Living with an eye to rewards - HOPE 2 - David Mitts
“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (Heb 11:6)
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Hope is as we spoke of in session1, the draw of the future on the present. We each have a destiny, a plan that God has for us that began before we were in time and space, in our mother’s womb. It is a plan for good and not evil.
'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.(Jer 29:11 NASB).
The Hebrew word translated as welfare in this verse is the world shalom, which is also translated as peace. In its essence, shalom means to be complete or to satisfy the purpose of a thing or a person. It denotes the sense of value being recognized and accepted. In Hebrew, the word root is also used for payment. When we realize that our value as children of God is the price paid through the blood of Yeshua, our Messiah, then our issue of worth takes on a whole new dimension.
His plans, His thoughts towards us are plans for shalom, completion of a value or a realization of purpose that was worth the price of Yeshua’s life. He shed His life, not only for your get out of hell card but for your fulfillment of destiny. This is true hope.
Destiny is also known biblically as reflecting the glory of an individual’s life.
to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life;(Rom 2:7 NASB).
Implied in the search for glory is the idea that there are rewards for achievement of God’s purposes for our lives. We are built with the desire for rewards and the bible is unashamed in its promotion that we live conscious of those outcomes.
And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. (Heb 11:6 NASB)
If our life was totally about eternal rewards, the Yeshua wouldn’t have said:
Jesus said, "Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel's sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.(Mar 10:29-30 NASB)
So, while it is true that there are rewards and crowns that are beyond the veil of death and come with the resurrection, there are also rewards in the present age. Are they connected? Yes. Our eternal hope gives meaning to our temporal hopes. If our end was death, then our temporal hopes would have no power and no purpose beyond the fleeting joys of this life. But because we are eternal beings having a temporal experience, we have a hope that fuels our lives by making us aware of the substance of eternity that dwells in us as a deposit or as a hope of the coming King and His Kingdom.
Our hope is in the return of our King and to rule and reign with Him on Earth as He already does in Heaven. To do that is the purpose of our lives now. We are called to live lives in the power of that promise. That alone changes our thinking and mediations. And as we think we are.
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!* Therefore the world does not know us,+ because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. (1Jn 3:1-3 NKJV).
There is a call in our lives to be purified in Him. How? Through hope! Hope draws us to Him. The promise of His return draws us to intimacy with Him.
that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, (Heb 6:18-19 NKJV).
Hope is the ticket into the Presence beyond the veil. It anchors our soul to Him. We hope, which is the expectation of His kingdom and even more importantly, the King. This hope is our refuge in the storms of this fallen world. His Presence is the anchor. Imagine your life like a ship tossed on the waves of the sea. What will keep you safe is the anchor. It is the steady pull to Him.
In our times of experiencing the storms, whether they are storms in our health, storms in our families, financial storms, storms of wondering what we are doing and why, these storms all become developmental in building our spiritual strength because hope anchors our soul to Him.
He is both the anchor and through that same hope He is the one who trains us in overcoming.
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.(Rom 5:1-5 NASB)
We exult in hope of the glory of God. What is it to exult? It means to boast. How is it that we can boast in the hope? In order to understand this boasting which Paul continues to expand through the actual tribulations of our lives, we have to see the promise of our lives, our divine purpose.
Remember that we are not saved only to go to heaven. The goal of the gospel is not the leaving of earth to go to heaven only but also the bringing of heaven to earth. Yeshua prayed, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. Heaven is already under the government of God.
You have to ask yourself, what is the purpose of my life after I receive salvation. Is it only to wait to die and go to heaven? Or is there some purpose in my life now? If there is, then that purpose is called my hope, or the promise that my life is. So, what is that purpose?
Well, if we read the scriptures from Genesis to Revelation, we see one purpose that transcends our individuality and includes it. We are to show forth the glory of God. This is why Paul says we exult in the hope of His glory. Then, Paul tells us how it works:
- Tribulations: These are the pressures of resistance to our destiny, our calling. They are like weights on a barbell. They have one purpose, to make us stronger in hope. They give us the opportunity to persevere.
- Perseverance: Perseverance is the attitude of overcoming. We overcome the tribulations by drawing upon the promise, the hope which builds us up in Christ.
- Proven Character: Character is who we are when no one is watching. It is our transparent authority in our life. By persevering in the face of tribulations we become a person of proven character. We become dependable. We grow in spiritual authority in the area of the hope that is ours, our anchor of the soul.
- This leads us back to more hope. This new level of hope doesn’t disappoint us because it reveals how truly loved we are. We are trusted with the riches of His glory.
And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory,(Rom 9:23 NASB)
This is the power of hope, to train and activate the vessels of the riches of His glory. We are created in His image and likeness and our destiny is to operate in the authority that He gave to Adam and restores through Yeshua.
For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.(Rom 5:17 NASB)
We are called to reign in life. This doesn’t mean, we are supposed to sit on some chair like our picture of a king. No, the hope, the promise is in us as the call and anointing of Yeshua and His empowerment for our lives.
For example: Lisa is called to reign in music. He lives in her and his authority flows in music. This is the hope that is in her heart. So when she faces tribulations, rejections of songs, submitted or other struggles, she draws on this hope. This causes her to persevere and through her perseverance, she develops character. She stakes her claim as a musician. This the purpose of the tribulation to make her stronger in her character which in turn increases her authority and more hope.
The redemptive gifts module wasn’t about the gifts but about the authority which is the hope.
The manifestation of your gift is the manifestation of the riches of His glory! It is the ticket to your provision in life, being faithful with your talents, your gifts.
And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.(Php 4:19 NASB)
The riches in glory that supplies your need is being faithful with the hope that is in you. Next week we will speak more about the actual kingdom hope that draws us and look at the promised return of our King and His Kingdom.
For now, I want to activate a scripture:
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions. Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.(Col 1:24-29 NASB)
Does this sound like Paul is seeking to get people to heaven? No! He is working to get heaven here.
Let’s pray and ask God, when He returns and puts us through the faithfulness test, what gifts and talents will He be inquiring about? What can we do to become greater in our faithfulness? Get the oil, He is coming soon.
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