Genuine hope is in short supply these days. Some people talk about it, a lot of people wish for it, but few people have it. Real hope is not something we can manufacture on our own. The Bible says it is granted by God. He’s willing to give it, and when he does it is always authentic, fact-based and will endure for eternity.

The Bible joyfully expresses the reality of God’s gift of hope when it states: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade – kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:3-5).  Thankfully there is real hope – a “living hope” – that God is pleased to grant us. It is available and it can be ours today!

Unfortunately, most people are busy putting their hope in all the wrong things. Consider those who have put their hope in their bank accounts, their stock portfolios and their retirement funds. Even when their uncertain investments do well, they still find that their money failed to provide what they really hoped it would. Others are hoping that the “goodness” of mankind will prevail and that we will we all live in peace and harmony. But wars and hatred never fail to erupt. Our post 9-11 world reminds us that those who have trusted in an insulated and love-filled America were hoping in vain.

For you, it may be something much more personal. Maybe there have been certain hopes you’ve held onto throughout your life:  the hope for a better standard of living, which the job market just hasn’t provided. Or maybe you’ve hoped for an expanding family, a new baby – but infertility has deflated that hope. It could be that you’ve put your hope in good health and your happiness was tied to that – until the doctor gave you your test results and that hope was stolen. Or like so many in our country, maybe you’ve been clinging to the hope that you would acquire the picture-perfect family. But instead you’re facing marital problems or formidable and grievous challenges with your children.

In this world we grasp for hope. But God is holding out to us a whole different kind of hope. For thousands of years he has been saying, “I have a hope for you. It’s a living hope. All you have to do is drop all the others and take it. This kind of hope will never spoil, it will never fade and thieves can’t break in and steal it; rust won’t corrode it – it’s a hope that lasts.” It’s the kind of hope that moves beyond our material world. Jesus spoke of this transcendent hope when he said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). That’s a strange statement coming from a “Rabbi” who is sitting on a rock on the side of an ancient Israeli landscape. “I have overcome the world” – I’m sure that was a baffling thing for the disciples to hear. It was certainly connected to that phrase in 1 Peter 1, and was founded in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It’s something we need to understand as it relates to our lives today and it is why Christ’s bodily resurrection is so important. Without the resurrection, we have no real hope. We cannot experience it and we will have none to offer our hurting and hopeless world.

It was no exaggeration when the Apostle Paul wrote, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins,” And he went on to say, “If only for this life we have hoped in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men” (1 Corinthians 15:17-18). You have to feel sorry for Christians if the hope we possess only endures for a lifetime. But clearly biblical hope is much more than that. The hope God gives is a hope that the world can’t mess up. It’s a hope that terrorists can’t steal. It’s a hope that the crime in our communities can’t take away. It’s a hope that the doctor’s tests can’t touch. It’s a hope that moves beyond this life and endures for eternity!

— Pastor Mike

 

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