Summary: Looking at the Fruit of the Spirit of Hope!
Believe 25: Hope
May 10, 2015
Have you ever lost hope? Have you ever felt a situation was hopeless? Whatever it was, whatever the moment was . . .
Maybe it was about life and death.
Maybe it was about a vital relationship, a close friend, a marriage, a child, a parent.
Maybe it had to do with school, a career or business decision.
We have moments in our lives when we attempt to grab onto some type of hope, but the question I have this morning is . . .
WHOSE HOPE ARE YOU HOLDING ONTO?
Now most of you are thinking, we’re in church Michael, that’s a no-brainer. And maybe it is for some of you, but I’m left wondering about this, because too often as followers of Christ, we struggle with this issue of HOPE. So, I want to look at some passages that speak directly to us about hope.
Too often we use the words hope, where we’re hoping something will happen, but we know the odds are against us. We “hope against hope” someone will get better — or we hope against hope that we will pass that final exam we didn’t study for. We’re not expecting it, yet we have a fatalistic sense of hope. I suppose you could describe all Cubs fans this way. We have a fatalistic hope.
But you see, with Christ we have something so much more than hoping against hope. We have a hope which is real and in fact realized.
On Easter I used the passage from 1 Peter 1, in which Peter tells us
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,
Now, I’m not going to go back over this passage, but I wanted to point out one simple, obvious, but often overlooked fact . . .
When Peter spoke about our hope, how did he describe it? He said we were born again to what kind of hope?
A LIVING HOPE!!!
Peter could have just said we were born again to hope through the resurrection of Jesus. But we needed to hear and believe and trust that our hope is living. Our hope is alive. That was and is part of the great hope we have in Christ. He is alive! He defeated death. Our hope rests on the living Christ. Not the dead and defeated Christ! Can I get an AMEN from anyone?!?!
Our living hope comes through the resurrection of Jesus. It’s a fact, it’s not a maybe or what if. Jesus rose from the dead, and our hope can never die. It’s not hope against hope, it’s a very real hope.
We will all experience hardship and struggles and trials and tribulations. You may feel like some of your hopes have been crushed. You’ve had your dreams, but for whatever reason they have not materialized the way you expected.
You see, when we’re struggling we need something to hold onto. I don’t like the comment people make to encourage others, “well, you’re strong, you can handle this.” NO!! I don’t feel the least bit strong right now! I’m weak, I feel weak. The last thing I can do is rely on me.” I need to rely on Christ! Paul said it best in 2 Corinthians 12:10 ~ 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. FOR WHEN I AM WEAK, THEN I AM STRONG.
Ah, yes, when we are weak, then we can become strong. Not on our own power, but through the power of the Spirit because we have Jesus as our Lord and Savior. On our own, even though we think we’re strong, in reality, we are pretty weak. So, we need Jesus. He’s the source of our power, courage, strength and our hope.
I love what Paul said in Romans 5 ~
3 . . . we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,
4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,
5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
What a great message of hope! Let me take you through this . . . Now, we don’t rejoice and jump up and down because we’re going through a period of suffering. What happens is that we still rejoice in spite of our sufferings. Nobody wants to suffer, but because we have Christ, who has given us the Holy Spirit, we can still have joy. So, in spite of our situation we continue to hold onto joy.