Thank you to our worship leader, Josh Callahan, for sharing today’s message! It is such an honor to sing praises with you each week, and to hear your wisdom for this sermon, “Words of Hope”.
Last week was Easter – a fun and celebratory service it was at Mosaic – and this week, we narrow in on the 40 days that Jesus was with us on earth after His death and Resurrection, and the Pentecost (which occurred 50 days after the Resurrection). Jesus, before leaving His disciples on Earth, called them – and us, His disciples today! – into hope. But what is “hope”, from a heavenly perspective? What does Jesus mean by calling us into eternal hope?
Ephesians 2:12: “…remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” Until Jesus, we weren’t part of the promise. This changed everything!
Ephesians 1:16-18: “I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints…”
Hope, in the Bible, is the expectation of good; our eternal salvation.
Romans 8:24-25: “For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” Hope’s synonyms include: anticipation, belief, desire, and expectation.
Acts 27:18-25: Since we were violently storm-tossed, they began the next day to jettison the cargo. And on the third day they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned. Since they had been without food for a long time, Paul stood up among them and said, ‘Men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete and incurred this injury and loss. Yet now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told.'” Just as was promised, the men lived (and the boat did not).
To break it down:
- There’s a storm.
- We react.
- We expect doom.
- We receive a word from God.
- Hope is restored.
A word from God brings hope. But, that is not to say we don’t face hopelessness sometimes (disbelief, doubt, fear, mistrust), and these are very real emotions. We are sure to have trials and tribulations; this is a promise of the Bible. John 16:33: “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” Physically, we live in a fallen world. But! Jesus has already conquered it; this is where we lie in the midst of “already but not yet”.
Romans 8:6: “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” The enemy is powerful in the world, but he has no say over the things of heaven. That authority belongs to Jesus. The enemy wants us to have worry and anxiety; he wants us to focus on the here and now, but Jesus wants us to set our sights on the things of heaven – he wants us to hope!
Matthew 6:25: “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?”
John 14:1-3: “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”
Not everything we hope for will be bestowed upon us, no matter how much we hope. But, we can place our hope in Jesus – in our place seated at the right hand of the throne of God – and we will receive as promised. Ultimately everything we hope for in this life will cease to exist. But hope allows us to live a more full life – Jesus wants this for us!
Rather than fall into the pattern of reacting to the storms of our lives, let us start with hope, and live accordingly:
- Word from God
- React from the place of hearing from God
- Salvation comes
- When we expect doom, remember #1.
2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Hope serves a purpose greater than its end result; it gives us the freedom to live now. Hope gives us a more fulfilling life.
Spiritual practicals to maintaining hope:
- Spend time in the Word, and you will find encouragement to keep hoping.
- Ask God for His presence, and you will feel peace.
Mental practicals to maintaining hope:
- Set your mind on the hope that is already inside of you because of the Spirit.
- Embrace change. Robert E. Quinn says: “You go through deep change or slow death. There is no alternative.”
Physical practicals to maintaining hope:
- Go – give hope away! There is certainly enough to go around. This is part of our calling as followers of Jesus. We have the hope of the world living on the inside of us. 2 Corinthians 3:12-18: “Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
Similar to Jesus, let us be unpredictable in our adventure but predictable in our character. Let’s take risks, rooted in hope that Jesus is with us! There is nothing to lose when all of our hope is in Him.
*Ed. Note: The above photo is *not* what we mean by taking risks rooted in hope. We just thought it looked cool.