Summary: This is message 36 in our exposition of Romans. This message urges us to maintain our hope in Jesus.
Chico Alliance Church
April 21, 2002
Pastor David Welch
“Navigating Turbulent Times”
I. Receive God’s gift of righteousness 1-5
II. Apply God’s gift of righteousness 6-8
III. Understand God’s gift of righteousness in relations to Israel 9-11
IV. Live God’s gift of righteousness 12-15
A. Think and live wisely 12:1-2
B. Think and live wisely concerning the body 12:3-8
C. Think and live persistently and passionately for God’s purpose 12:11
D. Think and live wisely through turbulent times 12:12
Mankind continually tries to rebuild Eden. We work for that utopian environment of pleasure, peace and prosperity. The problem is that we try to reestablish Eden on our own terms. We try to reverse the curse with science or medicine or industry or technology. The truth is, in spite of all our technology and education; man’s basic nature continues to deteriorate the further from God’s ways we drift. We live in a fallen world that will only get worse until Jesus returns to establish His righteous kingdom on earth.
Since the fall of Adam we continue to see evil and pain and calamity in our communities and around the world through the media.
We struggle with doubt and mystery, fear and worry, depression and anxiety, the schemes and onslaught of the enemy, the limitations of physical decay and aging and the prospect of death and the process of dying.
It is unmistakable! We are all touched in some way by these turbulent times.
Jeremiah lamented the turbulence of his times.
My soul has been rejected from peace; I have forgotten happiness.
So I say, "My strength has perished, and so has my hope from the LORD."
Remember my affliction and my wandering, the wormwood and bitterness.
Surely my soul remembers and is bowed down within me.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12
How do we stop this runaway train of evil? These are all the things that God said would happen when His creatures reject Him. Just read Deuteronomy 28.
“Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and a glad heart for the abundance of all things” vs47
We may think that we live in turbulent times now because of recent events. But these things and worse have plagued the world from the day sin entered human history.
Why is there so much pain and evil. We live in a world under the curse of sin and death.
The consequences of sin bring more sin, more pain, and more devastation. Since only Jesus will one day eliminate the presence of evil and pain in our world, we are left to somehow navigate the turbulence and try to survive. Paul addresses this subject in his list of areas requiring renewed thinking leading to transformed living.
Focus on future hope while patiently enduring present problems and continually conversing with God on behalf of ourselves and others.
Rather than lamenting in despair, Paul calls us to rejoice in hope.
Rather than escape, Paul calls us to endure tribulation.
Rather than neglect prayer Paul urges us to persist in prayer.
These are just three of many adjustments to our thinking and living that must be made if we are to successfully navigate turbulent times.
1. Regarding hope - rejoicing
To navigate turbulent times we must maintain a healthy view of the future; eternity. Paul here calls it hope.
What is hope?
Biblical hope is not a complicated concept. It is very close to trust and faith. It describes a sure and settled expectation regarding something or someone.
Expectation, confidence, sense of assurance
The Biblical concept of hope is much stronger than our English usage of the word.
We may hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow. We may hope the Mariners win the World Series. We may hope that our marriage holds together. We may hope we don’t get sick. The degree of certainty of these things can be very low. Because the object of our hope depends on unpredictable weather patterns and frail human effort, our hope for these things is really only a strong desire or wish.
Just as faith is only as good as its object, so hope is only as sure as its object. Confidence in an object or person may increase or decrease with time and experience. We can be fairly certain that it will rain around the 4th of July. We can be certain the sun will come up and go down each day. We can even be certain that our marriage will last given 50 years of experience. Biblical hope focuses on future certainty and a reliable expectation based on the promises of a faithful God who because of His power and character and love for us, cannot fail.
? It is a living hope