Outline of: A Message on Hope
By Tim Lopez
1st – Introduction
An influential renowned pastor was invited to a question & answer session at DTS (Dallas Theological Seminary). As the questions went on a certain man stood up and asked him, “This Tuesday I am speaking to our homeless ministry, what practical teaching tips could you give me on delivering a successful message to such a unique audience?” The pastor responded saying, “People in such a circumstance need hope for a better tomorrow.” So I asked myself, what is this “hope” that can help even people like the homeless? What does it do for them that it can change their lives along with many others? Where does it come from? Where does it take us? All of these questions I hope that we can discover for ourselves was we come before God with open hearts and drink of His living water. Let’s pray.
2nd – The Gospel (Rom 5:6-9)
How does justification (Ps 32:1, 2) happen?
1st – The gospel is made known to him/her by the Holy Spirit. And when that happens the person begins to realize that in this gospel our Lord Jesus Christ is trustworthy and more to be desired above anything or anyone else.
2nd – The heart of a person then trusts in Him for all the promises given to us in God’s word.
3rd – They seek to repent from a life leading them away from Christ and seek to walk with Him from that moment forth. And there is no other day more beautiful for that person then this one.
4th – The moment that these things happen in this person they are justified and Ps 32:1, 2 becomes true. “1 Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 2 Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.”
- And then the trade of all trades takes place. Christ takes upon himself our record of past, present and future sins— though He didn’t commit any! He also takes upon himself the punishment of death we deserved. He also gives us His OWN record of righteousness and the reward of eternal life though we did not deserve that.
- And by faith we are united with Christ and we stand unashamed before God with the imputed righteousness of Christ.
3rd – The present benefits of being justified by faith.
HOW SHOULD JUSTIFICATION AFFECT OUR LIVES
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God though our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand…” – Rom 5:1 & 2a
- The Bible tells us that the first benefit or result of being justified by faith is that we have peace with God. Let me explain.
- When two or more parties claim absolute rule over a specific territory and neither of them back down there is a war between them over that which was claimed. Ex. 2 kids fight over who plays the video game. Or when two teams claim the battle it out for 1st place in a championship. There becomes hostility between two parties that is not vengeful or vindictive, but it is legal as long each claims absolute authority.
- As sinners we not only break God’s law, but we assume the right or authority to do so by claiming kingship over our lives and our world. But God also claims kingship over the same thing.
- And in return we are hostile to God, for what He has claimed. And his wrath is upon us, not only because of our sins but because of what we have claimed. It is impossible for this to change without someone coming between us and reconciling us.
- God’s grace to us is that we were reconciled to God by faith in Jesus, through Jesus’ death and life. (Rom 5:10.)
- Those who were justified have obtained access to this grace by faith and stand in it forever.
- And now that we have been justified by faith and reconciles to God, Paul tells us that we have peace with God.
- And this peace that we have with God is much more than just the ceasing of hostility that was there when we were enemies of God and freely sinning against him, claiming ownership of our lives. This peace is the peace of reconciliation— the kind of peace that joins the two in a fellowship of love.
- Before we were reconciled with God we lived in fear and anxiety— a fear of judgment and of death. We had no peace in our hearts.
- But now that we have been forgiven and reconciled with God, we have peace with God.
- What is the Practical evidence of peace with God? – The person who was hostile to God now deeply loves God.
- He knows when he has wronged God and he knows when and how to repent. The anxiety between him and God has ceased. He knows that he shouldn’t worry now that God has established his kingship in his heart and ownership of his life and that God will accomplish in him all that He has promised.
- Verse 2 says that this grace is where we stand. Why does he say this? Because some who have come to know the gospel of peace, still want to stand on their own merit and in their own good works. But what kind of peace can you get if you stand in these! We can have peace only when we stand in the grace of Jesus and nothing else. Otherwise, we are standing in enmity with God and hostility towards him.
…WE REJOICE IN THE HOPE OF THE GLORY OF GOD. (verse 2b)
- 2nd benefit of justification that Paul mentions is the benefit to boast (or rejoice) in the hope of the glory of God.
- To boast means to talk w/ excessive pride & self-satisfaction. Another word for it is rejoicing!
- What is hope? Surprisingly many people, even Christians don’t know what “hope” actually means.
- The word hope is used at least 180 times in the NIV. 83 times in the New Testament and 34 times in the book of Psalms.
- Hope in our English language: a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. But when we think of hope in that way, there is a problem— because in that kind of hope there is no element of certainty. Like for example, “I’m really hoping my teacher will cancel today’s exam.” In fact, in most cases there’s a strong element of uncertainty and even despair.
- But Hope in Greek: a joyful and confident expectation in something about the future. Like when you have studied very hard for an exam, then just before you take it you realize that you are happy that you are well prepared to do very well and desire to do so.
Glory of God
- Something in the future that hasn’t happened yet. Inwardly for believers it’s Christ furthering his salvation work in transforming them to be more and more Christ-like.
- Outwardly it could be God’s kingdom to be established here on earth with all of its peace, love, restoration, and order.
- All of these things become what those who are justified joyfully and confidently desire and expect.
- It is the hope that they rejoice and boast in!
- Yes Christians can experience despair and lose sight of this great hope. But because they are justified the Savior will always visit them and lovingly restore them in this matter.
- While those who are not justified by faith— who have not received God’s gift of salvation will never have this hope.
FROM SUFFERING TO HOPE
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, hope.” (Romans 5:3 & 4)
[You might consider putting this at the beginning of the section “From character to hope”.] Perseverance: steadfastness (commitment or determination) in doing something in spite of difficulty, setback or delay in achieving success.
Paul tells us another result of being justified by faith. He tells us that we glory (or rejoice) in our suffering.
But Where are we at in embracing (or accepting) our suffering?
- Let’s reflect inwardly for a minute. How are God’s saints (the believers in Christ) honestly doing today when we experience hardship, pain, frustration, disappointment? In other words, how do we usually respond to our sufferings?
- Do these things lead us to becoming critical, self-absorbed, bitter, offended, and full of complaining?
- Or do we rest in God’s grace, become joyful, and continue loving and serving people remembering God’s blessings and promises?
- If we handle our suffering properly, our sufferings lead us from merely suffering to learning endurance,
- And then it leads us from endurance to (building up) character, and character leads us to hope.
Let’s consider the meaning of “From character to hope”.
First of all, what is perseverance? Perseverance: steadfastness (commitment or determination) in doing something in spite of difficulty, setback or delay in achieving success.
- Character comes from persevering. It’s when something or someone is proven to withstand a trial.
- Recently we had a nice meal in which we threw shrimps on the grill right next to some chicken. The shrimp were on wooden kabob skewers. By the time the shrimp finished cooking the kabob skewers had burnt up accept for the pieces remaining in the shrimp. Little burnt wood pieces were left on the grill, and on the plate, and I was secretly paranoid that some might have ended up being grilled to the shrimp. The skewers did not withstand the trial and I will probably never use wooden skewers to grill shrimp again.
- But metal skewers I’ve used before and they are definitely built to withstand a trial with that kind of heat. Next time I grill shrimp I will most likely use metal. In fact I have the hope that if I place the shrimp on metal skewers, they will not burn up.
- When your faith or other Christ-like characteristics have been tried through suffering, and endured, thus proving them genuine and authentic, you naturally begin to have hope in the glory of God in you, and around you.
- One of the Christians’ obstacles in having great hope in God’s glory is the fear that we may appear as hypocrites— as those who outwardly profess to be Christ-like but inwardly don’t practice it.
- But the message of the Gospel tells us that we are Christ like BY FAITH. It is our greatest hope to mature in our Christ-likeness. At the same time, our Christ-likeness is not achieved by how hard we work at it inwardly or outwardly, but by what we believe in our hearts through faith that God has done for us in and through Christ Jesus. And so, we can also hope to bring Christ at any time and everywhere we go.
- So why does God allow us trials and sufferings? God gives us trials and sufferings to assure us that this is what we really need to make us full of hope, full of joy and confidence of our identity as Christ-like children of God who can do anything.
- If you are of Christ then you can do all things and all things are yours. If you are not then the truth is that you can’t do anything, and even what you think you can do, will not be enough.
HOPE DOES NOT DISAPPOINT
“And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:5 (NIV)
“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.” Romans 5:5 (NASB)
Why is hope so powerful?
- The Bible tells us that hope is powerful for many reasons. One reason is that it does not put us to shame & it does not disappoint. Therefore real and genuine hope can liberate those of us who were crippled by life’s hardships. Hope can EVEN liberate those who are destitute and wounded by life like the homeless, the jobless, the defeated and such. Why? Because if you can’t be shamed or disappointed then what else can get in our way? Nothing can hinder hope from growing in your heart!
- What is to stop us from experiencing revival in our personal lives, in our families, in our church, and the community that we live?
- What is to stop you, if God wants to assure you IN HOPE by pouring out His love into your hearts.
- The reason we are not EASILY disappointed is because when we have developed hope in our hearts, God answers this hope with a big slap of his love.
- Then our hearts become comforted from our sufferings and our hearts fill with joy regardless of our human circumstance.
- Praise be to God for giving us this thing called hope. Praise him especially for giving us the hope of the glory of God— the hope of growing in the image of Christ, and being Christ like in our attitude and life— all of which we received when we were justified by faith. Praise God that hope does not disappoint us but gives us assurance that what God has promised us he will fulfill. Praise God that in this hope we can learn to pray until our prayers are powerful and effective— until our hope compels us to pray— and our prayers compel us to hope. Amen.