When did you last hear a message on “hope”? Hope, along with love and faith, are essential virtues according to the Apostle Paul (1 Cor. 13:13).

“Hope” appears 121 times in the Bible, and 53 of these references are in the New Testament. Anyone remotely acquainted with the Book of Acts surely knows that the spiritual atmosphere was electric with holy wonder and anticipation in the early church. 

A good number of disciples literally saw Jesus ascend into heaven. As they stood there in amazement, the angel asked them why they were standing and gazing up to heaven. The angel proceeded with this statement, “This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). After that, they expected the imminent return of Jesus; so they went to work and witnessed the Holy Spirit working powerfully in their midst. It was in this supercharged atmosphere where miracles were birthed, and the church exploded.

Of the enduring virtues referenced in the “love chapter” (1 Cor. 13), hope is sandwiched between faith and love. And “love hopes all things” (v. 7). If this esteemed quality called hope is worthy of such merit and magnitude, why are so many Christians seemingly hopeless? Rare is it to find a church pregnant with anticipation, or actively expecting anything out of the ordinary.

Many sermons have been preached on faith and love, but not as much about hope. Personally, I have listened to a lot of messages on faith and love. But rarely a message on the subject of hope, except those dated sermons on “the blessed hope” which were popular several decades ago.

Is it possible that our current spiritual standstill is directly related to the lack of hope (hopelessness)? In the seventies things were ablaze in Bible-preaching churches. Souls were saved regularly. Excitement was the order of the day. Sermons about the second coming (the blessed hope) were common. Revivals occurred in numerous places. Scores came to faith, and the churches were alive with expectancy.

Today we are overloaded with information, but undernourished on inspiration in many quarters. Maybe the reason motivational preaching is so attractive is because it is so rare. Does not the Scripture say, “Faith cometh by hearing… the word of God” (Rom. 10:17)? Biblical preaching is designed to generate faith, not quench it! Anointed preaching does not rob the saints of expectation; to the contrary it excites anticipation. Active faith is always accompanied by hope and love. 

Jesus did not picture the end-time church huddled in a defensive position under the onslaughts of Satan. To the contrary, He predicted an aggressive band overtaking the very gates of hell (Mat. 18:16). Our generation needs hope, and the right kind of preaching will generate vigorous reliance upon God and strong hope in His promises. 

Hope has been described as the present enjoyment of a future blessing. To “hope” simply means to anticipate with pleasure. Orison Marden said, “There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something better tomorrow.” When hope dies, so does the church. When hope rises, the church will also!

Resurrecting hope in this age of fading expectations is essential to spiritual vitality. 

“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost” (Rom. 15:13).

Harold Vaughan

CLICK HERE to watch a short video on Hope by David Gibbs


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Harold Vaughan

View posts by Harold Vaughan
Evangelist Harold Vaughan is the founder of Christ Life Ministries, Inc. To date, his ministry has led him to preach in forty-eight states and many foreign countries. Click on "ABOUT" in the menu bar to learn more about Harold.
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