Word Alive! © 2020 Fall Series
Unshakable Hope For Your Shaken World!
Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton
Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor
Tuesday, 22, Dec., 2020
Max Lucado, “Unshakable Hope…” Lesson 10, (Chap. 10)
Devotional Time: “Unshakable Hope” (pp. 103-113)
Hope Through Temporary Crises – It is true that every crisis we face in life in temporary. Although these circumstances can be foreboding, they will not last forever. Our hope is never more invaluable, than when we’re going through difficulties. Like the Apostle Paul in his day, we must learn to be transparent about both the crises and the hope we face. Paul assured the church in Corinth, that although we encounter foreboding circumstances, those crises could never eviscerate our hope (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:8-10, NLT). Paul tells believers that we are distinctive for our confident spirit, as Christ was, in the midst of circumstances. It is the Christ in us, which causes us not to surrender ourselves to the circumstances we’re undergoing. When we develop this spiritual perspective, we come to realize that all that we encounter in this life is temporary. The parallel and poetic language of Paul is a masterful description of why we have hope, in circumstances which are seldom permanent (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, NLT). The language of the King James translation artfully describes our crises as “light affliction, which is but for a moment…” (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:17a). Two beautiful Greek words are translated in this verse. Affliction is from the word thilipsis, which derives its meaning from a word (thilibo) which means “to be crowded in,” or “a narrow way.” The English translation is that affliction is “trouble,” or “pressure.” The troubles or crises we face are then said to be momentary. The Greek word used in the text is pararrhueo (par-ar-hroo-eh-o), which describes “running water as it flows.” The water, like rain, has movement, but it is confined to a specific time period. The scriptures are instructing us that however challenging our crises, they are “temporary.” This does not mean that we don’t encounter pain or loss, as a result of our crises. Rather, we are encouraged in the assurance that something meaningful and healing will ultimately come as a result of what we go through. What God has prepared for us beyond our suffering, is of greater value and benefit to us than what we’ve gone through (cf. Romans 8:17-18, NLT). For some, this is understandably difficult to embrace. However, it is our hope, an “expectant confidence” in God’s plan for our lives, that should encourage us to “never give up.” As Christ received glory after suffering, so will we!
Hope: We Become More Than What We Experience – As Christians our hope has a transcendent value. We believe that this temporal world does not offer all the answers for the meaning of life (cf. I Corinthians 15:19, NLT). Our faith surely helps us in the immediate, but its impact is much wider, and is more sustaining, than the present crisis. In his epic poem, The Present Crisis, James Russell Lowell (1819-1891) acknowledges the brutality of slavery and war in America. But he said, “Standeth God within the shadows, keeping watch above his own.” When we remain focused on God during our crisis, we become more than what we’re experiencing. Jesus is our supreme example, for He endured the pain and indignity of the cross, knowing that there was “joy awaiting Him” (cf. Hebrews 12:1b-2, NLT). The foundation for our faith as Christians is in the truth of the Resurrection. It’s our chief faith statement; a way of saying we are more than any crisis we encounter in life. In his devotional, Unshakable Hope, author and pastor Max Lucado says: “People of the Promise hold on to unshakable hope that hinges on the resurrection of Christ. The Christian hope depends entirely upon the assumption that Jesus Christ died a physical death, vacated an actual grave and ascended into heaven where He, at this moment reigns as head of the church.” Christ’s promise that, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age (cf. Mathew 28:20b, NLT),” echoes God’s promise to Israel in Isaiah’s prophecy (cf. Isaiah 43:11-13, NLT). God is portrayed as delivering His people from earth, waters, and fire! No place, element, or enemy can defeat God’s people. The Lord let’s His people know that He cares for them, and that their end will be better than the beginning. Our hope is in the fact that we’re always protected by God, who has been and will always be with us (cf. Isaiah 41:11-13. NLT). Even as Job suffered, he knew that his situation in the end, would be much better than where he was during his crisis (cf. Job 23:10, NLT). This same hope can be heard echoed from the lips of Mary, a very young woman from Nazareth. After Mary learned that God had a special mission for her, the hope resonant in her said, “For He took notice of His servant girl, and from now on all generations will call me blessed.”
What We Believe
Every crisis we face in life is temporary; it will not last.
1. Our hope takes us through the crisis, and beyond it!!
2. As heirs of Christ, troubles we face will bring glory!
2 Corinthians 4:8-10, NLT
“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.”
2 Corinthians 4:16-18, NLT
“That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying,our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won't last very long. Yet they can produce for us a glory that vastly out-weighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now, rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”
Romans 8:17-18, NLT
“And since we are His children, we are His heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share His glory, we must also share His suffering. Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared tithe glory He will reveal to us later.”
I Corinthians 15:19, NLT
“And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world.”
Hebrews 12:1b-2, NLT
“Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with enduranceance the race God has set before us. We do this by keep- ping our eyes on Jesus; the champion who imitates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honor beside God's throne.”
Isaiah 43:1b-3, NLT
“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 43:11-13, NLT
“I, yes, I am the Lord, and there is no other Savior. First I predicted your rescue, then I saved you and proclaimed it to the world. No foreign god has ever done this. You are witnesses that I am the only God,” says the Lord. “From eternity to eternity I am God. No one can snatch anyone out of my hand. No one can undo what I have done.”
Job 23:10, NLT
“For He knows where I am going. And when He tests me, I will come out as pure as gold.”