Summary: Sometimes in spite of all the positive thinking we can generate, life is really terrible. Simple optimism will not do.
When you have nothing else to lose!
Keep Hope Alive
A student athlete was contemplating the height of the bar on the high jump. “I don’t think I can make it,” he said. “Think positive!” said a friend. “All right,” the athlete said boldly, “I’m positive I can’t make it.”
3Praise 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, 4and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, 5who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Sometimes in spite of all the positive thinking we can generate, life is really terrible. Simple optimism will not do. Genuine hope must go beyond positive thinking. Genuine hope is not, “Wishing for something you know isn’t going to happen.” It is not an idle wish at all.
24Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”
26A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
28Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
29Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
I. The origin of genuine hope (v. 3a)
A. All real hope is derived from God and his promises.
B. It is a gift of his mercy.
C. Genuine hope is a result of our salvation. We were born into a living hope.
She was a hospice nurse. She had ministered to many as they faced death, trying to ease the transition. A minister asked her, “Do Christians die differently from others?” “Most definitely, yes,” she replied, “Christians really do die better.” Why do Christians die better? They know it isn’t over.
II. The foundation of genuine hope (v. 3b)
A. The foundation is the work and ministry of Jesus Christ.
B. The resurrection of Jesus is particularly crucial in the formation of genuine hope. It makes all the difference.
III. The durability of genuine hope (v. 4)
A. It is incorruptible. This speaks of its essence.
B. It is undefileable. This speaks of its purity.
C. It is unfading. This speaks of its beauty.
IV. The power of genuine hope (vv. 6, 7)
A. It helps us to face our trials with courage.
B. It helps us to face our trials with joy.
Luke 24: 13-32
13Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles£ from Jerusalem. 14They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16but they were kept from recognizing him.
17He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”
They stood still, their faces downcast. 18One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
19“What things?” he asked.
“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.”