Summary: We live in seemingly hopeless times where so much is happening - pandemic, riots, protests, fires, and a nation divided. "Is there any hope" for the future? When will it ever end? In this sermon we will discover that Christ is our hope even when all hope is gone.
SERMON TITLE- Hope for the hopeless
Years ago an S-4 submarine was rammed by a ship off the coast of Massachusetts. It sank immediately. The entire crew was trapped in a prison house of death. Every effort was made to rescue the crew, but it ultimately failed.
Near the end of the ordeal, a deep sea diver, who was doing everything in his power to find a way for the crew’s release, thought he heard tapping on the steel wall of the sunken sub. He placed his helmet up against the side of the vessel and he realized it was the Morse Code. He attached himself to the side and spelled out in his mind the message being tapped from within.
It was repeating the same question. The question was, from within, "Is...there...any...hope?"
The popular preacher Chuck Swindoll wrote these words…
We can live several weeks without food, days without water, and only minutes without oxygen, but without hope – forget it.
Is there any hope? Do we feel kind of like those sailors in the sunken submarine, trapped and just waiting for the end? This has been quite the year, hasn’t it? A lot of things that are just messed up. Everything seems to be going from bad to worse. And it would be easy probably for any of us and many of us to lose hope. In fact, statistics say that depression, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide are greatly on the rise. We’ve also seen how people are very angry. Protests and riots almost daily. Sickness, lockdowns, and quarantine. And a country greatly divided. Is there any hope for the future… for our world today?
There are two scriptures that quickly come to mind.
The first one is Jeremiah 29:11 - “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
And the second one is this Hebrews 11:1 says - What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see.
So what does Christianity offer that the world can't? One word- Hope! Hope of salvation. Hope of a new beginning. Hope of freedom. Hope of life beyond this struggle. Hope of Heaven. Hope of a God who cares. Hope to overcome. Hope that transcends difficulties and disease. Hope that defeats persecution and tribulation. Hope that gives us the strength to stand because we are not alone.
Through Christ we can have hope even when things seem hopeless!
Christianity offers the world a genuine hope.
BODY: Please turn in your Bibles to... 1 Peter chapter one.
What hope does this world offer you beyond this life?
In 1 Peter 1:3-5New International Version (NIV) it says...
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
What has God given us? What has He given us according to His great mercy? “New birth into a living hope.” Now I want you to think about that. As a believer and follower of Jesus Christ scripture teaches that we are new creatures, new creations – the old has gone, the new has come. We've been reborn. What is different? We are forgiven, saved, given a second chance, a new beginning, a new life
Now we have hope. Hope of what? Immediately we think of heaven, right? And that's what he indicates next – “an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade... kept in heaven for you.” The inheritance that this world gives you will perish, spoil and fade... it won't last. One day it will all be gone and you can't take it with you... you can't enjoy it forever.
Before we had no hope of heaven. If we did, we were deceived. Now we do. Now we have hope beyond this life, if we know Jesus Christ.
But something else. Think of your life before Christ. What about your life was hopeless? Was it your downward spiral of sin and addictions? Was your life continually falling apart as you continued to be your own worst enemy? If you had one word to describe your life before Christ, would it be hopeless? I know it was for me. What is different today? Is it hope?
You know the Bible talks about Faith as a Shield. Think of that. How many of you need that shield when facing temptations and trials? How many of you need God's power when you are really struggling just to hold on and you're just about ready to give in?