In this sermon, entitled, the Hope of Glory, Pastor Neil preaches on the hope we have in Christ– “to overflow with hope in the God of hope through the power of the Holy Spirit who is at work in you is what God desires for you!” Here are some more excerpts:
In Lamentations 3, after Jerusalem and the nation of Judah fell to Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC, Jeremiah expressed the grief and sorrow in his soul over the suffering and loss and affliction of his people. But then, in the middle of his lament, he said:
Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have [what?] hope. Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your Faithfulness.
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him,
To those who seek Him. (Lamentations 3:21-23, 25)
Isaiah says that though “even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall … those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:30-31). Those who put their hope in Him – those whose hope is grounded securely in God – find that “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak” (Isaiah 40:29). Which, whether you want to admit it or not, describes you. And me. It describes every one of us.
David is so bold as to say in Psalm 25 that “no one whose hope is in (the Lord) will ever be put to shame” (25:3). In Isaiah 49:23, the Lord Himself says: “Those who hope in me will not be disappointed.”
Does this mean that if your hope is in Christ, you will never experience disappointments or defeats in this life? Of course not. Does it mean that you are exempt from the ordinary difficulties of life? No. Does it mean you will never encounter obstacles or opposition or criticism, or suffer setbacks in the course of life? No.
Here is what it means: It means that if you put your trust in God, if you take God at His word, if you trust Him to keep His word and to do what He has promised, you will not be disappointed in the outcome. You will be blessed. Beyond your wildest imagination. When we get to heaven and see God face to face in the fullness of His glory, I think we will be in for some surprises – happy surprises – that are just way beyond anything the most fertile human mind can conceive.
Even though we must all go through hardships of different kinds in this life, no one whose hope is in God – no one who has the indwelling presence and power of the Holy Spirit in their life – will be disappointed when we see how it all turns out in the end. In fact, far from being disappointed, we will be so overwhelmed with joy in our hearts and gratitude to God that we will find ourselves, in the words of the hymn by Charles Wesley that we sang earlier this morning, “lost in wonder, love, and praise.” Psalm 146 cautions us – warns us – not to put our hope in princes or presidents, politicians or parties, “in mortal men, who cannot save” (146:3). If not in these, if not in our leaders or those who want to be our leaders, then in whom?
Here is the answer:
“Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God” (146:5)
Ultimately, hope does not come from a place or a possession or a situation or a status or an experience or an economic theory. It is not to be found horizontally– only vertically. Hope that lasts comes from God, found in a Person– in Jesus, who is the Hope of the nations. It is found in Jesus, who gives “strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.” He is “the hope of glory.”
Even if or when you feel all alone, or think you are in a shrinking minority, remember that God is with you, God is for you, and God is in you. Right here. Right now. And forever.
As it says in Hebrews 10:23, let’s keep a firm grip on the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. Lord, let it be so in us. Amen.