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                          "SPIRITUAL WELLNESS"

                         How Well Do You Hope?

INTRODUCTION

1. Our checkup regarding spiritual wellness has asked, "How Well Do
   You..."
   a. Hear?          e. Talk?
   b. Read?          f. Give?
   c. Pray?          g. Love?
   d. Sing?

2. Finally, we ask "How Well Do You Hope...?"
   a. From the Greek, elpis, which means "favorable and confident
      expectation"
   b. A popular definition:  desire plus expectation of the unseen - cf.
      Ro 8:24-25

[Hope is an important aspect of what it means to be a Christian (cf. 1Co
13:13; 1Th 1:3).  The degree of hope one has reveals much about the
state of their spiritual wellness...]

I. DEGREES OF HOPE

   A. THOSE WITH NO HOPE...
      1. Such as the Gentiles without God - Ep 2:12
      2. Who sorrow greatly over the loss of loved ones - 1Th 4:13
      -- Which describes many in the world today

   B. THOSE WITH LIVING HOPE...
      1. Such as those in Christ - 1Pe 1:3-5
      2. Who have been given good hope by grace - 2Th 2:16
      3. Enabling them to rejoice in hope - Ro 12:12
      -- Which ought to describe every Christian today

   C. THOSE WITH LITTLE HOPE...
      1. Who may actually have reason to hope
      2. But rarely think about their hope
      3. Because they are weighed down with worldliness and worldly
         cares - Lk 21:34
      -- Which sadly describes many Christians today

[Yet just as faith and love are critical to our spiritual well-being, so
also is our hope...]

II. IMPORTANCE OF HOPE

   A. FOR MOTIVATION...
      1. We have the hope of one day being like Jesus - 1Jn 3:2
      2. This hope serves to motivate one to purify oneself - 1Jn 3:3;
         cf. 2Co 7:1
      -- Without a vibrant hope, we have little or no motivation to grow
         spiritually

   B. FOR STRENGTH...
      1. Hope produces patience (endurance) - 1Th 1:3
      2. Hope leads to eagerly waiting for that which is come - Ro
         8:24-25
      -- Without a vibrant hope, we have little or no strength to
         persevere to the end

   C. FOR JOY...
      1. We rejoice in hope of the glory of God - Ro 5:2
      2. Such joyful hope leads to patience in tribulation - cf. Ro
         12:12
      -- Without a vibrant hope, our Christian lives are joyless,
         sometimes filled with despair

[Since hope is so important to our spiritual well-being, what can we do
to increase our hope...?]

III. INCREASING OUR HOPE

   A. BY READING THE SCRIPTURES...
      1. The Scriptures are intended to produce hope - Ro 15:4
      2. Paul had reference to the OT, how much more true regarding the
         NT - e.g., 1Pe 1:3-5
      -- Just as faith comes by the Word of God, so hope comes by the
         Word of God!

   B. BY FOCUSING ON THE GRACE TO COME...
      1. Resting our hope fully on the grace to come when Jesus returns
         - 1Pe 1:13
      2. What is the grace to be brought to us when He comes?
         a. The resurrection from the dead - 1Co 15:50-58; 1Th 4:13-18
         b. The revealing of our glory together with Christ - Col 3:4
         c. The heavenly city whose builder is God - He 11:10,16; 13:14
         d. Which includes a new heavens and new earth - 2Pe 3:13-14;
            cf. Re 21:1-7,10-11
         e. With access to the water of life and tree of life in the
            presence of God - Re 22:1-5
      -- Rest our hope fully on the grace to come by contemplating it
         often!

CONCLUSION

1. Our spiritual health is reflected by the quality of our hope...
   a. Do we possess a favorable and confident expectation of things to
      come?
   b. Does our hope for the future look beyond the difficulties and end
      of this life?

2. God and Jesus has given us every reason to have a vibrant hope, but
   that is affected by...
   a. How well we hear           e. How well we talk
   b. How well we read           f. How well we give
   c. How well we pray           g. How well we love
   d. How well we sing           h. How well we hope

As we conclude this series, I do so with these two prayers of the
apostle Paul that certainly relate to spiritual wellness...

   Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in
   believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the
   Holy Spirit. - Ro 15:13

   Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and
   may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless
   at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. - 1Th 5:23
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