Yesterday I presented the need for preaching that doesn’t hide from, deny or avoid the big eschatological hope presented throughout Scripture. People need that message of hope, God knew that, and so He gave us plenty of it in the Bible. But now for the mini hope . . .
Mini hope. Perhaps these two points don’t go together. But maybe they do. Just as people need the big hope of “that day” to mark and shape “this day,” so people need confidence that God’s Word can change their lives today. It is so easy to preach a legalistic, moralistic, guilt-driven message of needed change, but fail to encourage people with the hope of the empowering grace of God, the hope of the present indwelling Holy Spirit, the hope of the deep personal love and concern of God, the hope of life-changing intimacy with God. Ever since eleven frightened men were transformed by a genuinely empty tomb and risen Savior, empowered by the Spirit and proclaiming hope to the world – this world has been marked and changed by a gospel not of mere pressure to improve yourself, but genuine darkness-shattering hope of the Gospel.
Why do I call this mini-hope? Because most of the time people don’t feel their need in global and history-making terms. They feel like they are small people in small lives with relatively small challenges that feel overwhelming to them . . . and good preaching offers hope and help and encouragement and the working of God in His love in relatively small, but deeply meaningful ways. Most messages are not a spiritual mountain-top, but reminders of the hope of the gospel in the ongoing struggles of life. Mini hope, but critical.
It seems to me that true biblical preaching should be infused with hope – both big ultimate eschatological hope, and day-by-day glorious new covenant hope.