Colossians 1: 3-6
There are three things which are the essence of Christianity: Faith, love and hope. Faith looks upward to God, love looks outward to others, and hope looks forward to the future. Faith rests on the past work of Christ, love works in the present, and hope anticipates the future. These are the great trilogy of Christianity.
Faith could be defined as the soul looking up to God. Faith is the thing we put our trust in. Our faith is built on certain facts, but facts are not enough. Facts give us a basis to trust, but trust is a decision of the soul. Faith is saying, I believe that my Creator loves me, that His promises are true, that He is the only absolute certainty in this life and the next. Faith hears the words, the promises of God, and then acts on those promises.
Luke 6:46-49. In this well-known parable the Lord calls us to hear His words and practice them. His words are the facts, the promises. That is His part, and ours is to trust Him in every area of our lives. Sometimes it will be
difficult, sometimes it will seem almost impossible. These are the storms of life. Jesus mentions a great flood, the power of the water completely beyond human control. The life built on Jesus Christ will not even be shaken; it will stand under the power of the water.
But if we hear Jesus words and refuse to practice them, when the flood comes, as it does to all people, our lives will be like a house which collapses into rubble and is completely destroyed. Jesus words are also a warning about final destruction at the judgment. No person can escape the floods of this life; every one of us will be in situations which are out of our control. But Jesus Christ is the Creator, the One who protects us from the storm.
Jesus question, in this parable, is incredibly important. "Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I
say?" That's the challenge for every one of us. If our faith is real faith, the proof is in our doing as He says, in trusting Him with our lives.
Love looks outward to others. Paul says in verse 5 that faith and love spring from the hope we have that is stored up in heaven. Love, then, is the outward fruit of those who have faith and hope. Paul writes about love in 1st Corinthians 13. He is writing to Christians who thought they were very spiritual because of their spiritual gifts, but, at the same time they were arguing and fighting among themselves. The Greek word 'love' that Paul uses is 'agape'. In 1st John 4: 16 it says 'God is love', same word, 'agape'.
There are many people who do good things, have a great amount of knowledge, can give even everything they have to the poor, and are even willing to die for what they believe, but if they don't have 'agape love', if they don't have God, everything they did was useless (1st Corinthians 13). And we are called to love each other, not just a feeling of love, but putting each other before ourselves. Love often requires self-sacrifice. 1st John 4: 7-21
Hope looks forward to the future. Paul said our faith and love spring from the hope we have stored up for us in
heaven.What do we have stored up for us? In John 14:1-4 Jesus asks us to trust in Him, then tells us He is going back to heaven to prepare a place for us so that we can be with Him. Do you believe this?
1st Peter 1:3-5 Peter calls it a 'living hope' and speaks of our inheritance. He says that it can 'never perish (be destroyed), spoil, or fade, and it is kept in heaven for us. The word 'kept' means a garrison or keep, a fortress. Peter's idea here is that Jesus Christ Himself is guarding our inheritance. While we wait for it, we are also shielded by our faith and God's power. This is our hope. It isn't an uncertain hope like the child who hopes he will get a certain present at Christmas. This inheritance of ours has been promised by the Lord Himself, the One who never lies, the One whose promises can be trusted. The Bible says that we are heirs, and co-heirs with Christ. That means that all that belongs to Christ belongs to us.
What will heaven be like? I don't know, but I always liked the words of Keith Green, a Christian singer who died in a plane crash with his son some years ago. Keith said this. "The Lord spent 6 days creating this world, but he's been preparing our home for 2000 years". Do you have hope in the promises of Jesus, that He is preparing a place for you? Are you excited about that? And does this hope make faith and love spring from you.
Faith, love and hope are the great trilogy. Faith looks upwards towards the Lord, trusting in Him, letting Him build the house on the rock against the storms of life. Agape love looks outwards to others and is the natural expression of those who are born again. This kind of love is only available to those who know Christ, who are filled with His agape love. And hope looks forward to the future, and lives for that future. We know that whatever happens to us in this life, we have an inheritance waiting for us which is a billion times more incredible than anything we can have in this life.