Summary: To encourage congregation to re-evaluate and react on the way in which we view and interact with, those appear to be hopeless.
Youth of The Nation 16 June 2002
West View Methodist Church Andrew Riddin
Aim: To encourage congregation to re-evaluate and react on the way in which we view and interact with, those appear to be hopeless.
Scriptures: Psalms 119: 1 – 10
Mark 5: 21 – 34
Ephesians 6: 1 – 4
Illustration: (Play “Youth of the Nation” by POD) This song paints a different picture for different people. Invite people to share what the song says to them. (Allow Response). To me, this song paints a bleak, but accurate picture.
Even though the theme title for my sermon is “Youth of the Nation”, I believe that all I have to say here is applicable to persons of any age. Let us break the song down, and see what we can discover.
A common element, is the feeling of despair and loneliness. Death and random acts of violence are frequently experienced. Despite being in a crowd, utter loneliness is experienced. A deep need for love and acceptance is experienced.
A stereotype is depicted. The singer says he knows what others will give as the reasons for the violence and death. Simply because “they” are the youth of the nation. What else would you expect?
The age of innocence becomes younger and younger. Here we have a 12 year old, who is experiencing such despair and self-esteem, that she seeks love in all the wrong places. The stories of the boys, tell of sexual promiscuity. They tell of the desperate need for love, affirmation and positive, nurturing attention.
The song tells of abandonment, of a desperate search for acceptance and of rejection. One cannot but help wandering, who will get the blame? Will God be blamed? Or parents? Or siblings? Or society? Or satan?
There is a need for truth. There is a need for confusion and doubt to be laid aside, and the truth spoken and taught. There is a need for hope.
Read Mark 5: 21 – 34:
Can we create hope for the hopeless? Can we grow hope? Can we buy hope? Can we offer hope?
I firmly believe that we are able to offer the greatest hope of all times, to the hopeless. The gospel of Jesus, is the greatest giver of hope which the world has.
I believe that as the mere presence of Jesus was enough to inspire the bleeding woman with hope, without her even having to ask, how much more will he give us hope if we should ask him?
I believe that hope is the same as any other gift from God. It is available freely to us, and all we have to do, is ask for it.
I believe that we, who call ourselves Christians, have a responsibility to the communities we serve, to be offering a place of hope.
West View has launched Ithemba, House of Hope, as one of the ways of providing that hope. Together with other ministries, West View is successfully implementing programmes and courses to offer hope.
But, programmes are not the only requirement for providing hope to the hopeless. There is more. The problem with programmes, is that they become the responsibility of a handful of individuals. Once programmes are in place, and running well, they are left in the hands of the “leaders”.
There are other responsibilities involved as well. These responsibilities carry more of an individual nature. They are responsibilities that each of us can carry out, and provide hope.
I want to look at four areas where we can offer hope.
1. H = Hopeless
2. O = Oppressed
3. P = Persecuted
4. E = Eternity
Let us examine each of these areas.
We see in our Scripture reading from Mark, an example of the way in which Christ inspires hope in people. This woman, had been bleeding for 12 YEARS! She was at this stage pretty hopeless. She had been to doctor, after doctor. Specialist after specialist. She had been given thousands of prescriptions, none of which had helped.
Then, news of the approaching Jesus, inspires her with hope. She has heard of this Jesus, and what he has done for others. She dares to hope again. She reaches out, and touches Jesus’ cloak, receiving instant healing.
The response of Jesus is important. Jesus looks around to see who had touched him. He wants to pick out in this multitude of humanity, ONE person who touched him. When he found her, he did not condemn or rebuke her. He gently spoke to her, and rewarded her hope. She left that place with a new sense of hope.
This is the way we need to react to those who are hopeless. We must not condemn those who feel hopeless. We must gently support and encourage them. We must offer them Christ, who gives hope.