TITUS 3: 1-8


  1. Introduction

Hope is such a wonderful word. It is forward looking and optimistic yet although hope is about the future it impacts us positively now. On the other hand a lack of hope is the opposite. It is drudgery – it is that we cannot see; there’s no vision. When we are without hope we feel stuck in the quagmire, flitting around trying escape the hopelessness but never actually doing so. When we feel hopeless it also has a physical impact. Maybe we find ourselves not sleeping well, or feeling tearful, timid, a lack of appetite. It’s an awful thing to have no hope.

Maybe that is how you have felt with Covid. A recent briefing from the Mental Health Foundation said that:

  • Almost one in five (19 per cent) of UK adults feeling hopeless
  • More than one-quarter (27 per cent) of unemployed people feeling hopeless
  • Almost one-third (32 per cent) of young adults aged 18-24 feeling hopeless
  • Almost one-third (31 per cent) of people with pre-existing mental health conditions feeling hopeless

The Prime Minister this week talked of a new Jerusalem that in the darkest moments we can see the bright future ahead. But what is that hope based on? I don’t mean to be unkind – but it is based on a feeling – or at best – it’s kind of been ok in the past – so it should kind of be ok in the future. And of course the Prime Minister is talking about a bright economic future. He thinks we will be better off. But he doesn’t know that. It is not based in fact or truth. It is simply a hunch.

Let me talk to you about a hope that has complete foundation and truth. It is the hope of the Christian.

So what is Christian hope based on? And sometimes when everything is as it is – we feel completely hopeless. There’s a danger here and that we think that because of the enormous concern you may have at the moment, that in that feeling of hopelessness, you may feel that somehow you are letting the side down. You might find yourself thinking:

“I am a Christian. I should have that hope of God in me but I feel swamped by worries and concerns. What type of Christian am I?”

But notice that Jesus speaks about worry and fear (for instance Matthew 6: 34 where he says “do not worry”). Jesus doesn’t say – you’re a Christian and therefore you will never feel fear or worry. See the difference? If we were never going to worry as Christians – Jesus would hardly say “don’t worry”. He danger is that because we are worrying or anxious or feeling hopeless that we believe the lie that we are not a Christian or not a very good one. No! What Jesus is saying is that we shouldn’t stay in the worry.

We are in a spiritual battle and the work of the devil – is to take away your joy of being a child of God: and where he attacks is often to muddy the waters so much that you think you rae not a Christian or not a very good one. So the antidote is to remind ourselves of the truth because he is the father of hopelessness. He snatches your hope.

So let us remind ourselves of the truth:

2. God saved you on basis of his character

Imagine you are at school and it’s PE and everyone is lined up for football or hockey or whatever game it is. And you get called forward to be one of the team captains. And you stand in front of the other students. The teacher turns to you and says: you choose first. You look at all the potential team members in front of you: who are you going to choose? Easy – you will choose the best player. He or she is the best footballer or hockey player. So you choose accordingly.

So how does God choose? Does he choose the best? The most intelligent? The most gifted? The best looking?

God doesn’t choose on the basis of wealth, intelligence, whether you are good looking or if you are St Christopher’s answer to Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. Look at what God does in verses 4-5:

But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. Titus 3: 4-5a 

The basis of God saving us (putting you right with him) is on the basis of his kindness, love and mercy. God doesn’t save you because you are great – but because he is great.

Aren’t you glad you are saved by God and not by the good things you have done? Would you choose you knowing your record?

3. The hope of the future

So we have looked at the past – what about the future? Look at verse 7

So that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life (Titus 3: 7)

This sounds a bit woolly because of the translation which doesn’t quite get the point across here. So this is how The Message version translates it:

God’s gift has restored our relationship with him and given us back our lives. And there’s more life to come—an eternity of life! You can count on this.

When does eternal life start? We think it means – when we die. But think about it – eternal life starts now. It is not pie in the sky when we die. But steak on our plate whilst we wait.

So you may be going through all sorts of anxieties now. But remember the difference between you and the atheist (and I mean no disrespect to the atheist). With all these problems and anxieties and concerns about the future – whether this will happen or that will happen – the atheist has no one to go to.  In the tidal wave of worry and that feeling of helplessness – the atheist has nowhere to go. They’re on their own. But you have somewhere to go. You can go to Jesus. 1 Peter 5: 7 says – “Cast all your anxiety on him.”

And if after a while the feeling of hopelessness and worry rise again: go back to Jesus. What is the constant refrain in the song: What a friend we have in Jesus? You know it – we sing: “Take it to the Lord in prayer.” The battle of hopelessness is won in going back again and again to the giver of life. Can I make this abundantly clear – you are not letting the side down by going back and back and back again to the Lord on the same issue. That is not a lack of faith if you are finding it difficult to cope. Just don’t stay there! No – the person of faith, goes back to their loving heavenly Father and unburdens themselves at the source of hope and life itself

I saw this quote this week:

Sometimes God allows us to go through difficult times even as a result of the wicked actions of others. Yet whatever we have to endure, no matter how unfair or unjust, we can be sure that God will use it for good.

Some verses of encouragement:

Isaiah 41: 10: Do not fear for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God

Isaiah 64: 4 God works for those who wait for him

Romans 8: 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

And John Wesley on his death bed said: “Best of all – God with us.”

4. Now go out and be people of hope

I know many of you may be without hope. So ground yourself in the giver of hope. There’s a lovely old hymn where the chorus goes

We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move
Grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love

So, if you feel yourself floundering – get back to the God of hope – as quick as you can. Don’t delay. Because we are a people of hope shining like stars in a world crying out for hope.

The fields are ripe for harvest – so we are to be a people of hope – grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love for ever and ever.


Today’s prayers have been written by the Explorers group from Junior Church.

Harvest is a time to say thank you for our food, and to think about other people who might not have enough.

The response to our prayers is “Lord of the Harvest”      –       hear our prayer.

Dear God

Thank you for the rich soil on Earth and for plenty of rain that helps to make our food grow.

Thank you for the farmers and the sowers.

Thank you for Harvest time when we can celebrate picking the food that has grown.

Thank you for the shops and supermarkets that work hard to give us our food.

“Lord of the Harvest”         –            hear our prayer.

Thank you for the local Food Banks that help people who do not have enough food.

Help those who work in the Food Banks get the food safely to people who need it.

Help us to remember to give our spare food to people who need it more than us.

“Lord of the Harvest”           –            hear our prayer.

We think of people all around the world at this difficult time.

Help people that do not have enough food to stay well, and help to keep them safe.

Please help to make people’s lives better.

“Lord of the Harvest”            –       hear our prayer.

We pray for the people who are having to make difficult decisions in our country at the moment.

Help them to make the right choices to keep us all safe.

Help us all to understand that although things sometimes feel hard, God is always with us, and will make things better soon.

“Lord of the Harvest”      –        hear our prayer.

Thank you for the world so sweet, 
Thank you for the food we eat, 
Thank you for the birds that sing,
Thank you Lord for everything.


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