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Hope in the Hurt

#achurchtocallhope  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Hope is never more real than when we are close to Jesus and His Church.

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Last week, we looked at what it means to have hope when nothing is lost, and nothing is gained. We looked here at 1 Peter and thought, what’s so hopeful about the every day?
Today, I’d like to look into what hope we can cling to in times of suffering and hurt.

Hurt is inevitable, so how do we handle it?

1 Peter 1:6–9 ESV
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Handling Hurt takes Health

1 Peter 1:7 ESV
so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
“The Greatest Thing You Can Do Today” - Francis Chan
“When was the last time you enjoyed meaningful time alone with God, time so good that you didn’t want to leave?”
What does it mean for us to be personally spiritually healthy? We are very good at identifying the needs of our families, organizations, and communities, yet often ignore our own personal health. It is no coincidence that we have have infinitely multiplied our resources for spiritual growth and learning, yet, as a culture, experience a real lack of biblical literacy and gospel zeal.
How can we handle hurt with health? Let me posit to you a hypothetical situation.
Let’s say 2 men experience the very same car accident. They drive in the same car, hit on the same road, going the same speed, in the same weather on the same time of day. The only difference between these 2 men are they way they are built in their physical health. One man is a regular crossfit athlete, who works out 6 days a week and eats a well balanced, healthy diet. The other man works at a desk, eats what he pleases, and exercises by walking through the grocery store. Now - this accident was bad accident, and each man has some bad bruising, a couple of broken bones, and general soreness associated with a physically traumatic event.
The men have experienced the same thing, but who is more capable of handling the recovery better/faster? Who has already developed disciplines that will benefit their recovery and make doing “hard things” easier?
When life comes at us fast and our world is rocked, how healthy are you to recover? Are you so spiritually out of shape that you’ve lost the tools to get you through painful times? Or have you spent time with God, learned from His Word and taken steps towards being spiritually “fit.”

Handling Hurt takes Help

The title of our series is #achurchtocallhope. It’s a slight play on our church vision, which is to be “a church to call home.” Our vision is a statement that informs everything we do. We believe that the Church is the hope of the world in the world. We believe that people should have a place where they can belong, so that they can grow in belief, and become who God has made them to be.
All of this points to the need for community. Our need for community is never more evident than in times of hurt and suffering. While many of us tend to throw away offers of help and comfort in times of pain, we are all aware how much we need others when things are going well.
When we receive bad news from our doctor, when a loved one becomes ill, when our hearts are struggling with depression and anxiety, or when our circumstances begin to feel overwhelming it means so much to have a place and a family to call home. These are the moments that hurt can best be handled with help.
Not only should we look at this as being people who need help, but as people who have help to give. The hope we have in Christ should compel us as believers to live out what God has done and speak into the lives of the people who are hurting.
1 Peter 2:9–10 ESV
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Handling Hurt takes Hope

Let’s take a look about the promise of hope that Jesus gives in John 16.
John 16:20–22 ESV
Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.
John 16:20-22
God is a God of promises. Here, Jesus is talking about the sorrow the apostles would feel when He would ascend. Now, the apostles clearly had no idea the depth of what was going to be happening in the coming days (death, resurrection, 40 day ministry, ascension, Pentecost).
1 Peter 2:9–10 ESV
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
We have the benefit of Scripture, and can see that the hope that the apostles were given here is the same hope that we have today. Jesus may not be here physically, but the Holy Spirit is here and working in our midst. God is moving in His people and is fulfilling that role of Comforter. It’s no mistake that the Holy Spirit has the name Comforter, because a theme of the New Testament is that we are going to experience suffering and pain in this life. But our treasure is in heaven and our joy is in Christ.
I have a long read hear from Dr. John Piper, but I think it speaks well to the hope we ought to have.
Don’t you know that people are sitting out there who are dying of cancer, whose marriage is a living hell, whose children have broken their hearts, who are barely making it financially, who have just lost their job, who are lonely and frightened and misunderstood and depressed? And you are going to try to create an atmosphere of bouncy, chipper, frisky, light-hearted, playful worship? And, of course, there will be those who hear me say that and say: Oh, so you think what those people need is a morose, gloomy, sullen, dark, heavy atmosphere of solemnity? No. What they need is to see and feel indomitable joy in Jesus in the midst of suffering and sorrow. “Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.” They need to taste that these church people are not playing games here. They are not using religion as a platform for the same-old, hyped-up self-help that the world offers every day. They need the greatness and the grandeur of God over their heads like galaxies of hope. They need the unfathomable crucified and risen Christ embracing them in love with blood all over his face and hands. And they need the thousand-mile-deep rock of God’s word under their feet.
Our hope, our joy should shake the world. We ought to be living real, authentic lives that point people to the goodness of God and to the grace that we so desperately need.
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