Summary: In this sermon, we examine the hope that comes from a relationship with the Lord and how hope grows as we go through life.
Hope’s real keep it!
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:1-5 NKJV)
IL: “The school system in a large city had a program to help children keep up with their school work during stays in the city's hospitals. One day a teacher who was assigned to the program received a routine call asking her to visit a particular child. She took the child's name and room number and talked briefly with the child's regular class teacher. "We're studying nouns and adverbs in his class now," the regular teacher said, "and I'd be grateful if you could help him understand them so he doesn't fall too far behind."
The hospital program teacher went to see the boy that afternoon. No one had mentioned to her that the boy had been badly burned and was in great pain. Upset at the sight of the boy, she stammered as she told him, "I've been sent by your school to help you with nouns and adverbs." When she left she felt she hadn't accomplished much. Bits & Pieces, July 1991.1
Have you ever noticed that sometimes people can go through the same circumstances, and they have such different long term outcomes? One faces a life and death battle and comes out of it with grace and has a new lease on life. Yet someone else goes through the same thing and comes out bitter and resentful. What makes the difference? I’m not just talking about believers verses unbelievers. I’ve seen it among Christians. Why do some go through it and grow spiritually, and others go through it and seem to fade away?
I believe it has to do in part with hope. I can’t answer all the questions for everyone, but hope has made a difference in my story. When my wife was having a bone marrow transplant for chemotherapy resistant cancer, we were told she only had a 23% chance of being alive 5 years later. We went through it with an ever growing faith and hope. Why? Because we were surrounded with people of faith who encouraged us. We were never allowed to forget there was hope. Now, after 16 years we have 2 wonderful children which the physicians said were next to impossible to have, and we still have hope!
Paul in Romans 5:1-5 gives us some important information about our hope. First let us notice…..
The foundation of hope
Romans 5:1-2 “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” NKJV
The foundation of our hope is faith! Our faith in God works within us to bring about benefits including hope.
Paul here says we are justified before God by faith. Before faith, we are separated from God and stand guilty before Him do to our sins. When He justifies us, He erases our debt! He accepts Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross to pay for our sins. It is “just as if I’ve never sinned”.
We gain this awesome gift through faith. Now faith isn’t just believing intellectually that there is a God. It starts there, but that isn’t all there is to it. Faith is a transfer of trust. We stop trusting in our ability to earn God’s affection and a place in heaven, and trust in the work Jesus on the cross. It is trusting God to keep His promise which Paul wrote about in Romans 10:9-12 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”[f] 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” NKJV
IL: Rocking chair scene from the opening of The Patriot: Mel Gibson’s character, Benjamin Martin, sat in the chair, fully trusting in his skills as a woodworker and fell flat as the chair broke into pieces. Then they show us the pile of ruined chairs as a monument to his lack of skills. I’m grateful that when we trust God, He doesn’t let us down.