Wednesday, May 19, 2010

It’s Time for Hope

During the darkest days of exile and defeat, God spoke through the prophet Jeremiah, “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.” (Jer. 29:11).

It is hard to find hope today. People have lost faith in the government, in the church and maybe, even, in God. Global warming, terrorism, and financial crises dominate the news. Church leaders seem to spend more time attacking each other than being a blessing. Not all the troubles are national. We suffer physical pain, emotional turmoil and spiritual struggles.

Despite all this and BECAUSE of it, IT IS TIME FOR HOPE.

Biblical and historical revivals have come during times of turmoil and despair. The Great Awakening and Second Great Awakening came to America during times of moral decay and political turmoil. They left hundreds of new churches in their wake. More localized revivals have occurred that have resulted in establishing institutions and movements that have spread the gospel in new areas and in new ways.

Revivals eventually begin to wane but they leave a new high-water mark for the Kingdom. God is building His Kingdom but 2000 years later some still doubt its existence. God’s Kingdom didn’t seem impressive at first because it was often hidden and unseen. His kingdom dwells in hearts rather than the halls of government. For two thousand years this unstoppable kingdom force has been on the move.

The tiny mustard seed has mushroomed and multiplied across the world. An escaped slave named Patrick returns to his captors and establishes the church in Ireland. A shoemaker named William Carey goes to India and translates the Bible into the indigenous languages and establishes the church there. John Wesley preached in the streets of London and sparked a revival that spilled into America.

Even so, the forces of darkness continue to terrorize us. Our most ancient Christian churches in Palestine, Iraq, Turkey and Egypt are persecuted by the non-Christian majority. Our historic inner-city churches are closing, Innocent people still starve to death, and children still die in wars. Marriages still fall apart, and churches still split. Injustice still plagues us, greed and lust still devour us, and lost people still die and spent eternity apart from God.

Biblical hope reminds us that none of these dark forces will have the last word. This hope kept Paul preaching the gospel while sitting on death row.

Our hope greater than the world we live in. We live in hope as an ever-present reality in our lives. A selfless hope that knows, “All things work together for good to those who love the Lord.” (Ro 8:28)

Sermon Audio

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