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The Power of Hope

Jeremiah prophesies the movement of God.
This sermon is part of the sermon series "The Promise of Better Days". See series.

Introduction

In this Advent season, we are looking at the theme of God's promise of better days for our lives. That is the hope of Advent and Christmas: God has done something in Christ that changes everything. For this series we will be looking at Scriptures that don't immediately strike us as relating to Advent season or the Christmas story. The connection, however, is this idea of God's promises of better days, promises that all eventually find their fulfillment in the coming of Jesus Christ. Today we look at a promise for better days recorded in the Old Testament book of Jeremiah.

The coming days

I hope you feel better. I hope you have a healthy baby. I hope I get an A in that class. I hope she likes me. I hope to make a difference in the world. I hope their marriage makes it. I hope I get the raise. I hope we have world peace by Christmas.

Everyday we use that small, magical word—hope. It's tough to live—or even make it through one day—without hope. What is hope? Based on all the examples I just gave (and the Biblical text we're going to explore) I'd define hope like this: Hope is a vision for better days that changes us in the present. Hope is a vision for better days. There's something up ahead, around the corner, in sight, and it's good. But that good future isn't just abstract, because it reaches in and transforms us in the present. So, for example, if I'm hoping for an A in my class, that hope will (at least it should) motivate me to study right now. If I'm hoping for a raise, I will work harder. If I want world peace, I can stop shouting at my own children. As a child I knew well the power of hope around this time of year, because I knew my parents would buy me toys; I had a vision for better days ...

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Matt Woodley serves as the Editor for PreachingToday.com and the Pastor of Compassion Ministries at Church of the Resurrection in Wheaton, Illinois. He is also the author of God With Us: The Gospel of Matthew (IVP).

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Sermon Outline:

Introduction

I. The coming days

II. Hope is about a promise.

III. Hope is about a person.

IV. Hope changes us in the present.

V. Hope brings risk.

Conclusion