Summary: Hope empowers us to live godly lives in the now. This sermons discusses how hope strengthens us against temptation and enables us to persevere in our walk with God. How hope is to be nurtured is also addressed.
We take our text this morning from 1 John 2:28-3:3.
28And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming. 29If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.
3:1How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.
In that passage John touches upon one of the great themes of the Bible—the subject of hope. The word occurs over 50 times in the New Testament. Our strength to live healthy, godly, productive lives depends greatly on this element of hope in our hearts.
Without hope there is really no reason to expend effort. A state of hopelessness is closely akin to a state of death. Hope is as essential to the human soul as water or food is to our physical bodies.
A life without hope is a living hell. In fact, one thing that will make hell so unbearable is the absolute absence of hope.
The Devil was having a yard sale, and all of his tools were marked with different prices.
They were tools like hatred, lust, jealously, deceit, lying, and pride—all carrying a high price tag. But over to one side of the yard on display was a tool more worn than any other tool. It was also the most costly. The tool was labeled Discouragement.
When asked why this tool was priced so high, the Devil answered, “It’s more useful to me than any other tool. When I can’t bring my victims down with any of these other tools, I use discouragement, because most of them don’t even realize it belongs to me.”
Have you ever had that tool used on you?
Have you ever lost your joy because you lost your hope? Have you ever lost your will to go on because you lost your hope?
Paul wrote to the Romans Christians, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 NIV
Have you ever been around someone who was overflowing in hope? That’s good kind of person to be around. When I’m around a person like that I want to get all the overflow of hope I can get.
A person who is overflowing with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit is also full of joy and peace. Those are the kinds of things that accompany hope. It’s amazing what a person full of hope can accomplish.
But the Devil also knows that godly hope is a powerful thing. That’s why he will do everything he can to rob you of your confident expectation in God.
In the New Testament the word translated hope means confident expectation.
In our society hope often carries the weak idea of wishful thinking. We say, “I hope so” and often mean “I doubt so.” But when you read that word in the New Testament understand that we are talking about a firm expectation.
That kind of hope has a profound influence on the way we live.
Have you noticed in the Bible how God gives hope as a preparation for great things? There is Abraham is Ur of Chaldes. He is surrounded by idolatry and wickedness. God gives Abraham a very special promise.
2:1Now the LORD had said to Abram: "Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you. 2I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. 3I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." NKJV
Abraham’s wife, Sarah, was barren. And God begins by offering to Abraham the impossible. “I will make of you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great.” How many think you might be excited about life if you had just gotten a promise from God like that? It gave Abraham the strength to do what God told him to do.