The hope you have…

Published on Feb 25th, 2011 by City North Baptist Church

As we continue to look at sharing Jesus in our daily lives this year it is important that we settle an issue in our own hearts first.  For too often we are apprehensive about evangelism because we consider it to be too great of a task for us.  Perhaps there is a way that we can overcome this apprehension.

1 Peter 3:15 says, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…” When we hear this verse I think we can often let our mind drift into thinking about all the different questions and critiques that people have of Christianity and we feel the burden of needing to have an answer for them all.  Creation vs evolution, suffering & evil, hypocritical Christians and so on.  This thought can be overwhelming!

But this is not what the passage is really about.  The passage is mainly about hope!  More specifically Peter doesn’t say that we need to give sharp, well-reasoned and intellectually sound arguments about the philosophy of religion, he simply says that we need to have an answer for the hope that we have.  In other words, this is not a case of needing to go and do an apologetics course before you embark on sharing Christ, rather it encourages us to grapple instead with the source of our hope.

It is easy to sit in church each week and sing and share about our hope in God but I wonder what the people we work with would say we are hoping in?  People in this world put their hope in many things: career, money, possessions, power, relationships & sex; unfortunately many people in the church hope in exactly the same things.  John Piper says, “If our own hope does not spring up from something Christ did and said then it is a mere sham to try to make a case for anyone else to hope in Christ.” He makes the point that the reason that no one asks you about the hope you have is because you are probably hoping in the same things they are.

One of the first things we are going to have to confront if we are to embark on the challenge of sharing Christ in our day to day lives is the question our own source of hope.  Finding your source of hope might be as simple as asking yourself two questions:

  1. What makes me angry?
  2. What am I prepared to sacrifice for?

These questions will reveal those things or people in whom you have placed your hope.  The things that evoke feelings of anger and the things that you are prepared to do anything to get/keep, these are the true source of your hope.  Unless you can honestly say that your hope in totally different than the rest of the world you will rarely be asked to give a reason for it.  But if Christ is truly your hope then expect to be quizzed!  A life that truly hopes in Christ is so radically different to this world that it will be a cause for confusion, discussion and most importantly questions.  And if you have grappled with the reason you hope in Christ and found that reason in the freedom, forgiveness and eternal security that His death and resurrection purchased for you… then you will already have your answer!