Summary: A look at what hope looks like in a believer’s life.
The Remaining Three
A Sermon On Hope
College football fans knew the late Woody Hayes as a fierce competitor whose passion for winning once led him to slug an opposing player who intercepted an Ohio State pass. But when columnist Bob Greene interviewed him just before his final illness and asked if anything was as important as winning, Woody said yes. “The important thing is not always to win. The important thing is always to hope.”
Hope kept Red McDaniel going in his Vietnamese imprisonment. For him to abandon hope, he wrote, was to abandon survival itself and with it his sense of self and all his personhood. The Jews at Auschwitz and Treblinka lived in daily horror and fear of dying, even as they saw other Jews die. Still, they never lost hope that they personally would survive. “Where there is life, hope must never be relinquished,” one said.
Today, we are continuing our walk through the three characteristics that distinguish us a Christians. Last week, we looked at faith, and why that is an important factor in our lives. Without faith in God, hope cannot be found. Our old friend, The Oxford Dictionary of Current English, defines hope as “expectation and desire, e.g. for certain event(s) to occur.”
When we looked at faith last week, we learned that “faith is the substance of things HOPED for.” (Heb. 11:1) Faith and hope are tied together. One cannot be present without the other. That not only applies to spiritual areas, but personal ones as well.
Take little children at Christmastime for example. Little children are quick to write out their Christmas lists to Santa. They write down what toys they want. There is hope and faith. They believe that Santa will deliver the goods. They have faith in that. When the write the list, they hope it will reach Santa. They, hope and faith, go together.
In our Christian walk, hope can be referred to as a type of Spiritual Assurance. We place our faith, and our hope, our expectations and desire, in the promises of the Lord, and on the reliability of His word! We find that our lives, and hopes, are placed in the hands of a God that we cannot see.
Jeremiah 17:7,8 (NKJV) - “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, and whose hope is the LORD. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.
The term blessed is used often in the Psalms and Deuteronomy to describe the benefits that are added to one who is devoted to the Lord and His Word. The imagery of a fruitful tree derives directly from Ps. 1:3. This verse teaches that one who trusts, or hopes in God will not be free from trials and adversity, but that God will bring fruit and blessing in and through those difficulties.
Where can we find hope from our difficulties? As it has already be alluded to, we can find hope in God’s word. My mother passed away in the early hours of Dec. 23. My aunt called us from the hospital on the 22nd, and said that we had better come. As a family, we were trying to prepare ourselves for that phone call, but you are never truly prepared.