Waynedale United Methodist Church
Tuesday, June 27, 2017
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May 3, 2015 Sermon

“Our Future Hope!”

Jeremiah 29:10 – 14, Revelation 21:1 – 7

Ted Jansen May 3, 2015 Waynedale UMC

 

1.)        I want you to name something positive that you hope will happen in 2015. Look ahead into the future and may hope lead you and guide you.   

            Have you see the Prudential commercial where a professor asks people to describe their life experiences from the past and hopes for the future. He has two boards, that represent the past and future, and magnetic words. The yellow words describe good things and the bad things are described in blue words.   As you look at the boards you see that the past is a mixture of blue and yellow. The future is mainly yellow. One man says, “we all want to think that positive things are going to happen in our future.”      

           

2.)        As we think of our past, present and future I have these three chairs in front of you to help you visualize hope. Hope is a positive expectation of life in the future, that is experienced in the present moment, while being rooted in the past.

            Hope brings life to us. If you don’t have hope it is as if your future is diminished, not a positive thing, or doesn’t exist. It might feel like this chair (future) does not exist. If you don’t have hope you can feel down and depressed. 

There were two events in our world where hope was diminished. The crowd in Baltimore behaving badly and the earthquake in Nepal have affected hope. The future has a negative flavor to it when tragedy strikes.    

 

3.)        Israel had bad things happening in its lives. They were being attacked by enemies, and their way of life and faith was being destroyed. 

Jeremiah, an Old Testament prophet during 620 – 580 BC was commanded by the Lord to write a letter to the exiles in Babylon, a foreign country. 

The people had been unfaithful to God and now their villages, Jerusalem and the Temple were being destroyed.   They were being taken away from their homes and forced to a new land.  

If they were asked to put words on the “future” board it would be blue words being used. It looked hopeless to them.        

            Jeremiah writes on what God is doing in their suffering. Listen to Jeremiah 29:10 – 14.    

            “This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place.  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you, and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you, and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

 

4.)        I want to focus on these words, “I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

            The Lord says that He will give hope and a future. This promise came while the circumstances were bad. Somehow the people held on to hope while waiting for 70 years. They had hope as they saw God working out His plan for His people.       

 

5.)        Mr. Eugene Lang, greatly changed the lives of a sixth-grade class in East Harlem in 1981. Mr. Lang, who was a business man, had been asked to speak to a class of 61 sixth-graders. What could he say to inspire these students, most of whom would drop out of school? He wondered how he could get these predominantly black and Puerto Rican children even to look at him. Scrapping his notes, he decided to speak to them from his heart.

"Stay in school," he admonished, "and I'll help pay the college tuition for every one of you." At that moment the lives of these students changed. For the first time they had hope.

Said one student, "I had something to look forward to, something waiting for me. It was a golden feeling." Nearly 90 percent of that class went on to graduate from high school.  60 percent pursued higher education. 

An organization Mr. Lang started was called, “I Have a Dream.”  This organization grew and has helped students in 29 states and other countries. One man spoke a word and gave of himself and his money and over 15,000 students have experienced hope for their future. Wow!      

 

6.)        When we receive a glimpse of something positive in the future it gives us hope. We, as follower of Jesus Christ, gain a vision of God’s reign in heaven and at the end of time. Listen to Revelation 21:1 – 6.   This vision was given to John. It give us hope in God for the future.    

“Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.  I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 

 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

                He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.”

 

7.)        The vision that John describes in Revelation shows a future with new life. There will be a New heaven, new earth, new Jerusalem, and new relationship with God. The future has no pain because God will wipe away our tears, death will not affect us anymore, we will not experience sadness, mourning or grief. This future of new life and no pain will be at no cost to us because we are invited to receive this water of new life for free. Jesus Christ paid the price on the cross. It cost Him everything, His life, so that we may drink freely of the life giving water.   

 

8.)        There have been artists that have expressed the vision of heaven in songs.      

            Jeremy Camp, a Christian song writer, has written a song called “There will be a day.” The words describe a vision, a hope and a future. It sounds like Revelation.      

“When We all Get to Heaven,” (#701 – UMH) was written by Eliza Hewitt for her children’s Sunday School class.  “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” (#703 – UMH) describes heaven in an African American song. The Gaither Band wrote a song called, “Your First Day in Heaven.” Bart Millard wrote, “I Can Only Imagine.” There are other songs that you might think of.          

            We gain hope when we have a positive expectation of something in the future.        

 

9.)        The director of a medical clinic told of a terminally ill young man who came in for his usual treatment. A new doctor who was on duty said to him casually and cruelly, “You know, don’t you, that you won’t live out the year?”

As the young man left, he stopped by the director’s desk and wept. “That man took away my hope,” he blurted out.

“I guess he did,” replied the director. “Maybe it’s time to find a new one.”

Commenting on this incident, Lewis Smedes wrote, “Is there a hope when hope is taken away? Is there hope when the situation is hopeless? That question leads us to Christian hope, for in the Bible, hope is no longer a passion for the possible. It becomes a passion for the promise.” Daily Bread, December 19, 1996  

            God promises us new life, with no pain at no cost in the book or Revelation. God promises us a future and hope in Jeremiah.  

 

10.)      John Wesley experienced a time in his life when his “hope” was not enough. John was traveling on a ship to Savannah Georgia and in the midst of a storm he saw that the Moravians (fellow passengers) were calm and at peace. This troubled John, who did not have peace and calm. When John was asked if he had faith in Christ, he said he did. Later John reflected that he did not have faith in Christ. He had faith in himself and he realized that he needed hope.     

            This experience of not having hope in Christ led him to a time when he did trust in Christ, and Christ alone for his salvation. His heart was “strangely warmed on Aldersgate Street. When his heart was “warmed” hope came to John from the Lord.     

 

11.)      I pray that your heart may be “warmed” by God with hope. Are you like John Wesley before he trusted Christ? Do you struggle with hope? Are you relying on yourself? Do you believe it is all up to you? 

Today can be a day to trust in Christ if you have never done so. It can be a day to renew that trust. As we celebrate Communion and take the bread and juice I invite you to pray to receive Christ anew in your heart. Let Him give you hope. 

 

There Will Be a Day” by Jeremy Camp  

I try to hold on to this world with everything I have But I feel the weight of what it brings, and the hurt that tries to grab The many trials that seem to never end, His word declares this truth, That we will enter in this rest with wonders anew But I hold on to this hope and the promise that He brings

 

That there will be a place with no more suffering There will be a day with no more tears, no more pain, and no more fears There will be a day when the burdens of this place, Will be no more, we'll see Jesus face to face But until that day, we'll hold on to you always

 

I know the journey seems so long You feel you're walking on your own But there has never been a step Where you've walked out all alone Troubled soul don't lose your heart 'Cause joy and peace he brings And the beauty that's in store Outweighs the hurt of life's sting But I hold on to this hope and the promise that He brings


There will be a place with no more suffering There will be a day with no more tears, no more pain, and no more fears There will be a day when the burdens of this place, Will be no more, we'll see Jesus face to face But until that day, we'll hold on to you always

 

I can't wait until that day where the very one I've lived for always will wipe away the sorrow that I've faced To touch the scars that rescued me from a life of shame And misery, this is why, this is why I sing

 

There will be a day with no more tears, no more pain, and no more fears There will be a day when the burdens of this place, Will be no more, we'll see Jesus face to face There will be a day with no more tears, no more pain, and no more fears There will be a day when the burdens of this place, Will be no more, we'll see Jesus face to face There will be a day, He'll wipe away the tears, He'll wipe away the tears, He'll wipe away the tears There will be a day