Blessed Hope?

hope fullWhat is our Blessed Hope?

Prelude Music

Opening prayer

Opening hymns

Hymn 1:  p. 6 – Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee

Hymn 2: p. 26 – Hallelujah! Praise God!

Introduction:                                          

What is hope?  Imagine yourself to have finally taken hold of something very precious that only in your wildest dreams can it really be made possible. That confidence that leads you out of impossibility and uncertainty into profound assurance is called–hope.

The book of Proverbs tells us how hope played a very important role in our life. It says:

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12

There are many other powerful key terms and concepts in Scripture like faith, love, joy, grace, peace, etc. that we come across as we read our Bibles, but often these are just vague concepts to the uninitiated. And so is the subject of hope.

What is hope? Some equate it as a fanciful wish, or desire. The modern idea of hope is “to wish for, to expect, but without certainty of the fulfillment; to desire very much, but with no real assurance of getting your desire.”

In today’s Songs and Scriptures, we will explore this fundamental subject of hope.

In Scripture, both the Hebrew (qawa) and Greek (elpizo) words translated “hope” according to its usage, is an indication of certainty or assurance. “Hope” in Scripture means “a strong and confident expectation.” Though archaic today in modern terms, hope is akin to trust and a confident expectation. Thus, the key words here are assurance and confidence. Hope is a firm confidence (or assurance) for things that are yet future.

Our lives today are filled with pain, suffering, hopelessness and death. Some even experience more of these than others. Yet we overcome every struggle and hardship with hope. Hope provides us the reservoir of strength needed to conquer every misery and despair that comes along our way.

For our first batch of readers, let us examine why we are seemingly living in a hopeless world devoid of any future yet needing that Blessed hope…

Bible Reader 1 –The Fall of Man's Hope

Genesis 3: 1-7; 22-24

Genesis 6:1-7

Bible Reader 2 – A Covenant of Hope

Genesis 8:20-22

Genesis 9:8-17

Brethren, let’s all stand and sing the following hymns…

Hymn 3. p.81 – Lord of our Life, and God of Our Salvation

Hymn 4. p.91 – Wait And Hope And Look For God

B. The Gift of Hope.  As the Bible plainly tells us, hope is a gift. It is a grand gift that does not drain us of life but fills us with lasting benefits.  The English poet Alexander Pope once wrote a very powerful piece describing what hope brings:

Hope springs eternal in the human breast;

Man never is, but always to be blessed:

The soul, uneasy and confined from home,

Rests and expatiates in a life to come. – Alexander Pope(An Essay on Man)

Hope is the gift that God has given His people in all ages that enabled them not just to hold on to life, but to experience triumph even in midst of life’s great adversities. Hope is rooted in the fact that this life and its troubles are but short and temporary experiences relative to eternity God has in store for everyone.

Hope is a gift that is never a static or passive thing. It is always dynamic and active. It infuses our lives, directing us to a more enjoyable and sustainable living. This will be obvious as we take and read the Word of God. Take note that whenever the word “hope” is used, you will find reference after reference pointing out the active results of hope in the lives of those who truly have a gift of hope and live accordingly.

Thus, the gift of hope is not an escape from reality or from life’s troubles. It doesn’t leave us idle or drifting. If our hope is grounded on God's promises, it will put us into action.

Our next set of Bible readers will be providing us these reassuring verses:

 Bible Reader 3 – The Gift of Hope

Psalm 16:9-11

Psalm 31:23-24

Psalm 42:1-11

Psalm 119:73-74

Psalm 130:5-8

Isaiah 40:31

Bible Reader 4 – The Gift of Hope

Romans 5:1-5

Romans 12:9-13

Ephesians 4:4-6

Colossians 1:21-23

1 Corinthians 13: 4-7,13

Thank you readers. Please all rise as we sing

Hymn 5 – p.112 – If I Have Not Charity

C. The Giver of Hope. In his epistle to the Romans, Paul closes his letters with this powerful prayer: “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit”(Romans 15:13).

By “the God of hope,” Paul means that God is the source or giver of hope. He is also the object of our hope, but here the focus is on God as the source of hope. Earlier in Romans 15:5, Paul describes God literally as, “the God of patience and comfort.” He gives those qualities to those who seek Him diligently in hope. Accordingly, in Romans 15:33 & 16:20 Paul describes God as “the God of peace.” With the hope that God gives, He also added the benefit of peace to His people. Thus if we lack hope, the first place we should look for it, is God, who is the source of true hope.

Our next Bible reader will provide us some of these verses telling us the real Source and Giver of our hope:

Bible Reader 5 – The Giver of Hope

Psalm 62:5-8

Psalm 71:1-6

Jeremiah 17:7

Jeremiah 29:11-13

Romans 15:1-13

1 Peter 1:3

Thank you reader. Please all rise as we sing responsively…

Hymn 6p.45 O God of Every Nation

Hymn 7p. 55 God is My Rock, My Salvation

D. Hope in Christ. The New Testament idea of hope is the recognition that in the works of Christ, we can find the fulfilment of the many Old Testament promises. Christian hope is rooted in faith in the divine salvation through Christ. Hope of Christian believers finds its experience through the enabling presence of the Holy Spirit. Moreover, this hope also carries with it the future certainty of many promises as a result of Jesus Christ’s victorious life, death and resurrection.  Among others, these assurance includes: 1)the resurrection of the dead (Acts 23:6), 2)the promises of restoration to Israel (Acts 26:6-7), 4)the redemption of the body and of the whole creation (Romans 8:23-25), 5) eternal life and the inheritance of the saints (Titus 3:5-7), 6)the return of Christ (Titus 2:11-14), 7) the transformation of our lowly body into the likeness of Christ (1 John 3:2-3), 8)the final salvation of God (Luke 3:6, Acts 28:28).
Our next bible reader will read verses pertaining to this.

Bible Reader 6Hope in Christ

Matthew 12:17-21

Acts 2:22-28

Acts 26:6-7

1 Peter 1:3

Romans 8:18-25

Galatians 5:5

 1 Corinthians 15:17-19

Thank you Bible Reader. Brethren, please all stand as we responsively offer our next hymns:

Hymn 8: p.191 – The Lord’s Lovingkindness

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Watch And Pray: Thank you, brethren. Let us pause now as we hear the news that we need to watch and pray for.

Thank you for the special music offering and for our watchman.

E. Living a Life of Hope. How to live a life of hope? The New Testament uniquely phrased this in the pen of the apostle Peter as a "living hope".  What does that mean? The opposite of a "living hope" would naturally be a "dead hope," and that calls to mind a similar phrase in the epistle of James about a certain "dead faith" (James 2). "Faith without works is dead" (James. 2:26). That is, faith is barren, fruitless, unproductive devoid of any hope(Jms.2:20). Imagine if you had no hope, life would be unbearable, without direction and meaning.  Naturally, you will feel hopeless, your mind will descend into despair and depths of depression. In contrast, "living faith" and, by analogy, "living hope" would be rich, fertile, fruitful, productive hope. Thus, living hope is hope that has power and produces changes in our life. This is what "living” means in Hebrews 4:12, where it says, "The word of God is living and effective." So Christian hope is a strong confidence in God which has power to produce changes in how we live.

Our next bible readers will provide us more on these life applications of a living hope...

Bible Reader 7– Living a Life of Hope

1 Peter 1:1-9

1 Peter 1:13-21

Romans 12:12

Hebrews 11:1-2

Titus 1:1-2

Reader 8 Living a Life of Hope

Romans 15:4

1 Peter 3:15

Hebrews 11:8-16

2 Peter 1:12-15

2 Corinthians 5:1-8

Thank you Bible Readers. Brethren, please all stand as we responsively offer our next hymns:

Hymn 9:  p.161 A Godly Home

Hymn 10: p.97 Onward Christian Soldiers!

Conclusion-

F. The Blessed Hope. As Paul acknowledges in his epistles to Titus, all believers from all walks of life are still anticipating the coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He wrote, ”Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.” (verse 13). This hope of the Lord's return is not just mere hope, but the Bible calls it distinctly as the Blessed Hope.

There is a double blessing for those who are waiting for the Lord’s return.  There is the “blessed hope” and then the blessing of being able to sit at the table, so to speak, at the “marriage supper of the Lamb”.  All believers should be living with the blessed hope, and the excitement of this coming marriage supper. Thus, the Blessed hope is not merely a belief of a future, but it is to be a living reality in a one’s life.

This blessed hope is an anchor for our soul (Heb.6:19). This is the hope which God has set before us.  He requires that we anticipate the Blessed hope with full assurance until Christ’s returns or we drift away. This hope steadies us in our overcoming and in every the challenges of life. We are to lay hold of this hope and let no one or anything take it away from us.

Moreover, this positive anticipation should provide everyone the courage and hope for a future that is glorious and everlasting in God’s coming kingdom!

More on these verses from our final reader…

Reader 9 – The Blessed Hope

Titus 2:1-13

1 John 3:18-24

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Hebrews 6:11-19

Revelation 21:3-4

Thank you readers. That concludes our Song Service.

Hymn 11: p.169 O God, Our Help in Ages Past

Hymn 12: p.145 Land of Hope and Glory

Closing prayer.

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