Hope is essential! Do you have hope? Do you know what hope is?
Hope is our forward outlook to be in Christ forever. This produces Joy. Heb. 11:1, "the substance of things hoped for".
Principal passages: Luke 12:15-21; John 16:33; Acts 14:22; I Cor. 4:8-13; II Cor. 4:7-18; 5:6-8; Rom. 15:13; Phil. 1:21-24; I Tim. 1:1; II Tim. 4:7-8; Heb. 6:18-19; 1 Pet 1:1-2.
Hope is from these passages is a call to continue in prayer and faithfulness. In that way, we can continue to be better used by our Lord. We are to remain firm in our stand of faith even when life is falling apart around us, and when we do not see hope or the light at the end of the tunnel. The call is to be encouraged and to stand firm. When we persevere in our faith, we allow God to use us even more where we are. Then, we learn and we grow further in Him, which helps us grow and be used more. This is circular. The more we endure, the more we grow. Then, the more we are used, the more we go through and so forth. This is the spiral of our faith-building that draws us higher in Him. When we are growing, we are ministering, too. As our faith grows, we are more likely to hear God's call, see the needs of others, and find opportunities to serve. Our faith development is not to be selfish, although the primary benefit is for ourselves, but we also are to see how it affects others. When we grow, then we inspire, encourage, and minister to others faster and better!
Living hope is one of the main, running themes of the epistle of First Peter. It does not indicate wishing or thinking positively; rather, it refers to the confidence and conviction we have that our living God keeps His promises and secures us in Him. It is the assurance-and fact-that God has redeemed us, will bless us, and will care for us (1 Peter 1:1-13, 21; 3:15).
So what is our call in this? To be joyful, thankful, and glad! To honor and enjoy our inherence and love that we have received, so it overflows to others around us. Then, we can grow and endure through all things! Why? Because, we will face trials and sufferings, they are a part of this world and life. There is no escape from them. We can either learn to grow or withdraw and stagnate!
- What verbs and adjectives can you think of to describe faith and hope?
- What do you expect to do and receive in the Christian faith? What does God except you to do and be? How are these different or similar?
3. How would you describe what it means to have full confidence, trust, and assurance in Christ?
4. When have you exercised in what you hoped for and it happened? How did you feel? What about when it has not yet come about?
5. How have you exercised a deep conviction of trust and confidence in something? A stock tip? A school? A job? A family remember or friend? How does this relate to how you trust in Christ?
6. How do you know that what you hope for is in line with God's will? What must our real hope be in? How can you implement this more?
7. What can you do to know and feel that Jesus Christ is real when you can't see Him or physically behold what He has for you? How do you know He is real?
8. What gets in the way of your having more authentic hope? How is your response of faith evidenced as you live out your life? What about during times of stress and confusion?
- How does it make you feel that you have God's approval when you exercise real and effectual faith?
- How is your life centered in Christ? Where does trusting Him for your provision come into play? How have you seen this at work in your church? What happens when we just wait and do nothing? What is a balance between the right timing and when we are to act?
- How has faith called you to action? How has complacency or foolishness or apathy gotten in the way of what Christ had or has for you? What do you need to do now about developing more faith?
- What can you and your church do to communicate encouragement or staying power; so it is contagious for others, as in "you can do it, too?"
© 1992, 2001, 2004, R. J. Krejcir, Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development www.churchleadership.org/