Summary: This sermon deals with the necessity for hope in our lives by looking at Joseph.
Holding On To Hope
There was a man in the bible who lived longer than the century we are about to close. Altogether he was 147 when they laid him in the tomb. He knew what it was like to watch his childhood sweetheart die in childbirth. He carried the pain of his favorite son being torn apart by a wild animal for 23 years. He was man with a broken spirit because of the losses he had suffered in life. Life was no longer a joy for him, as he passed the century mark, because he had no hope. His name was Jacob.
But then came that day when he heard that the son he thought had been murdered 23 years ago was still alive in another country. The Scriptures, says, he revived his spirit, and said, "I may be a 130 and can’t get around like I use to, but I will go and see my son before I die." The difference between yesterday and today, in the old man’s life was that today, he had a hope that he did not have the day before. He didn’t care how long the journey would take, what it would cost, or the risks involved. His hope carried him forward.
We all need some hope in our lives to make it through. You did not make it here today with less than a week left in this century without some hope that God had some better plans for your life. It doesn’t matter where you entered the twentieth century, you’re going to need some hope to take you into the next.
The only reason this church is here today is because of the hope of the saints that God was not through with Glenville yet. During parts of the 70’s and 80’s there were those who thought the church should be closed, merged, or sold, but there were others with a hope that with a faith a God all things are possible including the rebirth of New Life into an old church. It pays to keep holding on to hope.
It was Jesus’ hope that got him through the agony of the crucifixion. For The Scriptures say, us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:2-3. Saints never let go of your hope, because you’re going to need it.
One of the greatest deceptions Satan floats in the Christian Community is the belief, "If you just give your life to God you will, not have any more real problems." Satan knows the moment some of us have some real problems we let go of our hope. We assume God is not able, because He didn’t do anything to change our situation. We start to abandon our faith and our hope. Our hope is never that everything is always going to be great. Our hope is no matter what, "God is still at work in my life with a purpose for good."
In our Old Testament reading, we met the young man Joseph. We see early in his life, God’s hand was upon Joseph. One thing about Joseph was he didn’t mind standing up against the odds. He was the second youngest of his 12 brothers, but when they did something wrong, he came back and told his father what they had done. Joseph was admired and even favored by his father over his brothers. When it came to giving out coats, the father found some old coats at the Goodwill Thrift Store for the older brothers, but he went to Towere City to buy A Fubu and Nautica special for Joseph. At 17, Joseph was decked out.
To make matters even more complicated, Joseph was having dreams of ruling over his brothers, and even having his mother and father coming to bow down before him. Now Joseph assumed these dreams were from God, but his brothers and fathers thought he might just be having a big head with a little too much ambition. Joseph had a great future looking ahead of him. Even though his brothers put him down whenever they got the chance, they hated him, and couldn’t speak a kind word to him, it didn’t keep Joseph from being determined to make something out of himself. There was a hope inside of Joseph that others could not destroy.
His brothers’ anger, dislike, prejudice, and actions were not able to stifle the hope within him to reach his potential in God. Too often, we are afraid, others will think we are trying to be something. We will even lower our standards to their expectations in exchange for being accepted by them. If someone or some thing is holding you back, you need to let go of it and go on with your life without them or it and seize the hope God is placing before you.