Waynedale United Methodist Church
Friday, May 26, 2017
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April 19, 2015 Sermon

“Our Present Hope”
Romans 5:1 – 5, 1 Timothy 1:1, 4:9, 10
Ted Jansen April 19, 2015  Waynedale UMC
 

1.)        I hope…   I hope… I hope…   I want you to write down a response to those two words, “I hope.”  What is the first thing that comes to your mind as you consider those two words?     

            You might hope for a good lunch.  You might hope that the sermon won’t go too long.  You might hope that God would forgive you.  You might hope that you can laugh at life.  You might hope that your job continues to go well.  You might hope that your child succeeds in life.  What comes to you when you respond to I hope…?           

 

2.)        Hope, according to one source, is “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen, to expect with confidence.”  

            I want to frame in our understanding of hope with the present, the past and the future.  Here is a definition of hope related to those three aspects.  Hope is a positive expectation of life in the future, that is experienced in the present moment, while being rooted in the past.

            As you think of that definition I want you to visualize hope with three chairs.  The first chair is the past, the second, or middle chair is the present, and the third chair is the future.  Hope can be in all three aspects of life.  Yet, you can only sit in one chair in your life, which is the chair of the present.  You cannot sit in the past or the future.  But as we sit in the chair of the present we can be aware of the past and the future.  

 

3.)        As you think about the present and your attitude of hope listen to some quotes about today.    

 

“Today is the first day of the rest of my life.” (Abbie Hoffman)  

 

“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”   (LM Montgomery)

 

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”  (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

 

“Each new day is a blank page in the diary of your life”  (Douglas Pagels)

 

“Each day brings new life, new strength, new dreams, new hope.”  (Lailah Gifty Akita)

 

“The successes and failures of yesterday are gone, today is a new day.”  (Noel DeJesus)

 

4.)        Today is a gift that God has given to each of us.  As we think of this gift, the gift of today, and the gift of God’s love for us let us consider what Paul was teaching about hope.  Paul wanted to make sure that disciples had a confident hope and to understand what hope was about.  Here are some verse from 1 Timothy 1:1, 4:9, 10 and Romans 5:1 – 5. 

   

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope…”  (1:1)

 

“This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.”  (4:9, 10)

 

Paul shares with Timothy, in the beginning of his letter, that our hope is in Christ Jesus.  I believe Paul wanted to make sure that Timothy understood that hope is in a person.  Our hope is not in a concept, an idea, a philosophy, or event, or a place.  Our hope is not in the church, the leaders, or history. Our hope is in the person of Jesus.  We need to be 100% clear of where our focus is when it comes to hope.    

Paul teaches more about hope in the 4th chapter of 1 Timothy.  He tells Timothy that we have our hope in the living God, the Savior of the world.   Paul is reminding Timothy that Jesus Christ is the living God.  Jesus, the person who is the object of our hope, is alive.  

We celebrated this truth when we affirm that the Resurrection of Christ from the dead actually happened.  We have our hope in the living God, the one who was dead, but now is alive.

This Living God, Jesus Christ, has the power to bring salvation and restoration to all.  Jesus Christ can restore us in our relationship with God.  Jesus can renew us, He can heal us, He can forgive us.  He can do more than we can ever imagine.  

Paul wants Timothy to know hope comes because of who Jesus is and what He does.    

 

5.)        Paul shared to the church about hope in his letter to the Romans.   

 
“We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” (5:2) 
 
“We also rejoice in our sufferings…” (5:3)
 

Hope does not disappoint, because God has poured out his love in to our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom he has given us.”   (5:8)

 

Hope brings us joy.  We rejoice when we have hope.  Hope can bring joy, well-being, and an uplifted spirit.  When we have hope we have joy and this brings glory to God.

Paul also mentions we can have joy in our sufferings.  When we have hope we can have joy, and when we have suffering we can have joy.  When we hold on to hope in the midst of tough times we can have joy.  Hope brings joy to us in whatever we experience. 

Paul, while he is in prison, a situation that might have seemed hopeless, writes that hope does not disappoint.  This is great faith to have.  Paul’s hope was rooted in his teaching.  His hope is in Jesus Christ.     

Hope does not disappoint because God’s love can come to us through the Holy Spirit.  We can know the love of God in our heart.     

 

6.)        What would life be like without hope?  What if hope would disappoint us?  What if our hope is not focused on a person that we can count on?  What if hope would not give love to us in the tough times? 

            False hope and limited hope are a part of our human experience.  We know that from time to time we lose hope, or our hope wears thin.    

 

7.)        Come and sit in the present and consider your life.  How strong is your need for hope today?  On a scale of 1 – 10, with ten being the highest what is your number today?  Are you at a 9 or 10 with things going on in your life?  You need hope. 

Or is life going along ok and you don’t have a strong need or hope for anything, 2 or 3 seems to be your number.     

            God loves you and wants to increase your hope today.  Where do you think you need to pay attention to?  Do you need to dwell on the past or focus on the future?  

 

8.)        If you believe you need to look to the past perhaps the Lord wants you to look at some people who were in your past.  There may be some people that have passed away who are examples to you of life, faith and hope.  It might be that you need to embrace a tradition from the past to allow it to give you meaning today.  Maybe you need to read about God’s love and plan in the Old Testament and the stories of the people and God.     

 

9.)        If you believe that you need to look to the future perhaps the Lord wants you to focus on the promises of God that will be fulfilled in the future. What are the promises God has for you?  How can they give you hope?  Maybe God is sending messengers, people you know or don’t know, to speak about your future.  Or, God might be leading you to a new path in your future.  There is an open door that you have never gone through but you sense this is the right time.        

 

10.)      We all have times in life when our hope gets thin or weak.  We get depressed, discouraged, and tired. Consider how the natural world and the seasons affect us. 

How did you feel in the middle of winter when it was -15, windy, snowy and overcast?  Did your hope wear thin?  You might have been sitting in the chair that symbolizes the present and thought about the wonderful flowers last fall (past).  You might have been dreaming about spring when new life will come from the ground (future).  On the cold and dreary winter day you needed hope.  Did any of you experience diminished hope a few months ago?  I did, at times. 

Let us increase our hope by living out our faith.  A great way to express your hope in times that are hard is to plant some seeds.  Get a little dirt and a container and allow the seed to be watered and kept warm and watch it to see what God will do to bring new life.  When you plant something you have hope.      

 

11.)      Does it feel like winter in your soul?  Are you going through a time in your life when you need hope?  You are going through something that discourages you or makes you feel depressed.  

            I encourage you to literally and symbolically plant some seeds.  I have some that I can give you to plant today as a symbol of gaining greater hope.     

            As you plant a seed so plant the seed of faith as Paul wanted the early church to.  Plant your faith, your desire, your hope in a person, into Jesus Christ, the living God.  Plant your seed as you pray, as you sing, as you speak, as you express yourself.   

Allow God’s word, to be planted in you.  Here are a few verses that I want to offer to you today to be planted into your soul, your soil.     

 

            Romans 8:28 says, “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” 

 
            Luke 1:37 says, “Nothing is impossible with God.” 
 

            Romans 8:31 says, “If God is for us, who can be against us.”  

 

            Proverbs 3:5, 6 say, Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” 

 
Closing Prayer