I have heard it said that:
"Man can live for forty days without food, four days without water, and three minutes without air. But we cannot live one second without hope."
But sadly, many people lose hope. They lose hope when:
- The lawyer turns down the case with the words: "It's hopeless"
- The drug counselor describes a long-term patient saying "He's hopeless"
- The physician removes the respirator and says "It's hopeless"
- The marriage counselor says: "It's hopeless"
- The judge pronounces sentence on a defendant saying "He's hopeless"
- The surgeon finds pervasive cancer, stops the operation, and says "It's hopeless"
We are all on the pendulum of life, swinging over the abyss of hopelessness. When people are confronted with this hopelessness, many people do foolish things. They stop trying. They take out their hopelessness on others. They become bitter and seethe with anger inside. Sometimes, when people lose hope, they consider taking their life and sometimes they are successful. Others anesthetize themselves to the seeming hopelessness with alcohol, drugs, achievements, possessions, or senseless hedonism. Hopelessness is what makes people join a political cause, a cult, or even jihad!
This week as we approach Easter, I want to help us find God's hope in a hopeless world. Here are
ten important facts you need to know about hope:
1. Hope is a noun. It can be something you possess or something that you can acquire. It is based upon a life yielded to Christ and the promises of our spiritual inheritance. Hope can be yours. God gives it to you when you pledge faith in Christ! Christ's death, burial, and resurrection gives us hope. The Apostle John said:
"And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life" (1 John 5:11-12). If you have the Son of God as your Savior and Lord, you have hope as a noun!
2. Hope is a verb. If you don't hope, you will give up on your marriage, walk out on your job, quit trying to do what is right and even think of "ending it all." But when you hope, then life really improves. When you hope, you approach life, death, and disappointments that way. When life is difficult and hard, you make the choice to look up. When you hope, you are choosing how you think, order your life, and plan for your eventual death. The suffering man, Job (13:15) declared his choice: "Though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him." Christians actively choose to hope in the Lord.
I remember hearing about a little league baseball game going on in a park. A man asked a boy in the dugout what the score was. The boy said:
"Eighteen to nothing--we're behind." The man replied,
"I bet you're discouraged." The kid smiled and said:
"Why should I be discouraged? We haven't even gotten up to bat yet!"
Why be dismayed? We haven't got up to bat yet. Well, that is the way it is in this life and the next. Choose hope! When things look gloomy, look up to see God's future and possibilities!
3. Hope can be in vain. Depending on when you grew up, you have had your hopes dashed many times. Those who lived through World War I were told it was "the war to end all wars." Those who made it through the Great Depression were told "Happy days are here again!" Those who enacted the New Deal, the Great Society and civil rights laws told us they would end of poverty and racism. When the United Nations was begun after World War II, they thought it would bring "peace in our time." Those of us who grew up in the 1960s thought we were ushering in the "age of Aquarius." Well, guess what? All those promises and dreams, were fantasies!
But Isaiah (40:31) promises that
"those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Don't have a vain hope! Don't rely on possessions, politicians, and promises! Have a secure hope in God's promises!
4. Hope can be fleeting. One of Job's friends (8:13) observed: "While still growing and uncut, they wither more quickly than grass. Such is the destiny of all who forget God; so perishes the hope of the godless." Proverbs 11:7 says: "When a wicked man dies, his hope perishes; all he expected from his power comes to nothing." When we are young, we have such hope. But without God, it fades.
As we age, many people lose hope. People hoped that wealth, success, career, and other pursuits will give them hope. People lose hope because they never achieved these things or because they did achieve these things and they didn't satisfy. As the years pass, the things of this world lose their glamor and glitter. Without hope in eternal things, people rightfully become disillusioned and hopeless. As long as your hope is based in this temporal world, hope is a moving target. You have it for a while, and you don't. So, choose Christ! He will not disappoint. In Him, your hope will grow.
5. Hope is based on faith. The theologian, Peter Kreeft said:
"In an age of hope men looked up at the night sky and saw 'the heavens.' In an age of hopelessness they call it simply 'space.' " When people have a worldview that is atheistic or agnostic, they find very little hope. They think life is due to a series of mutations and mistakes. They have nothing but theories and closed minds which give them no peace or solace. But not so for the Christian! We trust God who gives us a purpose and a future.
In 2 Corinthians 5, Paul talks about our eternal future and connects all this hope in heaven with one statement. In verse 7, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he states:
"We live by faith, not by sight." Hope is the natural outgrowth of faith. When you trust God as your rock and the God of the impossible, hope will be yours.
But you will need that faith to get to that hope. Hebrews 11:1, 6 say:
"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see ... And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that he exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him." You will find hope when you place your faith in Christ as your Savior and Lord.
6. Hope will be an anchor. Without God, people are aimless and life is pointless. But when you have faith in Christ, you have a purpose for life, an anchor for meaning. Hebrews 6:19 "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure ..."
When I was growing up, we used to sing a song on Sunday nights called
"Will Your Anchor Hold in the Storms of Life?" It asked some important questions about what we use to hold our lives together. The chorus of that song makes the point:
We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Savior's love.
7. Hope should be a lifestyle.
Hope is the way you live. It is not something you turn on or off, depending on the circumstances. 2 Corinthians (4:18) explains the lifestyle of the Christ-follower this way "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." Do you see how living the Christian lifestyle brings hope? It is an approach to life!
When you are a Christ-follower, you live in the sovereignty of God. You know that He is in charge of your life, your death, and your circumstances. Fools waste their valuable and fleeting lives on cynicism, bitterness, and despair. But because the Christian has hope, there is no room in his mind or his calendar for hopelessness. Christ-followers refuse to see problems as problems but only as opportunities to see God work. Hope is a lifestyle for us!
8. Hope should be a blessing. Psalm 146:5 says:
"Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God..." Hope keeps you joyous, optimistic, and enthusiastic about life even when things may be dark. God blesses the life and eternal destiny of the person whose hope is in God.
9. Hope can be a certainty. When you place your faith in Christ, you can have the certainty of eternal life. This hope is not based on guesses or happenstances. It is based upon the rock-solid promises of God.
Look over the entire Bible. You will not see one promise that God did not fulfill or will not fulfill one day. King David testified to God this certainty when he wrote:
"No one whose hope is in You will ever be put to shame ..." (Psalm 25:3). Centuries before the resurrection, Job (19:25) coped with his suffering with the certainty of the empty tomb when he said:
"I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand on the earth." That hope is yours because the promises of God are assured and guaranteed to those who believe.
10. Hope can be in eternal. Every time I go to the celebration of life for some dear Christian who has gone to be with the Lord. Unbelieving people call this a "funeral" but for us it was a celebration of the resurrection of the body and
"the blessed hope."
Folks, we have an eternal future and heavenly hope! That is the big, big message of Easter and Jesus' resurrection is hope. When that tomb was found empty and the angels announced what happened, the Christian hope began. Anybody who places their life in the nail-scarred hands of Jesus by faith receives the certain hope of eternal life. Now we don't fear death or grieve the way others do, because we Christians have an eternal hope. This hope gives us confidence in God's complete ultimate triumph over death and Satan. Because of the resurrection, we look forward to the
"the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus" (Titus 2:13). Sometimes I get so hopeful that I can't wait!
And that brings me to remind you about this Sunday. Sadly, we can't meet at our beautiful church campus for Easter. But we are blessed to be able to get together on the EHCC Online Campus. You can bring hope to others. Here are some ideas on how:
1. Put an invitation to our Easter services on your Facebook, Instagram or Twitter pages and invite them to our online Easter service.
2. Send an email invitation to everyone on your email list. You might say something like this: "I want to invite you to watch the online Easter service of my church. You can connect join us by going to
. You will be encouraged, inspired, and helped." See the invite video below and share it!
3. Pray fervently that dozens of people will commit their lives to Christ this Easter through our services. Ask God for a harvest of new contacts for our church and for new believers in our Lord Jesus.
Well, that is my epistle for this week! I am praying for you! We will get through this time together. We have God's hope!