Bryan Chapell in his amazing book on preaching Christ-Centered Preaching says that what the great preachers through out history have in common is that their preaching was always full of hope. When I listen to the great preachers of today I find Chapell’s assessment absolutely correct. Hope is encouraging and inspirational and therefore it makes sense that we want to listen to preachers who are encouraging and inspirational. As Christians we have the message of the gospel which is a message of great hope. We need to bring this message of hope to our hopeless world. But I think there are 3 areas we need to convey hope to our people.
1. Hope about the past.
Most people, religious or not, are walking around with what I call background noise guilt. That is, we have all done things that we are ashamed of and we know if there is a God in heaven that he would not be pleased with the choices and decisions we have made and we seem to carry this guilt around with us all the time, so much that it becomes background noise. We need to confront this background noise guilt with the hope of the gospel which says that their sins past, present and future are all taken away in Jesus and what he did on the cross.
2. Hope about the present
People at church and people we are trying to reach have a common desire to change for the better. We all have areas that we need to change and those areas weigh us down. But there is hope that through Holy Spirit working through the word in conjunction with a church community we can grow and change throw off the sin that easily entangles and become the people that God wants us to be. We need to be repeating the message of great hope “Through the gospel you can change!”
3. Hope about the future
As a society we do not know where we are going or what is around the corner. But as Christians we have the hope of the resurrection and eternal life. We have the hope of standing before Jesus on that last day completely forgiven and right with him. We have the hope of standing before Jesus and hearing the words “Well done good and faithful servant!” When Christians look to the future it is not doom and gloom. Yes, it may be foggy but it is full of hope because the God of all hope is already there and he has made promises that he will keep and it is these promises that give us great hope.
How are you going to bring hope to your people this Sunday when you preach?
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