Hope Which Will Not Disappoint

Posted on 04/28/2008 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

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TRANSCRIPT: (may not contain everything found in the audio above)

Good morning, and welcome to Abundant Living Ministries CyberChurch.

If you're a first-time visitor, we want to thank you for coming, and invite you to enter into prayer, worship, and the Word of God with us. You're also invited to click the welcome sign in the foyer before you leave, and pick up some free gifts from us.

Let's all stand to our feet and enter the presence of the Lord with prayer.

Lord God, thank you for being here with us today. Thank you that we can come boldly into your presence. And if there's anything between us and you, I ask that you bring that to the surface so we can get it out of the way.

We repent of any sins, any attitudes, or any distractions which would keep us from entering into your presence. We ask you to forgive us for our sins, and wash us clean. Bring us into your presence, as we kneel around the throne in the spirit while we seek you here on earth.

We lift up our prayers and our praise like incense, an offering to you, and we desire to fellowship with you now. We want to lavish our love upon you, and to receive your love which you lavish upon us.

We also want to stand in agreement with our brothers and sisters who are in special need of your touch.

***** prayer requests *****

Today, My little sister found out that the people caring for her children in Tennesee are going though troubles with the landlord at the motel they have been staying at, due to misfiled paperwork on their rental. They were told they were behind on rent, when they really are not, and the landlord has threatened that though they cannot evict without notice, they can have the power and water turned off, and their car towed. I only ask help in praying that this does not happen or that they find some other means to stay elsewhere or the situation to grow better, that those small children, ages 3 and 4 and their cousin, who is a year and a half, do not suffer in this cold weather, or be put on the street. Thank You and God Bless.
   –Lillyanna Mersand

Please pray for me (Jadyn Westland) and RickOShea and others as well as we reach out to the furry community. We know there are real souls behind the avatars, and we want to help them know God more.
   –Jadyn Westland

Pray GOD Blesses me in every area of my life today.
   –Phil

*****

*** Elmo's family, death in the family ***

*** any recurring requests ***

And Lord, we pray for this service, that you would have your way with us today. May we encounter you in a fresh way today, and may none of us leave here the way we came.

And we ask these things in Jesus' name.

Amen.

Let's worship God with our giving. Take a moment to turn around and touch one of the offering plates by the door, and give as the Lord leads.

Click the pulpit for a notecard, as we continue this time of worship.

HIS BANNER OVER ME

He is the Vine and we are the branches,
His banner over me is love.
He is the Vine and we are the branches,
His banner over me is love.
He is the Vine and we are the branches,
His banner over me is love.
His banner over me is love!

He is the Shepherd and we are his beloved,
His banner over me is love.
He is the Shepherd and we are his beloved,
His banner over me is love.
He is the Shepherd and we are his beloved,
His banner over me is love.
His banner over me is love!

He calls us to His Banqueting Table,
His banner over me is love.
He calls us to His Banqueting Table,
His banner over me is love.
He calls us to His Banqueting Table,
His banner over me is love.
His banner over me is love!


MIGHTY IS OUR GOD

Mighty is our God
Mighty is our King
Might is our Lord
Ruler of everything

His name is higher,
higher than any other name
His power is greater,
for he has created everything


TO HIM WHO SITS ON THE THRONE

To him who sits on the throne
     and unto the Lamb
To him who sits on the throne
     and unto the Lamb

Be blessing and glory
     and honor and power forever
Be blessing and glory
     and honor and power forever


Thank you Lord for your presence. Thank you Lord for your peace. Thank you Lord that in your presence is fullness of joy, and that when we put our eyes upon you, you lift us above our problems, above our worries and cares, and embrace us with your strong, loving arms.

I ask that this time of fellowship with you would continue now and through the rest of our time here together, and that even after we leave and go about our day, we would continue to fellowship with you, and we would continue to feel your presence with us.

And now I ask that you would speak to us through your Word. Holy Spirit, bring the written word to life in us today. May we receive a reema word as the truth of your Word is breathed into us today.

And we ask these things in Jesus' name.

Amen.


You can be seated.

It seems as though everywhere you look today, people are talking about hope -- hope for change, hope for peace, and hope for a brighter tomorrow. We all have a desperate need to hope in something or someone, and without that hope, our lives become void of meaning, and we start losing our will to live.

The title of my message today is, "Hope Which Will Not Disappoint."

It's one thing to stand up in front of millions of people and proclaim, "If you vote for me, I'll bring change for the better," or, "If you follow this path in your life, you will create a brighter tomorrow." But it's quite another thing to deliver on that hope.

Proverbs 13:12 says, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life."

When we hope for something and that hope is delayed, it can literally make us sick. People have had the hope that riches will bring them lasting happiness. Perhaps that is why their heart becomes so sick when they realize their hope was in vain.

Some people have the hope that after they get married, the passions of new love will last for life. But as love and desire goes through changes and matures, such vain hopers may, with disappointment and unrest, wander away from their sacred vows.

And the deeper a hope reaches into our hearts, the greater the pain when that hope is deferred, put off, or turns out to be a hope in something which cannot or will not deliver.


Some people worship hope itself, believing that as long as you have hope, you are doing well. But the greater your hope in something false, the greater your fall when your hope is disappointed.

The world ruler who will soon rise to power will proclaim peace and safety, and will usher in a great peace. And the peoples of the earth will put their hopes in him. But his peace will be a false peace, and it will crumble, as times of torment the earth has never seen sweep through every country, city, province, village, and home. According to Revelation 9:15, one-third of the population of the earth, about two billion people, will die. Many of the people who remain will cry out for death and seek after it earnestly, but it will elude them.


So hope in itself is not necessarily something good. It might just be the song of the siren, lulling the one who listens into a hypnotic state of blissful deception, only to seduce the listener into embracing that which will destroy them, and to keep them from searching after a hope that will not disappoint.


Hope in something false will lead to disappointment at best and eternal sickness at worst; but that's only the first part of Proverbs 13:12. "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, BUT when the desire comes, it is a tree of life."


Those who hope in the Lord will not be disappointed. If you put your hope in riches, you will be disappointed. If you put your hope in a man or a woman, you will be disappointed. If you put your hope in a false god or a government or political system, you will be disappointed. If you put your hope in human goodness, you will be disappointed.

But if you put your hope in the Lord, you will not be disappointed.


Let's take a look at Romans chapter five, and hopefully we can get just a glimpse of the hope we have in God.

Romans chapter five, beginning with verse one.

Romans 5

1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.


So this is our first hope, the hope of the glory of God. And this tells us some of the ways we see the glory of God at work in our lives.

First, we have been justified by faith. Do you realize that aside from perfectly obeying the law, which none of us can do, you are guilty of breaking the whole law, even if you have broken only one commandment? This alone would be a hopeless situation. But our first hope, the hope of the glory of God, begins with our justification by faith.

Although doubts will sometimes shout at you and try to gain an audience with you, you can choose to believe God and act upon his Word regardless of how you might feel. And you can be sure that, just as you accepted Jesus by faith, you have been justified and made right with God. This is evidence that your first hope, the hope in the glory of God, is not a hope that's in vain, but it is a hope that will not be disappointed.

And then it says, "having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." This is another display of God's glory -- his peace which he sheds abroad in our hearts. As we choose to trust in God and to meditate upon his Word instead of upon our circumstances and doubts, he brings peace to us, a peace that those without Christ cannot know. This peace is a display of the glory of God, our first hope, our hope that is within us a tree of life.

We go on to read, "we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God."

So the glory of God, our first hope, is displayed to us through our justification with God and the peace that Jesus brings; and we also see this glory through a third thing, our access by faith into the grace in which we stand.

Grace is not only special favor. The word used here for grace, "charis" (khah' rees), not only means good will, loving-kindness, and favor, but it also means "that which is due to grace -- the spiritual condition of one governed by the power of divine grace;" also, "the token or proof of grace, or the benefit of grace."

So first of all, God SHOWS us grace, special favor, as his sons and daughters and joint-heirs with Christ to the inheritance. Then, God GIVES us grace, the token or proof of grace, as his Holy Spirit begins to transform us from glory to glory into the image of God. And as we follow after him, we begin to see the fruit in our spiritual condition, as we choose to be governed and directed by the power of God's divine grace.

By God's grace, we can turn the other cheek. By God's grace, we can choose to forgive. By God's grace, we can overcome sin. And this spiritual conditioning of God's grace, this special infusion of the character of Jesus which God is growing in us, this is the token, or proof of God's grace, his glory, and our hope in the glory of God is shown to be a hope is something lasting and true, and a hope in something which will not disappoint.


Next we read, "And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations..." Now wait just a minute... We were doing well up to this point, and could have all said "amen" and gone home happy. What's this about tribulations? Aren't tribulations and struggles and tragedies and problems bad things that we should avoid?

Of course you're free to try to avoid them, and most of us do. But you can't escape them. And it's a good thing you can't. It says, "but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that..." listen to this... "knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope."

So this hope in God that becomes life within us and gives us peace, joy, and purpose, and which gives us a reason to go on, this hope in God is something that is developed. And this is the the process:

Tribulation produces perseverance.
Perseverance produces character.
And character produces hope.

Have you ever dreamed of a day when you will stop going through hard times? You'll always be on the mountain top, soaring on the heights on the warm winds of complete freedom from that cursed thing called "tribulation."

If so, you've dreamed either of heaven or of a day during this life in which your hope begins to dwindle away.

Instead, we glory in tribulation. And it's that same hope in the glory of God that is proven true through the process by which hope is developed: Tribulation produces perseverance. Perseverance produces character. And character produces hope.


Let's read a little more, starting with verse five.

5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

And this is another guarantee of our hope, the hope of the pouring out of the Holy Spirit who was given to us. This Holy Spirit and the work he does in and through us is a display of the glory of God, our hope.

Verse six...
  
6 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.
8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.


So first we see a hope for ourselves, our hope in the glory of God. Now we see an extension of that hope -- a hope for the rest of the world. Indeed, this is the same hope, the hope in the glory of God, and we see that this hope is offered to everyone everywhere, regardless of their current state.

This hope is offered to the people on death row, the prostitute on the street corner, the crack addict in the ghetto, and the child mollester in the school house.

This hope is offered to the Buddhist in the temple, the Muslim in the mosque, and the Atheist in the professor's chair.

This hope is offered to white and black, slave and free, and old and young alike.

This hope is offered to those who have no hope, and to those who have all the hope in the world, but whose hope is in things which will disappoint them in the end.

You see, "God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Jesus did not wait for us to come to him and be justified, but he died for us while we were still sinners. And this is the hope that he offers, through us, to everyone everywhere -- the hope that their sins can be forgiven, they can be justified, they can have peace, they can have God's favor upon them, and they can have the hope of the glory of God both in this life and in the life to come.


So we have the hope of the glory of God, and we have hope to offer to those who need the hope that only Jesus can bring.

And just as we had a hope as sinners, and we now have a hope of his glory, we also have a hope for the future.

In verse nine we read,

9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.
10 For if when 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.


So we have a hope for the future. The wrath of God which is poured out upon all unrighteousness, should rightly be poured out upon each and every one of us. But we have been justified by His blood. And because our sins have been washed away by the sacrificial blood of the spotless Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, we shall be saved from the wrath of God.

You see, we were enemies of God. Even if we never thought badly of him, we all were friends of the world. In the book of James we read that friendship with the world, the things and ways of the carnal way of life, is enmity with God.

If Jesus came willingly to us, his enemies, and took the blame for all our sins against God, becoming our sins on the cross, and if he did that just so we could be reconciled to God, what amazing hope we can have! For the same power that raised Jesus from the dead, is the same glory of God in which we hope and by which we have been given a brand new life.

What amazing hope, a hope that the world does not know but which is offered freely to all, a hope that sustains us with proof of the glory of God, and a hope in the sure salvation from the wrath of God!


Let's skip down to verse twelve. The next few verses are really deep, but hang in there with me, we're almost done.
  
12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—

(verse 14)

14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.
15 But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many.
16 And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification.
17 For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.


So we not only have hope for today, and we not only have hope for the world, and we not only have hope in salvation from the coming wrath of God, but we also have hope the we will reign in life through Christ Jesus.

What does this mean? Well, we know that Scripture says we will rule and reign with him. That is certainly something sure in which we can hope. But this says we will reign in life through Christ Jesus.

Scripture tells us that we are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus our Lord. And he gives us the power to overcome -- not only in the life to come, but in this life -- to overcome the attacks of the enemy, to overcome doubts and fears, to overcome sin and addiction, and to overcome all the tricks of the enemy and of our flesh.

And this is a hope that connects today with tomorrow. We can overcome today, as we are seated with Christ in heavenly places in the spirit, reigning over the wiles of the devil today; and this hope extends into tomorrow, knowing that no matter what comes our way, we reign with Jesus who will give us the strength to overcome in all things; and this hope extends into eternity, knowing that in our death, we will win the greatest victory of all, and will forever be in the awesome presence of the Lord, experiencing to the fullest measure the glory of God in which we place all our hope.


You see, those who hope in the Lord will not be disappointed.


So we were given hope while we were still sinners, that hope that we are told to offer to the world. And we were given the hope for today, the hope in the glory of God as he displays his glory in every area of our lives. And we were given the hope for today and tomorrow, knowing that we reign with him now, and through Jesus we can be victorious through all things.

And then we read this, in the last two verses, verses 20 and 21...

20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more,
21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.


So not only is there hope for the world.

Not only do we have hope for today, proven by the glory of God.

Not only do we have hope for tomorrow, that we will overcome through all things.

But we also have the blessed hope of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord!


I'd like for the ministry team to come stand across the front now.

Do you have the hope of the glory of God in your life?

Do you have the hope that you can overcome all things, no matter what may come, by the power of the Holy Spirit poured out upon you?

Do you have the hope that when this life is over, you will have eternal life through Jesus Christ your Lord?

If not, hope is being offered to you today. Lay all your other hopes aside. Hope in a government will disappoint you. Hope in a man or woman will disappoint you. Hope in a religion or a tradition will disappoint you. Hope in riches will disappoint you.

But hope in God through Jesus Christ will not disappoint, and you can have that hope today.

As we read in the first two verses of Romans 5, "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God."

You can be justified today. You can be reconciled with the Father. You can be at peace with God today. All you need to do is accept the gift of God's Son, Jesus Christ, by faith.

There's no magic formula for Salvation, for it's a free gift. Just receive it.

If you'd like to pray this prayer with me, I encourage you to do so. Let's talk to God now together, and receive the hope for today, the hope for tomorrow, and the hope for eternity that only comes from God through Jesus.

Pray with me now. Say, "Jesus, I accept your gift of Salvation, and your gift of hope. Forgive me for my sins, and I accept your forgiveness. Wash me clean. And I accept your hope, hope in the glory of God. Teach me how to walk in this hope, and how to walk every day with you. Thank you Lord. Amen."

This altar is open. You're all invited to come seek after the Lord together. Just get out of your seats and come gather at the front.


And as you come, I'd like to close with this.

In Luke chapter 24, we read about the days after Jesus had been crucified and had risen from the dead. Two of the disciples were walking down a road, heading for a village called Emmaus, which is seven miles outside of Jerusalem. And Jesus was walking down that road with them.

Jesus came near to where they were and asked them what they were talking about and why they were sad, but they did not recognize him. And one of them told Jesus, "We've been talking about Jesus of Nazareth, a great prophet. They have put him to death." Notice he called Jesus "a great prophet," instead of "the Messiah" or "the Son of God."

Then he said, "But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel."

Their hope had been deffered. They thought it had been shattered. And they were sick at heart, bewildered and confused. Their hope was gone. Or so they thought.

What they did not realize was that their hope was walking right beside them. And Jesus explained the Scriptures to them, showing them the prophecies that foretold of his death which was for the sins of the world, and also about his resurrection from the dead which was to bring resurrection power to whosever will.

And at the end of the journey, Jesus revealed himself to them, then vanished from their sight.


You may be walking down a road of disillusionment, a road of doubt, a road of lost hope. You may be walking away from Jerusalem, drifting and confused.

But Jesus has not left you or forsaken you, he's walking right there with you. He gave you his Word, has sent people to proclaim and expound upon that Word, and has given his Holy Spirit to make that Word come alive in you.

And in due time, as you continue to listen and walk, he will reveal himself to you. And he will show you, in the end, that your hope was not in vain, for your hope is not in a great prophet or just another man, but your hope is in Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God. And those who hope in the Lord will not be disappointed.


If you need to go, you're free to do so, and if you want to fellowship, please do so outside so others aren't distracted. If you would like someone to pray or talk with you, feel free to instant message someone on the ministry team.

Come, and let's seek after the God of hope, who has shed abroad his hope within us.