I resent the fact that politics has stolen the word “hope” from the church. Regardless of which side of the political spectrum you come down on, “hope” is not something that originated four years ago with an ad campaign. It’s not found in politics at all. Real hope is a Christian concept, taught by Scripture, given by God, and offered for a purpose.
This week at the Missouri Baptist Convention Pastor’s Conference, one of the speakers was Dr. Bryan Chapell, Chancellor of Covenant Seminary in St. Louis. Yes he’s Presbyterian, and yes, this was a Baptist Pastor’s conference. Personally, he was the main reason I wanted to be there. And I wasn’t disappointed.
Dr. Chapell spoke from Romans 15, launched by Paul’s words in verse 4: “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
He reminded us that the moving of the gospel brings both change and challenge. He said: “When the Gospel truly begins to work, when God’s purposes come, challenges come that will require us to endure and be encouraged in ways we may never have anticipated.” And true hope gives us both.
He went on to say that Paul was very concerned that we had the right kind of hope, and so he looks back over all of Scripture to show what that hope is and where that hope comes from. Essentially, it is based in the faithfulness of God to His promise to bring in the nations, to bring salvation to all peoples, to populate His Kingdom.
Our hope, true hope, is Kingdom hope; based on the promises of God; rooted in His character and His Word. And seeing how God has been about the business of bringing this kingdom promise into reality, as the Gospel continues to move forward, is what gives us both endurance and encouragement.
What a refreshing word in these politically charged times. If you’ve read these pages at all in the last few weeks, you know I have an opinion or two about politics. But in the end, true hope is Kingdom hope. That’s what encourages us. That’s what leads us to endure. And that supersedes any election in any nation anywhere, anytime.
I would encourage you to listen to all of Dr. Chapell’s message. The MBC Pastor’s Conference was kind enough to make all of this year’s messages available online (and there are some other really good messages. Check it out). And I pray God would use this to both challenge and comfort you as you seek to be faithful to our Gospel call.
Bryan Chapell, 2012 Pastor's Conference from MBC on Vimeo.