Prisoners of Hope

by Jeffrey W. Hamilton

Text: Zechariah 9:9-12


I.         The book of Zechariah is one of both scoldings and exhortation.

            A.        The people after their return from captivity had fallen into complacency and indifference toward their religion.

            B.        Zechariah calls them to change through warnings - Zechariah 1:2-6

            C.        And he encourages them through visions of the future. Our lesson today will focus on one passage - Zechariah 9:9-12

            D.        In particular, consider what is meant by the phrase “prisoners of hope”

II.        Israel

            A.        Their condition

                        1.         Bound by their sins until the Redeemer came - Isaiah 42:6-7

                        2.         This was a difficulty because the Jews refused to see themselves as prisoners - John 8:32-33

                        3.         They were wrong because captivity was a major part of their history – Egypt, Assyria, and Babylon

                        4.         But these bonds were nothing compared to the bonds of sin

                                    a.         Zachariah called it a waterless pit (Zechariah 9:11) – a place where a person could not escape on his own and could not survive without outside aid

                                    b.         Paul recognized the trap of sin - Romans 7:14-17

            B.        Their deliverance

                        1.         A person trapped in sin cannot free himself - Romans 7:24-25

                        2.         God promised Israel deliverance by the blood of his covenant - Zechariah 9:11

                        3.         A statement echoed by Christ - Matthew 26:28

                        4.         To bring about their redemption - Hebrews 9:15

            C.        Their acceptance

                        1.         Deliverance was not forced upon Israel.

                        2.         God called upon His people to return to the stronghold as prisoners of hope - Zechariah 9:12

                        3.         They could not remain in sin and expect salvation - Ezekiel 18:30-32

                        4.         Sadly, many rejected God’s offer and sought their own way - Romans 10:1-4

                        5.         They had to leave the bindings of the law to become bound to a new law - Romans 7:4-6

            D.        Their blessings

                        1.         Guaranteed by God - “Even today I declare” - Zechariah 9:12

                                    a.         God has always kept His promises - Joshua 21:45; I Kings 8:56

                                    b.         God cannot lie - Titus 1:2

                        2.         Restored Double

                                    a.         Also mentioned in Isaiah 61:7

                                    b.         Not just restoration, but a great improvement in their situation

III.       Unbelievers

            A.        Their Condition

                        1.         Sin was not limited to the Jews. It is a world wide problem. - Romans 3:9

                        2.         The whole world is under Satan’s control - I John 5:19

                        3.         Whoever sins is a slave to sin - John 8:34; Romans 6:16

                        4.         Taken captive by Satan - II Timothy 2:25-26

            B.        Their Deliverance

                        1.         Because we are unable to rescue ourselves, God stepped in - Romans 5:6

                        2.         Christ dies to deliver us - Galatians 1:3-4

                        3.         Redeemed from every lawless deed - Titus 2:13-14

            C.        Their Acceptance

                        1.         Like Israel, God doesn’t force deliverance. It is freely offered, but the offer must be accepted.

                        2.         God commands repentance - Acts 17:30-31

                        3.         Do works fitting for repentance - Acts 26:20

            D.        Their Blessings

                        1.         Forgiveness - Ephesians 1:7; Acts 13:38-39

                        2.         Justified - Romans 3:24-26

                        3.         Remission of sin - Acts 10:43

                        4.         Adoption - Galatians 4:4-5

                        5.         Heirs - Romans 8:15-17

                        6.         Children of God - I John 3:1

IV.      Believers

            A.        Their Condition

                        1.         Even the believer is still imprisoned, though in a much different way.

                        2.         Waiting for the redemption of our bodies -Romans 8:20-23

                                    a.         So we remain prisoners, but prisoners in hope

                        3.         Longing for a better place - Philippians 1:23-24

                        4.         Earnestly desiring an eternal home - II Corinthians 5:1-4

            B.        Their Deliverance

                        1.         Guaranteed by God - II Corinthians 5:5

                        2.         We will be changed - I Corinthians 15:51-53

                        3.         Transformed - Philippians 3:20-21

                        4.         Precisely what it will be like is not known - I John 3:2

            C.        Their Acceptance

                        1.         Holding steadfast - I Corinthians 15:58

                        2.         Not moved away - Colossians 1:23

                        3.         Then we will be partakers with Christ - Hebrews 3:14

            D.        Their Blessing

                        1.         An anchor for the soul - Hebrews 6:17-19

                                    a.         Notice the allusion to Zachariah’s prophecy!

                                    b.         We are people who fled for refuge to hold on to hope – we are held captive by and in our hope

                        2.         An inheritance far greater than what we have now

                                    a.         Incorruptible - I Peter 1:3-4

                                    b.         Given only to those in Christ - Ephesians 1:11-14

                        3.         The promise is eternal life - I John 2:25

V.        In this world, we remain prisoners

            A.        Romans 6:16-19 - Slaves either of sin or of God

            B.        There is hope for those in sin to be freed from the chains of sin and its consequences through the gospel of Christ - Romans 1:16

            C.        Written that we might have life - John 20:30-31

            D.        And for those who follow God’s offer, we can become slaves of God and prisoners of our hope for a better life

            E.        To whom will you present your captive life? - Romans 6:21-23

based on a lesson by Steven Harper

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