Summary: Paul points us outside of ourselves to find hope and confidence in our future

January 18, 2004 Titus 3:4-7

When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

The whole message of Christianity is meant to give us hope. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “everything that was written in the past was to teach us, so that through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4) Hope has to do with looking forward for something good to happen. For instance, think about the way that you Chiefs fans felt last week after church. You hoped that the Chiefs would win. When kickoff came around, your hearts may have started beating quickly, in eager expectation for what would come to be. It’s kind of strange, but once the game actually begins, some of the fun is gone, because you don’t have anything to look forward to in a sense.

That’s the way God wants us to live every day - in eager expectation - looking forward to something. I don’t believe we live with the kind of hope that God had planned for us. As you entered into church, I didn’t see that look, feel that excitement, of people who were eager - hopeful - waiting for something to happen. All too often I see Christians who are tired, angry, sad and depressed.

Why is that? Why do we - even as Christians - get so down? I believe a majority of the problem is that we get too wrapped up in the here and now, so that we lose our focus on the future. When all you can concern yourself with is getting jobs done, bills paid, diapers changed, and meals made - something is wrong. That’s not what God wants for us - it’s not what God wants for you.

Here again, in today’s message to Titus, Paul reiterates that you are heirs of HOPE. This isn’t something that you will inherit in the future. It’s something God wants you to have now.

You Are an Heir of Hope

I. Because of who God is

About two weeks ago my wife and I were awakened to the crying of our daughter at 5:00 in the morning. After we managed to calm her down, we were both wide awake. So we went downstairs and started watching TV when one of those infomercials came on. It was a Tony Robbins one. He was selling a group of videos on how to improve your life. They showed videos of him running into rooms, slapping five with people, walking along the beaches of California, and promising to give us the power to change our lives - to be successful. He lost a bunch of weight and made something of himself, and YOU can do it too! Presidents, lawyers, and doctors were all energetically telling me that I could have a wonderful future if I just bought his tapes and shaped myself to act like he told me to. My heart started pumping, my eyes then widened - maybe I could dye my hair black, grow about five inches, deepen my voice, and become someone famous! So I grabbed the remote to the TV, turned it off, and started cleaning our storage room with my wife. Tony Robbins encouraged me to turn off the TV and do something constructive besides watch another infomercial. Thank you, Tony.

Hope has to do with the future. Tony Robbins, like most self help gurus - point us to the future - in what we can do to - WE have to do - to change our futures. This is completely logical. But God’s Word is not. In order to give us hope, instead of pointing us to the future, it points us to the past. And instead of pointing to what we can do or should do to help improve our futures, Paul points us to God.

Why does Paul point us to God? God once said through Jeremiah - “Am I only a God nearby,” declares the LORD, “and not a God far away? Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the LORD. (Je 23:23-24) He introduced Himself to Abraham as God Almighty. (Genesis 17:1) As Christians, we therefore believe that God is eternal, all-powerful, and that He exists everywhere. Meanwhile, Paul reminded Titus what WE are. He said, At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. (Tit 3:3) Even though we can send men to the moon and rovers to Mars, deep inside, God’s Word says that all we are is a bunch of out of control and weak people - unable to really control ourselves or our futures in any way whatsoever. This is what God’s Word says.

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