This Living Hope

July 23, 2017
Stetson Memorial UMC
Sermon Series: This Living Hope
(Adapted from Marcia McPhee’s
A Future With Hope”)
“This Living Hope”
Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24
Jerimiah 29:11-14a AMP
Romans 5:1-5 AMP
John 3:16-17 AMP

This Living Hope

The Lord be with you…let us pray… (prayer for the Spirit’s indwelling as bring God’s words of hope this morning…)

Please stand for the reading of the Gospel according to St. John, chapter 3, verses 16-17. Listen to the love sonnet of God for the people of God…

Christian hope is when God has promised that something is going to happen and you put your trust in that promise. Christian hope is a confidence that something will come to pass because God has promised it will come to pass.

What is so important about Christian hope?
If our future is not secured and satisfied by God then we are going to be excessively anxious. This results either in paralyzing fear or in self-managed, greedy control. We end up thinking about ourselves, our future, our problems and our potential, and that keeps us from loving.
In other words, hope is the birthplace of Christian self-sacrificing love. That’s because we just let God take care of us and aren’t preoccupied with having to work to take care of ourselves. We say, “Lord, I just want to be there for other people tomorrow, because you’re going to be there for me.”
If we don’t have the hope that Christ is for us then we will be engaged in self-preservation and self-enhancement. But if we let ourselves be taken care of by God for the future—whether five minutes or five centuries from now—then we can be free to love others. Then God’s glory will shine more clearly, because that’s how he becomes visible.
When God satisfies us so deeply that we’re free to love other people then he becomes more manifest. And that’s what we want above all.

Good morning. Over the past weeks we have taken a look at hope. We have decided that we are going to “let our guard down” and allow hope in. Without hope…I don’t know where I would be. I have just given you the:
 Definition of Christian Hope
 Why hope is important for as Christ followers…
How about you? What is your definition? Give time to answer. Why do you think it is so important? Give time to answer. Hope is a hard thing because you can’t see it, ouch it, or taste it. Hope is just something you must trust in. It is the reason we stand. It is the reason we come back here every Sunday, to get a new perspective on hope… We believe and trust in the foundation of our faith…John 3:16. For Gods so loved the world that he sent His Only Son, and who so shall believe in Him shall not perish but have eternal life…that’s
life with God eternally…forever…and ever…and ever more…

There are many promises in the bible that give us “hope”. My favorite one of course is Jeremiah 29:11-14 which states:
Jeremiah 29:11-14Amplified Bible (AMP)
11 For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call on Me and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear [your voice] and I will listen to you. 13 Then [with a deep longing] you will seek Me and require Me [as a vital necessity] and [you will] find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,’ says the Lord, ‘and I will restore your fortunes and I will [free you and] gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,’ says the Lord, ‘and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.’

We believe and trust in God’s word…right? And His word says that He does have a plan…a good plan for our lives…believe He cries out from heaven to you and I …this whole world of chaos… We are promised a good future and hope amid this hopeless world.

We have this hope that when we seek God…earnestly with our whole body, mind, and soul…He will hear our prayers and answer us. When we cry out from our desert places He will hear and bring us out of those places and into His glorious presence where we were before we entered that land of captivity.

As we seek and find Him and we will find Him, He will restore us. We will have our peace back. We will have our first love back. We will have our joy back. We will have our hope back… When we seek Him, we are never too far away for us to find Him.

This is the hope we proclaim. This is the hope we are called to share. This is the hope that will break down strongholds of the enemy, this is the hope that will heal relationships. This is the hope that causes us to say “Glory!” this is the hope that this town needs…this county needs, this country needs…the world needs! But my question is this. As we share this hope with others…as we bring hope out of our sanctuary into the world, however that may look, does hope happen overnight? The moment we tell others about hope, does hope live in them…immediately? Give time to answer. Why? Give time to answer again.

Your right, This Living Hope doesn’t just happen overnight…it is sort of like from glory to glory. Hope is birthed in our lives and in our hearts. It is living and breathing in you and me. We want others to have this same Living Hope but the only way for that to happen is for us to plant that seed and pray. Pray like nothing ever before because we live in a world that people lose their hope too easily. But what is their real hope? In the trappings of this world or is it much more than that?

How is something that we can’t see be birthed? What does it look like? Well, Romans 5:1-5 gives us a picture of how hope is born in our hearts. It states that:
Romans 5:1-5Amplified Bible (AMP)
Results of Justification
5 Therefore, since we have been justified [that is, acquitted of sin, declared blameless before God] by faith, [let us grasp the fact that] we have peace with God [and the joy of reconciliation with Him] through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed). 2 Through Him we also have access by faith into this [remarkable state of] grace in which we [firmly and safely and securely] stand. Let us rejoice in our [a]hope and the confident assurance of [experiencing and enjoying] the glory of [our great] God [the manifestation of His excellence and power]. 3 And not only this, but [with joy] let us exult in our sufferings and rejoice in our hardships, knowing that hardship (distress, pressure, trouble) produces patient endurance; 4 and endurance, proven character (spiritual maturity); and proven character, hope and confident assurance [of eternal salvation]. 5 Such hope [in God’s promises] never disappoints us, because God’s love has been abundantly poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Within this we see that hope is a process… I see it as a “9 step process”. This is what I am proposing to you church. So that we do not lose hope as we go out with joy to share the Gospel, I would like for us to look at the process of a growing of hope. I believe that as we look at each step in the process we are going to be encouraged. Think about it for a moment. We have been praying and praying for someone and we don’t see the hope there. We may have “given up hope” that it would ever happen. What it…an I am going out on a ledge here, as we are looking at the process we suddenly realize that the person we have been praying for is somewhere “in the process” and we never realized it. How would that make you feel? What would you do with your own renewed hope?

We call ourselves “A Hope Giving Church”, and as such, we can’t give up and lose hope on the very ones that are needing us to give them hope…to help them cultivate the hope inside. So, what do you think? Are you in or are you out? Maybe, just maybe, not only will we see others within this process, we might even see ourselves within the process of This Living Hope when we may have lost hope ourselves…individually and as a church. The challenge is out there. Are you going to take it or not?

Let us pray…pray for the Spirit of Hope to be evident in our lives as we go forth in Jesus’ name.


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