Hope or Despair

Keith Chandler
Journey Christian Church

Romans 8 is where to go if you’re feeling hopeless and need some hope.

“Where is your hope?” is one of the most important questions you’ll answer in your life, because where you put your hope determines so much about who you are and how you live your life.

Romans 8:18 says, “I consider that our present sufferings…” “Present sufferings” is generic. Let’s attach something more personal to it. What are your present sufferings? ______ (Fill in that blank)

Make that specific. Because nothing becomes dynamic until it becomes specific.

The Bible clearly teaches, “In this world you will have trouble.” When present sufferings come… they reveal what we’ve put our hope in. They show the foundation the house of our faith has been built upon. That’s what a storm does: it reveals the foundation.

Paul says, “I want you to compare what you’re going through now to what you will one day experience in heaven.”

The Apostle Paul wrote, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him…but God has revealed it to us by his spirit.” 1 Corinthians 2:9-10.
God has spoken to us through the Bible; and by his Spirit he helps give us a glimpse of what heaven is like.

Heaven is a place of love and relationships.

Jesus turned to the thief dying next to him on the cross and said, “Today you’ll be with me in paradise.” One of the things that makes heaven so attractive is who is there. People often wonder will we recognize each other in heaven? Absolutely. Heaven is going to be a place of reunions with those we love.

Heaven is a place of intellectual growth and discovery.

Think about being able to ask God any and everything. Think about all the things we will be able to learn in heaven. Think about taking leadership classes from Moses and courage classes from Martin Luther King Jr. Our minds will be sharp and heaven will be a place of intellectual growth and discovery.

Heaven will be a place of productivity and accomplishment.

Revelation 7 points out in heaven we will serve God. Some think when we die, we become angels. That’s not what the Bible teaches.The Bible teaches that in heaven, we will rule over and govern the angels. We will make important decisions and work productively.

Heaven is a place of joy and laughter.

The one who created mountains and rainbows and giraffes and platypuses is with us. And he’s been anticipating your arrival. Heaven will be exhilarating, refreshing, fulfilling and thrilling. Everything good in this life that we see now, will be perfect in heaven. Jesus said “Well done, good and faithful servant! Come and share your master’s happiness!” Matthew 25:33

Sometimes when Bible writers would run out of words to describe this amazing place, they would start talking about what heaven is NOT like. God himself will be with them and be their God. “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:3-4. Heaven is going to be pain-free.

Paul’s says, “Our present sufferings…are not worth comparing to the glory that will one day be ours in heaven through Jesus Christ.” Our hope isn’t here.

“For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And even we Christians, although we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, we also groan to be released from pain and suffering. We, too, wait anxiously (We wait expectantly, excitedly) for that day when God will give us our full rights as his children, including the new bodies he has promised us.” Romans 8:22-23 (NLT)

We eagerly look forward to this freedom. If you already have something, you don’t need to hope for it.

Verse 25 says, “But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.” Romans 8:25 (NLT)

Paul uses the metaphor of childbirth. The two most painful things you can experience are childbirth and passing a kidney stone. Two extraordinarily painful experiences, but people process that pain very differently. Because it’s possible that after giving birth a mother might say, “You know… let’s…do this again.” But you never hear someone who passes a kidney stone say, “Maybe God will bless us with another one!”

Why? Because the pain is intense for both, but the outcome is very different (One leads to a baby, the other to a kidney stone).

If your hope is in heaven, then the suffering of this life is like the pains of childbirth. If your hope isn’t in heaven, then life can feel a little bit like passing a kidney stone. So, we wait eagerly, patiently and with confidence. If we’ve put our hope in the wrong thing it leads to despair. But if we’ve put our hope in Jesus, we wait with all creation for the day God’s glory will be revealed.

We wait with “eager anticipation.” With excitement! We wait, but we wait with hope. Take time each day to set your hope on eternal things, not on this life, because heaven’s on your calendar if you’re a follower of Jesus.

Until next month,
Keith
7708 Van Dyke Rd, Odessa
813-920-0442
Services Sunday at 10:00
www.tampajourney.com
Keith Chandler
Journey Christian Church

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