bits from bob....
"...Christ in you, the hope of glory...." (Col. 1:27)
A bold statement: The church is the hope of the world! All of us know that Christ is the hope of the world. But the text says, Christ in us is the hope of the world. As long as Jesus remains a concept, an idea, an abstraction, little hope can be extended. Christ as a living, active force in the lives of his people--this is the hope of the world.
From prison, Paul wrote the words of Colossians 1, reminiscing about his own sufferings, and recommitting to the presence of Christ in his life as a power for faithful proclamation. It was also from prison that Paul wrote to the church at Philippi. The Philippian letter reminds me of principles that the church can put into practice to be the hope of the world.
The church is the hope of the world when its lifestyle complements the gospel. Live in a way becoming to the gospel (1:27). Stand firm. Live without jealousy. Many are motivated by selfish ambition and jealousy. When the church can live above the typical level of our contemporary world, the distinctiveness of the message is apparent. The church living like Jesus is the hope of the world.
The church is the hope of the world when its attitudes are like those of Jesus (2:5ff). Have the mind of Christ, humble, self-emptying, sacrificing, without self-advancement, obedient. God exalts in due time, but the hope of the current age is in the church which is serious about following Jesus in thinking and attitudes.
The church is the hope of the world when it adopts the priorities and purposes of God. The siren songs of our age beckon, but the things profitable in this world are lost when it comes to following Jesus. The church that can escape the call of materialism and the values of this world will affirm the greatness of knowing Christ, gaining Christ, being found in Christ, knowing Christ as the source of genuine power for living. The church is the hope of the world if it can learn to live above the world.
The church is the hope of the world if its dependence is upon God. God's transcending peace comes from such dependence. Our sufficiency is of Christ, and the externals no longer matter. All power that matters is from Christ. The empowered church is the hope of the world.
Is the church where you worship the hope of your community? your nation? your world? The hopeful church lives and thinks with the priorities and power of God. The hopeful church can extend hope to others. How's your hope?
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