A prerequisite to God’s work is “hope.” Many people I know resist receiving Christ because they don’t believe any difference will occur. They are afraid of disappointment.
The first step to our receiving anything from Christ is deploying hope in our hearts. We have to first have the hope that something will occur before we can believe or take real steps.
Churches that do evangelism well first build hope in the hearts of people wherein they can find courage to believe. The fear of disappointment is deep in our weakened human hearts.
How can this be done?
1. Present models of people who have hoped and received.
2. Teach hopeful messages.
3. Encourage people to see the life of faith as one of progressive steps leading to many critical moments.
4. Accept people where they are.
5. Allow and ask the Holy Spirit to penetrate listeners with the hope found in God.
Wrapping up the need for hope Saint Augustine said:
“Certainly hope is very necessary for us in our exile. It is what consoles us on the journey. When the traveler, after all, finds it wearisome walking along, he puts up with the fatigue precisely because he hopes to arrive. Rob him of any hope of arriving, and immediately his strength for walking is broken. So the hope also which we have here is part of the parcel of the justice of our exile and our journey.” Sermon 158.8