HEAVEN'S HOPE Print E-mail

HEAVEN’S HOPE

Colossians 1:5

Pastor Carolyn Sissom

Sunday, March 7, 2021

 

The Lord spoke to me, “Hope is a certainty.”

 

K.J.V.: 1 Col 1:4-6: We heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which you have to all the saints, for the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel.  Which is come to you as it is in all the world, and brings forth fruit, as it does also in you since the day you heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth.

 

What a glorious hope lives within us, the heavenly hope of glory laid up in heaven for us, available NOW! Not just when we go to Heaven, but NOW!  Paul penned this letter while in a prison cell.  Hope was absent in his environment. 

 

Paul laid hold of the hope anchored in the Holy of Holies, beyond the veil and releases it through this beautiful letter of hope.  No matter where we are, there is a burning hope inside of each one of us which does more than just carry us through, it releases the heavenly Christ within.  Heaven’s hope is released.

 

What is Hope?  Webster: Definition of hope: to cherish a desire with anticipation: to expect with confidence.

 

P.T. 1 Col. 4-6: We have heard of your devoted lives of faith and the tender love you have for all his holy believers.  From the first time we heard about your conversion until now, we faithfully prayed for you, that you would access your destiny through all the treasures of your inheritance stored up in the heavenly realm.  For the revelation of the true gospel is as real today as the day you first heard of our glorious hope, now that you have believed in the truth of the gospel.

 

The report from Epaphras was of the first-hand knowledge of the Colossian church of their faith, hope and love.   This tril-o-gy of faith hope and loves appears again in: 1 Th. 1:3:  We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Here the earthly manifestation of  faith in Christ Jesus’ heavenly relationship, and love to the saints, is dependent upon hope.  Christ is the sphere in which this faith works rather than its object.  Faith here derives its significance from our position “in Christ.”  We are seated with him in the heavenlies.  Therefore, our hope is anchored in certainty. 

 

I understand the difference in Faith from being “in Christ”, and the Faith which is in the hope of some future day.  Faith is a fact! Love is a reality and Hope is a certainty.   It is a conviction of who Christ is; that He is sovereign. If we allow it, all things which we encounter in this life can be a part of God’s plan to bring us to unity of the faith in the fullness of Christ.   Thus, stresses, suffering, and tribulation become the vehicles faith and hope to becoming Christ-like. We no longer fight the trial; but submit to and embrace Christ in the midst of the trial.   It is the difference between fighting the trial from our soul; or overcoming the trial in the realm of the spirit.  

 

HOPE in this scripture does not imply uncertainty of feelings inside a person. There is not “maybe” or “what if?”   Heaven’s hope has nothing to do with feelings.  It is “laid up in heaven!” It is a certainty.

 

 Heaven’s hope is the privilege of eternal fellowship with God.  It is not to be confused with “treasure in heaven,” something which Christians must “lay up” for themselves (Mt. 6:20).  While every Christian has the “hope” which is " laid up,” very few are busy “laying up” treasure.

 

Of hope, the Lord gave us an oath by which it is impossible for Him to lie: 

 

Hebrews 6:17:  Wherein God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:  Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters  into that within the Veil; where the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made a high priest; forever after the order of Melchisedec.

 

This anchor of hope ties the Christian securely to the place of God’s presence.  This is Heaven’s hope released to and through the Christian. 

 

As I have preached these messages of Faith, Hope and Love as Divine Grace, I am not speaking to you of a head knowledge, but of a testimony of life-experience.  Just as there is God’s Faith (supernatural faith), Divine Love (the love of God), there is also Heaven’s hope which is sure and steadfast from the third heaven secure in the throne of God.  

 

 This message of hope came to the Colossians from E-pa-phras, of whom Paul writes, our dear fellow-servant, who is your faithful minister of Christ.  He also declared to us your love in the Spirit (1:7-8).

 

P.T. Col. 1: 10-11: We pray that you would walk in the ways of true righteousness, pleasing God in every good thing you do.  Then you will become fruit-bearing branches, yielding to his life, and maturing in the rich experience of knowing God in his fulness!  We pray that you would be energized with all his explosive power from the realm of his magnificent glory, filling you with great hope.   

 

E-pa-phras along with Philemon, Archi-ppus and Ari-star-chus were Colossians.  Likely a delegation of them had traveled to Ephesus during Paul’s three year stay there and were saved.   The apostle is able to speak of their faithfulness and certify the teachings they brought when founding the churches at Colosse, Laodicea and Hi-e-rapolis.  These cities, all within 12 miles of each other, are identified with the churches in Revelation, chapter 1.  E-pa-phras is thought to be the founder of all three.  Paul never visited any of them personally.

 

Colosse was 90 miles east of Ephesus. Paul opened a school in Ephesus.   It was a hard field.  The people were superstitious, weird religions abounded.  Alexander the Great had earlier transported 2000 Jewish families from Mesopotamia.  They brought with them a mixture of corrupted Judaism, full of holy days and traditions. 

 

Secret rites and mystical, yoga-type exercises were alleged to bring a superior knowledge of divine things.  Those who had this “advanced knowledge” despised the simplicity of the gospel and thought to improve upon it by weaving in their own ideas.  The result was an attack on the supremacy of Christ.  Their high-sounding words and impressive rituals had an effect on the true believers.  False teachers arose and the faith of many in the church stood in danger of being diluted or destroyed.

 

The false teachers claiming insight through their visions and exercises, taught that Jesus was a created being and not God incarnate.  The true God was too holy, they said, to have contact with sinful man.  As fore-runners of the Gnostics, they taught that a series of beings extended from God in a descending order of rank.  Jesus, who made the actual contact with man, was the lowest of these beings.  Thus, this teaching destroyed His Deity.  His teachings were robbed of authority as the false teachers exalted their own supposed knowledge over the Word of the Lord.

 

I interject this today because I believe this false teaching is creeping into the church of the 21st century.  Many church leaders are setting themselves up as elitists having “superior knowledge.” In so doing establishing an order of Gnosticism.   When this type of ego manifests, you can be sure, it is not the Lord Jesus Christ, but men trying to usurp their own superior knowledge over the sovereignty of the Lord Jesus.

 

Note how Paul commended the Colossian Church for their love of one another.  We the church of the 21st century have many failings, loving one another and honoring other gospel ministries is one of them. 

 

E-pa-phras wanted to consult with his old teacher, Paul, then in prison.  But he ended up in prison himself.  Fortunately, he had left a key man in charge back at Ephesus, one Archi-ppus, who was also probably one of Paul’s former students.   So, Paul wrote a letter.  Ty-chi-cus was commissioned to return with the letter. 

 

Archi-ppus, armed with this letter, could deliver the faithful at Colosse from the false teachings of the cultists.  The letter was written to show the absolute supremacy of Christ over everything and everyone.  It argues that while the gospel came to people in simplicity, the Christ of the gospel is Himself, the Treasury of wisdom and eternal secrets.  If men desire the real treasures of knowledge, they should seek them in Christ.  Thus, the wisdom of Paul is manifest as he meets even the cultists at the center of their own vanity of ideology. 

 

Usually, Ephesians is represented as teaching the truth of the church as the “Body of Christ” whereas Colossians presents Him as the “Head of the Church.”   I will ask you to see Him as more than Head of the church.  He is the sovereign “Head of everything and everyone.”  This book exalts Him above everything seen and unseen, both now and in the world to come.

 

Heaven’s Hope is to keep our eyes on the greatness of the One to Whom we are joined.

 

Jesus Christ and his power in our lives, not human philosophy or wisdom redeems us and saves us eternally.  We do not need an intermediary for we approach him directly.

 

K.J.V.: Col. 1:10-11: That you might walk worthy of the Lord to all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.  Strengthened with all might according to His glorious power, to all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness.  Giving thanks to the Father which has made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness.

 

Partakers of the inheritance is every promise and provision of the gospel for believers who are submitted to Christ’s hand and work on our lives.   The Christian life is one of testing and trial, a program for bringing God’s sons to Glory. This is our great hope, that we are going from glory to glory and without fail we know for a certainty there are glorious days ahead?  As children of light, we are to understand the purposes behind our trials as well ever press into Heaven for the supernatural resources for meeting them.  In every trial, look for the promises and the greater joy and greater glory.

 

We have all witnessed pseudo-Christianity which is all talk, but no walk.  If we are living “in Christ,” we will not have to convince anyone of how spiritual we are.  People will know it by the presence of the Lord. 

 

The strength of this new nature is the Holy Spirit who lives within us.  To sample the MIGHT of God’s Glory is to experience the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit as He helps us mature in the stresses of life.  In any situation, the Christian can call on God’s Spirit and see the miracle of CHANGE.

 

13-14: It is God who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son; in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins.

 

Our new nature is light (Eph. 5:8).  We are instantly transferred from Satan’s domain (darkness) to become part of Christ’s kingdom (light).  You see, little lights and big lights can exist together, but darkness cannot hold even the tiniest light.

 

A ransom price is implied in the word redeemed.  Satan thought that killing Jesus Christ would deprive us of our Savior and we would still be his.  However, it was concealed from him that Jesus’ death was also the very means of our rescue.  Jesus’ life of obedience was needed first in order to produce our righteous natures.  Just as His death was needed to satisfy the wages of our sin.  Since we receive both the “life” and the “death” of Christ, Paul argues that our salvation is the finished work of Jesus alone.

 

15-17:  Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature.  For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by Him, and for Him; And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.

 

Not only is Jesus the world’s creator, He is presently holding it together.  It is one thing to create a sun, quite another to see it maintains its daily orbit.  Were Jesus to withdraw His power from the existing world, it would disappear.  The earth and Heaven of the stars are manifestations of the Word of His power.

 

You and I don’t have to “hope” the sun, moon and planets stay in their orbit.  We know for a certainty that they will.  That is the same certainty of “hope” that we know God is who he says he is.  He will perform that which he has purposed.  That my friends is Heaven’s hope.   

 

This corresponds to Hebrews 1:3 where scientist should look for the real explanation of atomic power.  Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had my Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.

 

Col. 1: 18-19:  And He is the head of the body, the church; who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence.  For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell;

 

He is here declared the Life Giver and the Death Conqueror.

 

This is a summit from which to view the glories of Christ. This verse climaxes Paul’s statements describing Jesus in who is our “hope.”

 

(1)   The exact image of God.

(2)   Totally apart from anything created.

(3)   Himself the Creator of all things.

(4)   Eternally pre-existing.

(5)   The Head of His church.

(6)   The Conqueror of death

(7)   The Supreme Personage of all realms.

 

20-25: And having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things to Himself; by Him, I say whether they be things in earth or things in heaven; and you that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now has He reconciled.  In the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight.  If you continue in the faith grounded and settled and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which you have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; where of I, Paul am a minister. Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for His body’s sake, which is the church.  Whereof I am made a minister according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God.

 

God brings us to holiness in two ways:

 

(1)   By giving us a new nature which we wear as a “robe of righteousness”, causing us to appear spotless in His sight (instantaneous holiness).

(2)   By the gradual development of our persons inside that robe as we learn to outlive this new nature (progressive holiness).

 

There are four conditions to this place of being “in Christ”:

 

(1)   Continue in the Faith.

(2)   Continue grounded in the Faith.

(3)   Continue settled in the Faith

(4)   Be not moved away from hope.

 

 Paul charged Archi-ppus in 4:17:  Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you fulfill it.  Each man/woman must be faithful to his own calling.  God, who commissioned me to serve His church, also made me your minister in particular.  It is my commission to be faithful to preach, prophesy, govern, worship, counsel, and exhort you to know Christ in you, the hope of glory.    

 

Col. 1:26-29:  Even the mystery which has been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to His saints; To whom God would make know what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory; Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus; Whereto I also labor, striving according to His working, which works in me mightily.

 

P.T.1:26-27: There is a divine mystery---a secret surprise that has been concealed from the world for generations, but now it is being revealed, unfolded and manifested for every holy believer to experience.  Living within you is the Christ who floods you with the expectation of glory!  This mystery of Christ, embedded within us, becomes a heavenly treasure chest of hope filled with the riches of glory for his people, and God wants everyone to know it. 

 

The hope that is laid up for us in Heaven is not only for the future, but a present reality.

 

Carolyn Sissom, Pastor

Eastgate Ministries, Inc.

We stream our messages weekly at www.eastgateministries.com

Bibliography:  C. S. Lovett, Lovett’s Lights on Colossians, Personal Christianity, Baldwin Park, California; Hope is a Certainty by: Carolyn Sissom 9/7/2008; Colossians – Chapter 1 by Carolyn Sissom 1/17/2010.  

 

 

 

Ray Boltz - The Anchor Holds Lyrics

Artist: Ray Boltz


Through the long, dark night
Out on the open sea

By faith alone
Sight unknown
And yet His eyes were watching me

The anchor holds
Though the ship is battered
The anchor holds
Though the sails are torn

I have fallen on my knees
As I faced the raging seas
The anchor holds
In spite of the storm

I've had visions
I've had dreams
I've even held them in my hand

But I never knew
They would slip right through
Like they were only grains of sand

The anchor holds
Though the ship is battered
The anchor holds
Though the sails are torn

I have fallen on my knees
As I faced the raging seas
The anchor holds
In spite of the storm

I have been young
But I am older now
And there has been beauty
That these eyes have seen

But it was in the night
Through the storms of my life
Oh, that's where God proved
His love to me

The anchor holds
Though the ship is battered
The anchor holds
Though the sails are torn

I have fallen on my knees
As I faced the raging seas
The anchor holds

 
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