Summary: The Apostle Paul said if you take all of the suffering you’ve ever endured in this life, it is like a drop in the bucket compared to a vast, deep ocean of glory that’s going to come. Paul gave us three examples of why we ought to have hope.
In the English language the word hope is rather an anemic, weak word. Sometimes when we say, “I hope something happens,” we’re not too certain it will happen. For instance, you may say, “Well I really hope I get a raise next year,” or, “I hope I made an A on that test,” (you’re not real sure) or you’ll say, “I hope the Dallas Cowboys might win.” (and we’re really not too sure about that) But in the Bible, the word hope has a different meaning. It is a word of dynamic certainty. When I was learning Greek in college, so I could read the Greek New Testament, I had all these little word association games I used to play. And the word hope in Greek is the word, “elpis” and I always said, “this is kinda like Elvis Presley…elpis,” but Elvis was alive when I first learned this and of course he’s not alive any more, contrary to what some people think. But hope, elpis, is still alive and today we’re going to see why we as Christians ought to have hope.
When you drive from Tyler to Canton, you will see a sign that reads, “Little Hope Baptist Church.” I’ve often wondered why they don’t change the name of that church to something like “Some Hope Baptist Church,” or “A Lot of Hope Baptist Church,” but someone from that community told me–and I don’t know whether it’s true or not–but they said years ago there was a little girl who lived in the community whose name was Hope and that’s how the community of “Little Hope” got its name.
But for sure, Christians are ones who ought to have a lot of hope. Let’s look at Romans 8:18: Paul writes, “I consider [that is the word “logisamy;” where we get our word logic, it means something he has mathematically figured out] that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” That’s the thesis of the message today. Now Paul will explain it. “The creation [the world of nature] waits in eager expectation for the sons 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 glorious freedom of the children of God.” He keeps talking about creation in verse 22: “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up until the present time.” Now he’s not talking about creation groaning, he’ll talk about us groaning in verse 23: “Not only so, but we ourselves who have the first fruits of the spirit we groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons the redemption of our bodies.” Now let’s notice how often he uses “hope.” “For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”
As we’ve been studying Romans, I have told you that salvation, according to the Bible, is in three tenses: past, present and future. Past tense, “You and I have been saved.” (that’s called justification). Currently, present tense, “We are being saved” (that’s sanctification the work of the Holy Spirit in us, making us more like Jesus) but there’s also a future aspect to salvation and today we’re going to push the fast-forward button and look at this future aspect of salvation called glorification. Look again at verse 18 where Paul talks about the future glory. Here’s the main message:
Don’t give up hope when you hurt
Don’t give up hope when you hurt–and we all hurt. You may be suffering today, physically, financially, occupationally, relationally, within your family; there are all different kinds of suffering but the Bible says, “Don’t give up hope.” There’s a reason why and here it is, “Because your present suffering [whatever it is you’re suffering right now] is mild, or minor, compared to your future glory.” That’s what Paul is saying in verse 18 where he says, “This present sufferings are not worthy to be compared to the glory that’s going to be revealed in us (future tense).”
He says if you take all of the suffering you’ve ever endured in this life, it is like a drop in the bucket compared to a vast, deep ocean of glory that’s going to come. And so today, we’re going to look into the future and talk about the future glory. Paul will give us three examples of why we ought to have hope and the words drawing these three together is the word “groan.” First of all, he talks about creation groaning, then he talks about how we groan, and in the third example the Bible says even the Holy Spirit groans in us in prayer.