Sermon Notes

Hope vs Optimism

Selected passages in the book of Romans


  • This season of Coronavirus will not last forever. It is going to be over. In the meantime, we hope, because hope is what keeps us going.
  1. Hope Defined

Three Cords of Hope*

  1. Imagination – a picture of what you are hoping for
  2. Wanting – a desire, a hunger for it
  3. Belief – that what I hope for is coming, is possible

*from Keeping Hope Alive by Lewis Smedes

  • Hope by definition requires
  • Those with hope have an ability to persist, to believe, and to cling to what matters; to find a way to move into the future.
  • Hope will improve your studying, your work, your relationships, and your soul.
  1. Assessing your Hope (available on our app under notes or in the seatbacks)
  • Use the survey to assess how hopeful you are

Key Verse:  “For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”  (Romans 8:24)

III. Christian Hope

  • Optimism is to expect things to turn out well. It’s a personality trait. It’s usually focused on circumstances.
  • Hope is a Christian virtue. It includes optimism, but it is rooted in something much deeper.
  1. Paul and his revolution of hope

The Ancient view of Hope

  • Most people in the ancient world, including people living in Rome, did not think very highly of hope. (contrast Romans 15:13)
  • The big issue in the ancient world, as it is now, is “how are we to deal with suffering?”
  • Answer: You must learn to count on is you…Desire or wanting or hoping just sets you up for misery.
  • The “hardship list”- people would write a little list of suffering that could train you to stop hoping and allow reason to prevail. Don’t depend on anyone, even friends.
  • Suffering was easier if it could be shared with someone else.
  • A friend willing to suffer and die for a friend was considered noble, provided that the person was worthy and of great value.
  • Even if you do help someone in their suffering, you cannot allow it to disturb your own tranquility.
  • Internal suffering was called: “groaning.”
  • They taught if you could become so self-reliant that no circumstance would ever disturb you, you had won the ultimate honor. You conquered!
  • Hope was a sign of weakness. Groaning was for losers.

Paul’s Radical View of Hope

  • Romans 5:3-5 In this we rejoice, we know that suffering produces character…and character produces HOPE, and hope does not disappoint.
  • Romans 8:22-26 Creation groans, we groan, God groans (suffers with us)
  • Romans 8:37 We are more than conquerors through him who loved us.