Faithlife Sermons

"My God....": HOPE

Love Ran Red  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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When times seem darkest, because of Jesus we can still have hope.

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A friend who is in a difficult place....sounded hopeless
He’s always like Eeyore.
Some of us are optimists…some are not. But even Eeyore had hope that he would find a new tail.
How do we build hope so it’s available when we need it.
This weeks reading brings us to the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew’s gospel was written to Jews to teach them that Jesus was the promised messiah. Matthew wanted the people to understand that Jesus was who they had hoped for, that God had fulfilled his promise of a messiah for the Israelites in Jesus.
My God, why have you forsaken me?
It’s hard for us to imagine how hard it was to hold on to life when it seemed to be slipping away. Jesus is literally staring death in the face and scripture asks us to watch.
This is not a please experience.
Let’s read in Matthew chapter 27.
Matthew 27:37–43 NIV84
Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS. Two robbers were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ”
Everyone knew Jesus trusted God. Every one knew that the Jews hated him because he claimed to be the son of God. This was part of their mocking.
This wasn’t easy for Jesus. Just he night before when he was praying with his disciples in the garden, He asked God to take this cup from me”…saying I don’t want to do this, but I will do your will. He had faced the mental struggle.
Have you ever noticed that once you set your mind to do something, the troubles are more manageable? often times making the commitment is the hardest part. That’s what Jesus had done the night before. He knew this was going to be hard, sure he didn’t know how hard, but he was committed to the Father’s will enough to move forward.
But now here he was on the cross. Being mocked because of his love for God and dedication to his will.
From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"-which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Matt 27:45-46
It seems that just as things are at the darkest, he is losing hope.
As we have pointed out in past weeks, this event didn’t come as a surprise to Jesus. God had been telling the people about this event for centuries and here he is.
In fact this pleading was part of the psalm we discussed the last few weeks, Psalm 22 that begins
Psalm 22:1–2 NIV84
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent.
That sounds accurate and fitting doesn’t it? Jesus here on the cross. The sky turns black. Where are you God?
I wish I could explain this verse better. I wish I could explain how Jesus, who had perfect faith, who was God in the flesh, could experience isolation from God. But, I can’t. But that’s what is happening. God causes darkness to come and at that moment, Jesus is utterly alone with our sin.
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And at that moment, when things are darkest, he quotes a psalm that reflects his experience perfectly. He speaks to God in a way he never has before in order to point us toward this Psalm. A psalm that reflects exactly what he is experiencing.
The psalm goes on:
Psalm 22:19–25 NIV84
But you, O LORD, be not far off; O my Strength, come quickly to help me. Deliver my life from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dogs. Rescue me from the mouth of the lions; save me from the horns of the wild oxen. I will declare your name to my brothers; in the congregation I will praise you. You who fear the LORD, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help. From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear you will I fulfill my vows.
The fact of the matter is, as we read in this Psalm, Jesus trusted God. He had established that the night before. He had proven it his entire life, even in the events of the last hours. He trusted God, he had surrendered his will to God.
And he knew that even in this his darkest day, that God still loved him. He didn’t feel it, he couldn’t see it, but he knew it, because he new God could be trusted.
You see...

Our perspective is only part of the story.

Simply put, if we only go by what is in front of us, we will question. But the reality is that our present life doesn’t stand alone. NO it is part of something bigger.
Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 1 Cor 13:12
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isa 55:8-9
How do we feed our faith?
When we don’t understand we focus on what we do know.
WE won’t understand everything, so we focus on what we do know.

When you don’t understand, remember: God is GOOD.

Mark 10:18 NIV84
“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.
We know:

When you don’t understand, remember: God is WITH me.

Even when it is dark, we are not alone
Hebrews 13:5b NIV84
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
There are dark days. If you haven’t had them, you will.
You can go into your dark days with confidence - with hope
Proverbs 3:5–6 NIV84
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
We know that

When you don’t understand, remember: God is FOR me.

Romans 8:31–33 NIV84
What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.
2 Corinthians 1:8–10 NIV84
We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us,
I don’t understand what you are doing God…but I know you are for me. I know I can trust you.
Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The better I know God, the less I askWHY GOD?”

confidence grows - doubts decrease - JOY
trust increases - fear decreases - PEACE
trust increases - faith grows

The better I know God,the more I askWHAT GOD?”

Faith builds - direction of our heart changes
Faith builds - hope becomes visible
less inward - more outward
less inward - more upward
Maybe you are in the dark...
Maybe, you are about to enter into a dark period God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Cor 5:21
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