Good morning and welcome!
This morning we are going to continue our series working through , focusing today on verses 18-27.
So far through our study, Paul has taken us on quite a journey through some of the inner-workings of our Christian faith.
Today is really no different, but this morning we are really going to be talking about one of my favorite subjects in the Bible.
And that subject is hope.
And when I think about hope, the one thing that always comes to my mind is . . .
Which also echos the direction that Paul is going to take us this morning, because hope and faith are linked together and really cannot be separated.
We have faith because we have hope and our hope is continuously building our faith.
But ultimately hope is the cornerstone because without hope, honestly life would be pretty pointless.
Church and religion would be completely irrelevant.
And it really wouldn’t matter where we went, what we did, or what happened in life because without any hope, once it’s over it’s over.
And the sad fact is, there are many people wandering around in the world today that this is precisely their outlook on life.
They act the way the act and do the things they do because they have absolutely nothing to hope for.
I could not imagine going through all the things that we go through in life and not having anything in the future to hope for.
All of the sickness that we and our loved ones have faced, all of the death we have dealt with.
To be honest, if I had no hope I would probably have lost my mind by now and probably most of you as well.
But even though we, who are in Christ have hope this morning, there are those around us who do not have Christ.
And without Christ, there is no real hope.
And even though Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, still yet there are things that happen that shake our faith and as some days, weeks, months, and maybe even years drag on our hope begins to waver.
So, this morning, the main purpose of this message is to offer a source of hope to those among us who have no hope.
And to remind the rest of us of what and who we place our hope in.
So, if you have found in your Bible, I’d invite you stand with me.
Again, we are going to be going through verses 18-27, but I want us to pay particular attention to verses 22-25.
Paul writes . . .
Suffering Cannot Compare to Hope
So, right out of the gate we have set the tone for what Paul wants us to zero in on and focus on.
That being the fact that our hope comes in Jesus Christ and the promise of eternal life and heavenly glory!
But, what about all the suffering that takes place?
How are we supposed to respond to that?
Well, Paul starts out this passage by writing . . .
And one thing that people will often say is, “well, that’s easy for Paul to say, he doesn’t know what it’s like today.”
And that is true.
And it is also true that Paul did not completely know what the people he was writing to were going through either.
And I can’t stand up here and say that I know what any of you are going through this morning either.
But I can tell you that we have all had to endure suffering . . .
So, we all have some experience to draw on.
I can also tell you that we are to rely on God’s Word for instruction . . . .
And, I can tell you that Paul himself knew a thing our two about suffering . . .
2 Cor 11:23-
And I don’t say this to minimize any suffering that anyone has endured, but rather to point out that Paul knows what he is talking about here.
He knows what it is to suffer, so we should at least listen to what he has to say.
And this is what he says . . .
Can we wrap our head around that this morning?
No matter what we have suffered, no matter what we have endured, it is not even worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us.
And that glory is the salvation that is found through Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ only.
And that glory is revealed with we stand before God and hear . . .
And if we want to hear those words, we must put our hope in Jesus Christ and must put our hope in His promises, because without the hope, the suffering is too great.
The hope and strength found in Jesus gives us the ability to . . .
Which is an excellent analogy because we are involved in a war.
Not over land or power, but a war for souls-our soul and souls of everyone we care about.
The question is are we going to fight or are we going just roll over and let the enemy have his way?
I don’t know about you but I plan to fight and I will fight until my last breath.
I’m not in it to survive, I’m in it to overcome and if you are going to make it this morning you have to have that same attitude.
So, examine where you are at this morning and if it is not where you need to be, then I’d invite you to come and do something about it this morning.
So, Paul places the hope out there for us to grasp and then he goes on to explain it a bit further . . .
And let’s be honest, do you feel frustrated this morning?
Guess, what, we all do at times.
Frustrated by how messed up this world has become and no matter how hard you try things just sometimes don’t go well.
Or no matter how hard you try to convince people that Jesus is the way and they just won’t listen.
It makes you want to grab them and shake them, but we know we can’t do that.
Or maybe you’ve grown weary and tired and just want to go home, you real home.
That’s exactly what Paul is talking about next . . .
But the point I want to make though is, don’t give up.
Don’t lose hope.
Just hold on, because look at what Paul writes next . . .
Which is almost identical to , but I do want to point one thing out.
Notice Paul writes, “we were saved.”
He doesn’t put “we will be saved.”
Paul writes it in the past tense because as long as we remain in Christ, our salvation is secure, our hope is secure.
Which reiterates exactly what Jesus said . . .
That is our hope, regardless of what lies Satan tries to tell you.
If you remain in Christ, your inheritance, your promise is secure.
Don’t let Satan rob you of your hope.
Walk with God and remain in Christ.
Because regardless of how bad things seem to get, God is still there, God is still with you, and God will deliver you.
Which brings us to our last point.
What happens when it gets hard ?
The Spirit Helps Us
Look at what Paul writes next . . .
And we have all been there.
So beaten down and beaten up, we don’t even know what to pray for.
Don’t even have the strength or energy to pray.
This is when the Holy Spirit steps in on our behalf.
The Holy Spirit is called the Comforter for a reason.
The Spirit offers us comfort and intercession on our behalf.
But somewhere along the line, we got into this mindset that we have to pray some magic formula for God to hear us.
The truth is we don’t even have to say a word.
Finishing up, Paul writes . . .
God knows our heart.
God searches our heart.
And regardless of what we say, God knows what is truly in our heart.