Summary: Often we hear people speak disparagingly of making New Year’s resolutions. They think these promises are worthless. This cynicism could indicate that they have no hope for the coming year being better than the last. It is certainly easy to give way to
Three Great Words from God for the Coming Year
Often we hear people speak disparagingly of making New Year’s resolutions. They think these promises are worthless. This cynicism could indicate that they have no hope for the coming year being better than the last. It is certainly easy to give way to despair regarding oneself and others, the world and the church, the present and the future. In fact, Satan would have us to do so.
But the words of our text challenge us to maintain an attitude about ourselves and our environs that is the exact opposite of pessimism and cynicism. How? It paints for us a picture of our God, who has high hopes for us and promises to fill us with hope and optimism as we face our present and our future.
I. The God of hope declares that we can abound in hope (Romans 15:13)
The bible speaks repeatedly of our God and his high hopes for us. Our Father is not in despair about our future; he wants us to face the future with hope. He makes his desires come to fruition by giving us all we need.
a. Hope fills us with excitement and optimism.
i. Paul speaks the truth when he says that as Christians we are able to “rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2)
ii. He also speaks about rejoicing in hope (Romans 12:12)
iii. Hope is one of the great characteristics that endures, along with faith and love, to the very end. (1 Cor. 13:13)
b. Hope produces patience and persistence
i. Without hope, there is little chance ofour developing the patience and persistence needed for living the Christian life.
c. Hope helps us face our future.
i. Why would we have hope?
1. Hope is a produce of the promises of our Lord to us.
2. Hope is a product of the presence of our Lord with us.
3. Hope is a product of the power of our Lord, which works within us (Phil 2:13)
II. The God of hope desires to fill us with joy.
It is significant that our text expresses the hope that God might fill us with “all joy”. Joy is an elusive and misunderstood concept. First, it is mistaken for happiness. Happiness is linked to what happends to you and to those you love. Joy is something much deeper. Second, joy and pleasure are often confused. Pleasure is the pause we experience between two pains.
Christian joy is not dependent on the circumstances of man. Joy is thankfulness for who God is and for what he has given us through his Son’s death.
a. God wished to fill us with the joy of forgiveness
b. God wishes to fill us with the joy of eternal life.
c. God wishes to fill us with the joy of belonging in his family
d. God wishes to fill us with the joy of knowing that we will go to heaven when this life is over.
e. God wishes to fill us with the joy that comes as the result of serving others and helping others enter the life of faith.
III. The God of hope fills us with his wonderful peace (Romans 15:13)
People have always sought a trouble-free life. The heart longsfor serenity. Humans, as sinners, experience inner tension, making serenity impossible. We are distracted by desires and ambitions that are contradictory. We are pulled apart as if we are in a civil war. The minds and hearts of people are battlegrounds on which they become split personalities like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
a. God wants to bring order into chaos of people’s lives.
i. God wants to bring tranquility where there is turmoil.
ii. We live in a dangerous world.
iii. We need to be comforted by knowing that God will help us and will seek to bring good out of everything that life brings. (Romans 8:28)
b. The Father God wants to give to us the gift of peace that comes through faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1)
i. The Holy Spirit of God, who dwells within us from the moment of our conversion, seeks continually to bring us into harmony with the will of God, making inner peace possible.
ii. Our text affirms that it is through the power of the Holy Spirit that the life of hope, joy, and peace is make possible.
iii. This power of the Holy Spirit and these blessings from God come to us through believing in and trusting in the goodness and the graciousness of our God. (Hebrews 11:6)
Let us rejoice that God wants to give us hope and fill us with joy and peace. Our God will do this – in us, to us, for us, and through us – by the power of the Holy Spirit if we will respond to him with genuine faith.