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Summary: Instilling and reviving hope through the eternal Christ.

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HOPE REALIZED & ETERNAL

INTRODUCTION:

Illustration: Hiking. Going with youth to hike and camp at Delaware Water Gap. Contents and feeling of the backpack. Been a long time, back injury, out of shape. Some carrying more than others. Backpack a burden, a source of weariness, fatigue, doubt and despair. “If only someone else would carry the burden and allow me to bound along through the forest unhindered!” How I couldn’t wait to reach the top and unload my burden. And how I looked forward to eating all of the food and drinking all of the water so that there would be that much less to carry back. But eventually, I began to just feel the weariness, trouble, and pain itself - that became my focus and the backpack, their source, was mostly forgotten. I naturally began to relent and accept that this was my reality and how it would always be, but of course that was not true!

We live our lives in much the same way, don’t we? Living our lives with worries, troubles and fears is a lot like hiking with a heavy backpack. We carry such burdens as illness, financial troubles, job dissatisfaction or insecurities, family discord, an uncertain future. At first, we groan and cry out, questioning how we will ever make it with such a burden. But, before long, we get used it - our worry, trouble and fear begins to seem so natural. And we accept them, even as we bemoan them. We forget what it’s like to live without these burdens, they may even begin to become comfortable and expected. We’re more likely to feel uncomfortable and abnormal without the familiar feel of the burdens strapped to our back, than with them.

But Jesus calls us to a different way of living! Jesus calls us to live free of such burdens.

1 Peter 5:6-7: “Therfore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” It sounds simple, but the real key to whether or not we can or do follow this is whether or not we hold on to a hope which is realized and eternal.

Hope Revived - Chuck Swindoll in Wisdom for the Way, excerpted from “The Finishing Touch“.

Transition: Even as spring is preparing to follow winter outside, let us also seek that within ourselves.

PRAYER

I. THREE CHOICES CONCERNING HOPE

A. No Hope

* What kind of a life can one live with no hope at all?

B. False Hope

* Hoping in the wrong things - things temporal, uncertain, inadequate, limited.

* Money, jobs, people, government, intellect or ability, knowledge, good works, ceremonies and

rituals.

* False hope ultimately makes one miserable.

* False hope results in a roller-coaster life: constantly feeling like things are going to start going

up, only to suddenly plunge instead.

C. True Hope

* True hope can only be found when the object of such hope is all-powerful, all-caring and

compassionate, unchanging in character, loving and active in our lives.

* The word “hope” is found 52 times in the NT alone - and it is always connected to God.

* We can have no true hope apart from Jesus Christ!


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