Christ-the Only Hope Part 1
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
Title: Christ the Only Hope
Text: “Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel, which has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth” (Col. 1:4-6).
Scripture Reading: Colossians 1:3-8
The key word in today’s message is “hope.” And there is also the confidence in the truth, that Christ is the only hope! This year, 2003, is a year to acknowledge that truth. The claim that Christ is the only hope is a bold claim because it eliminates all other claims of hope. It is a timeless claim because it has been believed for centuries. It is also a very serious claim because to believe it is to accept certain responsibilities.
Our scripture reading is Colossians 1:3-8: “We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel, which has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth; as you also learned from Epaphras, our dear fellow-servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf, who also declared to us your love in the Spirit.”
Heavenly Father, bless our Bible study. Help us to understand your Word and to take it into our hearts. Help us to see your greatness and to glimpse your holiness. And forgive us our sins. We ask these things in Christ’s name. Amen.
Our lesson will show that Christ is the only hope for salvation, the only hope for life’s needs, and the only hope for eternity.
Our intention this morning is to show that Christ is the only hope for salvation.
A mine shaft collapsed and a rescue team was immediately organized to dig out the entombed men before their air supply was exhausted. As the rescue team approached the doomed miners, they thought they heard a tapping on the rocks. As they paused to listen, in Morris code came the question repeatedly: “Is there any hope? Is there any hope? Is there any hope for salvation?”
The answer to that question is, “Christ is the only hope for a salvation that is desperately needed.” The Bible says that without Christ people have “no hope” and they are “without God in the world” (Eph. 2:12). Those who are without Christ have no hope beyond this life and no hope of spiritual and eternal blessings. They are spiritually lost, “condemned already” (John 3:18).
The Bible tells us that condemnation is reserved for the one that doesn’t believe. There are only two kinds of people in the world: those that have everlasting life as a result of faith in Christ; and those that have not believed and as a result, stand condemned already. They are already sentenced (condemned) and are only waiting for the execution of that sentence. Not tomorrow, not next year, not at age twenty-one, not at death, but now, already condemned! They are condemned, because, without Christ, people are spiritually trapped in sin.
The prophet Jeremiah wrote, “The heart is deceitful…and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9). There is wickedness in our hearts which we ourselves are not aware of, so we think that we are better than we really are. Sin is like a disease of the heart; the heart is sick, and only the Great Physician can diagnose its problems and bring the necessary healing.
Out of the human heart proceeds all types of sin. Paul named them in one of his letters: “evil thoughts, murders, adulteries and fornications, thefts, lies, and speaking evil of God.” The nature of the human heart is to sin and rebel against God and spiritual authority.
People are also trapped in the agonizing results of sin. “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). The outcome of addiction to sin is quite different from that of obedience to Christ. Payment is the principle by which we become heirs of death. Sin always pays a wage, and the wage is a harsh one. But just as payment is the principle by which we become heirs of death, undeserved favor is the principle by which we become heirs to eternal life. Death is earned; eternal life is truly a gift.
People are trapped in human weakness and despair. The cry of the apostle Paul was, “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Rom. 7:24).
Helplessly, Paul throws up his hands and exclaims what a wretched individual a believer is when he has not gained mastery over sin. He said that he was a wretched man. Paul recognizes that he is in a helpless state of despair because he cannot rid himself of his desire to sin. The main purpose of this statement, however, is found in the question “Who shall Deliver me…?” Paul indicates that if he is to be delivered from the mastery of sin that deliverance must come from without. He is unable to live the Christian life by himself. He is incapable of gaining mastery over sin. If Paul is to live a mature and godly life and to delight in the law of God, the strength to do so must come from outside himself. Christ is the only hope!
The next point is that Christ is the only hope for salvation divinely provided.
In Acts we are given the answer to a seeking heart, “What must I do to be saved?” is the question. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” is the answer (Acts 16:30-31). The Lord Jesus Christ is the Savior. Today, there is a lot of confusion at this point. But Scriptures clearly teach that Salvation is not in a parent’s faith, in religious principles, in a church, in culture, in outward symbols, or in a good life. Salvation is in a person, Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ is God’s provision. Paul said, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief” (1 Tim. 1:15). This is the sum of the whole gospel that Jesus Christ came into the world not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. He came to seek and to find and to save, those who were lost. Jesus Christ is also God’s action.
It says in 1 Corinthians 15:3, “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” The gospel that Paul preached was revealed to him by God. And the vital truth he preached was that Christ died for our sins.
And Jesus Christ is God’s gift. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 6:23). The gift of God is eternal life. Sinners deserve hell, but saints do not deserve heaven. We must thank God and not ourselves if we get to heaven. It is Christ that purchased it, prepared it and prepares us for it. He is the living Savior and Lord.