Summary: This message deals with the source and power of hope in our lives.
I can remember as a young boy saying prayer for the family one Thanksgiving meal. In my prayer I included the phrase, "Dear God, I sure hope the Oakland Raiders make it to the Superbowl." I learned that wasn’t really appropriate. As I grew, I also learned that real hope is not the kind of hope I mentioned in my prayer. Real hope is not a wish, but confidence in a certainty.
Tonight we will look at the issue of hope.
True hope has one source
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.
People place their hopes in many different things:
Hope placed anywhere but in Christ is futile and is certain to disappoint us.
Our hope is for something beyond this world.
24For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
We wait for Jesus’ return that we may dwell in heaven with God forever.
Where there will be no more sadness, no pain, no sorrow, no sin.
Hope can be developed in our lives.
3Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
Just as an athlete must train and go through hard work and pain to develop endurance, the Christian has to go through challenges, difficulties and trials to develop their perseverance and character. They find as their perseverance and character are developed, their hope is strengthened.
The world may put you on trial for your hope.
Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, "My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee. I stand on trial because of my hope in the resurrection of the dead."
And now it is because of my hope in what God has promised our fathers that I am on trial today.
The Christian faith is on trial in our country in so many ways. The ACLU would love to remove every mention of faith in God from our society. There may come a day when it is illegal to be a Christian. And even until that day we still see our faith on trial in the community and workplace as others ridicule or scrutinize our faith.
Hope should be shared
15But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.
Real hope is not a dead hope. Real hope causes us to want to take action. To share our hope. If we really believe the Bible and what it says, if we really believe that Jesus is Lord, if we really believe in heaven, we will share our hope with others. A Christian who will not share their hope, causes others to believe that hope is not very real or very important at all.