Introduction-(Introduce hope and why we are talking about it)
Introduction-(Introduce hope and why we are talking about it)
Last week we talked about preparing for Advent, and we talked about this idea of cultivating our Thirst and expectancy for God this Christmas. We want to be thirsty for the living God to move in our hearts this Christmas, and not leave it there, but expect Him to move in our hearts according to His word.
How is that going? DO you have a thirst for Jesus? Are you ready to begin advent. I am. It has been a good week for me. I prayed along those lines week for myself and I also prayed along those lines for you. Today as we start Advent, the first candle on the Advent wreath is the candle of Hope. To some extant-that Expectancy for God to move combined with Thirst or desire for God can be thought of as an eager expectancy That is really what Biblical Hope is.
Isreal lived in hope or an eager expectancy that the Messiah would come. We now Hope in the second Coming of Jesus as the big picture. and right now we hope for a fresh movement of Jesus in our lives. The difficulty that we often encounter, or the opposition to Hope is often suffering. We get bogged down, discouraged, worn out, from trials and suffering and what happens is we get so caught up in our circumstances, we lose sight of Jesus. We lose sight of the goodness of God, as we are focused down here on the problem.
The Bible can help us to get out of that focus on the suffering and get our focus turned back toward Jesus. One of the greatest sections on Hope is found in the book of Romans, chapter 8. In this passage as the Apostle Paul talks about Hope, he tells us that Hope not only helps us to look to Jesus. But He tells us that our sufferings seem to actually drive our Hope.
So we will turn this morning to Romans 8 verses 20 to 25.
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 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. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
Let’s back up one verse so that we can get a running start into this whole idea of hope, and I am going to use the ESV translation.
and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
The ESV and other translations such as the King James and the NASB have the little connecting word FOR at the start of verse. Paul is connecting the sufferings of being a Christian with the sufferings in verse 18. And likewise the glory as well. That we be also glorified with Christ. We suffer like Christ and we are glorified like Christ.
These sufferings are not a maybe, they will happen to Christians. The sufferings are not just for some. If we are God’s children. If we have stepped from the kingdom of the world to the Kingdom of God, if we are Born again-believers we will suffer for Christ. This happens. This is a given. Christians will suffer for their Christian beliefs.
Christians will be ridiculed. Argued with, Disagreed with, sometimes in their own family. These disagreements can cause rejection and loneliness. Christians may suffer in their job. Your christian beliefs may cause disagreements in your family, and you may suffer from rejection. Sometimes Christians are imprisoned, tortured, and killed for the sake of the Gospel. And Paul knew about these sufferings.
Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.
But these sufferings, Paul says. These sufferings are not even worth comparing-with the Glory to be revealed. The two aren’t even comparable. Not even worth comparing. In
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
What to us is horrible, and difficult, and painful, Paul is calling light and momentary in comparison to Eternity. Theses troubles that we face today, and tomorrow and sometimes for most of our lives, are only momentary.
Eternal goes on forever, without end. Suffering for a lifetime-eternity where the glory is is longer, and not just a little longer, not twice as long, or even a hundred times longer. Not even a hundred million times longer, in fact it is not even worth comparing.
But Paul doesn’t even limit it to the sufferings that you suffer when you are persecuted for Christ. In the next verse Paul talks about all the suffering of the whole created order, becasue let’s face it, there are other things that cause suffering as well. Things like illness, and natural disaster, for instance.
For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.
Paul writes that even creation itself is waiting for our glory to be revealed. Creation waits he says in an eager expectation. Creation itself can’t wait for the sons of God-Thoise that belong to the kingdom of God to be revealed. Revealed by the way like in verse 18.
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
That is revealed, not created- That means that the glory is already there, it just needs to be revealed. Creation. The plants rocks sea and mountains, trees and bugs and planets, and every cell and plankton and bacteria is waiting in eager expectation for the glory that is currently and presently hidden to be hidden no longer and to burst forth in some sort of majestic explosion of glory.
For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope
Because this creation was subjected to frustration by the curse. The sin of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3, not only was the serpent cursed, not only was man and woman cursed but all of creation was cursed as well. And like us creation is frustrated. We don’t like pain, we don’t like death and we don;t like suffering. We don;t like car accidents, and cancer. It isn’t the way things were created, but sin came into in the world and creation was subjected to this frustration by God, but in hope.
Hope that one day this frustration, this suffering would be gone. Hope that one day this frustration creation would be restored to its original state. This Hope is that different hope-This is Biblical hope. It is different than the hope that the world think of when we say hope.
If I was to say, I hope Christmas comes this year. You all would look at me all side-eyed, because you would think that is ridiculous, of course Christmas will come. We think that is strange because it is not the way we usually use the word hope.
Usually when we say hope, there is a sense of uncertainty. I hope the Vikings go to the Super-bowl. That statement is filled with uncertainty. Some years more than others, but never-the-less, the outcome is uncertain, it can go either way. Our hope actually means the preferred outcome. When we say we hope the vikings go to the Super bowl. What we really mean, is that it is uncertain if the Vikings will win, but we would prefer it if they did, so we “hope” the vikings win.
When the Bible talks about hope it is very different. The Bible uses hope as sure and certain. Hope in the Bible is based on what Gos has done in the past, assures us of what will happen in the future. So when the Bible speaks of hope, it means a looking forward to a certain event with eager expectation.
God when God subjected creation to frustration, When God placed the curse on Creation, He did it in eager expectation that He will-sure and certainly-restore creation to its original un-cursed state. And Paul is saying that it is looking forward to that day, but not only that it is expecting it.
that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
At that time creation will no longer be under the curse, the glory that God’s children now have hidden will be revealed. we will be free from the curse that sin has brought on us and creation.
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”
Christ by dying on the cross bore that curse for us- He became the curse-in our place-setting us free from that curse. That is what happened in the past and gives the certainty to our hope. Yet as we know, we are not yet-set free fully. The creation still has this curse. Things still die trouble still comes our way so as we have this longing this expectation for something to happen to fully manifest, to fully reveal this new state-we groan.
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.
Groaning, and inaudible moan hoping for release from this frustration. Waiting-expecting, like a woman waiting for a baby to born. And this is not limited to creation to the non-human ascpet of creation.
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.
But to we ourselves. This is the believers. Those in the kingdom of God. The saved. Not everybody. Those that have made a decision to step into the kingdom of God have with them the “First fruits of the spirit.
In ancient time the first fruits is the first harvested. The first of the harvest is brought to God and waved before Him-Fully-knowing, and expecting the rest of the harvest to come in. It is still there. Right in the fields, it will be brought into the barn, sure certain-eagerly expecting the harvest to be brought in.
We as believers get the first Fruits the Holy Spirit is the beginning of what is to come is the beginning of that glory that will be revealed in us. The Holy Spirit is the concealed glory in us for now. While we wait-eagerly-expectant until we are fully redeemed with new resurrection bodies.
For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have?
In this HOPE. We were saved. When you heard the message of the gospel-that message that christ died on the cross of your sin and was resurrected three days later, SO that you could come into fellowship with God the Father You had a sure certain Hope- You knew and believed in your heart with a trust that it was true and that IT would with certainty happen. You had hope real Biblical hope. And then Paul makes this almost parenthetical remark, saying again that if you would have recieved all of the glory now when you were first saved there would be no need for hope. If the full glory-If your resurrected body was given to you at the time of your salvation-you would have no need for hope.
Admittedly though this suffering is hard it requires patience and perseverance.
But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
But as we wait patiently, eagerly and with expectation through this suffering we have someone who will help us get through this. The Holy Spirit intercedes for us. The Holy Spirit is praying for us. Much is made about wordless groans, and the truth is that is a little vague. And the wordless groans does is describe what the Holy Spirit is doing. What the Holy Spirit is doing is what is important in that verse. And what the Holy Spirit is doing is interceding for US that is the believers to God the Father. And not only that, but that verb is presently and continually.
Let me give that to you again slowly. When you are a believer, right now, and continually God the Holy Spirit is praying to God the Father on your behalf. Now when the suffering of this world tries to take to hold. remember God the Holt Spirit is praying for you in that moment, continually, to God the Father for you! How do you think God the Father will respond to the prayers of God the Holy Spirit? It is a sure-and certain prayer isn’t it?
And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
God knows all. He knows your heart, He knows your struggles, He knows your weaknesses, and God the Holy Spirit is praying for you according to the will of God. According to God’s will. Not Greg’s will not what i think is best for me but for what God thinks is best for you. An all good God, a loving God, a merciful God.
These are some very important verses. These verses show us that even in our the worst of things that come about on this side of Glory, God is working through them, He is searching your heart. God the Holy Spirit is praying continually right now for you to carry you through in accordance with the will of God.
Brothers and Sisters, we are anticipating celebrating the Word became Flesh, while at the same time we are eagerly and expectantly Hoping for the Sons of God will be will revealed. That creation will be set free from its bondage to decay. We are waiting patiently and we are persevering through these difficulties of the flesh until the Lord Jesus comes again and restores creation to unblemished state and He gives us our glorious redeemed bodies.