Summary: In a world of hopelessness and despair, there is a God in whom we can trust.
Introduction: We live in a world that is filled with despair and hopelessness. Unemployement, weapons of mass destruction, confused government, snipper terror, travel crisis and even trouble in the church. Hope in the bible has multiple meanings. It is a favorable and confident expectation. It has to do with the unseen and the future. It is Christ in us that is the basis of our future glory. Hope is a word that is conjoined to many words. Hope of the gospel. Hope of the resurrection. Hope of the glory of God. Hope of eternal life. There is in the midst of all our troubles, a living hope that will sustain us. Today, as we confront the cold hands of death, I submit to you that God is an all-suffient God. The sufficency of God is His quality of being sufficient in Himself and for His own. The greatest kind of knowledge is to know that God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-loving. Power without love is simply destruction.
Living hope is the constant expectation of attainment. It is a virtue which leads us to expect the things which God has promised us. It looks to God as its principal object. We do not hope in creatures because of their instabilities and feebleness. The bible says; "Trust not in princes nor in any son of man, in whom there is no salvation." The world offers a dead and stagnate hope. But living hope is that which is found in a living God. It looks to God and Christ as the true source of goods to be bestowed. The believer’s faith gives him the certainity of God’s promises. There is no hope without faith. Faith apprehends the promises and hope expects what is promised. The natural fruit of a living hope is joy and delight in God. When in this world our vision is impaired with sorrow, hope reminds us that our greatest joy is in the unseen world. The fruit and companion of hope is developed by patience in God. It is the kind of patience that enables us to cling to Him seeking and expecting His promises. Its fruitfulness is in the inner fortitude it brings to those who trust Him. It is that living hope that keep us silent in the midst of the storm. The more we experience God’s power, the greater our hope. Hope looks to the grace of God, while fear looks to the wages of sin. It is this living hope that keep us prasing God. We praise God in the midst of death because death is a defeated foe. The text says; "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." The writer praises God for our living hope. Not simply God but Father God. The word father implies paternity, relationship, fellowship and intimacy. All this means is that we must have a relationship with God. It is not enough to be members of the church. It is not who’s in the church but who the church is in! Hell is not for those who don’t go to church but for those who don’t know Jesus.
First, Let Us Consider the Ground of that Living Hope. Our living hope is based on the mercy of God. Mercy is the withholding of that which we justly deserved. But for God’s mercy, none of us would be here. Death is the wages of human sin. Yet God in His mercy, sent His Son who knew no sin to die for us. That kind of love and mercy is uniquely God’s. Sin prohibted us from ascending up to God. But God’s love and mercy brought Him down to us.
Second, Consider, The Derivation of that Living Hope. It is derived from the new birth. To as many as received Him, to them gave He the power or the legal right to become the sons of God. The Holy Spirit is the title deed, the earnest or pledge of our hope. We know that we are saved because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit beareth witness with our spirit that we are children of God. The Holy Spirit imparts the very life of God in us. Family, don’t weep hopelessly. There is in you a living hope that will sustain you in these times of sorrow.
Third, Consider, The Character of that Living Hope. It is a living hope. It is a hope that springs up ever fresh in the christian’s heart. It gives him a calm peace. It brings an inner joy in the midst of life’s greatest sorrows. It that living hope that keep life afloat in the most violent waves. It brightens our darkest night and eases our heaviest burdens. The living hope remimds us that beyond our pain is a holy presence. Beyond our tears is a tender loving God. Beyond the halls of the hospitals is the golden street of heaven. Beyond our earthly huts is a home in glory. Living hope reminds us that we bury bodies but saved people live on. We bury bodies but unsaved people exist on. The saved will lived with Jesus. The unsaved will exist without Him.