Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
“Rejoice in Hope”
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.
But the next day, a nurse asked her, “What did you do to that boy?” The teacher felt she must have done something wrong and began to apologize. “No, no,” said the nurse. “You don’t know what I mean. We’ve been worried about that little boy, but ever since yesterday, his whole attitude has changed. He’s fighting back, responding to treatment. It’s as though he’s decided to live.”
Two weeks later the boy explained that he had completely given up hope until the teacher arrived. Everything changed when he came to a simple realization. He expressed it this way: “They wouldn’t send a teacher to work on nouns and adverbs with a dying boy, would they?”
The young boy now had hope he was going to live.
In our text today we see the words “Rejoice in Hope.” Without hope we have nothing. Without hope in something that is outside of ourselves we have nothing. Hope in ourselves will not sustain us in those times of fierce trials, tribulation and testing that comes upon us. Yes, hope has to be something outside of ourselves.
There are two different kinds of hope.
The first kind of Hope is simply depending on fate. The expected result of normal developments is going to happen no matter what you do. This kind of hope is grasping after straws or hoping for the best.
A man sentenced to death obtained a reprieve by assuring the king he would teach his majesty’s horse to fly within the year. This was on the condition that if he didn’t succeed, he would be put to death at the end of the year. “Within a year,” the man explained later, “the king may die, or I may die, or the horse may die. Furthermore, in a year, who knows, within a year maybe the horse will learn to fly.”
Then there is hope that is tangible. Hope in something that you can depend. Hope in a person. A person that you know can absolutely do what he promises.
A self-made millionaire, Eugene Lang, greatly changed the lives of a sixth-grade class in East Harlem. Mr. Lang had been asked to speak to a class of 59 sixth-graders. What could he say to inspire these students, most of whom would drop out of school? He wondered how he could get these predominantly black and Puerto Rican children even to look at him.
Scrapping his notes, he decided to speak to them from his heart. “Stay in school,” he admonished, “and I’ll help pay the college tuition for every one of you.” At that moment the lives of these students changed. For the first time they had hope. Said one student, “I had something to look forward to, something waiting for me. It was a golden feeling.” Nearly 90 percent of that class went on to graduate from high school.
Hope means having faith or trusting when things are hopeless. As long as matters are really hopeful, hope is merely a trite, or stale wishing; it is only when everything is hopeless that hope begins to be a strength.
Faith, Hope, Trust are all linked to a basic meaning. They mean basically the same thing with only slight variances.
What is hope? This is my definition of the word hope, faith, & trust in a nutshell: It is the well grounded, well founded, confident expectation that comes through experience in something outside of our selves. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit; the triune Godhead, the Trinity.
Paul tells us, through the power of the Holy Spirit, that we are to “glory in tribulations”.
That means that we are to delight in, be jubilant because of, rejoice even while we are in the tribulation. That we are to triumph over the tribulation, crisis’s, and stresses even when the great pressing down seem to stop our very soul from breathing.
While we are struggling with this tribulation we are told to have “patience”. Patience or perseverance is the characteristic of a person who is not swerved from their deliberate purpose and their loyalty to faith and piety even when the greatest trials and sufferings comes. It isn’t hunkering down behind a fortress. It’s getting into and staying in the battle through the Power of God.
With our patience we will get godly “Experience”. Experience is something personally encountered, undergone, or lived through. We can also get experience by direct observation Experience with God should give us peace and hope in our lives.
Because of this experience we shouldn’t be Ashamed.
Being ashamed is feeling inferior, unworthy or embarrassed. We are to stand tall. Lift up our heads and smile, laugh and rejoice in hope.
Hope is our well grounded, well founded, confident expectation that comes through experience in God because of the blood, the death, of Jesus on a cross and the power of the Holy Spirit living within us.
Christian hope proves we believe. Believe in God and His son Jesus Christ. Believe that the can and will cover us with their love. Christian hope is our way of cooping with life. Christian hope to receive his salvation and firmly grounds us in God’s Love. Have you been brought back to God by Jesus? Are you able to enjoy God? If not this is the appointed time.
During World War II, a relief worker told of going into a war area and holding a glass of milk before a child whose eyes seemed so much bigger because of his gaunt little face. Reflecting on the days when many had to drink out of one cup, the child asked, “How deep shall I drink, Ma’am?” And the relief worker, deeply moved by so simple a question, answered, “Drink as deep as you can, son, as deep as you can.”
It is one thing to ask how deep I shall go in my faith, but because of the grace of God, which knows neither exhaustion nor limit, the answer is clear: Drink as deep as you can.
We are the child, Jesus is the aid worker, God is the milk. We should drink deep and fill our souls with his hope and his love.
A man approached a little league baseball game one afternoon. He asked a boy in the dugout what the score was. The boy responded, “Eighteen to nothing–we’re behind.”
“Boy,” said the spectator, “I’ll bet you’re discouraged.”
“Why should I be discouraged?” replied the little boy. “We haven’t even gotten up to bat yet!”
One night at dinner, a man, who had spent many summers in Maine, fascinated his companions by telling of his experiences in a little town named Flagstaff. The town was to be flooded, as part of a large lake for which a dam was being built.
In the months before it was to be flooded, all improvements and repairs in the whole town were stopped. What was the use of painting a house if it were to be covered with water in six months? Why repair anything when the whole village was to be wiped out? So, week by week, the whole town became more and more bedraggled, more gone to seed, more woebegone. Then he added by way of explanation: “Where there is no faith in the future, there is no power in the present.”
Christians can live the present more fully because we have faith in the future. We know the God that holds the future, and we can face tomorrow without fear.
The reality of eternity, the reality of God, the faith we have in the future doesn’t diminish our ability to live well in the present.
The hope we have fuels our lives now, letting us experience life more completely than if we lacked such hope.
“Where there is no faith in the future, there is no power in the present.”
God’s Lake Erie