Summary: What is it that can give us one of the three greatest gifts God has promised us?

OPENING: While hunting, Larry and Elmer got lost in the woods. Trying to reassure his friend, Larry said, "Don’t worry. All we have to do is shoot into the air 3 times, stay where we are, and someone will find us."

They shot in the air 3 times, but no one came. After a while, they tried again. Still no response. When they decided to try once more, Elmer said, "I hope it works this time. We’re down to our last 3 arrows."

APPLICATION: Larry and Elmer were putting their hope in the advice of others, even though they didn’t understand that that advice didn’t apply to shooting arrows.

People in difficult circumstances often rely on advice of

· friends

· neighbors

· and experts

Just like Larry & Elmer, they will listen to others, placing their hope in the wisdom and experience of those they trust.

Hope is vital - in fact it’s critical - for our every day survival in life.

God understands that. That’s why, in Romans 15:4 we’re told: "For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have HOPE."

ILLUS: When we speak of this type of hope. We’re not talking about the kind of hope I had when I was in Florida recently. My boy Jonathan was about 2 years old and I took him out for a walk. I’d heard of snakes and fire ants and wild cats in the jungle nearby, and as Jonathan walked, I scanned the ground "hoping" not to find any of these things.

That’s not the kind of hope that God talks about. His kind of "hope" could best be described as an attitude of confidence, expectation, and trust.

In Job 6:11-13, Job says: "What strength do I have, that I should still hope? What prospects, that I should be patient? Do I have the strength of stone? Is my flesh bronze? Do I have any power to help myself, now that success has been driven from me?"

Job was saying that if he had Godly hope, he would be confident and he would live expecting good things to happen.

Proverbs 29:18 tells us "Where there is no vision the people perish." That is, without hope, people huddle up in the corner and die. No vision/ hope - no life.

Turn to Hebrews 6:17-20. We’re told there: "Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath.

God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the HOPE offered to us may be GREATLY ENCOURAGED. We have this hope as an ANCHOR FOR THE SOUL, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek."

Our hope, as Christians, is built on nothing less than Jesus Christ.

I Corinthians 13 tells us that one of the three greatest gifts God gives us is "hope."

Thus Hope is such a valuable gift from God… I want to know how I can get that kind of Hope.

I. Romans 15:4 says we gain hope by "Endurance"

It is God’s good pleasure to give you the desire of your hearts. BUT, it is God’s practice not to always give us what we want when we want it. Thus we learn to wait upon God and learn endurance.

But, why would God delay fulfilling that which we hope for?

* One possible reason would be: so that we would gain "appreciation" for what He gives when it arrives. For example, when God created Adam, He didn’t immediately give him Eve. We’re told: "The LORD God said, ’It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him’" (Genesis 2:18). Then, almost inexplicably, God asks Adam to name all the animals. What? Couldn’t God figure out names for all these creatures? Sure He could. But God wanted Adam to see and review all the rest of creation BEFORE Eve was taken from his side. Thus, when Adam first sets his eyes on Eve, he declares: "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman, ‘for she was taken out of man" (Genesis 2:23). God delayed in creating Eve, so that Adam would fully understand and appreciate the value of what he was to receive.

* Another possibility would be our need for purification and strengthening. Romans 5:1-5 tells us:

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.

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