I.         What are the things that you hope for?

            A.        In other words, what do you expect the future to hold for you?

            B.        Hope is the upper limit on the things that we gain. You will not do much better than what you expect from yourself.

            C.        The pessimist versus the optimist

                        1.         Church growth

                                    a.         Pessimist - “Look at the problems here. It is no wonder we don’t grow.”

                                    b.         Optimist - “The fields are white to harvest.”

                        2.         Becoming a Christian

                                    a.         Pessimist - “It is too difficult to be a Christian. There are too many things that I can’t do.”

                                    b.         Optimist - “Heaven is too glorious to pass up.”

II.        There is hope within each of us - I Pet. 3:15

            A.        That hope saved us (Rom. 8:23-25).

                        1.         It set a goal before us that we truly want.

                        2.         A goal we want so badly, that we will expend great effort to overcome any obstacle.

            B.        Hope gets us through difficulties - Rom. 5:1-5

                        1.         And when we overcome the difficulties, it leads to increased hope.

                        2.         A cycle that continues to grow.

            C.        God gave us his word to build hope within us - Rom. 15:4

                        1.         An example is Abraham - Rom. 4:16-18

                                    a.         Though it defied logic, beyond reasonable expectation, Abraham trusted God.

                                    b.         He expected (hoped) that God would fulfill his promise of a son.

                        2.         Abraham’s hope was not in this world, but in the one to come - Heb. 11:8-16

            D.        The wicked may despair, but the righteous have hope for better things - Pr. 14:32

                        1.         Heb. 6:17-19 - Hope is our anchor. That which keeps us firm in our beliefs.

                        2.         Hope inspires us to improve ourselves - I Jn. 3:2-3

III.       Look at what we could become!

            A.        Col. 1:21-23 - We rise above our wicked past to become righteous, blameless. But only if we remain steadfast in our hope.

            B.        II Thess 2:16-17 - Hope not only gives us permanent comfort, but gives us the stable platform from which to do every good work.

            C.        Col. 1:3-6 - Our hope of a future reward in heaven causes us to bring forth the fruits of righteousness

IV.      Any old hope will not do

            A.        Eph. 2:12 - Without God there is no hope. Any hope that we could have would only be in this world and this life will end.

            B.        I Thess 4:13-14 - Christians have hope in a life beyond this life. This life isn’t all there is!

            C.        God watches out for those who place their hope in him - Ps. 33:18-19

V.        But it means we have to act on our hope

            A.        You may claim a hope, but if that hope doesn’t spur you on to greater things, then it is a vain hope. You don’t truly expect to receive; you don’t truly trust your God!

            B.        You must first be obedient to God. Start done the road of righteousness by becoming a child of God.

            C.        As you live a Christian life, you expectation of where you are going and who you can become will spur you to greater and greater things.

            D.        Ps. 31:23-24 - God will truly bless us.