Living Hope

April 4th, 2016 | By David Bareham

Fifteen months ago, Steve and his wife Diana were sent from our church to join The Sozo Foundation, a project working in Vrygrond, Muizenberg, Cape Town, South Africa. Yesterday, Steve and Diana were with us back at Community Church and Steve preached about the living hope that we find in the Gospel of Jesus, and recounted wonderful stories of transformation from the community where they now work.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, – 1 Peter 1:3

The Sozo project works with those that are forgotten, downtrodden, suffering injustice, and without much hope. They engage with those who are drug addicts, in gangs, those who have been in and out of prison, and  many who have been living this way since their teenage years. Young people come to them who are expected to drop out of education, with no chance of future employment. Steve said that there are deep and real problems, and that they have nothing else to give but living hope in the Gospel. It is only from this starting point that real transformation can take place.

“We have nothing else to give, but living hope in the Gospel”

Jesus is the hope for the world, for everyone, whatever their situation or circumstance. It was Paul in his  letter to the Romans that said that he was “bound” or under obligation to Greeks and non-Greeks, it was as though he had a debt to them for the sake of the Gospel. He goes on to say:

 “… I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” Romans 1:16 

There is power in the Gospel, and it is as powerful today as it was for Paul and the early church. The amazing truth is that we all, as followers of Jesus, carry this Good News wherever we go! We also have an obligation to those God brings to us to share Good News with them. We should be good news to those who know us. As we follow Jesus, we know joy, peace and righteousness, and we should impart this to others through works, wonders and words.

As we read in the New Testament of incredible stories of lives changed by the Good News of Jesus we also hear of wonderful stories today about the same Gospel powerfully transforming the lives of people who put their faith in Him. When Steve preached he reminded us that we can start with “the one”, the person God has put in our path so that we can bring the Good News of living hope in Jesus to them. He encouraged us to believe for wonderful stories of transformation in our communities, just as they are seeing in South Africa.

Who can we share God’s Story with today? What good deed can we do to demonstrate God’s loving kindness? How can we be good news to people around us so that they can receive living hope for their lives?

David Bareham
@DavidBareham

You can find out more about the work of The Sozo Foundation by visiting their website www.thesozofoundation.org.za

Follow Steve Morris on Twitter @mrstevemorris

Hear Steve’s sermon from Sunday 3rd April at Community Church by clicking here www.mycommunitychurch.org.uk/media/podcasts

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