Study Guide: The Hope of the Hope of the World

Sunday August 28, 2016 | Seth McCoy

Focus Scripture:

Brief Summary:

Hope is a vital part of life. In this segment of our summer series on the Holy Spirit, Seth explores how the Holy Spirit fuels our hope by giving us a vision of God’s plan for the world and by empowering us to take action towards bringing that plan into reality.

Extended Summary:

Jesus came to offer lavish gifts to humanity. He offers forgiveness of sins, a fresh start, and eternal life. He offers a personal relationship to each of us. To those who accept his invitation, he offers the Church – a body of believers who will encourage one another, pour out their gifts for one another, and who corporately offer themselves in love and service to the surrounding community. He promises that the world will one day be restored to his original intentions. Finally, Jesus promises that there will never again be anything standing between a believer and God. All of these gifts and promises form the foundation of our hope.

Hope is a vital part of human existence. It consists of two components: vision and action. A vision is a picture of the future that produces passion and commitment in people. Vision engages the imagination and creates “What if…?” people. WHC is housed in a building that used to sell supplies for home improvement. But then a small group of people looked at that home improvement store and said “What if…?” Their vision was eventually met with action. They took steps to bring it into reality. Now WHC is housed in a building that has hosted weddings and funerals. It has been a place where people connect, and where lives have been transformed. It’s been the location where many have been introduced to a more beautiful, hope-filled picture of God.

God has a plan to accomplish his hope for humanity. His plan is to use the Church, equipped with the vision and power of the Holy Spirit. When Jesus took his place at the right hand of the Father, the job of realizing God’s plan for our world was delegated to us. But before Jesus left, he gave us the Holy Spirit. This was his earnest promise that even though Jesus isn’t here in flesh, the Spirit is our reminder and hope that Jesus hasn’t abandoned us. He hasn’t abandoned this project, this hope, and he’ll always be with us.

Yet even with this gift of the Holy Spirit, believers sometimes feel a lack of hope in their lives. What can you do when you start to lose hope? First remember that hope is like a muscle – it can be grown and developed. Then consider taking these four steps towards building your hope:

1. Look back. Remember the ways God has been faithful in your own life and look back through Scripture at ways God has worked in and through humanity.

2. Look to others. This is why the community of the church is so important. As brothers and sisters in Christ, we can borrow the faith and hope of others when we’re feeling depleted.

3. Ask God for a fresh vision. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with fresh vision of what he wants to accomplish in and around you.

4. Take a step. Determine what the first step is towards fulfilling that vision and get busy moving in that direction.

Remember that God’s story is still unfolding. His work, and our work, is not yet done. We can hold to the hope that because of what God has done in Christ, the best is yet to come.

Reflection Questions:

  1. Reflect on times in your life when you’ve been filled with hope and other times when you have felt hopeless. What shape is your hope in right now?
  2. Building our hope requires vision and action. Ask the Holy Spirit to increase your vision for what he wants to do in and through you. Spend a few moments envisioning that these changes have already occurred. How is life different? How are you different? How do these changes feel?
  3. Make a list of three small steps that you can take to make this vision become a reality. Which one can you do today?