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A Growing Hope!
Easter is the season of hope.
Easter sings, exults, and rejoices in hope.
- Hope is a motivating force most of us experience.
- Hope springs eternal, says the poet.
- Hope is why you get out of bed in the morning, ready and eager for another day of opportunity and challenge.
- Hope is why couples bring children into the world in spite of dire predictions of job scarcity,
high cost of homes, and nuclear annihilation.
- Hope is why we keep getting excited about presidential campaigns, and believe again all those promises.
- Hope is why a person gets married the second or third time.
- Hope is why we are able to deal with the death of a loved one, and face the inevitability of our own death.
- Hope is why refugees flee from political oppression or economic hardship, and are so determined
to succeed in this, their new land.
- Hope is why a child practices the trumpet or flute diligently and faithfully, year after year,
so that someday he/she can have a career in music.
Most of us live by hope.
- Hope is why people contribute their time and money to churches, because they believe the church
can make a difference in people's lives.
- Hope is why we have confidence in the future, confident that God's plan for the creation will ultimately be fulfilled.
Hope is a basic motivating force of life.
People without hope are depressed, and live in despair.
On this Easter morning, let me ask two questions:
First question -- what is the basis of your hope?
- What is the basis of your hope?
- And, for what do you hope?
What are the roots?
Are they adequate?
- Is your hope adequate?
- Is your hope able to sustain you, get you out of the bed in the morning with zest and enthusiasm,
and give you the endurance to withstand setbacks, problems, and crises?
- Is your hope growing with the rapid changes in today's world, or are you increasingly overwhelmed?
What is the basis of your hope?
- Are you able to meet the challenges of life in the present?
- Is your ability to cope constantly being tested and tried?
- Is your hope growing or shrinking?
- In what is your hope rooted or grounded?
- Do you get out of bed in the morning hopefully because you're sure the sun will rise?
- In what is your hope grounded?
- Is it confidence in your ability to handle whatever happens?
- Confidence in the human race?
- In the stock market?
What is your ground for hope?
- Or the veracity of the government?
- Or do you have hope in the future because you have confidence in the good intentions of our government?
Is it adequate?
Perhaps one reason for a widespread sense of hopelessness and despair among people today is because
the roots of hope are shallow, and not strong enough to support the tree when the wind blows.
In order to withstand the cyclones, the earthquakes, and tornadoes -- the strong winds of changing times,
moral lapses, cloudy motives, and the greed of powerful people in high places, roots of hope need to go deeply into the soil.
The sure ground for hope is a belief in Easter, where the roots of hope are grounded
in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
We can live confidently and hopefully because of Easter.
- The victory of God is assured.
- The power of God has been demonstrated.
You don't seem to get discouraged easily; you seem to have an indomitable faith,
- When you are asked, "Why are you cheerful?
- Why are you so positive?
- Why are you so hopeful?
and a strong sense of hope.
Why?" You can answer, "I have hope because God raised Jesus from the dead.
I have hope because the Lord is risen!"
I rejoice this morning because we have good news.
Therefore, our hope can grow, our hope can withstand all the storms of life.
- We have a promise.
- We have a faith.
- We have a God who raised Jesus from the dead!
We read in Romans 10:9: "If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart
that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."
This promise has a twofold condition: first, confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord,
which means that you trust Jesus with your eternal soul.
Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour.
Invite Jesus to come and live in your heart.
Confess with your lips.
Secondly, believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead.
Believe that God raised Jesus from the dead!
You will be saved.
You can get up in the morning with hope, and face the future confidently.
Because because your hope is grounded in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Second question: For what do you hope?
On that Sunday morning, the women went to the tomb of Jesus.
- For what are you living?
- What are your goals and priorities?
- For what are you willing to sacrifice?
- In what do you invest your time and money?
- They found the tomb open and empty.
- They were dismayed.
- They were frightened.
- Their capacity to hope had been dashed to pieces when Jesus died on Friday.
- Their hope for the future, their hope for the coming of God's kingdom, had been shattered by the death of Jesus.
- They found the tomb empty.
- They were bewildered and confused.
Jesus had stirred such hope within them.
- Why was everything changing?
- Why was everything being disrupted?
Now everything was gone.
- His words burned within them.
- His ideals gave them hope.
The enemies had conquered, and now, even the tomb had been broken into and the body taken.
While they wept, two angels appeared to the women, and asked a startling question.
- Now what would they do?
- Where would they go?
"Why do you seek the living among the dead?"
Why do you look for the living in a cemetery?
You can't find life in that which is dead.
Many put their hope in bank accounts, in luxuries, in money and things that will not last.
- Don't put your hope in something that is dead.
- Do you want to give your life for dead things?
- Do you want to invest your money, dreams, energy and hope in dead things?
W. E. Sangster, visited the United States a few years ago, and observed that Americans,
have the nicest homes, the most cars, the greatest wealth, and write the most books on how to be happy!
The past is dead; it's gone.
- Why put your hope in dead things that will not bring happiness?
- Why put your hope in the dead past, in yesterday, the good old days?
You can't reclaim the years that are gone.
A reporter interviewed three old men sitting on a park bench.
- Why put your hope in a dead past?
- Why put your hope in bottles, pills, or needles?
He asked them what they did and how old they were.
Surprised and impressed, the reporter asked, "And how old are you?"
- The first old man answered, "I play checkers and I'm 91."
- The second old man replied, "I play checkers and I'm 95."
- The third old man answered, "I drink three pints of whiskey a day,
smoke five packs of cigarettes, take cocaine when I can get it, and stay out all night."
His answer: "27!"
Why put your hope in dead things, dead dreams, dead visions, ideas that don't work anymore, outdated concepts?
This how our world can be changed!
- Put your hope in that which is alive, that which is growing.
- Put your hope in the hands of God.
One person at a time coming to Christ!
My grandchildren planted a little seed in a plastic cup.
The plant grew and had beautiful blooms.
The grandchildren loved it.
They were proud of their plant.
The day came when the plant died.
They have learned that plants, goldfish, and people die.
Thank God, they have also learned that they didn't have to fear death.
They have learned that Jesus died, rose again, and they love Jesus.
There is hope for everyone in Christ.
When death comes, you will not fear, if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus
and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
And we, who are in Christ, have a responsibility to live in hope.
- Only in Christ is there hope!
- Only in Christ can those dead in their sins find life.
This is what a lost world needs to see!
You and I are the gospel they read!
Sermon by Dr. Harold L. White
Email Dr. White at firstname.lastname@example.org