by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 2 Study # 5 January 19, 2014 Dayton, Texas (Download Audio)
(011)Thesis:"The Hope" produces both extraordinary difficulties for those who live "truth" in this evil age and potent persistence in the behaviors that actually exacerbate those difficulties.
Introduction:We have seen, thus far in our consideration of Paul's "trilogy" of memorable traits demonstrated by the Thessalonians, that "the work" of "the faith" is a living service to God and an active anticipation of the coming of His Son from heaven, and "the labor" of "the love" is a high intensity commitment to a personal relationship with God that naturally leads to the pursuit of His desires and plans. "The Labor" of "The Love" is a ramped up version of "The Work" of "The Faith".
Now we have come to what Paul calls "The Endurance" of "The Hope". If my grasp of the purpose for the letters to the Thessalonians is correct, this is the core issue: having such a "hope" that one's life is one of both "faith" and "love". The first question is this: just what is it that constitutes "the hope"? The second is this: what does such a "hope" actually produce?
I. What is "The Hope"?
A. On the face of it, "The Hope" is a certainty that God is going to send His Son from heaven a second time in order to fulfill what remains of His commitments regarding the Son and the Kingdom on earth.
1. At the conclusion of each chapter of this letter, Paul refers to "The Hope" as an anticipation of the coming of the Son of God from heaven (1:10; 2:20; 3:13; 4:13-18; and 5:23).
2. The text of 4:13-18 is the most specific text in the New Testament regarding this "Hope".
B. Under the face of it, "The Hope" is far more than "just" another coming; "The Hope" is an inclusive term that exists as a very large umbrella for many particular truths.
1. Romans 5:2 specifies this hope to consist of "hope of the glory of God".
2. Romans 8:21 specifies this hope to consist of "deliverance from the bondage of corruption into glorious liberty".
3. Galatians 5:5 specifies this hope to consist of "righteousness" as a consistent outcome of our choices and actions.
4. Multiple texts specify this hope to consist of "eternal life" as another umbrella under which all of the issues of "Life" abide.
5. Above all, and giving significance to each part, is the "Hope" of the living presence of Jesus upon the throne of the kingdoms of the world.
II. What Does "Endurance" Mean?
A. First, "endurance" indicates negative pressures without relief.
B. Second, "endurance" indicates a cause for those negative pressures.
1. Significantly, there are many cases in which those negative pressures are actually sponsored by the activities initiated by those who live in hope (in other words, living in hope is what actually causes others to apply pressures against us to attempt to stop us from such a lifestyle).
2. The negative pressures are, invariably, situations of stress/pain in body, soul, or spirit, or any combination thereof.
C. Third, "endurance" indicates a determined persistence in spite of the negative pressures.
D. Ultimately, "endurance" indicates a diminishing "self" interest as the basis for the choices and actions we take because of an increasing awareness of the goodness that is to come.
1. This is not really a vicious circle (self-interest dying by reason of self-interest) because self-interest is all about getting rid of negative things because life is too painful with them and looking for the Hope is all about getting rid of the negative things because the lives of others has become the motive for the choices and actions.
2. We look for the eventual realization of "The Hope" because everyone is profited to the maximum by the "glorious liberty" of Life (in the outworking of this "hope" in Paul's case, he came to love so greatly that he was willing to perish for the sake of others).