1 Timothy 1:1
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Savior, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope;
In the Word of God we find many brief but precious sentences, the introduction of which appears to be incidental. I do not say accidental, but incidental. They stand upon these sacred pages, beautiful as the dew-drops on the flowers, and as the rain-drop on the leaf; while they are as useful for the purposes of our spiritual life, as are essences to the chemist, and to the medical practitioner, and to others, in cases where bulk involves inconvenience and difficulty. Such a sentence you find in the words we have read, which are the inscription of Paul's first letter to Timothy. I refer to the words, "LORD JESUS CHRIST OUR HOPE." These words are not necessary to the inscription; they are no part of the general course of remark. Three names are here given to one being, and they express three things — rank, service, and qualification. The Lord, the Lord Jesus, the Lord Jesus Christ — the "Lord Jesus Christ our hope." Hope, as you know, is a complex emotion, constitutional, universal, and most powerful, and a compound emotion which is most fully brought forth in Christian experience. We desire you to look at the Lord Jesus Christ as the Author of hope, that by thus looking to Him, your own hope may be strengthened. But why is hope within you so weak? Is the Lord Jesus Christ your hope? Then your hope should answer to His character, and to His attributes, and to His resources, and to His throne. If you are in a tiny boat upon a stormy sea, you rock with the billows; but if you stand upon the firm rock which guards the sea-shore, although tempests may be raging, you stand firmly with that rock. Now, if you base your hope upon self; if you rest it upon any creature; if you are trying to root it and ground it in circumstances; you will find that your hope will be feeble and mutable. If, on the other hand, it be grounded in Christ, it ought to be strong enough to answer the purpose of an anchor to your soul in any storm, however long or fierce the storms and tempests may be which play around you.
I. THE LORD JESUS CHRIST GIVES HIS DISCIPLES NEW OBJECTS OF HOPE. You all know well what hope is — that it consists of desire and expectation. Jesus Christ puts good things before His followers, things that awaken desire, and that call forth expectation. His followers look for these things, and they long for them; and in looking and longing for them, they hope. The Saviour puts new objects of hope before His followers. These are such as the following of the consummation of their salvation. And, passing from things great to things comparatively small, we may mention another new object of hope: the supply of the disciple's temporal need by his Father in heaven. Some men are reckless about the future — I mean this low, earthly, temporal future. Now, to the reckless and to the fearful; to the self-dependent, and to the sinfully dependent upon others; our Lord Jesus Christ saith, "Your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things"; so that the expectation of supply — supply of daily bread to life's last hour, is built upon the loving and watchful care of our Father in heaven. Here again is a new object of hope. Connected with these new objects are others, such as everlasting life in heaven — life eternal in our Father's house, holy, happy, godly, celestial life. And besides this, the establishment of Christ's own kingdom on this earth, and the setting up of His kingdom in the new earth, which, by-and-by, He will create. You, therefore, see that these new objects of hope are numerous and great and benevolent and godly.
II. JESUS CHRIST ALSO LAYS NEW FOUNDATIONS FOR OLD HOPES. Before our discipleship to Jesus Christ, if our hope was for temporal good, then the hope was built upon money, skill, energy, prudence, wisdom, the treasures of our own information, the confidence of our fellow-men in us, our ability to commend ourselves to the good feelings and to the judgment of our fellow-men. But in the case of the Christian, as we have already shown you, the hope, even of temporal good, is built upon the Father's care of us and love for us. Before our discipleship, we were wont to say, "I am rich, I shall have need of nothing," but Christ hath taught us to sing, "Jehovah is our Shepherd, we shall not want." Now, here is a new foundation for an old hope; and what say you about the foundations as they appear contrasted? Do you not agree with me, that the one is miserably loose and shifting sand, and that the other is the rock of ages that can never, never be moved? Or if, before discipleship to Christ, we hoped for salvation, for the forgiveness of our sins, and for eternal life, then the basis of that hope has been changed likewise. We used to boast, "I have never done any harm to anybody"; or we said, "I have always attended a place of worship"; or we said, "God is merciful, and I have never done much harm to anybody, and I am quite sure He will forgive." Now, the disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, as we have shown you, hopes first and supremely for the consummation of his salvation; but what about the foundation? Hear the disciple now, "What things were gain to me, those I count but loss for Christ, I count all things loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord." The Lord Jesus Christ our hope; He gives us new objects of hope, and He lays new foundations for our old hopes. And yet more —
III. OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST CONSTITUTES HIMSELF THE SECURE FOUNDATION OF ALL LAWFUL HOPES, WHETHER THEY BE OLD, OR WHETHER THEY BE NEW. The Lord Jesus Christ is the foundation. His sacrifices and His mediation open the windows of heaven for us, and the door of heaven to us. Look at this sacrifice and mediation of our Lord Jesus Christ as the basis Of hope. Further, the government of our Lord Jesus Christ secures our possession of all that He ordains for us. The "government is upon His shoulder." All power is given unto Him both in heaven and on earth. All that He means to work out for you will be thoroughly and perfectly wrought out; and it is one of our great mercies, that Christ will not work out our foolish and sometimes wicked schemes and plans, which, if they were wrought out, would ruin us. His government secures our possession of all that He ordains for us. Jesus Christ's love keeps Him ever awake toward our welfare. We often talk of the love of a mother as watchful. Her love is her eye; she sees by her heart; affection is her power of observation. nobody can see, with respect to her children, what she sees, just because her power of love is a second sight.
IV. THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IS HIMSELF AN OBJECT OF HOPE. He has promised to come again; and those who love Him look for Him. Now, think for one moment; what is the master hope in your soul? What do you long for most eagerly? I have read in my Bible, in this glorious New Testament, of men "having no hope," that is — no good hope, no hope worth having, no hope worth retaining, no hope that will not make ashamed. Is that your ease? There are hopes in your soul; for objects of hope are ever appealing to, and calling out, desire and expectation, and these hopes are the sources, or the occasions, of joy. Well, do tell me a little about them. Are these hopes worth cherishing?
Parallel VersesKJV: Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope;