Sunday, June 14, 2015
1 Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. 2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. 3 For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, "The reproaches of those who reproached Thee fell upon Me." 4 For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5 Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus; 6 that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7 Wherefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God. 8 For I say that Christ has become a servant to the circumcision on behalf of the truth of God to confirm the promises given to the fathers, 9 and for the Gentiles to glorify God for His mercy; as it is written,
"Therefore I will give praise to Thee among the Gentiles,
And I will sing to Thy name."
10 And again he says,
"Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people."
11 And again,
"Praise the Lord all you Gentiles,
And let all the peoples praise Him."
12 And again Isaiah says,
"There shall come the root of Jesse,
And He who arises to rule over the Gentiles,
In Him shall the Gentiles hope."
13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. NASB
Do you have any hope? What do you hope? Where does hope come from?
I hope I have a safe trip to Oklahoma next week.
I hope to have enough put back for retirement when I come to the place I can no longer serve God as a minister to His people.
I hope my visit to the retinologist this week shows improvement in my eye.
I saw a TV show once where a man had been separated from his son for a long time. At one point he said the only reason he could go on living was the hope that he would one day see his son again. Later on he was speaking to the friend he had spoken to about hope and was lamenting with him that he would most likely never get to go home again. His friend reminded him of what he had said about his son and that he too could only go on if he had hope.
I hope to see my Mom and Dad again one day and my brother Richard. I am pretty sure they are safe in the arms of Jesus waiting for their loved ones to join them.
I hope that those I care about who have not accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior will one day come to believe and to put their faith in Jesus Christ.
There is a passage in Isaiah chapter 30 that I came across this week. Look at it with me:
"Woe to the rebellious children," declares the Lord,
"Who execute a plan, but not Mine,
And make an alliance, but not of My Spirit,
In order to add sin to sin;
2 Who proceed down to Egypt,
Without consulting Me,
To take refuge in the safety of Pharaoh,
And to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt!
3 "Therefore the safety of Pharaoh will be your shame,
And the shelter in the shadow of Egypt, your humiliation. NASB
Evidently the Israelites were putting their faith in Egypt and not in the Lord. They were executing a plan but not God's plan. They were hoping that Egypt would help them. If my history is correct, they were disappointed in their hope. Egypt turned out to be of little help to Israel.
Where is your hope placed? Whose plan are you executing? When you make a decision are you trusting to your own good judgment, or are you seeking to be led by God?
God did not save us just to get us out of hell. We are saved from a life that left God out of the picture. If heaven is the only benefit we get from God, we are a poor people indeed.
God saved us, to give us hope. That hope comes as we follow Him, as we put our trust in Him to lead us and guide us through this life. We come to church to encourage one another in our walk with the Lord. It is a great benefit that along with being re-attached to the vine, that is God, we also have the hope of life everlasting in heaven. But that is a fringe benefit.
The great hope of the world is that God loves us and wants to live in fellowship with us now. Are you seeking Him today? When you pray, are you rejoicing in the fellowship you have with Him or are you just asking for things to satisfy your own desires?
The first part of Romans 15 says: “1 Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. 2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to his edification.”
We are not here to just please ourselves. We are called to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and to help them have the only hope that really matters. The hope of a life lived in the presence of God. A life lived with the purpose of glorifying our maker and helping others to come to this life purpose as well.
Why do we come to church? Is it because you think if you don't you won't go to heaven?
Why do we give to the church? Is it because we think that if we don't we will end up in hell?
We are to do these things because we know from the Scriptures that God wants us to do them, to glorify Him. We are part of a fellowship of believers who believe that our hope in God is not in vain. Hope is simply faith for the future. The future is in God's hands. We are living in fellowship with Him because He loves us and has a wonderful plan for our lives.
Yes, we have the hope of heaven. But the benefits of salvation are too great to sit down and just wait for the fringe benefit. What will be great about heaven is that we will see the King in all of His glory. The One who loves us Most will be revealed to us in ways we cannot imagine today.
We have a hope for the future. It is in the finished work of Christ that makes us one with God. We are to strengthen those who are weak in their faith. We are to offer this hope to those who have not understood how great the love of God is.
The people of Israel in Isaiah's day had moved away from their trust in God. They turned to others for the help they thought they needed. Isaiah warned them that they would be disappointed. They needed to put their faith and hope in the God who saved them, the God who loves them.
Where is your hope today? Are you laying up treasures on earth that will rust and decay? Are you putting your faith and hope in your own wisdom and strength?
When we reach our hands out to others what are we showing them by our lives? Are we helping them to be edified and to turn to the One who can help them the most? Paul tells us: “ 2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to his edification.” When we help people, we are not merely meeting their physical needs, we are to point them to our reason for hope in this life.
Paul also said: “4 For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” The Bible, God's Word was given to us to encourage us and give us hope. The Bible is a book of rules, but the rules are not there to discourage us. They will discourage us if we are trying to live out the rules in our own strength. However, when we are living attached to the vine, we have the power of God and the wisdom of God living in us to help us.
We have God as our Father. Yes, He chastises us, but it is not to condemn us, but to build us up and help us to be all that we were created to be. He will lead us as we help others to see that God loves them in this same way and that Jesus made it possible for all of us to have this relationship with God.
Hope that does not disappoint comes from God. HE is the only source of Hope that does not disappoint in the end. Everything else will fall short of what we really need. Any other source of love will not fill the void in us that longs to know God and be filled with His love and His presence.
What are you hoping for? Is it what the Father hopes for you?
What are you craving today? Something that will fall short of what you really need, or are you craving for a close walk with the One True God who wants to live in you? Are you encouraging others to put their hope in God as well?
We are not here to please ourselves but to glorify God by loving Him with all our being and loving others enough to point them to Our Loving Heavenly Father as well, that is, to edify them, to build them up in their faith in God.
My Hope Is Built (The Solid Rock)
Words: Edward Mote
Music: "Solid Rock" by William B. Bradbury
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus' Name.
On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.
When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.
(from Biblesoft Hymnal, PC Study Bible electronic database Copyright © 2003-2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)