Session for Adults and Older Teens

Sister Roberta Fulton

Hope Will Not Disappoint Us

Lesson and Discussion Guide
for Adults and Older Teens
Romans 5:1-5

Focus verse Romans 5:5
and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us (New Revised Standard Version).

Session time: 30–45 Minutes

Materials Needed: A table in the center of the room, a Bible, beautiful candle, a decorated gift box with stones inside, and a music playing device (music should be pre-recorded and ready for use). Before the session write HOPE on each stone using differently colored markers—prepare enough stones so that all participants may take one.

READ Romans 5:1-5

Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us (New Revised Standard Version).

LECTURE [5-10 minutes]

The word “hope” appears three times in this passage from Romans. Paul speaks to the early church in the midst of turmoil, oppression and challenges. He addressed them with expectations that took them out of their comfort zones. The grace of God was working through him. In many ways, the time we’re living now has similar sufferings, tribulations and injustices as noted in this letter to the Romans. All churches, of all denominations are going through radical changes. Through conferences, meetings, strategic planning and media, ministers are addressing the complexity of the challenges confronting the church today. There are implications for the church of the future and the world.
Some might say the church is in crisis. People of faith say, but God’s grace is working through us. Paul reminds us that as Christians we can rejoice in the midst of suffering, tribulation. No matter how terrible or desperate the circumstances, we can hope because we have placed our hope in God. The sufferings and tribulations are many and varied. In this letter we are told that “suffering produces perseverance.” From them we learn to endure. We learn patience. They produce fortitude. This takes faith and grace to live with this kind of hope. We must pray for the grace to be as convincing and upright as Paul is in this letter to the Romans.
We have hope when our faith is firmly anchored in Jesus. Sufferings and tribulations may cause us to fall down. However, hope will let us rejoice in the midst of pain. Everywhere we turn, there is violence, the suffering poor, racial injustice, political unrest and loss of faith.
As Christians, our mission is to have HOPE- “Helping Other People Every day”. Hope is a confident expectation that God will give us what we need. Praise God that this kind of hope doesn’t disappoint. Hope will carry us from the darkness into the light. The Holy Spirit has been poured out into our hearts. This is our reason for the boldness, courage and freedom that enables us to look back and remember. Despite all of the pain, we have peace with God. As we look forward with hope, we are to rejoice. We have that God given confidence. There is hope for tomorrow.

ACTIVITIES AND DISCUSSION [20-30 minutes]

[10 minutes]  Ask: What is Hope?  Use activity A or B depending on the number in your group and space constraints.
A. Individual: Take 4 minutes and organize your thoughts via a song, art piece, or words.
B. Small groups of 3-4: What is hope? Take 7 minutes to together create a song, art piece, or words.
Individuals or small groups encouraged to share with large group.
Affirm this truth: Hope doesn’t take away the suffering and tribulation.

[2 minutes]  Say: Hope lives. Ask participants to take one minute each to share one-on-one about a time when God  showed up and did something amazing in your life.
Affirm this truth: Hope lives in in the midst of tough times such as    discrimination & racial injustice.

[5-7 minutes]  Ask: It difficult to have Hope when we see suffering, pain, violence and injustice in our churches and the world. Where do you find Hope? Encourage individual sharing.
Affirm this truth: Because we are loved by God, we no longer treat people unjustly because of their race, beliefs or culture.

[5-7 minutes]  Ask: Can the power of hope change the world?
What do you say? Large group discussion.
Affirm this Truth: Through prayer the Holy Spirit gives grace and peace to speak the truth of the Gospel.

Conclusion [3-5 minutes] – requires previous preparation
Ask each person to select a HOPE stone from the gift box.
Play music as stones are being shared.
Hope Will Not Disappoint* – D. Haas    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbhpPz4etgc
– Or: Hold On, Glory, Eye on the Prize, The Storm is Passing Over,  Woke Up This Morning, It is Well

Say: Take this stone of Hope with you. Let it be a reminder that God’s Hope doesn’t disappoint us.”

Close with Prayer.

Sister Roberta Fulton, SSMN
Diocese of Charleston