Is there any hope? The future is uncertain. Families are falling apart. Drugs are ruining our cities, towns and schools. Disease is killing our people! Is there any hope? Can we possibly have peace and joy in our hearts? Can we find fulfillment in life? Can we possess the power and strength to live meaningful lives? Can we find hope?
Yes! There’s Hope. As the Bible says in Romans 15:13, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." There is hope in God for our God is called "the God of hope." And when you are at the end of your proverbial rope, don’t attempt to tie a knot, simply let go and trust Jesus to fill you with hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. In God’s Holy Word, the Bible and the book of Romans we will find "The Road to Hope."
I’d like for you to travel down the road to hope with me this morning. Now, in order to make this trip, you’ll have to get into your car called "life." In fact, everyone of us alive and present in this place today are already in the car! We’ll take the Atlas, the Bible and as we begin our journey there will be several sites to see, cities and towns to pass through, many mountains to go over and Four Stops we must make on "The Road to Hope."
So imagine with me that we are on our journey now. As you look at your atlas you’ll see some sites like Lake Rejection and Lake Unfulfillment, not much fishing for men there. Then I see a stream, it’s Unconcern Stream, Complacency Creek and Apathy River. Have you been down some of those waterways? Well, these all lead us up to:
I. The First Stop on the Road to Hope:
A Place Named Power Romans 1:16-17
There is a power capable of giving you hope. The Bible tells us God has that power and has unleashed it in the Gospel. It is the power of God that will save you and give you hope. It is a power that will make you okay with God forever by faith. In fact, in John 1:12, the apostle wrote, " But as many as received him (Jesus), to them gave he power to become the children of God." You can have hope if you will first come to and stop off at this place named Power.
As we continue to travel down "The Road to Hope," we now go through several small towns such as Selfishness, Shame and Self-Pity. Have you ever settled down in those small places? Then there are detours through towns like Deceptiveness, Dishonesty and Despair. Have you ever dwelt there? As we continue our cruise in our car called life, there are countryside communities called Corruptness, Cynicism and Uncertainty which lead us to:
II. The Second Stop on the Road to Hope:
The Big City Called Change Romans 2:4
Oh how we hate to see the bright lights of the big city called change. But the truth is, the release of God’s power results in change. I believe people can and want to change. And the biblical word for change is repentance. Paul writes in Romans 2:4, "Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not relaizing that God’s kindness (goodness KJV) leads you toward repentance?" This means allowing God to change the direction of your life. Indeed, we can and want to change, but little change is likely without the power of God flowing through our lives to effect that change.
You ask, "Why is change necessary?" We all have a universal problem in our lives that the Bible calls sin. Romans 3:23 states it clearly. This means we have missed the mark, we’ve failed to meet God’s standard for how He wants us to live. This makes change necessary for every one of us. In fact, Jesus Himself said in Luke 13:3, "Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish."
As we leave the Big City of Change we best realize that we are now on a superhighway identified as I-D, Interstate Destruction as Jesus said, "Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction" (Matthew 7:13). This superhighway will take us across many mountains such as Mt. Hopelessness, Mt. Purposelessness, Mt. Loneliness and even through the lucious Valley of Depression. Have you experienced some of those elevations? As we come in and out of the mountains and valleys we continue down "the Road to Hope" by passing through other towns like Abusiveness, Worthlessness and Insignificance - have you ever felt you lived there? Beyond these towns are some small places called "spots in the road" or "blink your eyes and you’ll miss it" places such as Fear, Anger, Bitterness and Guilt then on through the City of Sin itself until we reach:
III. The Third Stop on the Road to Hope
The Metropolitan City of God’s Love Romans 5:8
The Atlas tells us, "But God commendeth his love toward us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Although God is not pleased with us as we are in our sin, He loves us unconditionally and wants to help us come to Hope. Unfortunately, we all have lived in the City of Sin, so that we have been infected with the penalty of death, both spiritual and physical as Romans 6:23 indicates. "For the wages of sin is death"
"But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord." Again, God wants to get us to Hope and is willing to forgive us by accepting Jesus as our substitute. By faith in His death on the cross, the penalty of our sin has been paid in full. And by His resurrection from the dead God provides us eternal life. there’s an example in Romans $:18-25 that shows us how one man made it to Hope and how every one of us can.
Once we go through the City of God’s Love, we will be on another superhighway I-H, Interstate Hope. Now we get to through towns like Freedom, Joy, Security, and Caring. Can you sense that yet? Well, there’s:
IV. The Fourth and Final Stop on the Road to Hope:
Commitment Romans 10:9,13
Your commitment! As the Atlas says, "If you confess with your mouth, ’Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved..." "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
Commitment means that you Repent, that is turn away from your sin, whatever you are trusting in to make life work for you and turn to Jesus following God’s new direction for your life. Believe on Jesus as your substitute. Confess with your mouth, acknowledge Jesus as the supreme authority over your life. Call upon Him, ask Him for forgiveness, eternal life and Hope.
With a stop at Commitment comes Forgiveness, Blessing, Purpose, Security, Life, Love, Contentment, Wisdom and Faithfulness at the Metropolis called Hope! Would you take the journey today? Would you receive Hope? Someone has written and I quote, "Money can’t buy it, but you can’t live without it. Because hope is the stuff that dreams are made of. It’s that elusive quality of thought that makes the future look brighter. And makes life worth living. With a heart full of hope you can endure any hardship. Sustain any love. Outlast any ups and downs. Because hope builds character and brings people together. And hope is the only known antidote to hopelessness." Jesus is our Blessed Hope!