Faithlife Sermons

Hope in Affliction

Gospel of Luke  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  43:46
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Introduction: I would like to begin today’s message with a poem I found online this week. This poem reminds us of the mountains we sometime face in our lives. It speaks of despair and sorrow, as well as courage. It talks of trouble and of blessings. It speaks of weakness and strength. So it is with life. We all face afflictions, but we all need to be reminded that God is there, working behind the scenes, weaving a beautiful tapestry out of our lives. I hope this poem is a blessing to you, as it was to me . . .
Lord, I've never moved a mountain and I guess I never will.
All the faith that I could muster wouldn't move a small ant hill.
Yet I'll tell you, Lord, I'm grateful for the joy of knowing Thee,
and for all the mountain moving down through life You've done for me.
When I needed some help you lifted me from the depths of great despair.
And when burdens, pain and sorrow have been more than I can bear,
You have always been my courage to restore life's troubled sea,
and to move these little mountains that have looked so big to me.
Many times when I've had problems and when bills I've had to pay,
and the worries and the heartaches just kept mounting every day,
Lord, I don't know how you did it. Can't explain the wheres or whys.
All I know, I've seen these mountains turn to blessings in disguise.
No, I've never moved a mountain, for my faith is far too small.
Yet, I thank you, Lord of Heaven, you have always heard my call.
And as long as there are mountains in my life, I'll have no fear,
for the mountain-moving Jesus is my strength and always near.
Scripture Introduction: In the passage of Scripture before us today we find some of the same characteristics as the poem I just read. We find affliction, but we also have hope. That is the message today, Hope in the Midst of Affliction.
Notice first of all . . .

Jesus Was Not Immune to Affliction—Neither are We

Explanation—vv. 63-68
After Jesus was arrested in the Garden He was mocked (made fun of), He was beaten, He was blindfolded and He was blasphemed. He was then taken to the High Priest—Caiaphas, and the religious council. The scribes and the elders were gathered there and Matthew tells us in the 26th chapter of his Gospel that they began to question Jesus and brought people in to produce false testimony against Him.
We will find out next week that Jesus underwent unbelievable agony and affliction from those who abused Him, spit on Him, beat Him, whipped Him, placed a crown of thorns upon Him and the list goes on and on.
Here are a few more examples of some of the things He suffered that night, into the next morning:
Illustration
Matthew 26:67–68 ESV
Then they spit in his face and struck him. And some slapped him, saying, “Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who is it that struck you?”
Mark 14:55–56 ESV
Now the chief priests and the whole council were seeking testimony against Jesus to put him to death, but they found none. For many bore false witness against him, but their testimony did not agree.
Mark 14:
Mark 14:65 NKJV
Then some began to spit on Him, and to blindfold Him, and to beat Him, and to say to Him, “Prophesy!” And the officers struck Him with the palms of their hands.
Illustration
We were reminded a couple of weeks ago that our lives are full of troubles.
Application
It is important to remember and realize, that if Jesus the perfect Son of God, who was only guilty of loving His creation and making a way for them to be reconciled to the Father, would be misunderstood, hated, despised, rejected, persecuted, afflicted, made fun of . . . then it should come as no surprise to us, as His imperfect followers, that we can expect to suffer the same as He did. As a matter of fact Jesus warned us of this very thing:
Illustration
Matthew 5:11 ESV
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
It is interesting to notice the word “when” not “if.” In other words it is coming, it’s only a matter of time if you haven’t experienced already. He goes on to say:
John 15:18–21 ESV
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.
Join me please in the book of 1st Peter and notice chapter 4 . . .
1 Peter 3:14–17 ESV
But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.
I Peter 3:14-
1 Peter 4:14–16 ESV
If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.
1 Peter 4:19 ESV
Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.
1 Peter 4:
The second thing Jesus teaches us is this . . .

In the Midst of Affliction, Jesus Did Not Forget About His Present Mission—Neither Should We

Explanation—
The Gospel of John gives us some insight into some things that happened. Notice what John says in . . . In this passage Jesus is answering some of Pilate’s questions and says . . .
John 18:36–38 ESV
Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him.
Even after being arrested, falsely accused, beaten Jesus has not taken His focus off of His mission. Part of Jesus’ mission was to “bear witness to the truth.” He knew it was the TRUTH that would set people free from the religious and spiritual bondage they were in. Jesus stayed focused on the clear mission despite the distractions.
And there are many, many distractions in the Christian life!
Illustration:
Sometimes we are distracted by paralyzing fear and discouragement! However reminds us not to allow fear and discouragement to distract us from our mission:
Joshua 1:9 ESV
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Other times we are distracted by afflictions that drive us to despair, however the Apostle Paul reminds us in that God is doing something in the midst of these afflictions and we must stay focused on our present mission!
2 Corinthians 4:7–12 ESV
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.
To be honest sometimes we are simply distracted by what the writer of Hebrews calls: “weights and sins” in . We are told to lay those things aside and stay focused on the race set before us!
Hebrews 12:1 ESV
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
Joshua 1:9 ESV
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
John 18:
2 Corinthians 4:7–12 ESV
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.
Application: I personally think one of the enemy’s greatest tools are discouragement and distraction. He often uses one to cause the other and when God’s people get distracted we become ineffective, apathetic and defeated. We must stay focused upon Christ and the mission that He has given to us!

In the Midst of Affliction, Jesus Focused on the Future—So Should We

Explanation—vv. 69-71
It is VITALLY important you do not miss what Jesus says in Luke 22:69. Remember, He is on the cusp of being tortured, crucified and facing the wrath of God that is going to be poured upon Him for the sins of humanity, but He is focused on what this will provide for the future. Notice again what He says in
Luke 22:69 ESV
But from now on the Son of Man shall be seated at the right hand of the power of God.”
But from now on . . . He is not focused on His present affliction, as He was when He was praying in the Garden . . . He is focused on the future glory and privilege that He has as God’s Son to be seated at the right hand of God. What will appear to be a great defeat, when He is mocked, tortured and crucified, will actually be a great victory . . . a great victory that will give all of humanity the opportunity to have their sins forgiven and live forever with God in Heaven. A great victory that will be demonstrated by His victorious resurrection over death, hell and the grave! A great victory that will give YOU and I the awesome privilege to one day gather around His throne and forever worship and praise the Lamb that was slain that we might have life and have it more abundantly!
I love what “gotanswers.org” says about Jesus being seated at God’s right hand:
"God's right hand" refers to the Messiah, the LORD Jesus Christ and He is of equal position, honor, power and authority with God (). The fact that Christ is "sitting" refers to the fact that His work of redemption is done . . .”
Jesus did not let the pain and agony of the “hear and now” distract Him from His purpose, nor distract Him from the future!
Jesus, as in all things, set the example for us! We will face discouraging times. We will find ourselves up against insurmountable odds. We will be misunderstood. We will suffer persecution as we live godly lives. We will suffer, but we can be reminded of the TRUTH OF SCRIPTURE that our focus must be on the PROMISES of God for our FUTURE, not on the difficulties and the discouragement we find right here and right now!
Illustration
Matthew 26:64 ESV
Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
We have the promise of FUTURE DELIVERANCE!
Mark 14:61–62 ESV
But he remained silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”
Psalm 34:17–20 ESV
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.
We have the promise that JESUS has already OVERCOME the WORLD and WE Can have PEACE in the midst of tribulation!
John 16:33 ESV
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
We have the promise that the SUFFERINGS of RIGHT HERE and RIGHT NOW cannot even compare to the GLORY THAT IS TO COME!
Romans 8:18 ESV
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
2 Corinthians 4:16 ESV
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.
If you think about the absolute worst days of your life and wrap them all up into one horrific lifetime, it couldn’t even begin to compare to how awesome and glorious eternity is going to be with our Heavenly Father! He will wipe away EVERY tear from our eyes!
John 16:33 ESV
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
2 Corinthians 4:16–17 ESV
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,
Application
Even though we walk through the “valley of the shadow of death” we do not have to “fear any evil” because we know that our Great Shepherd is with us and that we are going to “dwell in the House of the Lord FOREVER!” We must not lose sight of the future in the midst of the fog.
Many times when I've had problems and when bills I've had to pay, and the worries and the heartaches just kept mounting every day, Lord, I don't know how you did it. Can't explain the wheres or whys. All I know, I've seen these mountains turn to blessings in disguise.
We must keep pressing ahead, knowing that His promises and His faithfulness are unwavering!
No, I've never moved a mountain, for my faith is far too small.
Yet, I thank you, Lord of Heaven, you have always heard my call.
FINAL APPLICATIONS
And as long as there are mountains in my life, I'll have no fear,

Remember we Live in a Broken World Full of Problems

for the mountain-moving Jesus is my strength and always near.
Our “best life isn’t now”--our best life with Christ is to come! We live in a broken world and no amount of positive thinking is going to fix this broken world. The only way this broken world is going to be repaired is when Christ returns and sets up His kingdom and we will be able to enjoy the New Heaven and the New Earth and say goodbye forever, to pain, sickness, disease, death and the like! Do not be surprised when fiery trials come!

Although this Broken World Will Not be Repaired Until Christ Returns, Jesus Specializes in Repairing Broken Lives NOW

Jesus did not let the brokenness of this world to deter Him from His mission, but rather the brokenness of this world propelled Him to FULFILL His mission! He came to “seek and to save the lost.” We must not allow the brokenness of our world to cause us to neglect our mission. We are here for a purpose and that purpose is reaching men, women, boys and girls with the grand and glorious news of the wonderful Gospel of Jesus Christ!
When we see this world in turmoil, when we see natural disasters of a broken world, it should not cause us to throw our hands up in despair, but rather should cause us to be even more motivated to tell the Good News of a new world that is not broken. To tell the Good News of a place that Jesus has gone to prepare for us and the fact that if He has gone away to prepare a place for us, He is going to come again and receive us to Himself!

Lift Up Your Heads, Your Redemption is Getting Closer

Everyday we live is a day closer to home. Everyday we live is a day closer to Christ’s return. Time is getting short, therefore we must “redeem the time because the days are evil.” We don’t have time to waste.
The biggest question that must be answered this morning is this: “Are YOU ready to meet Him just like you are?” Don’t you want to get it settled today? Don’t you want to turn to Jesus today and trust Him as YOUR Lord and Savior and receive His forgiveness so you know YOU have something to look forward to when this life is over? Dear Christian friend, don’t give up hope, do not despair, God is not finished with you yet! He is working all things together for YOUR good and HIS glory! Trust in Him with all your heart and do not lean on YOUR own understanding! But acknowledge Him in all YOUR ways and watch Him direct YOUR paths.
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