Summary: When there is no sun or stars in your life, like those sailors in that verse in Acts 27, we finally give up all hope…When there is neither Jesus or His hopes (love,joy,etc.), we finally give up all hope…and lapse into depression,get moody,or get sick.
Title: The Hope of Israel
Scripture: Acts 28
Life itself seems to tell us things that we can reasonably expect. Doesn’t it? Things that I, as a U.S. citizen, can reasonably expect may be somewhat different than those say of a North Korean citizen, or an Australian, or someone from a number of other countries. Additionally, things that I, as a U.S. citizen and from the southern United States, can reasonably expect may be somewhat different than those say of a person from the northern United States.
Our personal environment and the people in it instill within each one of us certain values and ethics. The upbringing by our parents or guardians instills within us certain values and ethics. Those values and ethics were influenced by every person that has entered our life until this breath in time. Those values and ethics influence any decision, any action, any endeavor that we undertake or are faced with. Every situation and every circumstance that enters our life passes through our values and ethics that have influenced us until that very breath in time.
Our reasonable expectations then, which are cultured or grown by people, past influences and circumstances are driven to resolve or explain every picture that is captured by our mind’s eye. Our reasonable expectations attempt to explain every thing, every picture, that is captured by our mind’s eye.
For some people, when they became a Christian, many of those values and ethics stayed the same, and, for some people, when they became a Christian, many of those values and ethics changed. As an example, I may have been brought up not to tell a lie, or not to hurt other people, which, when I became a Christian, remained virtually the same. Conversely, what if I grew up in a family where drinking beer, wine, or some type of alcohol was okay? Then my reasonable expectations when I see someone drinking wine with their dinner, or having a beer at the local pub after work would seem okay. The thought that drinking alcoholic drink in any form and in moderation would be okay, until I become a Christian. When I became a Christian, this reasonable expectation should have changed to, as Paul says in 1st Corinthians 6:12,
“Everything is permissible for me--but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me--but I will not be mastered by anything.”
The thought of drinking alcohol in any form should have changed to ‘being of no benefit.’ The taste of the alcohol does not change, unless God desires it to, of course. The thought should have simply changed to something similar to “I don’t need this in my life anymore.”
The changing of basic reasonable expectations of the new-born Christian is something that sets the Christian apart from the non-Christian. At this point, though, we have to change the wording from reasonable expectations to the word – hope. When we became a Christian a glorious thing took place. Instilled with our hearts was the hope of someday spending eternity with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. All of our hopes and the foundation of those hopes changed not only in direction, but in focus and the dependency upon Whom those hopes exist.
Like an airplane on its way to the wrong airport, our hopes were re-routed. And, not only were they re-routed, but, we became acutely aware of where those hopes are founded and maintained, Jesus Christ.
Colossians 1:27 tells us,
Christ in you the hope of glory.
This is what we became acutely aware of when we became a Christian. And through the hope that is founded in Jesus Christ, other hopefulness is expected or anticipated. Some of those hopes are:
I. The Hope of Life
II. The Hope of Fellowship
III. The Hope of Principles
IV. The Hope of the Conviction
I. The Hope of Life
28:1 Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta. 2 The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold. 3 Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. 4 When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, "This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live." 5 But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. 6 The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead, but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god. 7 There was an estate nearby that belonged to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us to his home and for three days entertained us hospitably. 8 His father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him. 9 When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured. 10 They honored us in many ways and when we were ready to sail, they furnished us with the supplies we needed.