Where Is Your Hope?

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Where Is Your Hope?

Where Is Your Hope?

Philippians 2:1  If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,
2  Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
3  Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
4  Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
5  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
9  Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10  That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11  And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

We have looked at the Biblical importance of the preaching of the cross. The preaching of Christ crucified is not popular among the lost. Since the fall of man, God has revealed that the central need of man is salvation.

Genesis 3:15  And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

Satan is not in control. He cannot do anything he wants to. We see that very clearly in the book of Job. He is also doomed to defeat. He will be cast into the lake of fire. We have also noted that man’s nature was immediately changed when he chose to sin against God. The devil has clouded the perception of man since the fall. The good news is that man is not so depraved that he cannot be saved.
The Calvinist falsely claims that man cannot repent until he is saved. He wrongly assumes that man is so dead in trespasses and sins that he cannot turn to God and be saved. The Calvinist also believes that God is a cruel taskmaster who allows certain people to be born into this world without ever giving them the opportunity to be saved. They claim that there are people who cannot be saved but will spend eternity in the lake of fire without any option.
This false view gives its followers the excuse that they cannot do anything about their sin. They wrongly believe that the course they are on must be God’s will and so they just have to tough it out and hope for the best. They see no need to apologize for sins committed because it was all part of God’s plan.
Then we also have the current mess called “woke”. Much wickedness falls into this new category. There are those who do not like some of the “woke” agenda and are looking for support to defeat it. This includes the recent drag queen shows being held in various places. Those who are saved need to understand that we do not need to be involved in those places that promote the “woke” agenda. Christian parents should know better than sending their children to the public school. Public libraries have been a cesspool for evil for a long time. Protesting outside of these venues might get a person arrested, but it is not likely to change the course of the officials. The preaching of the cross is still the answer to the wickedness that is all around us.
In our text, Paul was directed to remind us of the importance of Jesus’ crucifixion. In verse 1 he began with four queries to the recipients. The first one has to do with “consolation in Christ”. The word translated as “consolation” means “exhortation, admonition, encouragement”. The second one has to do with comfort of love. What Paul was directed to address here is, what value was Jesus Christ to the saints. The third point is fellowship of the Spirit. The fourth deals with bowels of mercies. What is the benefit and blessing of salvation?
It seems the saints in Philippi were struggling with finding joy in the Lord. We see that as well in the final words in this book.
Philippi was the place where Paul and Silas had been arrested and beaten and cast into stocks in prison. While in that prison, Paul and Silas chose to glorify God rather than moan and complain. God sent an earthquake at midnight which shook the prison so that all the prisoners’ chains were loosed. The jailor was awakened from sleep through this and he wanted to commit suicide, assuming that all the prisoners had escaped. Paul called out to prevent him from doing this. All the prisoners were still in the jail. Through this the jailor realized he needed what Paul and Silas had been preaching and singing about. He was gloriously saved that night and that changed his life dramatically. We have noted before that this is what the Bible teaches. God’s salvation is not some secretive thing that slithers into a person’s life. It is an earth shattering event in the life of the recipient. The saved person has been given a new nature that will gloriously affect their life.

II Corinthians 5:17  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Back in Philippians 2:1, Paul was directed to challenge the saints with why they should find all their needs met in Christ. There was no need for them to be discouraged and downhearted. They had every reason to rejoice and glorify God. They just needed to deal with who they really were.
Christians are just people. Christians can become discouraged. There is much in our world today that could discourage a true child of God. We could look at the lack of interest in truth and think: “what is the point”.
Some years back we had an elderly woman in the church I was pastoring, who was very concerned about friends and family. We sent out a mailing there and she went to the post office afterwards and saw many of the pieces of literature in the garbage or laying on the counter. People had rejected them. She picked them all up and took them home to mail them to other people she knew. Even though she did this, she told us that she wondered if it was worth it. She said people just were not interested in the Word of God.
It is true that most people are not interested in the Word of God, but those who are saved need to be reminded that the only hope for man is the Word of God. As we mentioned above, even if we could stop all the drag queen shows, those involved would find some other vice to get involved in. Unless they are saved, nothing will change. That is why they claim that most criminals that end up in prison come out harder than when they went in. They are not given the Gospel and the “counsel” they are given is worthless. They see nothing better than the life of crime they have chosen. The same holds true for the “homeless” people. Police can go and destroy their makeshift shelters, but most of them just find another place to set up camp or they go right back to where they were. The heart needs to be changed.
God tells us that His Word is powerful and those who are saved know that, but sometimes just need to be reminded of that fact.
In verse 2 Paul challenged the saints to fulfil his joy. Paul was encouraged in seeing other saints doing what was right. That still holds true today. Paul was writing as an apostle and an evangelist. Any godly leader is encouraged when he sees other saints following God faithfully. When saints spend their time where God wants them to, they will be encouraged.

Psalm 1:1  Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
2  But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

Read the rest of that Psalm and notice the blessings that flow from knowing the true God.
Paul challenged the saints to be “likeminded”. Knowing Christ changes the thinking of the saved person. Unity is built upon truth. It is not cloned. It is beautiful to be in the company of true saints who love the Lord and want to see others know His forgiveness and peace.
Pastor Bartel

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