The Journey – Wildlife 5/17/15
Key Scripture: Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. – Romans 12:12
“Rejoice in our confident hope…”
In Romans, Paul says, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved”. – Romans 10:9-10
This is where the journey for a Christian begins, with confession and belief in the Lord Jesus. And it is cause for great celebration, rejoicing and hope! So the first thing we see about our hope is that it is a saving hope.
1. Saving hope
We are saved by grace, through faith and are reconciled to God through Jesus. The Bible says that as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our sins and transgressions from us (Psalm 103). Already saved. This is in the past.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. – John 3:16-17
“This is the message of the Gospel: you are far more sinful than you could dare imagine. And yet at the very same time, you are far more loved and accepted in Christ than you could ever dare hope.” – Tim Keller
2. Sustaining hope
We are sustained in Christ through the help and work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. This is available to us now. It is a current, day-by-day process of God making us more like Himself.
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” – Lamentations 3:22-24
“Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 1:6
3. Sealed hope
Through Christ’s resurrection we have hope for not only this life but also for the life to come.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” – 1 Peter 1:3-5
“…Be Patient in Trouble…”
There is intent in God behind the content of life.
1. Trials allow us to depend on Christ.
“But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” – Isaiah 43:1-3a
“We don’t want you in the dark, friends, about how hard it was when all this came down on us in Asia province. It was so bad we didn’t think we were going to make it. We felt like we’d been sent to death row, that it was all over for us. As it turned out, it was the best thing that could have happened. Instead of trusting in our own strength or wits to get out of it, we were forced to trust God totally—not a bad idea since he’s the God who raises the dead! And he did it, rescued us from certain doom. And he’ll do it again, rescuing us as many times as we need rescuing.” – 2 Corinthians 1:8-10 (MSG)
2. Trials lead to a developing and deepening of our faith.
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” – James 1:2-4
3. Through our trials, we delight in the promise of our confident hope.
“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” – Psalm 27:13-14
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” – James 1:12
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33
“…Keep on Praying…”
“It is a life at attention that I seek; a life in which prayer has woven itself into the very fabric of my days, a life in which prayer has become a constant, as regular as breathing out and breathing in.” – Living Prayer
Why do we pray?
– Prayer is commanded by God.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
“Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done. Sing to him; yes, sing his praises. Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds. Exult in his holy name; rejoice, you who worship the Lord. Search for the Lord and for his strength; continually seek him. Remember the wonders he has performed, his miracles, and the rulings he has given.” – 1 Chronicles 16:8-12
– Prayer connects our hearts to the heart of God.
Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. – Romans 8:26
“We must pray not first of all because it feels good or helps but because God loves us and wants our attention.” – Henri Nouwen, The Road to Daybreak
– Prayer is what helps us in times of trouble.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:4-7
1) Where in the journey of Christian faith do you find yourself right now? How so?
2) When is it easier to rejoice in the hope of God? What makes it difficult? (Personal examples?) How does knowing that we have a past, present and future hope in Christ encourage you as you walk through your own faith journey?
3) How does remembering that in the midst of trials and/or struggles God’s purpose is develop you and deepen your faith help and encourage you? How could that help you even this week?
4) Read 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 and Philippians 4:4-7 as a group. If prayer is to help us connect to God’s heart and help us in times of trouble, how can these verses help you in specific situations you may face?