Sunday, July 13, 2008

Got Hope?

Hope. What comes to mind when you hear that word? What is it and where does it come from? Today, Chad talked about “hope” as he continued the sermon series on the book of Colossians.

Chad talked about Colossians 1:3-8 and said that as he was preparing for the message, he kept coming back to verse five in particular. Chad showed the NIV version which says: “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 truth, the gospel..”

Faith and love “spring” from hope. Where does the hope come from? Hope comes from the gospel. And what is the gospel? 1 Corinthians 15:1-14 describes the gospel as Christ’s sacrifice for ours sins, his burial, and resurrection. The fact that Christ accomplished all this and that it’s TRUE is why the gospel brings us such hope. Paul said in verse fourteen “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.” In other words, the gospel is TRUE. If it weren’t, then talking about it and believing it would be a meaningless waste of time.

So, what is hope? Hope is the blessed truth that JESUS IS ALIVE!! Hope isn’t merely the idea that we will “someday” experience Jesus in heaven when we get there. Hope is alive NOW because Jesus is alive TODAY!! Hope is in us and with us because Jesus is HERE!

Where do you see hope? Chad talked about how having the hope of Jesus within himself and the Guatemala team enabled them to touch the lives of those they met on their mission trip. Chad said, “there’s hope for the hopeless because Jesus lives.” In verse 27 of the first chapter of Colossians, Paul says: “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:”

Sometimes, people find it hard to hope. Sometimes, it‘s because they don’t know Jesus who IS hope. Whatever the case, they can begin to understand the hope of Jesus through seeing it at work within His people. We bear the gospel of hope; a message of peace, compassion, love, mercy, and grace. We have all these encouraging and good things in the gospel of Christ!

We hope and have all these good things because of Christ. All of it is a gracious undeserved gift from God. You see, we’re all sinners and justice demands that sin be paid for. God abounds with love and grace and because of Jesus‘ blood sacrifice, we are spared from paying the price for our sins ourselves if we call on His Name. Chad said, “You name the Name, you get the benefits by grace.” Grace is the filter. We can’t enter heaven any other way except through Jesus. To enter in, we must have that blood red filter of grace.

How blessed we are to have this hope of the gospel and all the good things it brings!! Who wouldn’t want to share it?! So,…are we? Are we showing the hope of Christ to people? Chad asked “who has hope?“ I raised my hand and said, “yeah!“ ;) Some others raised their hands too. Chad said if anyone needed some hope, start hanging around some hopeful people. If you hang around some hopeful people, you will start wanting what they have. You’ll see the source of that hope: Jesus.

When talking about hopeful people, I had one particular person come to mind: my sweet and humble friend Saundra (Don‘t blush, Saundra. I just had to! LOL). She radiates hope and people see and experience it every day! She feeds and clothes the homeless in her area and is always giving of her heart. She says that sometimes, people come to her and ask her why she does what she does. She just shows them the love of the Father and tells them of the hope she has. Often times, they even ask where she goes to church. Her hope is contagious and it inspires their hunger and thirst for God. They want to come to her church and hear more about this God of hope - and meet even more hopeful people!! Her testament of hope draws people to Christ!

So………got hope? Got Jesus? Are you hopeful or hopeless? If you are hopeful, share it! If you are feeling hopeless, talk to me. I’ll share my hope with you! His name is Jesus! He loves you, and so do I!! Grace and peace to all of you!! God bless you!!

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