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Hope

"It All Starts Here"  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  24:08
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Prayer
The Circumstances
Slide
Ee are all familiar with the story of Noah’s Ark. Two weeks ago we showed that it was God that rescued Noah from the sin that had deeply infected the whole world. The Bible used the phrase that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil, all the time, and as a result God sent this great flood to destroy the wickedness on earth, and God saved Noah and his family.
We turn to Genesis 7 and read about this flood coming on the earth.
Genesis 7:11–12 NIV
In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month—on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights.
To give us a picture of what is going on let me read some more skipping down to verse 17.
Genesis 7:17–20 NIV
For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth. The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than fifteen cubits.,
Did you happen to see the downpour this week? That was something. The rain poured down in sheets. The water was running in the streets up to the curb. Some roads were temporarily flooded. That happened in only a couple of hours. That was tiny in comparison of the Biblical flood, and still the internet blew-up with pictures and videos of the flood.
But what happened with Noah was nothing like that. Not only was the water coming down, but the text says all of the springs of the great deep burst forth. The water was coming up from the ground, and the rain kept coming, for 40 days. I can’t even imagine what that was like for Noah and his family.
The Lord had shut him and his family in the ark. Now I enjoy a good rain storm, especially when I am inside and protected. We had a rainstorm camping this week. I enjoyed being cozy and huddled in the camper, while the rain poured down outside, I was cozy. I don’t know how cozy Noah felt. This rain wasn’t stopping. How do you sleep? Wouldn’t you be worried? Did he wonder, is this thing going to capsize? The Bible unfortunately doesn’t tell us, but I do know what I would be thinking.
Continuing on.
Genesis 7:21–24 NIV
Every living thing that moved on land perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; people and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark. The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days.
Everything on the face of the earth perished, only Noah, his family and the animals on the ark survived. Imagine the loneliness.Think about that for a second. Even after the rain stops there you are floating, nothing else left alive, except you shut in a wooden boat, the likes of which you have never seen. That is ominous.
Not to mention being in an enclosed space with your family for 150 days! I mean I love my family, but any family, in confined quarters, after a period of time gets challenging. While it was raining, we could other campers with large families trying to keep the kids occupied. Families were clearly going a bit stir crazy confined in their tents and campers, and this was only one day!
So there they were, the only ones left, no way to steer no place to go, shut in , raining, lonely floating.
Slide
The Human Response
Noah had to be wondering, maybe even worrying, what was going to happen. I think God was merciful that Noah and his family had the animals to take care of. Maybe they didn’t realize it at the time. Was it frustrating trying to care for all those animals? However, perhaps God in His mercy knew that having something to do probably kept them sane.The silence except the wind, and waves hitting the side of a wooden tomb, it would be maddening, you would have nothing to do but worry.
The Bible did not record any further communication of God to Noah. In Genesis 6, God gave Noah instructions, we know that.And Noah did what God had commanded.
Genesis 7:5 NIV
And Noah did all that the Lord commanded him.
But what we don’t know is if God communicated any further with Noah. We don’t have a record of God telling Noah that it would rain for days, we don’t have a record of God coming to Noah while it was raining or while the ark was floating and saying it is going to be ok. We don’t know, but for some reason it is not recorded in the Bible.
But we do know the Bible said Noah walked with God. Worrying about circumstances is not walking with with God. Walking with God is the Bibl’e way of saying that Noah was in a relationship with God. Noah listened to God. Noah knew was Genesis 6, verse 18.
Genesis 6:18 NIV
But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you.
Maybe, those long nights, when the boat would be rocking and rain was coming down Noah would be tempted to lie awake and worry. But He also could have thought about what God said, But I will establish my covenant with you. Maybe he had to do it over and over again. But I will establish my covenant with you. Perhaps he would replay it in his mind, if God told me to build an ark, and if he saved me and my family up to this point would he really destroy me now? Nope, God said, but I will establish my covenant with you.
I would lie awake in the ark and wonder, did I hear God correctly? Did I somehow sin and was God going to allow me to perish. Was I going to get off this ark, and find an empty world and be lonely? All those types of thoughts would play over and over again in my mind as the waves hit the side of the boat over and over again.
All I could do was to replay Genesis 6:18 over in my head. But I will establish my covenant with you. And I would say to myself, now Greg, God saved you, God reached down and told you what to do, and God brought you and your family into the Ark. And I would hope, things would work out.
Hope
These days, we have been given more scripture than Noah had. Noah could not open the scriptures to read God’s hope to get Him through his current suffering but we can. We can turn the pages of God’s word to find our Hope to get through the most difficult and trying times.
The problem is that we as humans are wired for the wrong kind of hope. We are naturally, or by our human nature wired for a hope that is based on our experiences. Greek philosophy recognized that human beings, by nature, expressed hope. But the hope that they expressed was based on their experiences both good and bad. For example. Thursday, we had that torrential downpour, those that do not know God, by nature hoped their house would not flood. This hope is based on their experience. Experience that they need to hope the power does not go out and the sub-pump keeps running. Hope that the house is built high enough. Without God, they are simply hoping that the odds won’t come up bad. Their is no certainty, their hope is only in statistics, it could go either way.
People with this kind of hope have a terrible life. In job interviews, their hope is in their interview, their resume, and ultimately themselves. When medical problems come their way they hope the doctor can solve the problem.
But biblical hope is very different. This is a definition of Biblical hope from the Lexham Bible Dictionary.

HOPE The confidence that, by integrating God’s redemptive acts in the past with trusting human responses in the present, the faithful will experience the fullness of God’s goodness both in the present and in the future

For the visual people I have a slide for you as well.
slide
Hope is confidence in the following equation.
God’s (redemptive) act’s in the past+our response in the present (faith)+ our ability to experience the fullness of God.
Ok practically let’s apply this Noah in his situation. Noah’s hope is confidence in that equation, and it begins with God. His hope is not based on his experiences good or bad, but in God’s past. So for Noah to have hope he starts with God’s redemptive acts in the past.
God saved Noah. God told Noah to build an Ark, God brought the animals, God shut Noah in. Plus Noah’s response in the present, I trust you God, I built the Ark just as I was told, I know that you promised to establish your covenant.
We will get to the result in a minute. I am going to ask you to hold on to that.
This equation for hope is…now this important…it is independent of the current circumstances. In other words, no where in that definition of hope is what is going on around us. The is the old nature takes that wants to take that into account. The old nature basis hope on our experiences of what has happened in the past either good or bad, in those circumstances. But when we have a new nature because of faith in Jesus Christ, our hope is based on God’s redemptive acts in the past, independent of our current circumstances.
See Biblical hope works when it is still raining. It doesn’t matter how long or how hard it rains. Hope is a result of God’s past works and our faith in HIM! What he has done in the past, plus our trust in Him in the present. Let it rain! It has nothing to do with the equation. This changes everything.The result is that we get to experience the FULLNESS OF THE GOODNESS OF GOD bith in the present AND in the future.
Slide
Noah experiences the fullness of the goodness of God.
Then the result is that we experience the fullness of God’s goodness both in the present and in the future. Hope like this allows Noah to be safe in the Ark. Hope like this allows Noah to have comfort in the uncomfortable. Hope like this allows peace in the chaos.
God did deliver Noah.
Genesis 8:1 NIV
But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded.
The promise of God was made manifest. But God remembered Noah. Noah’s Who God is, combined with Noah’s faith-allowed Noah to experience the fullness of the goodness of God. But God remembered Noah. That God will establish his covenant with Him. What greater way to experience the fullness of God’s goodness then to be spared from the flood and entered into a covenant with the Almighty.
We know that this was satisfying to Noah because when this happened he worshipped, Genesis 8:20
Genesis 8:20 NIV
Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it.
Now with that equation in mind, let’s turn to the book of Roman’s chapter 8. starting at verse 18.
Romans 8:18 NIV
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
Our present sufferings Paul says ARE NOT WORTH COMPARING. They are minute in comparison to the what? THE GLORY THAT WILL BE REVEALED! the result of the equation is what is important. It doesn’t matter if it is raining, it doesn’t matter what the suffering is- the the Glory that will be revealed in the future is what is important.
I’m going to skip down to verse 23.
Romans 8:23 NIV
Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.
Suffering is hard and some manifestation of the glory may take place in the future, so me may have to wait. We wait for our adoption into sonship. We wait for the results of that equation to be made manifest. We wait for the rain to quit, we wait to get off the ark. But while we wait…WE have the Spirit with us. The Holy Spirit-God with us, like you learned last week is with us in the present.
Now, granted, we may have a hard time seeing that hope through the rain. But that is ok-That is exactly why we need hope in the first place.
Romans 8:24 NIV
For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have?
We hope because we cannot see the outcome of our circumstances. If life were perfect, we would have no need for hope right?
Romans 8:25 NIV
But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
As we wait for the full results of that equation to be made manifest in the future-God provides for us in the present with a measure of His fullness in the Holy Spirit.
How does that practically play out in our lives? How can we have that kind of hope, when circumstances that are very real, very bad, may be breathing down our neck?
We have to continually go back to that equation over and over again.Take anyone of the problems we face, we can place any problem in there. Think of your own problem, your own situation, whatever it is that you need hope for today, and we will work through it.What is it you need hope for today? Is it financial, or your health, or loneliness, or sickness, or marriage, or a loved one? What is it you need hope for? Do you have your situation in mind?
We begin with God’s redemptive acts in the past. God saved Noah and His family, God saved Joseph from being sold into slavery, and God saved the Israelites out of slavery and he saved Rahab and Job, and David, and Ester and the Israelites again, and Shadrach and Meshach and Abendego, and Daniel, and Jonah. Jesus Christ came and died on the cross and saved us from our sins and rescued us from the grave by His resurrection from the dead. Jesus Christ saved me. Jesus Christ saved Greg, put your name in their. Jesus Christ died on the cross for Bill and Shelly and Jayne...
Next, we combine our human response in the present, to God’s work in the past. Do you have faith in Jesus Christ? Have you trusted that Jesus Christ redeemed you! DO you believe what God says in his word is true? Your response to what God has done in history is essential to experiencing the fullness of God’s goodness in the present.
This is where we may need to go back to God’s word. To open the pages of scripture and refresh our minds, to know what is true. To know what is of God, and what is not. Verses like
Galatians 1:4 NIV
who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,
TO rescue us from the present evil age. TO rescue us FROM THE PRESENT. or how about this one from Hebrews.
Hebrews 9:15 NIV
For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.
John and Bill and Mary and you and me are called to receive the promised inheritance. There is an eternal inheritance awaiting. You must respond to that promise in faith.
Notice again this is regardless of the circumstances that are surrounding you. Wether it is disaster, or persecution, or loneliness, your hope is not dependent on the removal of your circumstances, but on your faith in the God who will carry you above those circumstances. And when you see that....You experience the fullness of the goodness of God.
That is what verses like Psalm 23, verse 4 means
Psalm 23:4 NIV
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You are with me-Experience the goodness of God
or
Romans 8:35–39 NIV
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Nothing in all of creation will be able to separate us from the experiencing the goodness of God.
The key to the Christian Hope is that last line in the equation. The Equation is summed up in Romans 8:28 and with that I will close.
Romans 8:28 NIV
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Let us pray.
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