A New Hope

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The title of the first Star Wars movie released in 1977.  It opens up with the “good guys” being overtaken by the Evil Empire.  The Empire had just developed a weapon that no one could combat.  There was No Hope of surviving the destruction that this weapon  (Death Star) would bring.

But then you see, that there is Hope. There is a way to defeat their adversary.  There was a plan delivered and a way to obtain the victory.  They now had:

A New Hope!

This film as all others is based on one of only a handful full of different themes that are found in the Bible:

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9

In this podcast we are looking at one of these themes:

  • The Empire is represented by the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4).  The weapon is sin;  In the first four chapters of Romans, we see Man’s need for Salvation.  That man is a sinner and under the wrath of God.  We’ve Also seen that man can do nothing to battle this weapon.

Then God’s plan shows up!  In Romans 4 we see how that God will impute his righteousness onto us by Faith in The Lord Jesus Christ.  It boils dow to the realization, that if we have Jesus, we have Salvation; If we don’t have Jesus, we are lost:

  • He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 1 John 5:12

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.  Romans 5:1-5

That is our Hope!

According to this passage, We are Justified by Faith.  What does Justified mean?  It is Absolution from guilt or punishment; an act of free grace by which God pardons (Isaiah 55:7) the sinner and accepts him as righteous, on account of the atonement (Romans 5:11) of Christ.

There are some benefits to receiving Justification from God, in addition to Salvation.  The first benefit is that we now have peace with God.  God no longer looks at us enemies (Ephesians 2:13-16) We have been reconciled to God by the Blood of the Cross (Colossians 1:20).

The next benefit is Assurance of Forgiveness.  By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  (Romans 5:2)  The phrase to pay attention to here is “wherein we stand.”  We can stand firm in the assurance that our sins have been forgiven.  Ephesians 1:13-14 informs us that we have been sealed until the day of redemption.

The third benefit is that we are now free from condemnation (Romans 8:1, 31-34).  We are no longer condemned for our sins because we are “in” the Lord Jesus, and because of this God himself, the ultimate judge has declared us as Justified.

The fourth benefit to note is that we now have full access to God.  We don’t need an intermediary;  The Bible declares that For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; (1 Timothy 2:5).  We have direct access to God; This was a radical idea in Paul’s day.  In his day there was a temple, and God resided in the Holy of Holies of that Temple.  No one was permitted access to where God was.  The Gentiles were restricted to the Outer Court, Women were restricted to the Court of Women, the Priests were granted access to the Holy Place, but only the High Priest was granted access to the Holy of Holies.  Then, he was only granted access once per year, and that was only on the Day of Atonement.  He couldn’t come empty handed either; he had to bring the innocent blood of the sacrifice with him.  We now have the innocent blood of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ applied to our account; therefore we now have direct access to God  Let us, therefore, come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16).  The general message then was: Keep Your Distance.  That message has changed in that we can now approach God through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Since we are Justified, we can now rejoice in troubles when they come our way.  The Apostle Paul states in Romans 5:3 that we glory (rejoice) in tribulations.  We see this thought in both James 1:2-4 and 1 Corinthians 12:7-10.  Notice that he says that we glory “in” not for, over or about trials.  We don’t jump with gladness because we have trouble, or are going through a tough trial, but rather, while we are going through these things, we can rejoice.

He defines the reason that this true for us right here in this passage.  Read Romans 5:3-5 again:

And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. 

Let’s define a few terms here.  Patience is defined as, Perseverance; Constancy in labor or exertion.  Experience is defined as, The knowledge derived from trials and Hope is defined as, Confidence in a future event; The highest degree of well-founded expectation of good.

We see that suffering or trials produce the discipline of perseverance.  Instead of allowing our troubles to destroy us, we should treat them as an opportunity to persevere, to make a pathway for hope.  Trials develop in us a patient persistence; it also generates a reliance on God, where we come to the realization that we are completely and totally reliant on him.  Trials prove by experience that we are not what we once were (Ephesians 2:11-12).  The unsaved don’t go through trials with hope; they don’t have any.  Notice in 1 Peter 3:13-17

And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?
But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: 
Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.
For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. 

The reason people will be curious about your hope is directly related to how you go through sufferings.

Here are some results that you can expect to take a hold in your life through this hope that you now have:

  1. Hope encourages believers. (Isaiah 40:31) (Psalm 31:2)
  2. Hope Leads to Godly living (1 John 3:2-3)
  3. Hope gives confidence when you are facing trials (Psalm 22:24)
  4. Hope will assure you of your heavenly inheritance (1 Peter 1:3-5)

Unfortunately for us, we don’t go directly from ground zero in a trial to a place of hope.  Real hope is a desire of some good, accompanied with an expectation of obtaining it.  Hope differs from a wish or desire in that; it implies some expectation of obtaining the good that is desired.  Hope, Therefore, always gives pleasure or joy; whereas a wish or desire may produce worry and anxiety (Websters 1828).  Worldly hope has no basis or foundation in reality.  Hoping to win the lottery or that Publishers Clearing House will come knocking on your door, are just wishes.  They are not based on what you expect to happen.   No one “expects” to win the lottery or have PCH deliver a huge check to their front door.  Christian hope, on the other hand, has a firm foundation, The Lord Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:27).  Our hope is based on what we expect to happen in light of what we have already experienced.  You can’t arrive at hope until you first learn patience, which comes from enduring trials.  You learn experience through patience; hope is based on your experience.

The Christian not only has hope for the future but also has confidence in the present trials of life.  Here is the progression of hope:

  • Trials + Jesus = Patience
  • Patience + Jesus = Experience
  • Experience + Jesus = Hope

As we see God’s help in the hard times, we can see that he is in control and will see us through to the other side of our storms of life (Luke 8:22-26).  You are not promised that this will ever be a quick process.  Abraham waited 25 years to see the fulfillment of the promise that God gave him concerning an heir and Joseph waited 13 years to see his promise fulfilled.  However, both of them knew from their past experiences, that God would give them what they hoped for and so do we!

Our hope at Irvington Bible Baptist Church is that this podcast provided some encouragement and has helped you to develop a closer relationship with the LORD Jesus Christ.

 

 

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