(11/3) Looking for Hope
I. Introduction- Don’t Despair
Obviously the missionary knew that life’s circumstances can bring a lot of disparity. To despair is to lose hope. One thing that we know for sure is that life is tough and it is easy to get down and lose hope. For most people, hope is understood as, “a desired action or result, a desired expectation.” One of the many holes in our souls is the desire
for good things to happen to us in our lives to relieve us of, or keep us from heartache, trouble, or pain. We long for a brighter future-something to look forward to. We have been doing so ever since the Garden of Eden incident. Think for a moment of the things we hope for:
- Rain and good crops or good business
- A good job
- A good marriage
- Children who are healthy and make wise decisions in their lives
- Good health
- A Cure
- Money left at the end of the month
- The ability to retire comfortably
- War to end
- Taxes to decrease
- Gas prices to come down
- Right laws to be passed
- Crime to decrease
- To own my own home or get a new car
- Long life for ourselves and our children
- Poverty to end- so no one will ever be hungry or cold
- Health insurance
- Etc. You can name your own
Linda Dillow- Book – A Deeper Kind of Calm (p.86)
But because of Eden, we know the reality of Jesus’ words, “In this world you will have tribulation…” (John 16:33). Job said it this way, “Man, who is born of woman, is of few days and full of trouble…” (Job 14:1). Job felt the disparity of life this side of heaven. Listen to two more of his comments. “My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and are spent without hope,”
(7:6). “He hath destroyed me on every side, and I am gone, my hope, hath he removed like a tree,” (19:10).
Likewise, you can feel the despair in the two on the road to Emmaus on the first Easter morning, before they knew for sure that Jesus had risen, heads hung, they said, “But we were hoping that it was he who was going to redeem Israel…,” but he was crucified and this is now the 3rd day.
Ever felt that way? My dreams, plans, and hopes have not happened as I had hoped. I said, “For better or for worse,” I hoped for better, but it got worse. I invested and hoped for high dividends and instead the market went south. I had hoped for a good pension and found that it was gone or less than I anticipated. I hoped for confidence and got betrayal. I hoped for health
and got sick. I hoped for a close family and got division. I hoped to retire from this job and got my pink slip. Now what do I do?
II. Three things to Realize
A. Any Hope that you have in this world is temporary and transient. Nothing lasts. Even if I get what I hope for today, there is no guarantee that I will have it tomorrow; that it will last. It will always depend on current circumstances being just right, but because circumstances are always changing, my hopes are in constant danger of fading. And life
is short, anything we get here is enjoyed only for a short time.
B. Any Hope that you have in this World stays in this world. There is an absolute truth, despite what post-modernists think, that says this, “if it lives, it will die.” You and I are going to die and along with death, comes the end of hope for this world.
C. There is a Hope that is absolutely sure and guaranteed. It is permanent, secure, eternal and available as a gift to you. Our Hope is in a person. Jesus Christ. When Paul wrote his first letter to young Timothy, he began by saying in 1:1, “Paul an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ our Hope.” Listen to me very carefully,
Jesus came to give us hope; to be our hope. He did not come to solve all your problems or fix everything for you in this life. Do you understand this? It was He who said, “In this world you will have tribulation,” and again, “you will weep and lament.” (John 16:20) Paul said, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:23). But Paul also said this
in Romans 5:1-5. Now notice that despite our trials we can rejoice because of the hope that God has given to us.
III. The Content of Hope (Romans 5:1-5)
What exactly do we mean then by Hope? The Greek word, “elpis,” is word that means, ‘the confident expectation of something good.’ The Hope that we have for things in this world are wishful desires with no certainty that they will happen. But God has given us promises that are absolutely certain, guaranteed, and sure. These are promises that are
directly linked to Jesus Christ. That’s why, people without Jesus are people without any hope. Paul would say;
• 1 Thess 4:13
• Ephesians 2:12
No Jesus-No Hope - Know Jesus and Know Hope
Our Hope is both Subjective and Objective. What do I mean? I mean that there are promises that God has made that He gives us as soon as we come to know to Jesus; promises that people who don’t know Jesus don’t know and can only “hope” for. The Subjective ones are the ones that we can know right now. The Objective ones are the ones that we have waiting
A. Subjective Hope- Hope we can experience right now
- Forgiveness (Psalm 130:3-7) (a few weeks from now)
- Salvation (1 Thess. 5:8) Rescued from our penalty
- Righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21) Declared not guilty and clean
- Peace, Grace, and Joy (Romans 5:1-2)
- Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5;15:13) Our deposit, God with and in us, our teacher, guide who will never leave us, is here to encourage and strengthen us.
- Purpose for Living (Jer. 29:11; Romans 8:28-29)
B. Objective Hope- Hope we can confidently expect in the future
- Eternal Life (Titus 1:2; 3:7) Un-ending in God’s presence
- Reunion with Christian Loved ones (1 Thess. 4:13-18)
- New Bodies (1 Cor. 15:52; Phil. 3:20; Rom. 8:23-25) that won’t age, get sick, or break down (Joni Erickson-Tada)
- Righteousness (Gal. 5:5) Separated from all trouble and sin forever
- See God’s face (1 John 3:2-3; Rev.22:4) To see our Savior and Lord and Benefactor
- Share the Glory of God and Inheritance of God (Rom. 5:2; 8:14-18)
Hope is also an attitude- Not wishful thinking, or desiring to get what we want to make this life more comfortable, but the confident expectation that God is going to keep His promises and His purposes will be accomplished even when I don’t understand; because there are times when even believers can despair. Chuck Swindoll said that there are 3 times
when I can have doubts or despair.
- When things I think should never happen-occur; that is, when bad things happen to good people, good things happen to bad people, etc.
- When things I believe should happen – don’t; like when the good get cancer or die young; when I asked God for a “yes” and got a “no.”
- When things I think should happen now don’t happen until much later. We are not good at waiting. Yet, the Old testament word for Hope is often translated as waiting (Isa. 40:31)
But hope as an attitude says, “God said it, I believe it, and that settles it for me,” even if it takes longer than I expect. I know that what God has promised, God will do. Like with Abraham. Check out Romans 4:16-21 cp. Hebrews 6:13-20. With no earthly reason to believe or hope, Abraham held onto God’s promises and you can too.
IV. The Basis of our Hope. There are at least four reasons why you should hold onto and anticipate God’s Promises.
- Because of the Past Examples - Like Abraham, listen to Romans 15:4.
- Because of God’s Promises- God can not Lie (Hebrews 6:16-18). His Character is Holiness and truth. He has sworn by Himself. We swear by something greater or precious, but because there is nothing greater God swore by Himself. His integrity is on the line with every promise. If He does not keep His promises, He is not a good, holy, loving God. But
His Promise is His guarantee. Men used to imitate this when with a word and a handshake you knew it would be done.
- Because of God’s Person- Because there is an empty Tomb, we know that God will do all He has said. (1 Peter 1:3ff)
V. Let’s finish in Hebrews 6 and notice 3 reasons why God has given us this assurance- this Hope that we have in Christ.
- To be a Strong Consolation (v.18) – So that when times are tough we would not despair. So we can rest knowing that God is in control. He will keep all His promise and purposes. This life is short and there is a place and a person of peace, perfection, love, and joy forever.
- To Give us a Refuge for Hope (v.18) – a Place to come to for protection and encouragement- like the city of refuge in the O.T. When times are tough and don’t turn out as we hoped, we can run to God and His promises for refuge. (cp. Matthew 11:28-30)
- To Give us an Anchor for the Soul- (vv.19-20) It keeps us secure and safe from drifting with the current or the winds of change.
You can have the hole in your soul that is looking for hope filled by receiving Jesus Christ into your Life as your savior, or resting in Him as your Lord. Because when Christ is in your life, you know that because He made it through life and has entered the presence of God, everyone who is united to Him, He will also bring into the presence of God.
His gifts and His promises are to give us Hope. Hope that will bring us through the tough times, through the valley of the shadow of death and hope that will be with us until we see Him and share His glory and His inheritance forever.
Despair or Hope? Is your Life anchored in Jesus?
Read other thoughtful writings by Pastor Gary Buchman