Summary: How the Holy Spirit brings Hope in the midst of dispair
Series: Living in the Spirit
Sermon #4 “Living Hope”
A middle aged man was on a Caribbean cruise. On the first day out he noticed an attractive woman who smiled at him as he passed her on the deck. Needless to say, this pleased him greatly. That night he managed to have himself seated at the same table with her at dinner. As the conversation developed, he commented that he had seen her on the deck that day and he had appreciated her friendly smile. When she heard this she smiled again and commented, “Well, the reason I smiled was that when I saw you, I was immediately struck by your strong resemblance to my third husband.”
Of course this immediately got his attention and he asked, “Oh, how many times have you been married?”
With this she looked down at her plated, smiled slyly and answered, “Twice.”
“Hope.” We cannot live without it.
Perhaps C. Neil Strait expressed this need for hope a bit more eloquently when he wrote:
Take from a man his wealth, and you hinder him; take from him his purpose, and you slow him down. But take from man his hope, and you stop him. He can go on without wealth, and even without purpose, for awhile. But he will not go on without hope.
It was the Apostle Paul who expressed the theological significance of hope when he wrote:
24For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? 25But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Romans 8:24-25
Hope is what keeps us going. Without hope we give up.
As Christians where does our hope come from? According to Paul it comes from the Holy Spirit as we make him a part of our daily living?
According to Romans 8, we have a living hope because the Holy Spirit gives us the assurance that no matter what happens in the world, God will win!
1. There are those who would have us believe otherwise.
--that God is losing: media, Iraq, 9/11, Katrina
--as believes, if things are going badly in our lives, we find ourselves wondering
2. Old timers when things looked especially bad: “I’ve read the last chapter and God wins!”
3. Text: vv. 24-25 [hope] vv. 28ff [hope]
--vv. 26-27 prayer [digression?]
--He is not actually digressing at all. The greatest expression of Christian hope is prayer.
When we pray we are saying:
“Although things seems bad, I know who is in charge.”
“When we pray we are saying things can be different”
This is hope. Do you want to experience “living hope?” Pray!
When we live daily in the Spirit, not only do have the hope that God will win but we have the living hope that nothing can separate us from the love of God.
1. How did Paul put it? (Message, vv. 35-39)
Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:
36They kill us in cold blood because they hate you.
We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.
37None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. 38I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, 39high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.
This coming Thursday August 31 we will be celebrating the birthday of one our great Christian saints. If she were living it would be her 179th birthday. Her name was Anna Warner. She wrote several books one of which was a long novel titled, Say and Seal. In the story one of the main characters is Mr. Linden. Mr. Linden is a good man, a Sunday School teacher in fact. Now keep in mind this was written during the Victorian era which tended to be rather sentimental. One of his Sunday School children is very ill and on the verge of death. Mr. Linden visits the boy and tries of offer comfort. Johnny looks into Mr. Linden’s face and says one word, “Sing.” So Mr. Linden sings and for the first time the world hears these words:
Jesus loves me! This I know
For the Bible tells me so
Little ones to Him belong
They are weak, but He is strong.
One stanza that is not included in most hymnals including the UMC hymnal reads:
Jesus loves me! Loves me still
Tho’ I’m very weak and ill
That I might from sin be free