In a recent article in Psychology Today, Dr. David Feldman wrote: “There’s no doubt that the past few months have been among the most traumatic in recent memory….Few people would use the word “hopeful” to describe the state of our world. On the contrary, words like tragic, heart-breaking, and painful come to mind. People are afraid, sad, angry, and grief-stricken…..” He goes on to say that we can still talk about hope. “That’s because real hope isn’t about living in a fantasy world; it’s about living in this one. It doesn’t deny suffering and pain.”
He’s right – we have been through a lot over the past months. It’s not over – and we
need to prepare our hearts for a long season of dealing with the implications of
COVID-19, the economy, seeking racial peace, and the ongoing challenges of academics and sports. That’s a lot to weigh on our shoulders, and it gets heavy.
I believe the one sustaining foundation of our lives is that Christ is at the Center of
Everything. Last week we started looking for this theme in the book of Colossians.
I challenged you to read the book in one setting.
I posted a video overview of the book I hope you watched.
Last week we talked about the way that Christ is in the Center of our faith and prayers.
The theme of Colossians may be Colossians 1:27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
One of the reasons why it is so crucial to have Christ at the center of our lives is
because of who He is. Today we will focus in on who Christ is and our response
to Having him at the center of our lives.
FOUR REASONS CHRIST IS OUR HOPE (1:15-22)
He Reveals the God of Hope to Us. He is the Image of God – the likeness of God. (15)
Hebrews 1:3 “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”
John 14:7 “If you really know me, you will know my Father as well.
From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
He Has the Power to Give Hope. He is Firstborn (15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.) By “firstborn” Paul means he is the one who occupies the privilege and rank of being firstborn.
He is Creator – all things were created by him and for him (16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.)
He is Central to all things (17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. )
He Brings All Believers Together in Hope
He is the Head of the church (18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. ) He holds the rank of preeminence in His Church! He is the One who’s will it is that we place above everything else in His church!
He brings all things together, brings peace , accomplishes all of this through his blood, shed on the cross (19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.).
His Love For us Brings us Hope. Cross / blood are demonstrations of his love. His sacrifice points out that He is worthy, and we are unworthy of such love. (21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.)
Who we are before Christ has redeemed us: Alienated from God, Enemies in our minds, Enemies because of evil behavior. Hopeless in every way – but Christ in us brings the hope of glory (1:22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—)
HOW HOPE EMPOWERS THE CHRISTIAN (23-29)
Strength to Endure (23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.) Continue in your faith … firm … not moving from the hope of the gospel. Hope gives us the strength to endure because the eternal life promised, because of God’s presence daily, and because of the Holy Spirit within.
Reason to serve. (24 Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. 25 I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— 26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people.) Paul was willing to suffer, willing to serve for the sake of the body of Christ, which is the church. “I have become its servant…”
Hope gives us reason to serve because it looks to the future and isn’t tied down by the struggles of the present.
Message to Share (27-28). The truth about Christ! Clear up the mystery! 1:27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. To help others become mature. (28 He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.)
Christ is the only hope because He reveals the Father to us, He has the power to give us hope, He brings all believers together in hope, His love for us brings us hope. This hope empowers us to have Strength to Endure, a Reason to Serve, a Message to Share. Have you put all of your hope in Christ?
In days like we are living in, we need the power that hope can bring into our lives – to give us strength to make it through, to keep our focus on serving and loving others, and to remember that we have a mission – a great hope to proclaim to the world.
Feldman, David. Is It Still Possible To Hope?