We are bringing this special series about Dynamic Christianity to a close today. So far we’ve looked at the Beginning, the Life, and the Walk of the Christian in this world as a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ. We will now look at The Hope of Dynamic Christianity.
[These notes are from a Bible study taught more than 40 years ago. The notes are in outline form.]
“ And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” 1 Corinthians 13:13
“ If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard …” Colossians 1:23
Question: What is the hope of the Gospel?
Answer: The favorable and confident expectation of the fulfillment of all the promises presented in the Gospel (e.g. peace with God, Heaven, eternal life)
Turn to 1 Corinthians 15:49-52 –
“And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”
Look again at verse 49 – “… we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.”
This means that one day we will be clothed with the likeness of Christ. Romans 8:29 tells us that God predestined us to be conformed or fashioned and formed into the image or likeness of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Have you ever seriously thought that one day you will be fashioned into the likeness of Christ and be dressed with the “heavenly”? Have you ever realized that you will one day leave this planet and begin to live in Heaven?
(Apply this to the person)
1 Corinthians 15:51-52 says, “we shall be changed.”
This is possibly the most hopeful truth I can share with a child of God! This is the foundation of Biblical counseling. We will be changed! We are not going to remain in this body full of pain and problems. One day we will be totally and fully changed!
1 Corinthians 15:39-47 –
“All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven.”
Not only will we change bodily in the future, but we are also being changed at this very moment. The Bible calls this “sanctification,” a fancy word for being “set apart” to God. Our spirit has been born and now we are changing in our emotions, our intellects, our wills, our desires, our goals, our purposes. We are being conformed daily to the image of Christ Jesus.
Biblical change is the foundation of biblical counseling. The Apostle Paul wrote, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13) I can do all things through Christ! There is hope for change through Christ! He is my strength.
(Mention the context of Philippians 4:13 – how Paul had learned to be content in whatever state he found himself. He knew how to be abased and to abound. Contentment is important to understand in God’s process of conforming us to the image of Christ.)
Hope For Change
Here are some practical examples of what I mean by biblical hope for change:
- Marital discord
- Bitter spirit
- Marital harmony
- Forgiving spirit
- Faithful mate
- Heterosexual (in marriage)
Here are two of the hopes we glean for Christians from Scripture:
- The hope of Christ’s return for the Church – Titus 2:13
- The hope of an abundant, dynamic, power-filled life, right now – John 10:10
Everybody needs hope these days. Almost everyone of us has experienced defeat or been disheartened. Almost all of us have been dis-spirited and many times this can lead to despair and even depression.
(Talk about discouragement in the home, work, church, etc)
In Christian counseling I have found there are some people who need more immediate attention than others in this area of biblical hope:
- People with long-standing problems.
- People with peculiarly difficult problems.
- People who have been labeled by doctors, psychiatrists, family or friends as incurable.
- People who are harassed by paralyzing fear.
- People whose hope have been dashed repeatedly in the past and are afraid to try again.
- People who have tried and failed, tried and failed.
- People who are older citizens.
- People who are depressed.
- People who are suicidal. (Key: take their problems seriously)
- People who have suffered life-shattering experiences.
Hope bound to grief checks tendency to move toward despair.
Foundation of Biblical Counseling – “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
Building of Biblical Counseling – “But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” 1 Timothy 4:7-8
Question: How long does it take to discipline one’s body and mind for the Olympic Games
Answer: Many years
Question: How long does it take to discipline one’s body and mind for godliness?
Answer: Many years
There is no such thing as “instant” holiness or godliness. A man or woman of God is a person who has day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year disciplined themselves to obey the Word of God in every point. Discipline is work – hard work!
What is the disciplined way to godliness?
Turn to Matthew 16:24-25 –
“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”
- Going after Christ (love and devotion)
- Denying self (obedience)
- Taking up the cross (self-sacrifice)
- Following Christ (becoming His servant)
You may have for some time believed that situations or problems in your life were beyond hope … that there was no escape. But let me assure you that there is always hope in Christ.
Please let us know how we can help you.
[Thank you for reading these teaching notes from more than 40 years ago. My prayer is they will be a blessing to you, your family and your ministry.]