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Theology of Hope

1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

 

Introduction

This morning I want us to take a look at true (Biblical) hope. That is I want us to ask 3 basic questions:

·      What is True (Biblical) hope

·      What does true hope look like in everyday life? In other words, how will I know it when I see it?

·      How do I nurture hope (especially when life seems bleak)

 

So let’s begin

And to do so I want to compare and contrast what true hope is with what true hope is not.

 

 

I. True Hope versus false hope

A] True Hope is not blind optimism: True hope is not wishful thinking. It is not simply a positive outlook on life, nor is it dictated by favorable circumstances. In fact, the hope that God gives is not first and foremost a matter of our inward disposition. That is, true hope is not based upon our feeling hopeful.

2 Corinthians 5:7 for we walk by faith, not by sight

 

Instead, True hope is first and foremost an external reality. That is, true hope defines the very cosmos in which we live and is the deciding factor in all the events we encounter. How? God’s plan and purpose govern all creation.

Romans 8:20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not by its own choice, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

2 Peter 3:13 But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.

 

Notice the result: true hope aligns us with the governing reality behind every situation we encounter. As such, hope enables us to rightly assess and navigate the circumstances we face.

Isaiah 55:10 "For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth, 11 So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.

 

B] True Hope is not confused- that is, true hope does not confuse the hope that God has given with what I hope God will do (in other words, true hope does not mean everything will work out the way I want it to in the timeframe or manner I have deemed best)

John 16:33 "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world."

 

Instead, true hope is the assurance that in the midst of all you face God’s love, presence, and purpose will not fail you at any step of the way (God has you and the situation you face in His hands)

Deuteronomy 31:8 "The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear, or be dismayed." FN#1

 

II. What Does True Hope Look Like In Everyday Life (how do I know it when I see it in my life)

A] True Hope is not the attempt to ignore, sugar coat, or falsify a situation.

Ezekiel 13:10 "They have misled My people by saying, 'Peace!' when there is no peace.

 

Instead, True Hope is the work of God in the believer’s heart. That is, God interweaves hope and the desire to turn to Him into our new nature. Thus our prayers and our looking to Scripture are not misguided optimism nor are they merely wishful thinking. Instead, they are God prompting the believer to turn to Him in the midst of what they face because He is an ever present help in trouble.

Psalm 22:2 O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but I have no rest. 9 Yet you are He who brought me forth from the womb; you made me trust when upon my mother's breasts.

Psalm 119:49 Remember the word to your servant, in which you have made me trust

 

B] True Hope is active- notice then if fear withdraws and unfaithfulness seeks escape then true hope is demonstrated by faithfulness and courage. In other words, because we trust that God will respond, because we have the assurance that His purpose will not fail, we have the courage to stay the faithful course amid all we face.

1 Peter 4:19 Therefore, let those who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator by doing what is right.

Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;

 

C] True Hope is certain. God always honors your faithfulness

Romans 9:33 just as it is written, "Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed."

1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.

 

IV. How do I Nurture Hope (especially when times are hard):

A] Stay in God’s Word, stay in prayer, and stay in God’s house (in other words, guard your quiet times, prayer life and corporate worship).

Psalm 119:105 Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path. FN#2

 

 

 

Footnotes

1] One more important characteristic of true hope that is often overlooked is:

C] Hope is corporate- hope never means grin and bear it. It never means you are to face your trial alone without cry or complaint (in fact Scripture teaches right the opposite). Rather, hope is hope precisely because you are not alone. God is with you and God has placed you in the midst of His people (a people spiritually endowed and called to help)

Galatians 6:2 Bear one another's burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ.

James 5:14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord;

2 Corinthians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; 4 who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort which we ourselves have received from God.

 

 

2] Here are some additional ways to nurture hope

B] Stay on the path. That is, stay faithful in your walk and active in your service (if you want to see God at work, be where God is working)

Luke 2:49 And Jesus said to them, "Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father's house?"

 

C] Speak correctly about the situation (to self and others). In other words, watch for the lies that Satan will try to weave into your thoughts and attitudes

Job 42:7 "My anger burns against you and against your two friends, because you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.

Amos 2:4 Their lies have led them astray, Lies which their fathers followed.

 

D] Don’t forget the foundation of all hope: God is with you and for you in every situation you encounter. He will not fail you or forsake you

Psalm 42:5 Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, because I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence.

 

 

 

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