Summary: Hope is not wishful thinking. Our confidence is Jesus. He is our anchor that connects us to God. This sermon deals with how that confidence or joyous expectation changes us and charges us to love God and love people until His return. This is why Jesus
Intro: The Assyrians, Babylonians, Phoenicians, Egyptians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans had their many gods—gods of war, gods of industry, gods of agriculture, gods of cities, gods of towns, and various others. But in religions entire galaxy of gods, there never was one called “god of hope.” That is scarcely surprising. For in that ancient world, hope had become a despised delusion, long before Jesus was born in Bethlehem. The fact is, there is no hope for this sin-cursed world apart from the true God, the God of Creation and Salvation. “Now the God of hope....” (Romans 15:13)
First understand that hope is not wishing upon a star. The hope the Bible talks about is a firm conviction. What is our missionary hope? It is that we are convicted that the Love of God will never run out for us! It is not hope or conviction that leads us to love it is the depths of God’s love that leads us to hope.
When God sends His Spirit to the heart of one who believes hope is set. Hope comes from a Greek word that means to expect with pleasure or have confidence. When God does this amazing things happen: barriers are broken, communities are formed, opposites are reconciled, unity is established,
disease is cured, addiction is broken, cities are renewed, races are reconciled, hope is established,
people are blessed, and church happens. (Read all of Romans 15.13)
How can we live in real joy? How can we live with real hope? How can we have lasting peace? Only by letting the Holy Spirit Control us inside and out. There are at least four characteristics of people that live in God’s hope.
I. The missionary hope changes your direction – the wise men (Matthew 2.1-12)
The wise men were no fools they were the scientists and scholars of their day. They were among the first astronomers, scientists, philosophers they were richly educated.
A) Their search
What was it that made the wise men wise? Was it their education? Was it their research in history, astronomy or chemistry?
Hebrews 11:6 Message “It’s impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him.”
Why should you seek Jesus? Because he cares enough to respond to you’re searching for Him. Why is the health and wealth gospel so deceiving? The danger is because it takes our attention away from Jesus.
B) Their surrender
The wise men truly became wise when they chose to respond to God with worship. They worshipped Him with their attitudes, actions, and assets. They truly got that everything belonged to God.
The greatest way they worshipped God was to allow Him to lead them. The original path the wise men planned to travel home was dangerous. So God warned them in a dream to go another way. Now remember these were wise men they had it together. Yet they bowed their pride and plan before God and went another way.
Some of you today are on a path that is dangerous and when you get to the end it will be devastating.
Are you willing to let the God to change your direction?
Why because He cares enough to redirect you and lead you to safe and healthy attitudes, actions and relationships.
Hope comes from a Greek word that means confidence. Are you confident enough in who God is and what he has done and is doing for you that you will allow him to change your direction? (God is clearly directing us to be a church that Loves deeply shares completely and serves compassionately as we go forward.)
Our future as a body – depends on our hearing God and moving in obedience.
II. The missionary hope charges your devotion – Anna (Luke 2:36-38)
Anna had a lot to be distressed, depressed and disgusted with. She was a woman in a man’s world. She was a widow in a wife’s world. A witness of the wonderful savior despite the fact she could not be two or more of the witnesses that brought accusation against someone. She could have just quit and said God you’re not fair. She didn’t why not?
She knew what true hope was! Her devotion to God was not designed to fit outward righteous standards. Her devotion was charged with confidence as the Greek word means passionate expectation. This widow was devoted not to the mindless laws the self-righteous had created 612 in all. She was consumed with a passion for the living God.
In her devotion to God she expressed it through a ministry of prayer and fasting. Her ministry was not flashy but it was forceful. She accepted her role and absorbed herself with the presence of God.