The Helping Hand – Summer 2024

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How appropriate to look at expressions of Christian hope both in this present age and in the glorious future God is preparing for us for our study this quarter.

The five lessons of Unit I, “Experiencing Hope,” consider Christian hope through the lens of those whose faith in Christ gave shape to the early church. Lessons draw on New Testament passages from Colossians, 2 Corinthians, Romans, Hebrews, and Acts. In Colossians 1:27 (Lesson 1), Paul tells the Colossians that the mysteries of God become known to them as their hope in Christ transforms their lives. In the Second Letter to the Corinthians (Lesson 2), hope in Christ leads to an even greater boldness than was possible for Moses because believers are able to see the glory of God with “unveiled faces” (3:18). Lesson 3, points to the hope that is inspired in those around us when they see the salvation that is being worked out in us by the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:1-13). In Lesson 4 we find encouragement, as did the writer of Hebrews (ch. 6), in the spiritual lifeline we have to God through Christ. The unit closes with a lesson from Acts 26:1-11 and a testimony of Christian hope from Paul’s own lips as he defends himself before King Agrippa.

Unit II, “Expressing Hope,” turns attention to the prayers of ancient Israel as a model for offering to God our praise and petitions. These Hebrew prayers are also expressions of Christian hope. The first lesson of the unit is from a song of lament in Lamentations 3, while the remaining lessons of the unit are drawn from the Psalms.

The four lessons of Unit III, “Eternal Hope” (1 Thessalonians, 1 John, and Titus), consider facets of the promised future God is preparing for those who call on the name of Jesus. What does hope look like as we wait for Jesus to come again in glory and finally set things right? Paul anticipates the nearness of Christ’s return when he tells the Thessalonians how excited he is to brag about them (Lesson 10) even as he worries about the problems that might rock their faith in his absence from them. Similarly, 1 John (Lesson 11) anticipates Christ’s return so that in seeing Christ we might become like him. The final two lessons of the quarter are from Titus, where we hear Paul’s appeal to live out the present moment with hope rooted in God’s grace-filled future, made certain in the death and Resurrection.

May God bless your faithful study of His Word this quarter!