Summary: This sermon was for the purpose of encouraging the people in what they have been doing and to motivate them to take another step in being faithful to God by Praying, Reading Scripture and taking action by using their Spiritual Gifts.
FROM HOPE TO FAITH
The title of my sermon today is, "From Hope to Faith." From Hope to Faith. How can we get from hope to faith? We will dig into the scriptures today to see just what God asks us to do to move from having hope to having faith.
Fred Rogers. Anyone know who Fred Rogers is? Fred Rogers is the creator of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, the long running children's television show. Not only did he create the TV show but he also was an ordained minister. As a seminary student he made a habit of attending different churches in order to hear many preaching styles. One Sunday he endured what he said was quote "the most poorly crafted sermon I had ever heard in my life". Fred turned to his friend who had attended the church service with him, to find her with tears in her eyes. Her experience was just the opposite of his. She had heard exactly what she needed that day. Same sermon, same church but each person moved extremely different. Fred said quote, "that is when I realized that the Holy Spirit had transformed that feeble sermon for her - and as it turned out - for me too." You see, Fred's friend came to worship God, to see God - Fred came to listen to a sermon. Don't prepare today to hear a sermon - prepare to worship God and allow Him to speak to you today -no matter what I say or do - listen to God not to me.
Let's pray. Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that you transform these words you have laid upon my heart, into words that you want your people to hear. Words that will motivate and encourage your people, the people of Neptune Church of God, to do great things in your name, to honor you and to glorify you. Fill all of us up with your Holy Spirit, allow us to see you, to know you, and to hear your voice. Amen.
From hope to faith. What is hope? The dictionary defines hope as "A feeling that what is wanted will happen." A feeling that what is wanted will happen. What is faith? The dictionary defines faith as "unquestioning belief, complete trust or confidence." Unquestioning belief, complete trust or confidence. Do you understand the difference? Hope is a feeling that something will happen. Faith is total confidence, no doubt something is going to happen.
What would be a few examples of hope? How about starting your car? OK what if is brand new, right out of the showroom? Is it going to start? Well it should but there still is that little doubt in the back of your mind. How about if your car has been sitting outside all night, it's 15 degrees below zero, the wind is blowing and it's snowing - that is when you hope your car starts!
How about flying in an airplane? Now you know all the stats. It is safer to fly in an airplane from New York to China than it is to drive your car here to church today. But if you have ever flown, when that big airliner is lumbering down the runway, don't you have a tendency to pull up on the armrests just a little to help get that big bird in the air? Sure you do! And when it's time to land, aren't you glad to hear that landing gear lock into place? To see the flaps come down and the air brakes start to work? And just before those tires touchdown, don't you hold your breath for just a split second?
Now what can we have faith in? How about this. We all climb up on the roof of the church and we all jump off. Now, I have faith that we are going to follow the law of gravity and plummet off the roof, down to a very quick stop onto the sidewalk. Even Jesus, didn't want to test that law of nature when the devil tempted him. You see, God doesn't want us to do anything stupid - he just wants us to have faith in Him and join Him where He is working.
I think we have hope here at Neptune Church of God. Hope that we can stay open. Hope that we can find another Pastor. Hope that we can begin to attract new people. The task today is to learn to take our hope and change it into faith. Let's get out our Bibles and turn to 2 Timothy 1:3-7.
May God add his blessing to both the reading and hearing of His Holy Scripture.
Paul wrote 2nd Timothy after his release from prison in Rome in AD 62-63 after his 4th missionary trip. During his imprisonment, he wrote 1st Timothy and Titus. If you remember, his imprisonment in Rome was not to demanding. He lived in a rented house and visitors could come and go as they pleased. Now, as he writes 2nd Timothy he is in prison again. This time under Emperor Nero about 4 years after his imprisonment in Rome. This time instead of living in a rented house he is in a cold dungeon, chained like all the other criminals. He was so far removed and isolated, his friends had a hard time finding him. He knew his work was almost done and that his life was almost over.