Summary: Pastor John shows how God can even use suffering to develop a rock-solid hope and faith.
Finding Hope in Suffering
CCCAG March 15th, 2020
Scripture- Romans 5:1-19
Cramming for exams- what 2020 is for the Christian
For us, started with Pastor Roger’s death
Then the lockdowns, including this church
Various shortages- including toilet paper of all things
Then the easing of the lockdowns,
Then a few stories about murder hornets coming- that one didn’t pan out at least.
Then the country erupt into riots and the worst civil unrest I’ve seen in my lifetime which began over racism, but now has morphed into a serious threat to our country as Marxists hiding within the protests are doing their best to topple our country.
Then a giant cloud of dust come sweeping in from Africa, covering the southern parts of the country- which I believe gave COVID something new to lock onto and spread it.
Followed by report of huge outbreaks of COVID in those southern states.
Does anyone feel like we are living in Egypt around the time of Moses?
2020 feels like one gut punch after another, and with the political leaders ramping up their attacks, it’s only going to get uglier, potentially, and I don’t say this lightly, to a civil war without our borders.
As God’s people, we better be ready to give an answer for the hope that we have.
Hope- a funny thing to cling to when it’s the darkest. When a tornado is bearing down on you, the last thing in our mind is hope- it’s to take shelter and pray it misses us.
This storm we are in now will affect every single person here.
That’s why we need to cling to hope.
But lets be honest- the American church is ill prepared for this season.
But our God is merciful. He is issuing a call right now to his church to prepare for a new season that’s coming- one that will challenge each of us in our dedication to the truth of the Gospel and our reliance on Jesus.
Welcome to God’s classroom. Today’s lesson will be on finding hope in suffering. We will be in Romans 5:1-19
Before we delve into subjects that might not be as comfortable for us to get into, lets focus on our hope for a moment.
One of the most powerful verses in the entire Bible is found in this chapter. It's such a beautiful verse I want to just quote it to you right now-
Close your eyes for a moment and just drink this verse in allow it to penetrate into the deepest parts of your spirit your soul and your mind because this versus soul life changing for people
Romans 5 verse 8-
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners Christ died for us.
I don't know about you but for me this is one of those “wow” scriptures. It's a scripture that when I sit and think about it, tears come to my eyes about the awesomeness of God. I wish I had the words to properly express the incredible width and height and depth of what this verse means for all of us.
This verse brings hope to me personally but even more so brings hope for all those around me and even our nation that's in such turmoil right now-that even we as Americans who are yet sinners Christ died for us also.
We can look at social media, we can read news articles, we can listen to the radio or watch the evening newscast and think that we have no hope as a people.
But this verse should assure us that God is still in control, that God still loves us , and that God still has a plan to work out his will not only in our personal lives but in the lives of this country called the United States of America, no matter what it might look like in the future.
Read Romans 5 one through 19. we are going to leave the last two verses off until next week because it flows better within the whole of the book of Romans that way.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.