Jer 17:5-14, Rom 8:18-39
People always start the new year with optimism – but it does not last long, and hope dissipates. Every year we look for something better, every year we are disappointed! Do you have hope for 2018? Is there any reason for hope? What reason do YOU have? For the world, for you personally?
Decline is a NORMAL part of existence! There is natural deterioration in all. It is even a quantity in engineering – entropy, where a small increase is good. But it will increase! This includes spiritual things, so these also deteriorate. So hope is false, it is presumption … Unless God gives it! He is the creator!
As Christians, we do have hope! First because there is a resurrection (Acts 24:15). Paul writes, “If for this life only …” (1 Cor 15:19). We know that eventually things will be OK, but more than this, we have resurrection life NOW (cf Jn 6:40 etc)! A foretaste only of what will come.
Secondly, we have hope! Because God loves us (Rom 5:5). This is because we know salvation. So our hope comes out of suffering (Rom 5:3), both from His and our’s – what was experienced. It is the Spirit who gives hope (Rom 5:4) - do you know the filling of God’s Spirit?
Having hope then affects us, because if we know we will meet God we must be pure (1 Jn 3:3), living a life worthy of our hope. We shall be like Him (1 Jn 3:2). Our life should reflect our hope.
Then we can GIVE hope to a generation that has lost it. Hope gives a reason for our witness so be ready to explain your hope (1 Pet 3:15). If we have hope, then we can be bold! (2 Cor 3:12).
This hope does not get lost, but abides (1 Cor 13:13, Heb 11:1), throughout 2018, and forever. It stays as it is based on faith which gives eternal life. It then results in a love which is also eternal.