Hope

Scripture: Romans 4:17-25, NLT

16 For Abraham is the father of all who believe.
17 That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, “I have made you the father of many nations.” This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing.
18 Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!”
19 And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb.
20 Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God.
21 He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises.
22 And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous.
23 And when God counted him as righteous, it wasn’t just for Abraham’s benefit. It was recorded
24 for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the One who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.
25 He was handed over to die because of our sins, and He was raised to life to make us right with God.

INTRODUCTION

I preached this message at the Sunrise Service of 1990 {April 15}, our last Sunrise Service at the old campus. Our very first service here was on Easter 1991 which was on March 31. I know you don’t remember the message because I don’t. In the process of moving my office, I came across this sermon and laid it aside. I have made one or two changes but it is basically the same message I preached in 1990.


Our text today is about Abraham who seems to be stuck in a hopeless situation. Abraham is nearing the age 100 and Sarah is 90 and she has yet to produce a son. God has made it clear, the son of promise must come via Sarah. Ishmael is 13 years old but God has already made it clear that he will not be the son of promise: Ishmael was born as an act of the flesh or the will of man. The promised seed will be an act of God.


Although it was a hopeless situation; Abraham did not lose hope. Romans 4:18 states this fact clearly, Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!”

Transition

When you think about it, the history of God’s people is made up of hopeless situations.

  • Adam and Eve– Genesis 3:23-24…. So the LORD God banished them from the Garden of Eden, and he sent Adam out to cultivate the ground from which he had been made. After sending them out, the LORD God stationed mighty cherubim to the east of the Garden of Eden. And he placed a flaming sword that flashed back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life. Adam and Eve were banished, cursed and separated from the Tree of Life. They had one hope and it was in a seed. {Genesis 3:15} And I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seedHe {Messiah, Jesus the promised seed} shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise Him on the heel.” Paul gives us commentary in Galatians 3:16….Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ. Adam and Eve’s hope was in a Seed. That Seed was Jesus!
  • Noah the faithful Sethite living in a world of corruption and violence. He had no protection and things were getting worse and worse. Noah had only one HOPE and it was an ARK. That ARK was Christ. It had only one window and one door: it was the only way and it was God’s way.
  • Joseph in Prison. Betrayed by his own brothers, falsely accused by his captors, unjustly treated by the courts of Pharaoh. He was alone, no help from the embassy. He had no friends or relatives to plead his case from the outside. He had only one Hope, a divine intervention.
  • Jacob living in constant grief. Living under the oppression of a diabolic lie fabricated in the halls of hell and perpetuated by depraved humans. He was a man without hope but then someone told him the truth. Joseph is alive, he is well and he is ruling all of Egypt. Jacob had only one hope, the truth and the truth revived him. The very same TRUTH that sets you and I free, sat Jacob free. Jesus is the TRUTH.
  • Then there is Israel in Bondage. Enslaved, weaponless, oppressed, beaten down to a slaves mentality with no hope. Well they had one hope and only one hope: it was a prayer to Yahweh the Holy One. God heard their prayer and send them a deliver, a liberator named Moses who like Joseph is a type of Christ.
  • Then there is the divided and then fallen kingdom of David. A kingdom that was supposed to be perpetual; a never ending kingdom. But 600 years before Christ, this kingdom bit the dust. It was shattered like a piece of pottery. Again a seemingly hopeless situation but there is one hope…Isaiah talked about in Chapter 53, “The root out of dry ground.” Out of the dust of a fallen kingdom, the Messiah was born, the son of David. The ONE and only ONE who could fulfill the prophesies made to Adam, Abraham, Moses and David. God promised David, “I am building you a Royal House. You will always have a descendant on the throne. This kingdom will last forever. Just as Adam and Eve thought Cain was the promised seed, David and Israel thought Solomon was the one to build the temple and perpetuate the kingdom. But it was never Solomon that God had in mind, it was another Son of David, Jesus the Messiah.
  • Then there was the Crucifixion of Christ: the most horrible event in man’s history. Depraved humanity acting like mindless beast crucified a perfect man. His mother and His disciples watched Him suffer and die. When He died, they died or so it seemed. They were devastated, discouraged, depressed and deeply distressed. If was the blackest hour of their life. It was a hopeless situation if ever there was a hopeless situation but wait, there was ONE HOPE. The disciples remembered Him saying, “We heard Him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with hands, and in three days I will build another made without hands.’” Unfortunately, it was not His promise that gave them hope; it was His resurrection. Some doubted even after He appeared                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
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