Huddles: January 23, 2019
Below is the plan for you to follow as you lead out this study. At the end of this post we have attached the full curriculum that includes some very helpful Bible background and commentary to help you as you prepare to lead. Our prayer for you is that the Lord will bring this Scripture to life in your own life and that your leading will be an overflow from that! Let us know if you have any questions.
The Lead In
Last week we talked about faith and how it is an attitude. Today we are talking about hope. We all put our hope (and hopes) somewhere. Maybe it’s the Patriots or the Rams (lame Super Bowl joke).
What are some things that you hope for? Things that you hope will happen or hope to receive?
Some of these things, we have no control over. We just hope it will happen, but we can’t influence the outcome. These are things like the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series or you winning the Power Ball lottery. You can hope it will happen. You can go to a game or buy a ticket, but you cannot influence the outcome. And the odds are really not in your favor that your desired outcome is going to happen.
Today, we’re talking about a hope that is similar, in that you can’t determine the outcome. However, it is different because it’s a hope that you can put trust in—there is a guaranteed outcome. Let’s go to the Scripture.
Let’s read Romans 4:18–25.
Romans 4:18-25 (NIV)
Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.
So, this passage gives us a glimpse into Abraham’s mindset regarding a promise he had received from God.
What was Abraham’s situation? Where was his mindset and what did God promise him?
- He had received a promise from God that he would have children;
- He was way past the years adults have kids;
- He believed God could and would keep His promise.
What is Paul saying in this passage?
How does having hope in God differ from having hope in anything else?
That is what the Bible refers to as hope. It’s not a “maybe this will happen” kind of hope. It’s a “trusting in God to come through” kind of hope. This is the kind of hope you would have if the only question on your final algebra exam was “1+1.” It’s a sure-thing kind of hope.
Can others see that you have hope in something supernatural?
How do others see that you have hope in God’s promises?
Obedience and joy in the midst of hardship/suffering
Have you been let down by something or someone you put your hope in?
How has God’s faithfulness strengthened your hope? How has God made you more confident in Him and His promises?
This brings us to our main point for today, which is another description of faith: GOD’S PLAN IS MY BEST HOPE.
In other words, the one thing that you should put all your hope in is the fact (it is a fact) that God has a plan and purpose for you. And, in case you’re thinking, “God has no plan for my life,” or, “I was an accident,” or, “I’m used up,” or, “I’m unlovable,” or, “I’ll amount to nothing” … let me read you a verse that should tell you otherwise.
Ephesians 2:9–10 (NLT)
“Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
The first thing we need to realize about hope is that it begins with God. We have to have faith in Him before we can have faith in Him keeping His Word.
Check out verses Romans 4:20 and 21 again. It says:
“Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.”
What was Abraham’s faith based on?
His faith was not based on a gift He expected to receive. His faith was based on the ability of the gift-giver. It was because Abraham had faith in God, and what He was capable of doing that he chose to hope in the promise God gave him.
Later in Romans, Paul talks about hoping in God again, and the verse shows us the effects of hoping in God. He writes:
Romans 15:13 (ESV)
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
That verse shows that our hope for the future is directly linked to our belief in God today. God is the one who gives us hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. In fact, Paul doesn’t just say that God gives hope. It says we will abound in hope. That means we’re going to have more and more of it, even more than we need. We will have it in abundance. And it all comes from God.
What are some things that people trust their life and future to these days?
Some answers might be money, education, investments, retirement, fame, athletics, relationships, etc.
Is there anything wrong with these things?
Are they, by definition, sinful? No! BUT, are they anything to put our ultimate hope in? Absolutely not. Any of these things can be gone in an instant. We must put our hope in something greater than these. That thing, or person, is God.
We put our trust in Christ, and He becomes our eternal hope. Look back at Romans 4.
Romans 4:22–25 (NIV)
The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.
See? It says that God makes us righteous, or sinless, in his eyes, because of our faith in Jesus.
Last Word and Application
So, it’s simple to see that the best thing for us to trust in is God’s plan for our life. GOD’S PLAN IS OUR BEST HOPE. There will never be a better plan. That plan begins with giving your life to Him and letting him be in the driver’s seat. It means trading your hopes and dreams, which may or may not come about, for His hopes and dreams for you, which are guaranteed to come true.
Where is your hope?
When life is the worst, where do you turn for relief?
What does your life reveal about where you’ve placed your hope?
Have you surrendered your life completely to Jesus?
What areas in your life do you tend to pull back from God’s control?
Do you think these areas could be something you don’t trust God with and you think your plan is better?
How can this group help you continually put your hope in God?