Colossians - Lesson 12

By Stafford North

How We Hope

Colossians 1:4-5; 23, 27

Background Information for the Teacher


  1. The student will express his/her hope for going to heaven.
  2. The student will make choices that will confirm his/her hope.
  3. The student can tell the "Be There" story.


  1. Have the worksheets ready.
  2. Have the sheets ready with the "Be There" story to hand out at the end of class.
  3. All students will need a Bible
  4. Have access to a chalkboard or marker board on which to write key words.


Christ wants us to have a strong hope of heaven which will become a guiding star for our lives.

Lesson Plan for Teaching the Class

Introduction: (10 minutes)

  1. Check the roll, welcome guests, make announcements.
  2. In our last lesson we studied six things Paul says we need to be steadfast. Let's write these on the board: knowledge of the Word, walk worthily (by the Word), bear fruit, strength by the Spirit, thankfulness and hope.
  3. What is something you are planning to do to develop one of these in your life? (Teacher: if no one gives you an answer to what they are doing, spend a little time asking, "What could a person do to achieve these goals?")

Learning Experiences: (30 minutes. Be sure to save five minutes at the end to read the Dobson story.)

  1. Read Col. 1:4-5. Q: What had produced faith and love in the Colossians? A: The hope that is stored up in heaven. Let's study that hope to learn what God wants us do about "hope." Q: What is your picture of what heaven will be like? A: Be with loved ones, worship God, visit with those we read about in scripture. Read Rev. 21:1-8. Q: Based on this passage, how would you describe heaven? A: Be with God. No sorrow. No death. No mourning or pain. No sinners will be there which will help make heaven a perfect place. Q: What does the passage say about who will get to be in heaven? A: The one who "overcomes." Q: What is the Greek word for "overcome?" A: Nike. So all who wear the right shoes or the right uniforms go to heaven. Q: What does it take to be a "nike," an "overcomer?" A: One has to be faithful, not slip back into sin, not be led astray by troubles or losses. Read Rev. 22:1-5. Q: How does this passage picture heaven? A: As a beautiful garden with the river of life flowing from the throne of God and with "tree of life" trees planted on either side of the river. Q: What aspect of heaven does this description suggest? A: Heaven is a place where our needs are perfectly supplied. Drinking from the river of life and eating of the tree of life suggest that in heaven God will fully supply all our needs. God even gives us "light" and writes His name on our foreheads. We see Him face to face-thus being in an intimate relationship with Him.
  2. Q: What are some differences between heaven and our present lives to which you especially look forward? A: No loss of loved ones. No sickness or pain. No more time pressures. No more working out problems between people. Faith has become "sight." Hope has been realized.
  3. Q: How much does this vision of heaven affect your daily life? A: Our hope of heaven should cause us to make decisions about serving others, being faithful to Christ's commands, being faithful to our families, and many other things. Read 1 Thess. 5:8. Q: How is "hope" a helmet of salvation? A: Hope can protect from the difficult blows just as the Roman soldier's helmet helped him not to be injured when a hard blow struck his head.
  4. Read Col. 1:5-6. Q: What source causes us to have hope? A: The word of truth,the gospel. God's grace in all its truth. Read Col. 1:22-23. Q: What does Paul say is the basis of our hope? A: Christ's death that makes us free from accusation. Q: What does Paul give as a condition of our hope? A: That we must continue in our faith. Let's look at some verses that speak of our having forgiveness of sins or tell us about eternal life. Matt. 25:46-go away into eternal life; John 6:40-everyone who believes in the Son shall have eternal life; Acts2:38-forgiveness of sins; Eph. 2:8-9-by grace are you saved; Rom. 6:23-the gift of God is eternal life in Christ. Forgiveness of sins allows us to be reconciled toGod and being reconciled to God allows us to have the hope of living forever with him.
  5. Read Col. 1:5-6. Q: What does hope produce in our lives? A: Faith and love. Q: How does hope produce faith and love in our lives? A: There is a sense in which faith in Christ actually produces hope. But that hope, in turn, strengthens our faith. Hope in Christ means that when hard times come, our hope holds our faith firm. Hope also produces love in the sense that we love those with whom we share hope. Church members love each other and serve each other because we all believe we are moving together toward heaven. We are a family of hope.
  6. Q: Can you think of a time in your life when your hope has held you steady through a time of hardship?
  7. (If you have time left after these discussions, raise the following question.) Q: What are some situations in which you think your hope of going to heaven might keep you from falling away or making a bad decision?

Application: (5 minutes)

  1. Read Col. 1:27. This verse is a good summation of our lesson-Christ in you, the hope of glory.
  2. (Teacher- At this point, read the "Be There" story to the class. Then tell the class you are now going to hold out your hand to them and say "Be There" and you want them to respond in the same way. Then say, "Let's do it again." Then say,"Turn to the person on each side of you and say "Be There.'"

Evaluation and Assignment:

  1. At this point, hand out the "Be There" story and ask each member to tell someone the "Be There" story this week. Tell it to your children, your parents, a co-worker, a neighbor. Be prepared to tell the class next week about your experience.


Stafford North, the author of this set of materials, often tells the following story as the conclusion to a sermon. "Dr. James Dobson, who has written some good books about parenting and who has a radio program about family, told the following story on his radio broadcast. He says that on January 5, 1988, he brought Pete Maravitch to California to be on his radio program. Maravitch, who still holds the record for the most points scored in a collegiate basketball career, had just retired from professional basketball. Recently, he had become a believer in Jesus and had made significant changes in his life. Dobson wanted him to tell his story on one of his radio broadcasts. While he was there, they decided to take a break and play some basketball. Wouldn't that be neat to go play basketball with Pete Maravitch? Dobson and Maravitch were standing at the three point line shooting baskets when suddenly Pete fell over backwards. Dobson went to help him and they called for the paramedics. Before the ambulance came, however, Pete was dead in Dobson's arms. One of America's premier athletes dead of a heart attack at age forty! This event, of course, stunned the Dobson family and they talked about it a lot. One of the decisions they made was that, as a family, they wanted to make their highest goal to be with each other in heaven. They expressed this commitment by saying 'Be There' and holding their hands out to each other with the thumb up. Not long after this event, Dr. Dobson, himself, had a heart attack. He was in intensive care with a tube down his throat so he couldn't speak, but he was conscious. When his son, who was about twenty, went in to see him, how do you suppose they communicated with each other? Yes-the thumbs up sign. Which meant, son to father-I hope you get well but the main thing is that we want to be together in heaven. Father to son-I hope I get OK, but the main thing is for us to see each other in heaven. This story has become very important in my family. I've told this story to all my children and grandchildren. My wife has made cross-stitched plaques for each of our children and married grandchildren to put in their homes that says, 'Be There.' My kids gave me a license tag for my car which says, 'Be There.' When we had our fiftieth wedding anniversary, our children gave us a large golden 'Be There' which we display by our front door. My favorite picture is my ten grandchildren giving me the 'Be There' sign. For all of us, going to heaven should be the most important thing in our lives."

Download Worksheets

Back to Colossians

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.