Summary: This lesson suggests that Faith, Hope, and Love are the “fundamentals” or “basics” that we need to get back to when our lives are in a spiritual slump.
Back to the Basics
Reading: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13
1. I suspect the problem is one akin to an athlete or a sport team which is "in a slump"
a. Such a person or team "goes through the motions", but they are not performing up to their true potential
b. The solution in sports: Work on "the fundamentals"
2. The same is true with Christians; when we find ourselves “in a slump”...
a. They may attend services, but it appears that they are only "going through the motions"
b. Their singing, their praying, their Bible Study, their zeal, seems listless
c. We need to stress the fundamentals as Jesus warned the church in Ephesus:
Revelation 2:5a “Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first;…”
d. We need to get "Back To The Basics!"
[In this lesson I would like to suggest that what we read in I Corinthians 13: Faith, Hope, and Love are the “fundamentals” or “basics” that we need to get back to whenever our lives are in a spiritual slump. i.e., my first suggestion would be to...]
I. ENERGIZE YOUR “FAITH”
A. DEFINING “FAITH”...
1. A Scriptural definition of faith is found in Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
2. The NIV is helpful: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”
3. VINE’S describes faith as “a firm conviction”
4. I like the definition of faith as ‘confident trust”
B. IMPORTANCE OF "FAITH"...
1. Faith in God is essential to pleasing Him
Hebrews 11:6a “And without faith it is impossible to please Him,”
2. Faith in Jesus is essential to finding forgiveness and eternal life
John 8:24 “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”
3. Without faith, the only alternative is doubt accompanied with fear as seen in Peter when walking on the water:
Matthew 14:30-31 “But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?””
C. ENERGIZING YOUR "FAITH"...
1. The Word of God is designed to produce faith
Romans 10:17 “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”
2. Through diligent reading of the Bible, we can “energize” our faith!
[So when you find yourself in a spiritual slump, pick up your Bible and allow it to rebuild that “confident trust” you once had! It will also help you to...]
II. STRENGTHEN YOUR “HOPE”
A. DEFINING "HOPE"...
1. It is NOT wishful thinking, or an insecure “I hope so”
2. VINE’S says that it involves “the happy anticipation of good” and it is “a confident expectation.”
3. A common definition of hope is “desire plus expectation”
B. IMPORTANCE OF “HOPE”...
1. Hope is necessary to persevere
Romans 8:25 “But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.”
2. Hope provides our motivation to be pure
1 John 3: 2-3 “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure”
3. Hope provides opportunities to evangelize
1 Peter 3:15 “but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;”
4. Without hope, we not only jeopardize our souls, we won’t be any good for saving others!
C. STRENGTHENING YOUR “HOPE”...
1. The Word of God was written to produce hope
Romans 15:4 “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
a. Through its revelation of God’s dealings with man in the past, we know God keeps His promises
b. This encourages us to expect Him to deliver on His promises for the future
2. Peter encourages us to
1 Peter 1:13 “…fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
a. Where do read of the “grace” that is to come when Christ is revealed? In the Scriptures, of course!
b. Nothing “fortifies” our hope better than those wonderful passages that reveal the promises of God!