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Sermon5- 15Oct06-2of2 WhereToFindTheHopeYouneed(RWHowGodMeetsYourDeepestNeedsPart1)

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WHERE TO FIND THE HOPE YOU NEED

How God Meets Your Deepest Needs

Part 2 of 2

October 15, 2006

                                                                                       Part 2- 1924 words     

Our theme this morning is ‘Hope’ and we are continuing from where we left off last week. If you recall, we looked at the first of three sources of hope: GOD’S PRESENCE IS WATCHING OVER ME.

The second source of hope is this:  HIS PURPOSE IS WORKING IN ME.  No matter what’s happening in my life – good, bad, or ugly – God’s purpose is working in me.  When you have a problem that you don’t understand the purpose, that’s very difficult to handle.  You know the most difficult kinds of questions of life are, “Why is this happening to me?”  When the problem is there that’s kind of a freak accident and it doesn’t have any rhyme or reason to it.  It just doesn’t make sense.  Those are the kind of situations that are the most difficult to handle.

On the other hand, when you see a purpose behind your problem it gives you enormous hope.  It also gives you enormous power to endure it.  And God says, I am working in your life and I have a purpose no matter what’s happening. 

God is doing good things in my life even when the situation is bad, even when I don’t feel it, even when it doesn’t make sense, even when I have no understanding.  When the situation is bad, He is still doing good things in my life. 

I want us to look at a couple of verses.  These verses are so important, they really explain what life is all about.  Romans 8:28 is a verse well worth memorising: “We know that God causes all things to work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.”  This is such a significant verse I want us to look at it word by word.

Notice first what it doesn’t say.  It doesn’t say, “All things work out the way I want them to.”  We would like that and we’d like to interpret it that way but that’s not what it says.  It doesn’t say, “All things work out the way I want them to.” Reality teaches us that not every patient gets well, that not every couple that gets married lives happily ever after.  Reality teaches us that not every business decision makes a million pounds, not every problem is resolved.  So we know that’s not true.   All children don’t get straight A’s and become captain of the football team.  What does it say?

          First it says, “We know that God causes all things to work together for good.”  “We know”.  What that means is we don’t wish, we don’t imagine,

we don’t desire, we don’t have false hope.  It just says, We know.   It is a certainty.  We are confident of whatever comes after this.  “Hope is not the same as optimism.  It is not the conviction that something will turn out well.  But hope is the certainty that something makes sense regardless of how it turns out.”

What is it “We know”?

          “… that God causes…”  There is a grand master designer of the universe.  And there is a plan that is in action and history is His story.  There is no such thing as fate.  There is no such thing as chance.  There is no such thing as luck – good luck or bad luck.  There is no such thing as karma, what will be will be or destiny.  There is a master designer.  We make mistakes for sure.  We make lots of mistakes.  But God never makes mistakes. 

“We know that God causes all things to work together for good.”  - “all things”.  What does that include?  Does that include illness?  Yes.  Does that include unemployment?  Certainly. 

Does it include divorce?  Does it include a miscarriage?  Does it include failure?  Does it include freak accidents?  Does it include the stupid decisions that I make and the mistakes I bring upon myself?  Yes!  Absolutely, yes!  Everything fits into God’s plan.  The good, the bad, the indifferent.  The things that I do, the things I don’t do.  The things that I control, the things I don’t control.  All things work together for good.

Notice:  It doesn’t say, “all things are good.”  And it does not say God causes all things.  God does not.  God does not cause rape.  God does not cause war.  God does not cause famine and poverty.  God does not cause leukemia and cancer.  To attribute those things to God is to turn God into a monster.  God is not a monster.  It doesn’t say God causes all things.   We bring a lot on ourselves.  

But it does say that “God causes all things to work together for good.”   It’s not by accident and it’s not separate.  They work together. 

Can God bring good out of the bad?  Did He bring any good out of the crucifixion?   I’d say so.  The crucifixion was horrific.  But God brought good out of it.  When you understand that God is not only watching over you but He’s working in you; He not only has His presence but He has a purpose, then that’s a source of enormous hope. 

Notice the qualifier of this great promise.  It is not for everybody.  It says “… those who love God…” All things do not work together for good for everybody.  In fact, if you are thumbing your nose to God, walking out the back door and saying, “Forget You, God!” all things are not working for good in your life.  In fact, all things are working for bad in your life.  This is not a promise to everybody.  It’s a promise for those who love God and want to have a relationship with Him and who are trying to live according to His purpose. 

This morning if you are here and you’re facing an impossible situation, the next verse is for you.  Jeremiah 29:11 God says, “I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you.  I will give you hope and a good future.”  You may think that what God is doing in your life right now is painful and is to no avail but God says, “My plan is good.  You just don’t see it.  You need to trust Me.  You need to have hope because it’s a plan to give you a hope and a future.” 

If you have walked away from God and you think, “I was close to God at one time but I can’t get back to Him,” then you need to be reminded that when God starts something in your life he doesn’t give up; what He starts He finishes.  You may say you’re too far beyond hope.  You’re not.  You’ve walked away from it but when you come back and say, “God, I’m going to give You the mess, give You the pieces.  Give me Your peace.”  Then that which He started, He finishes in your life.  And He keeps on keeping on.

How do I learn about God’s plan for my life?  Through the Bible.  The Bible tells us in Romans 15, we looked at it last week, that everything that was written in this book was written for our encouragement and our hope.  The more you get into this book – God’s word, the Bible – the more hopeful a person you’re going to be.  In contrast, the more you watch local news on TV, the more hopeless you’re going to be.  It is just what you decide to spend your time on.  When you focus on the fact that God’s presence is watching over me and God’s purpose is working in me you’re going to have hope.  But that’s not all. 

There’s a third source of hope and it’s this: GOD’S PLACE IS WAITING FOR ME.  When things get unbearable in your life you remember that our ultimate hope is heaven.  Paul says it like this: ‘if all our hope is just on this

earth, we should be pitied.  But there’s more to life than just here and now.  We have an ultimate destination.  It’s called ‘home’ and God is preparing a place in heaven.

If you are feeling hopeless this morning about something in your life, you have forgotten how much God cares about you.  The Bible says in Isaiah 46 “Listen.  I have upheld you since you were conceived and I have taken care of you from your birth.  Even when you are old, I will be the same.  Even when your hair has turned grey, I will take care of you.  I made you and I will take care of you.  I will carry you and save you.  Can you compare Me to anyone?  No one is equal to Me or like Me.”  What a God we have!

Maybe you have felt trapped in a hopeless marriage.  It’s on the rocks and you’ve tried anything and everything and it’s going nowhere fast.  Or maybe you’ve felt trapped in a hopeless career and you’ve bounced from job to job and you just haven’t found where you fit yet.  Or maybe you’re stuck in a hopeless health problem.  You’ve been to all the doctors and you’ve tried all the cures but nothing has helped you.  Or maybe you’ve got a hopeless situation with a child.  Or maybe you’ve got a hopeless situation with your finances and you’re not getting out of debt.

What do you do?  You give it to Jesus Christ.  When you do, you will have a rebirth of living hope in your heart.  “In God’s great mercy He has caused us to be born again into a living hope because Jesus Christ rose from the dead.”  You will have a rebirth of hope in your life.  You will go from no hope to new hope. 

If you’ve just been barely hanging on you need to do two or three things.

First you need to remember the presence of God.  That He is always with you.  That you’ll never be without Him.  You may not feel it but He is there.  He is aware.  He cares.  He can help.  Yahweh Shammah – “I am the God who is always there.” You remember God’s presence.  You will never go through anything alone. 

And two, you need to receive from God’s people.  You need to let other people support you.  That’s why you need a church family.  That’s why you need to be in a small group.  That’s why you need to be more than just a spectator.  You need to be a participator.  Can you say: When I was in a crisis, my church family stood with me.  Do you have any relationships?  Who do you stand with when they’re going through tough times?  That’s why you need a church home.  You need a family who will be there when the crisis comes on and the heat is there so you can receive from God’s people and you can remember God’s presence and then you can rely on God’s promise.

There’s lot of things in life that are uncertain but these three things you can count on.  They are certainties of life.  No matter what happens, God’s presence will always be watching over me, God’s purpose will always be working in me and God’s place is always waiting for me. 

When I have hope what happens?

“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”  No situation is hopeless.

Let’s Pray: H/F today you are saying to us: Don’t give up.  Don’t give in to discouragement or despair.  Give it over to You because You alone are our hope.  Help us be more aware that You are always with us and that You’re always watching over us.  Thank You for working in our life even when we didn’t know it, even when we didn’t understand it, even when we didn’t feel it, even in the middle of all our pain and problems.  We thank You for Your purpose.  We want to get to know You and follow Your purpose for our life.  So Lord Jesus, we open up our life to You.  We want to build a relationship with You so that when we die we can be with You.  We want to put our trust in the hope of heaven.  In Your name we pray, Amen.

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