The Importance of Hope
Don't get so worked up about the small things focus on the big things in life specifically the things that are eternal in nature the third thing is to hope put your hope in God Remember to put your hope only in God because everything else is probably going to. The point you and the fourth thing is to remember to be generous and as I was preparing for the sermon last week I enjoyed putting together a sermon like that the third point of putting your hope and God I was a little frustrated even though it was my own fault because I'm writing my own sermon but I was thinking I'd really rather spend a lot of time on talking about hope because hope is one of my favorite subjects and I think I'm probably not alone I'm sure a lot of pastors like that I'm sure most of you here would say that hope is one of your favorite subjects in the Bible because the Bible gives us all these wonderful things that we can look forward to and we can have hope in and so what I want to do today is talk about hope and we're going to do that for the next three weeks so we're done with Daniel we're done with our series and Daniel when I started out with Daniel I knew the first six chapters were narrative there were stories I knew we would go through those and enjoy looking at these need stories seven through twelve Chapter seven through twelve are all about things that are going to happen in the future there apocalyptic literature prophetic literature and I was debating Should I even try to do anything with those in a sermon and I was reading through that and I went Yeah I'm not going to touch those that might be better for a Sunday school class but there are a lot harder to preach on and so I'm not doing that and then I also thought we have camp coming up on my family and I will be going back to Michigan for a couple weeks here pretty quick and so I didn't want to get into another big series and so I wanted to do something in my mind fun and practical and so what I'm going to do is a short series on hope and so today we're going to do is we're going to talk about the importance of hope the Bible tells us just how important it does for us to set our hearts and our minds on the hope that God gives us in His Word and the next the next two Sundays after that we'll talk about the things that God cautions us about being hopeful about their me. The thing is that we place our hope in this life they're not wrong or sinful but the Bible says if you're putting your hope on these things be very careful because it can lead to disappointment can lead to problems in your life and then the third week we'll look at the things that the Bible tells us that we can be confident about in our hope and we're going to get specific about hope then but right now today we're going to talk about the importance of being a person of hope and so right now this morning as we're just starting the month of June what in your life are you hopeful about it could be anything some of you might be hopeful about an athletic team does anyone here care about the N.B.A. finals I know they're on their second game is tonight is anyone really care who wins maybe a couple of people look at you who won Cleveland. You know what you're going to feel like you're on the spot but you know we get hopeful about different athletic teams sometimes we get hopeful about maybe a new job or promotion some of you might be thinking maybe this is the week that I'm going to find out if I get that promotion I think all of us are hoping that now that we're in summer that our air conditioning units don't break down right fact I came here this morning and we've been having some work done on the air conditioning units and I had to turn a couple of them on manually they're all programmed and in my office nothing was working at all and I started to get really panicky and I went out and I I did the circuit breaker and it turned about eventual You got it working but event I was hopeful this morning that the air conditioning was going to be broken and that it would turn on in my office well those are small trivial things and I think all of us hope for more significant things in life like some of you here this morning might be hoping regarding your health or the health of a loved one someone might be going through a very difficult time physically and you're hoping that the health will be restored for you or for someone else or maybe we hope for our financial situations some of you here might be thinking it's things are just so. Tight it's hard to get things to work together and you're hoping that maybe there might be a break in the future where things will start giving you some relief and I think we're always hoping in relationships you know the younger people that you know growing up in life they're hopeful that they'll meet that special someone someday soon I think most of us are hoping that certain relationships we have with other people that they're going to improve that they'll get better and hopefully all of us are hopeful that our relationship with God will continue to grow and and mature but when it comes to hope as human beings we are always hoping in something we're people of hope I read a quote by a pastor whose name is Irwin McManus in a book he wrote called Soul cravings He says it's about hope and I thought it was really good so I want to just repeat this for you he says hope is essential for our souls to thrive.
And if you don't believe you have a future worth living for your spirit loses all hope and your soul was not designed to live without hope in fact when you lose all hope we lose all desire to live.
So it's so good for us to have a hope it does so many positive things in our life and if there's not something that we're hoping in we can lose the desire to live altogether and I was thinking about this and how important hope is for me my whole life I've had the hope that God shares with us in His Word but not everyone has that and the time when people really wrestle with hope or they have hope or not is during certain funerals or memorial services and as a pastor I'm usually preaching and usually presiding over a believer who has passed away and we talk about the hope and it's very comforting and it actually kind of celebrate Tory but there was once one hundred funeral that I did actually here at this church for. A young lady and I don't know if she was saved or not but I can guarantee you that just the vast majority of the people in the same surely had no idea that there was a hope beyond this life. And the way that they were mourning during the spur of the funeral was frightening I've never seen people mourn that way and I just thought they had no hope of course I preach the gospel and I don't know what happened to them but just think about that if you have no hope for anything in the future in it it is debilitating and it can be very depressing so what I want to do this morning is I want to look at God's word and see how it reveals to us how important it is for us to be people of hope and that means that we need to spend time focusing on what God says we should hope for and if we do that it will make a huge difference in our lives and so I want to give you three reasons the Bible says that we should focus on our hope OK And this is going to be very general engineering the next two Sundays I'm going to talk about specific things that we should hope for but right now we're just talking about the reason why we should hope and the first reason is that the first reason why we should focus on hope the people of hope is because hope leads to maturity.
Hopefully in our life to us maturing in the faith and at the same time a mature person is going to be productive with their life a person who wants hope is going to mature and they're going to be productive want to want to open your Bible Stu the Hebrews Chapter six but before that I want to you want to tell you about what I did this last Monday I mention last Sunday I was doing a Cross Fit hero WOD a workout of the day called the Murph and it was a one mile run you do one hundred Pull Ups two hundred pushups three hundred air squats and then when you're done with all that you do another mile run and so I did that this last Monday and I was really nervous about it I mean I was I was in my mind I could just picture my shoulders just you. Tearing off my body because I was can be so sore and I was I was nervous about that and I was really encouraged by how well I did and so I did it in forty five minutes and fifty four seconds probably remember that for the rest of my life and my goal was my hope was two things that I wouldn't die so I call Bush that but that it would be over soon and I did a lot better than I thought I would because someone said no the best way to do this is to not do the hundred pull ups right away in the two hundred pushups and then the three hundred or squats break it into twenty sets of five pull ups ten push ups and fifteen X. wants and so what I did is I had a little white board and everybody else in the cross the gym had had to I put twenty lines on this whiteboard and every time I finish one set of five pullups temper ships fifteen or squats I would mark it off. And so after I did five of those and ten of those I was like Hey I'm doing this I'm getting closer to the end so that was my hope my hope was I would get through it and I would finish that last mile and so I finally finish and I felt really good about myself I did a lot better than I thought I would and that's because I've been training all this time but you know I've mentioned before I'm doing cross to right now but I've done some some different running events and there's a couple reasons why I have done those and I do them number one is because there's something wrong with me mentally I'm kind of serious about that people have a sickness and you know that by now but the other reason is and I'm serious about this one is I think that if I put myself in these situations where I have to endure I have to get through something it's going to build up a strength for me not so much physically but mentally and emotionally that I can get through this and so when I can do that with little small things that don't really matter in life when I face something much bigger in life I can say no I can get through this because there's hope hope it does that for us we can get through anything in life if we had hope. All right he was Chapter six. I want to read and he research after six the author of Hebrews talks about the importance of hope and he says this Hebrews Chapter six beginning in verse one.
He says Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and a face towards God and of instruction about washings and laying on of hands the resurrection of the dead in eternal judgment and this we will do of God permits and so the author of Hebrews is writing to them and saying we're stuck on the basic spokes we need to move on to the things that are going to actually mature you Christianity in our faith is more than just knowing that our sins have been forgiven by Jesus Christ actually begins but there's something else out there there's another thing that we should focus on a hope and if we focus on that hope then that leads to us being mature and that's what the author continues to write about Look at verse nine and so the author is writing to them and saying let's leave these elementary doctrines and let's talk about more verse nine. Though we speak in this way yet in your case beloved We feel sure of better things things that belong to salvation you see that little phrase there we feel sure of better things that is the definition of hope and so the author is saying there are things in your salvation that you should be focusing on and this is what happens when you do stand for God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the Saints as you still do and we and we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness and here it is to have the full assurance of hope until the end so that you may not be sluggish but imitators of those who. You're facing patients inherit the promises so the author of Hebrews is saying that we feel sure of better things things that belong to salvation and so he's saying there is a hope that's out there and that hope is something that belongs to us someone who is called by God to be saved and if we focus on those things that we know for certain that we hope for that belong to us as children of God If we practice them we will become more like Christ and what happens when a person focus is on the better things that belong to salvation is it leads to maturity that's what he says Look at verse eleven again. And we desire each of you to show the same earnestness down the for sure and of hope till the end so that you may not be sluggish but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises and so this is teaching us that a person who is focused on hope they will become mature.
And a person who is focused on hope they will become mature they will be productive in their life and the opposite of that is just as true. I think all of us have probably gone through times in our life were we are just inundated flooded with negative thoughts self-defeating thoughts have you ever thought to yourself you know what am I doing here I'm not getting anything done in life I'm very unproductive you know what is the point of all this if you if you've ever had any of those kinds of thoughts it's usually when we're not focused on hope and that's when we come very unproductive in life you know another reason why I'm doing cross that is because I need sermon illustrations and so you're stuck with Cross Fit for a while maybe I'll have another hobby another couple years but the thing across that is every day this is something that they say it in my box I don't know if they say this in other places but there is this montra or this motto do something like this by doing this you will be better tomorrow than you are today and this whole idea that when you go in there and you do. The work that you're going to get better and there are some times when I go in there and I do a workout and I feel like oh that was awesome I feel like I'm getting stronger and there are some times like the one that I did on Friday and I had when I was done I thought I just took two giant steps backwards I feel like a big pathetic loser everyone in this gym is looking at me like I'm the weakest slowest person around and it was very frustrating but our coach says trust the process trust the process meaning if you go and you put in the work you will get better and likewise if you and I are going to focus on negative things in this world the negative things in your life you're not focusing on the hope that God has given to you and if that's the case you're not going to mature in the faith and so focusing on our hope gives the Holy Spirit something to work with and so hopefully you're starting to see the importance of hope when you have a hope and you're focused on it it will help you lead towards maturity so that's the first reason why we as believers should focus on our hope the second reason why is because hope will guide and it will guard our hearts if we focus on the hope that God promises to us it will guide our hearts and maybe just as importantly it will guard our hearts from the things that we should not put into our hearts. Now when we say that we have hope there is think I think is part of our body that we associate with hope more than any anything else and I think it's safe to say it's our heart right because when you're hoping for something your heart starts to kind of form an attachment to it and there's a longing in there is a desire for it and you get excited about it and the Bible I think I'm rightfully confirms that that our hope is attached to our heart I want you to go over to a fish and Chapter one.
If Eason's chapter one. Elations effusions Philippians collections and only feed in Chapter one The apostle Paul writes The. Very interesting phrase and he catches our heart to the hope that God has for us. So he's in chapter one beginning in verse seventeen.
Says if you choose one seventeen.
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 In other words Paul saying I hope that God will allow you to know more and more about him verse eighteen having the eyes of your heart in lightened that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you what are the blue the riches of His glorious inheritance in the Saints and what is the a measurable greatness of this power towards us who believe according to the working of his great might you're right there in the middle there is such an interesting phrase Paul writes and he says this is the city it says the eyes of your own heart are enlightened.
Now kind of imagine there is like some emotion out there for you know as a heart with these big eyes these eyes are getting bigger and so this is saying that our heart there's something in our heart when we know this hope that we have been called to our heart will kind of wake up and say Ah that's it this is it this is what I'm supposed to be longing in desiring and it says specifically that this hope is listen to this the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints that's our hope and this should capture our hearts so that we won't waste the longing of our hearts on anything less That's why I hope captures and guides and protects our heart this last week after Memorial Day on Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday Christian and I used on the ten year anniversary gift that you as a church gave to us David and Sara I think you've probably been to this place a couple times they were it is called orchard canyon it used to be called garlands lodge is about ten miles north of Sedona in Oak Creek Canyon and it's basically. Like a bed and breakfast but it's a bed and breakfast and really good dinner and so we were up there on Tuesday night Wednesday night and Thursday night and the food was absolutely amazing it was phenomenal every night they had a four course meal and everything is homegrown homemade from scratch they have a really good chef there so we were really looking forward to that and they had a made to order breakfast which was really good and so I guess what you do when you're out of place has no wife I know civi no internet nothing like that where you sit around you relax and eat way too much and so the first day night we ate a whole bunch and we ate everything on the plate and and we were just like uncomfortably full which was wonderful like the first night and then you wake up and then say OK here's the here's your options for breakfast I'm like oh wow this this this and and then we batten and guess what we're uncomfortable the whole day and then we go that night and we're just topped off you're not hungry you're just topping off what you ate and so the third night I wised up I said you know what I don't want to be uncomfortable again for the third night in a row but I also want to make sure that I save room in my stomach for the things that I really want and so we look at the menu and everything looks good but the entree and a succession of the dessert were really good and so I knew I had to make a sacrifice and so I didn't eat all the soup I know that was a lot of self restraint for me I only had half the super No I ate half the salad those are really good because I knew that there was something better coming and I wanted to save room for it. You know can you think of any example in the Bible when someone gave up something of a measurable importance for some instant gratification that was just nothing compared to what they gave up in other words like the eyes of their heart lost sight of the great hope that they had been the best example of this is probably between Jacob and Esau Esau is that mighty warrior he went out one day and he spent probably all day or maybe a couple days hunting and he came back and he was really hungry and a sneaky brother Jacob he had made a nice big. Pot of lentils stew which sounds disgusting but I guess maybe it was really good and he sold his birthright for a bowl of soup I want to read that story for you out of Genesis Genesis twenty five. Ten says twenty five twenty nine it says once when Jacob was cooking stew Esau came in from the field and he was exhausted and he said to Jacob Oh Hamid some of that red stew for I am exhausted therefore his name was called Jacob said What a horrible brother he said Sell me your birthright now and these I said I am about to die of what use is my birthright to me Jacob said Swear to me now so he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob Jacob gave isa bread and lentil stew and he ate and drank and rose and went away then he saw despised his birthright you know not moment the only hope that he saw had was that he would live through the night and see another day.
But the greater hope that he had was his birthright which was he had so much more importance than one bowl of soup in that moment he exchanged the greater hope for a lesser hope and that's the danger that you and I face if we aren't focused on the hope that God has called to us we might let the eyes of our heart wander and fall in love with something that is not nearly as good as the hope they got as called us to and so don't waste the room in your heart for a lesser hope.
And so that's why it's so important for us to think about hope and to know the hope that God has given to us and so are you seeing this are you seeing how the Bible is teaching us how important hope is hope leads us to maturity in being productive in our face Hope also guides in Guards our heart and finally the third thing that hope does is this when we are focused on the hope that God gives us in the Bible then hope will help us live by faith hope will help us to live by faith open your Bibles to hubris chapter a lie.
Hebrews chapter eleven the great chapter on faith and this is what the author of Hebrews writes to us about Hebrews chapter eleven beginning in verse one.
And this teaches us how hope and faith work together but it starts with hope faith is almost meaningless if it's not focused on a specific hope that's what it says and he receives a lot when one says Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen and so hope is the center of how we live once we find a hope then we can live by face based on what we hope for but verse six.
And without faith it is impossible to please God for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that he rewards those who seek Him So here in verse six says a very important phrase is impossible to please God with our face but we see that that's based on hope what is the hope there are in verse six The hope is that God is real and that if by face God is real we live to see him that we will be rewarded and then we have a really great example of someone who was acting on their hope in face they acted on their hope for seven. Years by face no being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household by this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith and so for no I always hope the God would save him from the coming wrath but he believed in God and that there was wrath coming there was a flood coming and so in face he built the ark because that was his hope and Noah preached the coming wrath to the world around him and the hope for deliverance but guess what the world around him did they never exchanged the hope that they had in. Their hearts for worldly pleasure for a better hope and that is the deliverance that God could offer them and so face is allowing us to live if we know what our hope is and so do you want to know specifically what God has told us to hope for well this is kind of my hope for the next couple weeks you know I had to we looked at a couple of passages that they mention a couple things that we can hope for we didn't get specific and we didn't define them but over the next two weeks what I'm going to do like I mentioned before as I'm going to talk about the things that we naturally hope for in life that God cautions us about because what happens when you hope for something and you don't get it you get really disappointed and that could lead to problems in your life and so we'll talk about that and and how to handle those situations but then we'll also talk about the things that God gives us confidence about and that we should we should be focusing on but I want you to look at one last verse and this is found in Romans eight thirty two so open your Bibles over to Romans eight thirty two.
In studying for this this week I was reading some articles that some other people wrote and one pastor said that his favorite verse in all the Bible is Romans eight thirty two and after reading it I can I can see why he said that it's not a verse I don't think I've ever heard anyone say that this was their favorite verse but this is at the center of his faith and ultimately ours so Romans eight let's read verses thirty one and thirty two it says What then shall we say to these things that God has for us who can be against us he who did not spare his own son but gave him up for us all how will he not also with them graciously give us ALL THINGS.
And so Paul says that along with Christ Himself God is going to I want you to get this God will give us all things with Christ and so one of those things don't you want to know what those things are and you see the. Confidence that we have in this passage because God gave up his son then we can have the confidence that God is going to give us all things along with him well we'll talk about more of that in the weeks to come but today what I'm hoping you'll do is you'll start thinking and realizing just how important your hope is God's Hope true hope and so let that whole moving you to do this me a moving you to lead you towards maturity into a productive life in Christ and made God's Hope move in you to guard and to guide your heart so that you're only giving it to the hope of God and I hope that God will pour out his hope in your life so that it will cause you to live by faith and so as you go off in these next few weeks hope they dream about the things that God has planned for you set your minds on things above you know I was thinking about this what it would look like to walk into two different types of groups of people let's say you walk into a church and just imagine what would it be like if you walked into a church whether it's our church or another church and everybody in that church building knew very clearly what their hope was and they thought about it on a daily basis what kind of environment do you think that church would be like would be just contagious and exciting there would be this sense of anticipation that all those people would have what if you walked into a room was filled with people who had no hope at all would you want to spend a lot of time with them it would be really depressing and discouraging So the next couple weeks we're going to look at these two things things to be cautious about with hope and the things that we can be confident about but in closing I want to just remind you all of our mission statement here from the church of Phoenix you walk in you see it on the wall every day every Sunday you come in here but our mission statement is that we want to develop committed followers of Jesus Christ through the teaching in encouragement of God's word in the only way that this church can be filled with people who are committed followers is if we are people of hope. Hope will make us committed to Jesus Christ can you put up that last first back or what it what it says in Romans Romans fifteen for it says. For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction that through in durance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope and so we're going to be committed followers of Christ it's going to be because we have a very firm understanding of the HOPE THE GOD has called us to and so I hope that you see today you see just how important hope is and that you will let the hope that God has revealed to us in His Word give you encouragement and the endurance for all of us to live by faith was close in prayer and look forward to the weeks to come your Lord I thank you so much for today and Lord in your words you give us hope and today we've just talked about just the importance of hope and I pray that all of us will see how true this is and Lord we might not be able to control the events that happen to us on a daily and and a weekly and a yearly basis but the one thing that we can't control are the thoughts that go through our minds and if we are able to with our minds focus on the hope that you promise to us in your word that's going to change the things that we long for change the things that we attach a heart to in all change the way that we interact with others and so Lord help us to be people of hope that if anyone were to come into these walls on a Sunday morning or any other time that we're meeting together that they would sense the hope that we have not only in this life but most especially the life to come and so Father I pray that we will be blessed by spending these weeks talking about the hope that you give to us in your holy word we pray this and Christ name him in. Now May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ the love of God the Father the fellowship of the.