Defining Hope by the Dozen

March 14 2021

Series: One Hope

Good morning, I hope you’re enjoying our worship service thus far today. What we’re going to do right now is we’re going to take a look at a lesson that I did along with my wife, Amy, on March the 3rd for a portion of our church. The lesson goes along with our theme this month of one hope. It’s a lesson entitled Defining Hope by the Dozen. And once the lesson is done, then I’ll say a prayer. And for those of you still on the line, we will share communion together after that prayer.

Here’s the lesson. Theme this year is one. We studied out, the one body we’ve studied out, the one spirit. And just as we were starting to learn those things, now we change it to the one hope.

All comes from Ephesians Chapter four, where Paul writes in verse four there is one body and one spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called one lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and father of all who was over overall and through all and in all.

So tonight we dove into hope and hope is probably in my top five, it’s awesome, it’s top five for me, hope, as a biblical topic is and both Amy and me, we love to talk about hope and it happened out of necessity as we were missionaries in Scotland.

We needed to hold on to hope.

And so it was it was necessary each and every day for us to know this topic, embrace this topic on this topic, the biblical concept of hope. So what we’re doing tonight is and I’m not going to get into all these different I have so much I could share with you about Hope and Amy will as well.

And I know Amy’s looking forward to the women’s midweek. Was that the fourth Wednesday of this month she’ll have just the women and she can do a lesson on hope. This is a topic that’s so near and dear to Amy’s heart. So what we’re gonna do tonight is I’m just going to do a flyby of hope and it could take us in 12 different directions.

It just gives you a lot of opportunity for Bible study here. But I’m just going to hit on a bunch of different things to kind of whet your appetite as we dive into this topic. I’m not going to get too deep on any of these is just going to be a real quick hitter, a dozen. And to keep me on task. You see my wife’s phone here. I’m going to have 90 seconds max on each one of these 12. She’s going to hold me to that.

So if we start and we go, I believe the math indicates that this entire lesson will be 18 minutes. But give me a little grace. I’ll have something to say at the end and then we’ll break off. But I’m going to I’m going to try to get each I’m going to go past 90 seconds on each of these things to my wife and hopefully she’ll chime in as well on some of these. So defining hope by the dozen. Here we go.

Ready to go. Let’s go. The timer has started.

Hope is a foundation of Christianity, as I just read in Ephesians four verse four.

Hope is one of the ones.

By the way, you can give me like a ten second. I’m down to ten seconds. I’m losing time right now. So Hope is one of the ones that I just read. In fact, hope it’s a foundational one. All right.

And you look at First Corinthians 13 13, Paul also includes hope in what I call the Big Three Faith, hope and love. The greatest of these is love. But, hey, hope makes the top three. All right, First Thessalonians, five eight. You know the song. If you’ve been around for a while, Soldiers of Christ arise and put your armor on. Hope is an essential part of the armor. And we can see that First Thessalonians five eight.

When the Bible utilizes this metaphor of spiritual armor, we’re commanded to wear the helmet of the hope of salvation. So to summarize, hope is one of the big ones. It’s foundational. It’s one of the big three. Ten seconds. Hope is not simply wishful thinking. It is deeply spiritual.

More on that in a moment. Number two, we hit it.

Hope is the wellspring of faith and love. The big three of faith, hope and love work in concert in many supernatural ways. And we see in Colossians one, verse five. We read it right here the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of the truth, the gospel that has come to you. So in other words, God sets up the Big Three faith, hope and love in such a way that hope is actually the source of faith and love.

So you can study that one out, dove into that, get super deep into that, because when you’re running low on faith or love, check the source, because hope is where it all starts. That’s because Jesus is the ultimate hope.

I wanted to say that with hope being the source of faith and love, and if you need faith and you need love, think about what do you hope for your children?

What do you hope for for your neighbor? And if if you’ve stopped hoping things for them because you’ve maybe gotten a little bit dry in that area or the hopes haven’t come true. So you’ve given up. It definitely will affect your love, your love for your neighbors. The more you hope great things for them, the more you think about them, the more you love them, the more you see God working because you’re paying attention. Amen, thank you. All that leads into Jesus as the ultimate hope. All of our hopes, all of our dreams in this lifetime probably will not come true.

Some of them will, but not all of them no guarantees.

But if you’re a Christian, this you can know for sure Jesus is the ultimate hope that will never disappoint you, if you hope in Jesus, you have the guaranteed hope of salvation, resurrection and eternal life. Romans eight twenty four. Additionally, Second Corinthians one 20 reinforces this fact.

It states that all of God’s promises, every last promise of God is a resounding yes in Jesus. That’s what we hope in Romans five five. We hear hear that hope will not disappoint us. There’s a reminder of the gift of the Holy Spirit, which we talked about last month, that Holy Spirit inside of us, it provides a constant source or a constant reminder of our ultimate hope in Jesus through God’s outpouring of love for us, in our minds and in our hearts.

So that’s vital to remember. Jesus is the ultimate hope because. Start the timer. Hope is synonymous with vulnerability. There’s no getting around it. Hope places us in a vulnerable position. We felt this as missionaries profoundly in Edinburgh, Scotland, it hope is risky, hoping for big things to happen, putting it out there not just quietly, but letting people know this is what we’re hoping happens as we move forward in faith. There’s no guarantees that what you hope for will come true except that hope and Jesus.

So when you hope for God to act in a very specific way, if you hope for God to work in a very powerful way, and when you make that known to others. You’re putting yourself in a very vulnerable position. Understand that. The sworn enemy of vulnerability is shame. All right.

Instinctively, we don’t want to put ourselves in positions where we could fall in front of other people. And this is a big tool of Satan. He tries to shame us because maybe you’ve had hopes dashed in the past. He’s going to try to shame us into not being hopeful people. The Romans five five says hope does not put us to shame. Hope is synonymous with vulnerability, number five, hope expresses doubt. All right, those have to go hand in hand.

And I think about Abraham. All right. As I said earlier, there’s no guarantee something will happen just because you hope for it.

But true hope faces the facts. And the facts often demand that our only hope for a situation to change is putting our face or putting our faith in divine intervention. Or better said, I’m sure you’ve heard this before. It’s Faithing the facts. Abraham and Romans for 19. Paul writes about it very well. Abraham faith the facts. He was hoping for a son, but according to the facts, it screamed for Abraham to give up hope. But it says without weakening in his faith, in his faith, I keep a and faith losing time without weakening in his faith.

Abraham faced the fact that his body was as good as dead since he was one hundred years old and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. In other words, Abraham saying this is a bad situation. This doesn’t look promising. My body is good as dead. My wife reproductive system is not what it used to be. Our sex life is not really thriving right now, but we will hope against hope for a son. So like Abraham, true hope faces the facts and expresses doubt.

We can share some other time about the hopeful prayers of our children and you can work that in somewhere. Children are a great example of hope for us, just that innocent hope, especially in their prayers. Number six, the creation groans with hope. God has made this world and its creation not just human beings, but all of creation cry out. And we see this in Romans eight versus nineteen through twenty four. Whether this is actually true or metaphorical, it’s such a great point for us to see that even creation is hoping for something better.

I believe it’s more than metaphorical. I believe the creation, what it’s doing, it’s hinting to human beings that there’s something better in its frustration. Creation cries out for the end of a seemingly endless cycle of futility. You imagine the life of a flower. This is a thistle here from Scotland, but we’ll call it a flower since it’s the national flower of Scotland, really kind of a weed, depending on who you talk to. But anyway, it grows, a flower grows, it fights to live.

It becomes a gorgeous flower. And then that flower struggles to hang on to its beauty. And after a short time, it fades, it shrivels, it dies, and then the process starts all over again. So in its frustration, the creation hopes for a new day when this seemingly endless cycle of futility is over and it’s the same way for humans. Suffering and this is something that’s not so much fun about hope, but suffering must coexist with hope, because when you’re hoping for something, you’re alive and you’re hoping for a change, you’re hoping for something different and you have to fight for it.

You have to wrestle for it and anything worth hoping for is going to make that groaning that happens that we read about often in romans Chapter five and six and seven. Paul writes about this in second Corinthians, five verses two through five that we groan in our current tent body. Like the bodies we have now physically are like tents until we receive a palace body or an immortal resurrection body. The writer of Ecclesiastes groans Meaningless. Meaningless. I just do this work.

I do this. I do that. It just seems meaningless and it starts all over again. We all deeply desire deep down that the world we hope that there’s more and life can be painful. It’s not easy. And as we see in this picture, there must be light at the end of the tunnel, hopefully because of the way I’m feeling and what I’m going through right now. In the meantime, we wait and we wait and we wait and we experience suffering.

And this is the truth here, hope will make you sick. It also does some good stuff to which Amy wants me to make sure I point out. But there’s a great proverb. Proverbs 13 12, Hope Deferred makes the heart sick. But a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.

It’s proverbial wisdom from God.

It warns us that hope is a waiting game for us and for our hearts and nauseate us, that’s why becoming hopeless is such a potential pitfall for us. We can harden our hearts. We become cynical because we don’t want to be sick with hope. And it means waiting a moment, waiting a season, waiting a year, waiting decades. Hope means waiting a lifetime.

But I will say this, Amy Hope is also a tree of life when it’s fulfilled.

Yeah, we got 30 seconds.

Yeah. I think the longer you wait for something when it actually happens, the more joy you feel. I know many of us know Janelle Ferrer and prayed for them to have a child for years.

And as sad as it is to watch someone be waiting and hoping and waiting and hoping and trying not to give up hope, the joy that you feel as a result is that much more extreme.

So it is heartsick, but then it is a tree of life if we hold on. Amen.

Key point here, a mature Christian is a hopeful Christian. It’s this is somewhat counterintuitive because, of course, I know how I was when I was first baptized and you see people come out of the water and there’s just hopes galore or dreams galore. So this can be counterintuitive, but because as we age, we tend to grow cynical or we lose hope. But God’s word tells us the opposite. This progression should be much, much different than that.

And Roman spy for it tells us hope comes as a result of suffering, perseverance and the character or maturity that’s formed in the crucible of trials.

The good news is we don’t endure suffering just to grow gray hair or to lose our hair, or only to survive to live another day. Instead, battle tested character produces hope. So there’s a good chance the people you know who possess noble character are those who permeate the most hope. The mature Christian can bring hope to almost any conversation, any situation inside outside the church. Those people are typically the most idealistic, creative and prayerful in their relationship with God.

Those are the hopeful, mature Christians.

Number 10, hope is spiritual and supernatural. I think sometimes hope can get a bad rap. We may think of it in terms of worldly, wishy washy, crossing your fingers type stuff.

In my experience, it can be much more macho in the church to say, well, the group I’m a part of, I have faith that our group’s going to baptize seven people this year rather than, you know, how does that sound in comparison to I really hope our group this year is going to baptize seven people, neither one of those their great statements to make.

But it just to me, it seems traditionally more macho to say I have the faith rather than I have the hope. Both are fine, but I think hope can get a bad rap at different times. Hope is deeply spiritual. We see that in Romans chapter 8. I referred to it earlier. There’s just a groaning that happens in our prayers and our connections with God. The Holy Spirit works within us to give us hope in our suffering. When we become heartsick for from waiting the words we need to pray to God, we can struggle to know what to say.

And these groans can be hope. Study the prayer life of Jeremiah. We may look at one of those sometime in the future. Jeremiah Thirty two the groans of supernatural hope.

Number 11, we’re almost at the finish line here, we hope for what we cannot see.

Romans eight twenty four says this hope that is seen is not hope for who hopes for what he sees, but we hope for what we do not see. We wait for it with patience. And then Ephesians three verses, twenty and twenty one, I’ll have Amy share on this one, hope gives us this license to dream. It’s one of the best parts of our relationship with God.

Yeah, that scripture talks about dreaming, imagining, using our imagination with God and. That’s such a fun part of our relationship with God when we can go to God with many hopes, with many imaginations, with many dreams, it allows us to walk through our day and think, hmm, I wonder if that’s how he’s going to do that thing. I wonder if that’s the person he’s going to use to do that thing. I wonder if today’s the day.

I wonder if he will do something different.

But the more we hope, the more creative we become in our prayer life and in our walk with God, the more we really enjoy what he’s doing in our life, even if we’re waiting because we’re looking for what he’s going to do. And last but not least, Christians are hopeless in heaven. And if you think about it, that’s a really good thing. That’s where you want to be. You want to be hopeless and have and by definition, it’s good to be hopeless in heaven it sounds crazy, but it’s true.

And it provides immense joy for an anxious and troubled soul like me. You see, Hope is one of the big three we talked about in the beginning. Hope is one of the big three of first Corinthians 13. But here’s the thing about hope. Hope has an expiration date.

All right, when Jesus returns and faith also has an expiration date, OK, when Jesus returns, faith will become sight, hope becomes reality and only love remains. I think that’s why Paul said love is the greatest of the three.

So Christians will literally be hopeless in heaven. Our best days as Christians are right in front of us, hopeless in heaven. So that’s the flyby. That’s the view of hope. You could take that in so many different directions. There’s more than that. The Bible speaks of it so much. And I think that’s one of the great things that we all must have and cling to, is hope we have this anchor for our souls and Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit that we studied just last month.

So that concludes our lesson for today. I hope that inspires you to see how much hope we can find in the word of God. And I think the thing that we want to remember right now as we transition into celebrating Jesus together is that Jesus is the ultimate hope. Jesus will never, ever disappoint us. Jesus stopped at nothing to show his love for us by going to the cross dying. And then he raised from the dead. And we have that same hope if we follow Jesus.

So please join me at this time in prayer. And if you’re at home right now, please just gather whatever bread or fruit of the vine that you could find. And let’s celebrate Jesus together, remembering his body and his blood that he shed for us on the cross. Let’s pray. Our father in heaven, we love you so much. We thank you that because of you, because of Jesus, because of your spirit, we have hope in a dark world.

I pray, Father, that we can find the hope that you provide for us in the Scriptures and friends in our prayers. Father, help us to discover this hope God that will not disappoint us in Jesus. I pray, Father, that you help us to be vulnerable in our hopes and to dream with you. To walk with you. Father, thank you so much for the example Jesus set in his life of hope. Thank you for the hope that Jesus provides.

Thank you for his sacrifice on the Cross. I pray that we can remember him and honor him at this time and we pray these things in Jesus name. Amen.

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