Summary: Pentecost 1(C) - Hope does not disappoint as we boast about God’s glory which also leads us to boast in our sufferings.
HOPE DOES NOT DISAPPOINT US
June 11, 2006 - PENTECOST 1 - Romans 5:1-5
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Dearest Fellow-Redeemed and Saints in the Lord:
How many of you have ever been disappointed? It would not take us much thinking to think of a disappointment or two that has come into our life, maybe in the past 24 hours, probably in the last week or so. Why is there disappointment in our life? As believers, we are told to always be happy and joyful and rejoice. Still we often face disappointment. There always will be disappointment on this side of heaven. For many of the things that we think, many of the things we say and many of our actions are tainted by sin. We cannot escape the effects of sin. Sin clouds our thinking. It covers up our good speech. Sometimes it betrays our righteous acts with evil actions. Because of that, there is going to be disappointment upon disappointment upon disappointment.
Yet, what do we find in our text? Paul says: "Hope does not disappoint us." In the midst of this earthly life and in the midst of suffering hope does not disappoint us. We may disappoint our families or ourselves. Or they may disappoint us. The world is a disappointing place, but hope does not disappoint us. Today, we are going to study that fact--the fact as Paul writes in Colossians later on: "Faith and love that spring up from the hope (that) is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel that has come to you" (Colossians 1:5,6a). We have come near to hear God’s gospel. We have come to hear why hope does not disappoint us. Paul mentions two things that we are going to study. Using Paul’s words as our theme,
HOPE DOES NOT DISAPPOINT US
I. We boast about God’s glory.
II. We boast in our sufferings.
I. WE BOAST ABOUT GOD’S GLORY
The believers at Rome, the Christians that were gathered there, were anxious to see the apostle Paul. He hadn’t come to visit them. Many things stood in the way, and travel was much more difficult than our day and age. So Paul writes them a letter. They needed to hear more about justification, and how they were saved by faith, by grace. Hopefully, you caught this beautifully defined doctrine in our text today--the fact of the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Paul has previously discussed salvation and the righteousness of God. Now in chapter 5 Paul writes: "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Justify is one of those long words in Scripture has been beautifully defined for us in our text. Justified--Paul says: "We have peace with God." He was reminding these believers that though they lived as enemies of God, though they were born as enemies of God and though they thought and spoke like enemies of God, now they had peace with God. They are justified. Then so they would make no mistake about it, he reminds them that their peace with God does not come from within themselves as they are trying to live like a Christian. That is not where peace with God comes from. That is not their justification, but he says, "We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Time and again, as you read Paul’s letters, you realize that in every letter and almost every chapter he mentions the resurrection of Christ. Paul is going to mention the fact that Christ lived, died and rose again. This was the Messiah who had been promised long ago and now came and fulfilled what God had promised. Now Paul says the believers have peace with God, not because of their works, their good intentions, but through Jesus Christ. He goes on to explain that: "Through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand." Paul was writing a letter to them, and the believers at Rome were standing really at the end of the known universe. They stand in faith in God’s grace, by faith. How did that happen that these believers who had not been in Jerusalem or who had not seen Jesus put to death and only heard about Christ coming back to life now stand in faith? Paul gives the clue--by grace. It is the same God the Father who created the heavens and earth and who promised his Son and who came, Christ the Savior. They had forgiveness by grace.
How did that all get into their lives, their hearts? At the end of our text, he says: "God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." You may remember when Jesus ascended into heaven he told the disciples to go back to Jerusalem and wait for the gift that he promised: The Holy Spirit. Last Sunday was Pentecost and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that was the beginning of the tremendous growth of the Christian Church. Here we have God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. These people believed by grace. They had faith because of God’s gift to them.