Summary: Sermon on the Hope that we have in Christ. A hope that we will participate in the resurrection. The importance that we be prepared to give a reason for our hope in Christ.
A True Hope
How many of you have made a New Year's Resolutions?
Every year right before the new year I start planning for the upcoming year.
I make a few resolutions and hopes for the new year.
It’s the time of year I work to get the budget under control and (Dave Ramsey myself out of debt with the debt snowball).
It’s the time of year I work to get my waistline back inside the clothes I bought ten years ago.
It’s the time of year when I plan to make the upcoming year better than the last one.
It is the time of year that new goals and hopes are on my mind. (“HOPE” graphic)
It’s the time of year that the phrase “This is the year I am going to (You fill in the blank)_________ : do, complete, start, restart, try again finally finish, get married, do the things I have always wanted to do and the biggy that most Americans look forward to the year they retire.
It’s the time of year that I hope for the best for my kids in the upcoming year.
It’s the time of year that I hope to see the Church reach more of those that are lost.
Generally the start of the new you I have a positive outlook for the upcoming year.
Now because I am an optimist. I do this every year even though during that last year I did not succeed at accomplishing all or part of the very same things.
What is it with us that we keep doing this each year?
Now here's what I know about you!!!
You do the very same things that I do.
January the start of a new year is and has always been a time when we start over with a new mindset to be better but the truth is this.
You are probably struggling with debt.
You are probably struggling with your waistline.
You want this year to be better than the last one but wonder if it will ever be true.
“This is the year that you are going to also, do, complete, start, restart, try again finally finish, get married, get divorced, do the things you have always wanted to do and maybe even for you this is the year that you are going to retire.
If you have kids you are hoping for the best for your kids in the upcoming year.
If you are a Christian you may also be hoping to see the Church reach more of those that are lost.
Now because you also have some small amount of optimism left in you, you more than likely do this ever year just like I do. Even though during the last year you did not succeed at accomplishing all or part of the very same things either.
What is it with us that we keep doing this over and over every year?
Why year after year do we keep planning and hoping for the next year to be better than the last year?
It is because we all have in us and for that matter have to have in us some form of hope.
Hope that things are going to be better.
The Baker encyclopedia says that “Hope is this…
“An expectation or belief in the fulfillment of something desired. … uncertainty over what the future holds creates the constant need for hope.”
So basically we hope for the best because so much is unknown.
So far all I have talked about are the positive aspects of hope. The kind of hope that spurs us on to be better at life. To be better whether we ever become better or not we continue to try.
Now I realize that there are also those here that may have lost hope and struggle with seeing or even wanting their life to be better.
The kind of loss of hope that leads to despair. (“Steps of Despair” graphic)
I have known people that have lost hope and been in such despair that they gave up.
To even think of these people is emotional for me. It is sad because it doesn’t have to be that way.
I know many of you have or know people that have lost hope. You may even be that person here today.
Maybe today is the day you decided to come to church and reach out for help. If that is the case, it is hop that brought you here today.
Let me assure you that loss of hope does not have to happen. (despair slide off)
It doesn't have to be that way.
Because you are not the first person to ever lose hope and you won't be the last allow me to tell you about a time in history when it seemed to an entire nation that all hope was lost.