Sermons

Summary: A New year’s day message.

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Introduction

I was talking to a church leader recently who does some voluntary work for Citizens Advice Bureau. He was commenting that what struck him was that with many people who came in there was an absence of hope. People come in, perhaps their relationship has broken down and there is resignation. When he says is there no chance of reconciliation, they say “no – that’s it”. I was reading about the lives of the prostitutes murdered in Suffolk, selling their bodies to pay for heroin, one asked why she continued said “I’ll be dead soon anyway”. How hopeless! No hope. Paul talks a lot about hope, he says that once when we were outside Christ we were (Eph. 2:12) “without hope and without God in the world.” That is the tragedy for many people - the absence of hope is crushing. Many tonight will attempt to bury that in an alcoholic oblivion. Hope is vital to human beings. In Romans in particular Paul speaks about hope, suggest on this New Year’s Eve some things about hope.

What Hope is

Hope = to look forward with confidence or expectation. It is about the future. Hope is for the future, it is the belief that the future can and will be better than the present and past. Paul says clearly it is not about something we already have, you don’t hope to be able to sit down – you are sitting down. You hope that I will not preach too long today – that may be a vain hope but it is a hope!!

For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? [25] But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. (Rom. 8:24-25)

Paul uses Abraham as an example of hope: RO 4:18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, "So shall your offspring be." Hope can be against all the odds. What were the odds that Abraham would father a child at 99! But against all hope, in hope he believed. What circumstance do we face that perhaps we can say, “against all hope in hope we believe…” Nevertheless, I will believe that things can be better, my life, my marriage, my finances, my health etc. Even if the circumstances themselves do not change the hope that God is with us, the power of the spirit means that we can hope that our ability to cope and to conquer will be greater.

Paul’s says that hope brings joy and peace. When you have a hope that things will be better, there can be a spring in our step, joy in our hearts, no fear or worry or anxiety because it is banished by the expectation of better things

Rom. 12: 1 - Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Rom. 15:13 - 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.

Where Hope Comes From

Experience

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; [4] perseverance, character; and character, hope. [5] And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.(Rom. 5:3-4)


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