Week 1 — Hope
We give hope through the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ
Call to Worship
The first week of our core values series focuses on hope. Our values statement says, we give hope through the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
As we gather this morning let us be reminded of the hope offered to us through Jesus. Isaiah 40:31 says, “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagle; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.”
[Invite children in the congregation to join you at the front of the sanctuary]
Narrator: When I was your age, I always hoped I would get to go to __________________. (Fill in the blank). What are some things you hope you will get to do or places you hope you will go?
[Have children raise their hands and invite a couple of them to respond]
Often when we think of the word hope, we think about stuff we really wish we had like a new toy or video game. Sometimes we think about stuff we hope will happen like getting a good grade or going to the zoo. But the Bible tells us that hope is something much more than wishes and wants.
When Christians talk about hope, it’s more than a wish. It means trusting that God will look after us. And when we trust in God, He gives us hope. And that makes us stronger, braver and gives us great joy!
Have you ever seen a beautiful bright sun shiny day? How about a cloudy, miserable, rainy day? Well sometimes when we have really rainy days, that keep us inside it can feel sad or frustrating. But we know the rain will stop and sunny days will come back soon. That is kind of like having hope in Jesus. Even though some days are tougher than other days, we know that we can trust in God to love us and look after us.
Let’s pray together. Dear God, thank you for always looking out for us. Thank you for giving us hope for bright sunny days even on the dark and cloudy ones. Help us to trust you everyday. Amen.
LEADER: Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.
RESPONSE: We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield.
LEADER: But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you!
RESPONSE: Find rest, O my soul in God alone; my hope comes from Him!
WOMEN: Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
MEN: They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.
LEADER: Hope does not disappoint us. God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us!
ALL: Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful!
LEADER: Therefore, prepare your minds for action. Be self-controlled. Set your hope fully on the grace to be given to you when Jesus Christ is revealed.
1 Peter 1:13
Resource found at: http://saministryhelps.ca/Toolkit/hope-christmas-responsive-reading-ppt/
Outline by Colonel Edward Hill
Scripture: Mark 10: 46-52 and Luke 18:35-43
Years ago, a team of Salvation Army officers visited the island of Ebeye in the Marshall Islands. This island is a very small and impoverished place, and terribly overpopulated. While traveling along, the officers drove by the city dump. They noticed dozens of children playing in the dump, looking for souvenirs and items that could be scavenged for their use.
The officers stopped and stepped out of the vehicle to look around. When the kids saw the officers, dressed in their SA uniforms, approaching the fence that separated the road from the dump, they ran toward the group. At the fence, the children reached through to greet the officers, repeating in broken English, “Salvation, salvation, salvation…”
This experience is emblematic of the plight facing so many in our world. Trapped behind the fence of poverty, despair, hopelessness, addiction, and loneliness, millions are crying out for salvation, salvation, salvation. They are crying out for hope.
Bartimaeus- poor, blind, and a beggar- was a person looking for hope (Mark 10:46). He struggled to survive as a member of the lowest level of society in the day of Jesus.
The good news for humanity is that hope is available today through a relationship with Jesus Christ. The Salvation Army has the privilege and the responsibility to share that hope with those in our community. Just as hope is a core value of the Canada and Bermuda Territory, so it was for Jesus Christ. Indeed, the character and ministry qualities of Jesus Christ- the ultimate hope bringer- and his example of service can guide Salvationists today to pursue a ministry of hope.
II. Exposition of the Text
A. Christ, the hope bringer, heard the man’s cry
a. Bartimaeus was a nobody in the eyes of society—blind, poor, and a beggar. He sat by the roadside on the outskirts of the city of Jericho because society excluded people with illnesses. We see his social exclusion when we read that the crowd following Jesus “rebuked him and told him to be quiet” (Luke 18:39 and Mark 10:48). But Bartimaeus shouted for Jesus all the more: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Luke 18:38-39 and Mark 10:47-48).
b. Jesus heard the blind man’s cry. And he did not ignore it. Jesus paused his busy life to respond to the voice of Bartimaeus.
c. Illustration: A loving parent stops whatever they are doing when they hear the voice of one their children crying out in need because they are tuned in and care for that child.
d. When we cry out to Jesus, he will stop and listen to our voice. We are a priority to the Lord.
B. Christ, the hope-bringer, invited Bartimaeus into his presence
a. Luke 18:40/Mark 10:49 says that Jesus “ordered the man to be brought to him.”
b. Jesus was always willing to go to the places where people were. But, in this case, Jesus calls the crowds to bring Bartimaeus closer into the group, and close enough for Jesus to talk with him and find out what he wanted.
c. It’s important that Christians bring people to Jesus.
d. Illustration: In John 1:44-49, Philip brought Nathanael to Jesus. Despite the protest and doubts that Nathanael expressed about Jesus, Philip was persuasive. Both became disciples of the Lord.
C. Christ, the hope-bringer, brought hope to Bartimaeus by removing what hindered hope
a. Jesus was able to hear Bartimaeus even over the noise of the crowd, despite the crowd hushing him.
b. Bartimaeus was persistent in getting Jesus’ attention. But what was in the way of having hope? The crowd of Jesus’ followers.
c. We read that Jesus, in his response to Bartimaeus, didn’t call to Bartimaeus directly. Instead, he spoke to the crowd telling them to bring Bartimaeus before him. Why? Because they were the ones getting in the way of Bartimaeus’ hope for healing.
d. Once the crowds encouraged Bartimaeus to go to Jesus, that hindrance was removed. Mark 10:50 records that Bartimaeus threw his cloak aside, jumped to his feet, and came to Jesus!
D. Christ, the hope-bringer, invited Bartimaeus to express his need
a. Jesus said to Bartimaeus, “What is it that you want me to do for you?” “Lord,” Bartimaeus responded, “I want to see.”
b. Jesus did what the crowd did not. He gave this blind beggar his full attention. In a very real sense, the Lord of creation, the king of kings, the master of the universe, was at his service.
c. We must not think of God as a server waiting to meet our every whim and desire. However, when we express our needs to God in all situations, he is responsive!
E. Christ, the hope-bringer, healed Bartimaeus
a. Jesus did something else the crowd didn’t do. He recognized Bartimaeus’ faithfulness. He declared in Luke 18:42 to Bartimaeus, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.”
b. Jesus won’t turn anyone seeking him away empty-handed, no matter who they are. He always proves faithful. He will always come through!
c. Illustration: The most reliable companies in the world occasionally fall short. Even if UPS and FedEx deliver 99% of their packages on time, thousands are still late and lost every year.
d. No prayer to God is ever lost; set aside or misdirected. Every prayer is answered according to God’s will for what is best for us.
e. What is the result of this encounter? We read that Bartimaeus is no longer separated from the crowd. He joins the crowd, praising God for the miracle in his life. In Luke 18:43, we see that his healing gives the crowd reason to praise God too.
III. Conclusion and Application
a. Like Jesus, Salvationist Christians must strive to be hope-bringers. We do that by serving, loving, and helping others.
b. Sometimes the only hindrances between people and the hope of healing and salvation is something we’ve put in place. Like the social exclusion of Bartimaeus. Like the fence of poverty, despair, hopelessness, addiction, and loneliness that entraps the children of Ebeye. In what ways are we like the crowd? Do we put any hindrances between people who need Jesus and the hope Jesus gives?
c. God is ready to bring hope to all who call upon his name. Let’s do the work of being bridges, not barriers, for those who need hope.