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Transcript
The Hope of Glory
Rodger Hamilton
April 23, 2014
Words like “hope” and “glory” are part of our religious jargon
which mean many different things to different people.
And as I speak today of “The Hope of Glory” I want to be sure
it is clear to everyone exactly what I mean by those words so
that we’re all on the same page , and so you don’t draw
conclusions that I am not trying to communicate based on a
different idea of what “hope” and “glory” are.
“Hope”:
“Confident expectation” (as opposed to “wishful thinking”)
“Glory”:
There are numerous facets to the meaning of “Glory.”
These include:
Praise & honor; good reputation
Blessedness; sublime bliss, joy / rejoicing
Perfection of character, esp. righteousness
Radiance, brilliance
These definitions are all aspects that emanate from the highest
sense of the word “Glory” as it applies to God, which is:
“The nature and acts of God in self-manifestation, i.e., what
God in essence is and does; the substance of Divinity.” (“I AM”)
Together with this essential nature of God is a sense of
weightiness; significance; substance. (Again, “I AM”.)
Example:
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh
for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” 2
Corinthians 3:18 KJV
1
So, when we praise and worship, that is, “glorify God” or give
“glory” to God, we are proclaiming who “HE IS”, ascribing to
God the attributes of glory in all the ways he has revealed
himself, i.e., righteous, majestic, holy, loving, etc.
Likewise, when God attributes glory to us (John 17:22) he is
proclaiming and defining who we are in Christ.
By the creative power of his Word, he is giving us substance
and significance as he brings into being our new identity,
which is being “transformed into his likeness with everincreasing glory.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)
.
And along with Christ-likeness come all the other facets of
glory which are associated with God’s essential nature:
perfection of character, blessedness and joy, radiance, etc.
So as I bring this message, bear in mind that when I speak of
“the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27) I am talking about a
“confident expectation of becoming Christ-like,” as we will be
when we see him face to face. (1 John 3:2)
This Easter, my wife and daughter-in-law made a shocking
decision: they decided that the traditional supper entrée ought
to be fish, rather than ham!
Can you believe it?!? Why?!?
Well, it seems that’s what Jesus ate at the first Easter…
According to Luke, after Jesus appeared to the two men on the
road to Emmaus on Resurrection Day, he appeared to the
Eleven in Jerusalem…
“They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost.
He said to them, ‘Why are you troubled and why do doubts
rise in your mind? Look at my hands and feet. It is I myself!
Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as
you see I have.’
2
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet.
And while they still did not believe it because of joy and
amazement, he asked them, ‘Do you have anything here to
eat?’ They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and
ate it in their presence.” (Luke 24:37-42)
Ham, of course, would definitely not have been kosher, so the
very first Easter Supper was broiled fish!
And as we imitated that first Easter supper around a steaming
platter of baked salmon, we discovered that our menu was a
great facilitator for discussion about the Resurrection.
In the week leading up to Easter, a poll was conducted in
which people who professed to be Christians were asked if
they believed Jesus was actually physically raised from the
dead. According to the pollsters, a mere 2% answered “yes”!
Now, obviously, polls can be biased to produce the results the
pollsters want, which in this case was clearly to promote the
idea that the resurrection was merely a metaphor.
But it struck me that the other 98% of professed believers
polled either don’t know the Scriptures, or they don’t accept
them as the true words of God!
Because the Scriptures are adamant that Christ DID, in fact,
physically rise from the tomb, and they are emphatic that our
entire faith is predicated on that Fact!
Paul writes that, “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching
is useless and so is your faith. Your faith is futile; you are still
in your sins. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are
to be pitied more than all men.” (1 Corinthians 15:14; 17; 19)
It strains all credulity to try to present such a statement as a
metaphor!
1 Peter 1:3-5 says, “In his great mercy he has given us new
birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus
3
Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never
perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you who through
faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the
salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.”
Regarding the power of this “living hope” that’s ours in Christ,
Paul prayed, “…that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened
in order that you may know the hope to which he has called
you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and
his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is
like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in
Christ when he raised him from the dead…”
(Ephesians 1:18-20)
We have been born into a “living hope” – a hope that gives us
the very resurrection power of God for godly living!
But if Christ is not raised, then the prayer of Paul is futile our faith is a farce and our hope is a hoax!
If Christ’s bones yet lie in Joseph’s tomb, our God is as
impotent in our lives as any dead idol the world worships!
But Jesus’ disciples were powerless to comprehend with their
worldly minds that Jesus would literally raise from the dead,
even though they were explicitly told so before the fact.
And because of that, their faith died with Christ in the
gruesome finality of the cross.
Even when they were confronted face to face with the joyous
reality of the Resurrection, they only experienced amazement until their faith was transformed through a simple filet of fish!
It wasn’t until they embraced the reality of the Resurrection
that their faith came alive with the power of God to transform
their experience from grief and despair to hope and joy.
4
But, as Rob taught in his Easter message, they first needed
the “eyes of their heart” to be enlightened before they could see
the truth of the Resurrection; until the disciples received
Revelation, they were blind to the truth, and in their blindness,
they were hopeless.
In my past two sermons I focused on the joy of the Lord, and I
said that joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit which blossoms from a
forward looking hope – a living hope that’s firmly founded on
the Fact of the Resurrection!
But until the eyes of our hearts are enlightened to that hope,
as Paul prayed, our vision will be like the disciple’s: myopic,
short-sighted; our experience of the boundless blessings of
God will be limited by our perception of our circumstances.
And in order for our experience to be transformed it is first
necessary for our minds to be renewed, as Romans 12:2 says.
In order to walk in the Joy that the Lord wants for us, we need
a new perspective – God’s perspective!
Only then will we be able to discern God’s will in our
circumstances to be “good, pleasing and perfect.”
Only then will we be able to accept the things he allows in our
lives and embrace them as blessings.
Only then will we run and not be weary, walk and not grow
faint, as we experience the power of the joy of the Lord!
But in order for our minds to be renewed, in order to have a
God-given vision, we require Revelation, because the things of
the Spirit are spiritually discerned, and the man without the
Spirit does not and cannot accept the things that come from
the Spirit of God. (1 Corinthians 2:14)
Paul writes of “God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been
hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.
None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had,
they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”
5
But, Paul continues, “God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.”
“We… have received… the Spirit who is from God, that we may
understand what God has freely given us.”
Therefore, “we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:6-16)
Jesus promised that when he rose from death and returned to
the Father, he would send the “Counselor”, his own Holy Spirit,
to reveal all the truth of the Father to us. (John 16:5-15)
And now the Holy Spirit of Christ lives within us to give us the
revelation and understanding of God’s “secret wisdom,” which
God “destined for our glory before time began”, and without
which our walk would seem meaningless, hopeless and cruel!
And Colossians 1:27 reveals this mystery as “Christ in you, the
hope of glory.”
The restoration of the glory of God in us is a living hope - a
hope to live by; it is our destiny; it is our inheritance! And this
has been the plan and the purpose of God since before time
began, which he is accomplishing now through the Spirit of
Christ as he dwells in power within us!
When Jesus prayed for all believers before he went to the cross,
he spoke of his glory within us as an accomplished reality:
“I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may
be one as we are one: I in them and you in me.”
(John 17:22-23)
And yet this same glory that Jesus spoke of as “now” remains
an inheritance which awaits us in the “not yet” - a living hope,
kept in heaven, secure and imperishable, as Peter wrote.
(1 Peter 1:4)
Meanwhile, “…(we are) marked in him with a seal, the
promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our
inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s
possession – to the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:13-14)
“Christ in you, the hope of glory!”
6
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you
may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have
come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which
perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine
and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ
is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and
even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and
are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are
receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
(1 Peter 1:6-9)
Can you see how the Holy Spirit, Christ in you, enlightens the
eyes of your heart to inform your day-to-day circumstances
with a forward looking hope that empowers you to walk in joy?
It is the mind of Christ in us - his Holy Spirit - who reveals our
trials in the context of hope and who transforms us by the
renewing of our minds so we can approve God’s will as “good,
pleasing and perfect,” to grasp by faith that he really does
work “all things together for the good of those who love him
and are called according to his purpose.”
(Romans 8:28)
“Christ in you, the hope of glory!”
Speaking of the glory which is our hope and destiny, Paul
wrote of the New Covenant: “…will not the ministry of the
Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that condemns
men (the Law) is glorious, how much more glorious is the
ministry that brings righteousness! For what was glorious has
no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory.
Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.”
(2 Corinthians 3:8-10; 12)
This truth is veiled to those who are perishing – they cannot
perceive it. But for us who are being saved, the ministry of the
Spirit enlightens us as to what God has freely given us, and
7
removes the veil of dullness that clouds our vision so we might
understand life from the perspective of God’s purpose for us.
“Whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are
being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory,
which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (v. 16; 18)
“What was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the
surpassing glory.”
No comparison! This is the mind of Christ that reveals a hope
of greater worth than gold refined in the fire, as God works
through our fiery trials to refine and burnish his likeness in us,
as we ever-increasingly reflect his glory!
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth
comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us,” Paul
writes in Romans 8:18!
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are
wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an
eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes
not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen
is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
(2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
As I considered these bold, even superlative exhortations, I
found myself thinking,
“Sure, that’s easy for you to say – after all, I’m just little old me,
but you’re the Apostle Paul!”
And, as our Adversary would certainly say, like the wily
politician that he is, “I knew the Apostle Paul - and Rodger
Hamilton, you’re no Apostle Paul!”
But there are a couple of responses that give the lie to that
kind of thinking:
8
The first is that Paul himself said, “Follow my example, as I
follow the example of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1)
“Join with others in following my example…” (Philippians 3:17)
And as I consider the example that Paul set, I see that he
walked the talk. Through all the hardships he endured, he
never lost focus on the hope set before him.
An examination of Paul’s obedience and faithfulness to his
calling in Christ reveals a life of extreme trial: on display,
condemned to die, a fool for Christ, weak, dishonored, hungry
and thirsty, brutally treated, in rags, homeless, cursed,
persecuted, slandered, having become the scum of the earth,
in troubles, hardships and distresses, in beatings,
imprisonments and riots, in hard work and sleepless nights,
five times flogged with the forty lashes minus one, beaten with
rods, stoned, shipwrecked, in danger from rivers, bandits,
countrymen, Gentiles and false brothers, and besides all these,
his concern for all the churches!
This was the example Paul set; this was the context in which
he wrote, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth
comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
(Romans 8:18)
Because he was becoming transformed by the renewing of his
mind, Paul could honestly say, “I have learned the secret of
being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or
hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do
everything through him who gives me strength.”
(Philippians 4:12-13)
Because Paul was informed by the enlightenment of the Spirit
of Christ within him, he was empowered to accept his trials as
God’s good, pleasing and perfect will!
Paul didn’t focus on his difficulties - except as they were a
medium for God to transform him.
9
Rather, Paul pressed on to take hold of that for which Christ
Jesus took hold of him! (Philippians 3:12)
Paul exemplified the exhortation of Hebrews 12:2-3:
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our
faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross,
scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the
throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition
from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose
heart.”
“Therefore we do not lose heart,” he wrote. “Though outwardly
we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day
by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for
us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our
eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is
seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
(2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
What a profound transformation came about in the mind and
heart of the man who once was Saul – burning with misguided
religious zeal and breathing murderous threats against the
followers of the Way!
What happened?
On the road to Damascus, intent on persecuting those
heretical infidels, those pathetic “little christs”, Saul was
waylaid by grace – disarmed and dissuaded, sought out and
confronted with the love of the living, resurrected Christ,
brought face-to-face with his own spiritual blindness as his
companions led him sightless and impotent into the city.
All things considered, God would have been just and righteous
to strike Paul dead right where he stood!
10
But…
Grace upon grace, the Holy Spirit, through Ananias, removed
the scales from Paul’s physical eyes, and enlightened the eyes
of Paul’s heart to give him the revelation of the living hope to
which he was called, the riches of his inheritance in Christ,
and the incomparably great power of God at work in him!
The very same power which God exerted in Christ when he
raised him from the dead began to work within Saul, the
persecutor, as the Spirit of Jesus took up residence in his
heart, transforming him into Paul the Apostle of Christ, rerouting him off the road to Damascus and onto the path to
paradise!
What changed Saul into Paul?
The risen Savior – Christ in him, the living hope of glory!
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all could experience such a
profound experience in our Christian journey?
What a blessing it would be to walk in the joy of the Lord, for
the darkness of our path to be illuminated by the shining hope
Paul professed!
What a joyful transformation would happen if our minds were
renewed and we became empowered to approve God’s will in
any and every situation!
How acceptable and pleasing to God is such spiritual worship!
Good News!
Jesus is risen!
And just as Jesus shared that piece of broiled fish with his
dismayed and dumbfounded disciples and so opened their
eyes that first Easter evening, so he desires to reveal himself
alive in us!
And he says to each one of us, “Here I am! I stand at the door
and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will
come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20)
11
Christ in you is the hope of glory!
And the moment we open our hearts and receive the Spirit of
Jesus within us, then the power of God that raised Christ from
the dead begins to inform and transform us and fit us for the
glory that is our destiny and our inheritance!
We receive the Spirit of sonship, who testifies and enlightens
us to the truth that we are co-heirs with Christ who share in
his glory as we share in his sufferings.
(Romans 8:16-17)
We become indwelled by the Holy Spirit of wisdom and
revelation, as the eyes of our hearts are enlightened to know
the hope to which he has called us, the riches of his glorious
inheritance and his incomparably great power for us!
We are enabled to embrace with vibrant faith the proclamation
of Romans 8:18-39, and shout a joyous “Amen!” to that
marvelous and sure promise! (READ)
Christ in us is the hope of glory!
Nothing, nothing, but nothing can prevent him from
accomplishing his purpose in us – if we will only open the door
and invite him in…
Today, if you hear his voice, don’t harden your heart!
Sinner: Now is the day of your salvation!
Believer: Now is the day to work out your salvation; now is the
day to walk in the power of the Resurrection, in the Living
Hope, as Christ lives in you – the hope of glory!
Now, to him who is able to keep you from falling and to
present you before his glorious presence without fault and
12
with great joy – to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty,
power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all
ages, now and forevermore!
Amen!
13